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Written by Lois Rodriguez

eclipseFor the first time since 1979, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the United States on August 21. Although Texas is positioned to only capture a partial eclipse, it’ll be quite the show just the same, with many watch parties are planned.

512palomaNational Tequila Day is a perfect time to hone your skills at crafting cocktails with Texas' distilled darlin'. Try these recipes from some of the Lone Star state's own tequila makers.

sandcastle tipWhen August rolls around, the schedule starts getting crammed with back-to-school shopping, and separation anxiety from summer fun starts to emerge.

But, don’t give up just yet. There’s still time left to squeeze in an adventure or two. And the truth is, if you run out of time, no worries. It’s Texas and the weather is almost always perfect for any of these. Just plan your weekends wisely.

Chamizal National Memorial 1617What happens when a river changes course and the border between two countries hangs in the balance?

Billy Gibbons TH FinalYou’d be hard-pressed to name a band that defines Texas rock ’n’ roll any better than ZZ Top. Over nearly 50 years, the Houston-born trio has cultivated a mythical swagger marked by versatility, irreverence, and a relentless pursuit of larger-than-life guitar riffs and good times.

Smithville Texas FinalSteve Simmons and his wife, Amy, the Austin ice cream queen, bought a ranch in the Smithville area 10 years ago to get away from the hustle. But a Saturday in early 2014 inspired Steve to get to work instead. He and his family had dinner that night at the Back Door Café, Smithville’s fine dining establishment, then walked onto the Main Street of a ghost town. “We’d just had a great meal, and the downtown buildings looked beautiful against the sky,” Simmons recalls. “Where are all the people?” his 10-year-old son asked. It did seem strange to Simmons that there wasn’t anyone else on the streets that once bustled when the town was a railroad hub. “Dad, you could fix this,” were the words that sent the father into action.

rattliff stadium 2There are niches of Texas football heritage elsewhere in the state.

geo322Let's start the week with baby steps, and get the 101 on fun activities such as geocaching, kayaking and even zombie apocalypse survival skills. Each Monday, to combat that first-day-of-the-week blues, we offer highlights for the upcoming week in Texas travel. This week is all about learning something new. Texas Parks and Wildlife offers courses throughout the year, but here’s what you can look forward to this week.

fullRes HBO Featured160219 001When burning up the highway between Dallas and Austin, it’s easy to pass through Hillsboro and see nothing more than modern gas stations and frontage-road shopping. But those looking for a blast back in time should grab the nearest exit and get ready for a true small-town-Texas experience that feels like a trip to the “good ol’ days.”

LayeredWatermelonPopsiclesLargeWatermelon is the quintessential summer fruit. No cookout or poolside outing is complete without it. On its own merits, it’s the perfect snack – especially for cooling down. But here are a few recipes that’ll put new spins on the juicy fruit.

SportsHallofFame 2

True Texas football fans we are.

We stand in lines, endure the swelter of early-season day games, and pay top dollar in donations and seat licenses to cheer our college and pro teams. We turn out to watch the local boys play under Friday-night lights, whether on six-man squads with bleachers set up next to pastures or suburban dynasties in multimillion-dollar stadiums.

summergetaway 817When I was growing up in New York City, my father had a small farmhouse a couple of hours upstate from the Big Apple, where there was a rowboat and a pond rife with largemouth bass, yellow perch and pickerel, snapping turtles, bullfrogs, and the occasional muskrat. Until adolescence arrived and brought the twin distractions of girls and rock ’n’ roll music, that modest family waterfront—long since sold—struck me as a little slice of heaven.

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