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Written by Texas Highways

A sotol margarita rests on the bar

In 2016, graduate students Judson Kauffman, Brent Looby, and Ryan Campbell stood around in a college parking garage drinking Mexican sotol from the bottle before class. 

“Not half bad,” Kauffman remembers as the collective reaction. 

Illustration of downtown Brenham

There aren’t enough synonyms for “quaint” in describing Brenham, that rare landlocked town that feels like it should have a lighthouse. Arranged around an Art Deco courthouse which, built in 1939, is one of the newer buildings downtown, Brenham keeps history in its place.

Railroad with train crossing and paddleboarders in the Brazos River below

Despite its title, this story is not a parody of a famous novel with a similar name. It is about a love affair, however, one that endures between the people of Waco and their bridges. And this love story begins with a tortilla. 

Chet Garner standing in front of a Nocona Mural

I don’t go trippin’ to North Texas as much as I’d like to, so in the hopes of finding a new adventure I hopped on the highway and drove as far north as it would take me (without landing in Oklahoma). And what I found was Nocona, a fascinating town with a storied leatherworking tradition.

Illustration of Lawrence Wright at his dest with a typewriter and map of Texas

Lawrence Wright doesn’t do well with downtime. 

“I’m horrible, just horrible,” Wright says, lounging in his west Austin home. “I cannot stand not having something to do.” Along with restlessness comes a curiosity and commitment to deep-dive into dangerous and labyrinthine subjects like terrorist organizations, the Church of Scientology, and the Satanic underground. That exacting combination has earned the author and staff writer for The New Yorker a year for the ages.

The Rookery at High Island feature

The art aficionados at the opening of Frank X. Tolbert 2’s Texas Bird Project exhibition in Austin were clearly enamored with the artist’s prints, paintings, and drawings of the state’s winged and feathered beings. But the birdwatchers who came to meet the Houston artist were absolutely rapt.

Outside front of the Hotel Saint George.

He likes to sit and drink and think.” That’s what one of Donald Judd’s interns told me about the New York artist, pioneer, and patron saint of Marfa’s contemporary art scene. We were standing by the bonfire, bagpipe song rolling over the Chihuahuan Desert. It was late winter in ’93, the year before Judd passed away, and I was a guest at one of the bonfires Judd regularly hosted at his Marfa art compound, The Chinati Foundation. He’d flown bagpipers in from Scotland; the burly, jolly Scotsmen in full kilt made a surreal contrast against the wide skies and pale grasses of this West Texas landscape. Even more surreal for me is the memory of Judd telling me why he likes bagpipes: They are, he said, the music that least reminds him of human voices.

Clouds over the teepees at El Cosmico in Marfa

Arriving in Marfa, the high-desert ranching town with a lofty reputation as a mecca for modern art, first-time visitors sometimes find themselves wandering empty streets and wondering, “What’d I miss?” Those who come to love this creative outpost understand that it takes patience to get a feel for the town’s enigmatic allure. For three days each fall, however, the stylish counter-cultural side of Marfa is on full display at the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love.

San Antonio’s River Walk has a new anthem: Singer-songwriter Jefferson Clay just debuted his music video for the song “Riverwalkin’,” a tribute to one of his hometown’s quintessential attractions.

A San Antonio native and graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, Clay decided to embark on a music career when he was 17 years old, and his first EP landed him a spot on the Texas Music Picker’s list of breakthrough artists of 2015. He is currently working on a new EP that will be released by the end of the year.

The Battleship Texas resting in the waters of Buffalo Bayou

The USS Texas, America’s last existing dreadnought, is in danger. Docked in the brackish waters of Buffalo Bayou east of Houston, the hull of the battleship is corroded and leaking, which threatens its existence as a Texas landmark.

nautical escapes

We love the idea of taking a boat ride—the cool breezes, sparkling waters, and rare perspectives you just can’t see from shore. Not everybody has a boat, though. For the otherwise landlocked, here are nine Texas cruise experiences—from spotting dolphins on a paddleboat to serenading your sweetie on a gondola—that make getting out on the water a summer treat anyone can enjoy.

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Savoring Summer South Padre-Style

Much as you’d like to summon the proverbial “lazy days” the season suggests, it’s often a stressful—and expensive—juggle of child care, camps, and fleeting windows to accomplish far too much. However, last summer I was determined to mark my kids’ vacation with a few iconic—maybe even extraordinary—experiences that embody the best of summer’s promise. 

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