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Written by Lois Rodriguez

Thomas Jefferson and Sam Houston probably drank their Madeira straight (and so can you, of course), but the wine—which is fortified, heated, and aged in oak barrels— also makes an intriguing addition to cocktails, as I discovered recently during a series of experiments with friends.

detouraugJust two miles from Seymour, a handful of paleontologists and volunteers meticulously scrape and brush flecks of red and gray dirt away from their latest discovery: a fossilized Dimetrodon that they’ve named Mary.

weekender mammoth site v2It's been a big week in Texas. On Sunday, the San Antonio Missions achieved World Heritage Site status. Today, after years of study and anticipation, the Waco Mammoth Site – one of the most significant Ice Age fossil beds in the world – has officially been designated as part of the National Park System. President Barack Obama made the announcement today and welcomed the new Waco Mammoth National Monument.

missionsanjoseloisrodriguezThe San Antonio Missions have long held a special place in my heart, but today, it was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during the World Heritage Summit in Bonn, Germany.

raceforshorelineI’m a NatGeo junkie, and I love seeing the magic of nature – pecking order in the primate world, hunting strategies in the wild, the courting calls and dances. It’s all so fascinating, so I was thrilled for the opportunity to see nature at work as we saw off more than 80 newly-hatched endangered Kemps ridley sea turtles at Padre Island National Seashore yesterday. There’ll be more opportunities this week, so you can check it out, too

shrub-cocktails-outside“Imagine that it’s 1780, and there is no electricity, no railroads, and you’re a locavore because you have to be,” began Austin craft-cocktail guru Bill Norris at the 2013 Austin Food & Wine Festival. “You’ve got to figure out a way to preserve your fruit and vegetable crop.

pralinesOne of the great pleasures of being in Texas (and the South) is the bounty of pecans. Oh, how I love pecans! No matter how they are served, I’m apt to eat more than my share, and on this day – National Pralines Day – I volunteer to eat one … or two.

volunteers measuring a large theropod trackway.--witte museumThe fourth incarnation of Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park – Jurassic World –trampled its contenders in the box office in its opening weekend, but Texas has its share of dinosaur experiences year-round. A less scary sort.

The-DoSeum-at-DuskAs if San Antonio didn’t have enough to brag about (Texas Top Destination), the city is adding another eye-catching attraction to its arsenal – the DoSeum – this weekend. On Saturday, June 6, the doors will swing open to the new state-of-the-art, interactive children’s museum.

bastrop-pld wb 2113--

Read JUNE 11, 2015 UPDATE for State Park openings/closures

Even as more storms continue to hammer a rain-soaked state, communities and families are knee-deep in recovery efforts from the torrential Memorial Day Weekend storms. The same holds true for some Texas State Parks, which have suffered considerable rain damage, too.


Ready to add new items to your Texas Travel Bucket List? The TxDOT Texas Travel Information Centers are a free, one-stop resource always brimming with information that opens up your Texas travel opportunities.

20 DartBowlMexico's heritage and culture are an integral part of Texas, which was once a part of Mexico from 1821-1836. That's why it's fun to join in the Cinco de Mayo (May 5) celebrations commemorating Mexico's most famous military victory – even though greatly outnumbered – over the French forces during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. If there aren't festivities happening near you, there's always a celebratory meal you can prepare.

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