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Written by Lois Rodriguez

The brunch menu at Megg's Cafe includes specialties such as shrimp and grits, a Southern classic jazzed up with shishito peppers, crispy pork belly and a poached egg.

Fnding good food on the road is always a gamble. Long stretches of Texas blacktop can be a blur of fast-food joints. And there inevitably comes a time when every weary traveler begins fantasizing about a real, home-cooked meal.

Try the pastries at Bear Moon Bakery & Cafe, or kick-start your day with the breakfast buffet.It’s a dicey proposition, living in a picturesque, easily accessible town in the Texas Hill Country—in my case, Boerne. On the 
one hand, our population swells significantly on temperate weekends, meaning we locals relinquish our usual haunts to the visiting hordes. Plenty of folks who start out as tourists come back to stay—enough to cause an 86 percent rise in population between 2000 and 2012. And though I was one of those latecomers, I was hoping like everyone else that they’d close 
the gates behind me.

Brett Posey, the Houston Zoo's seal lion supervisor, plays with Jonah, one of four California sea lions at the zoo. (Photo by Michael Amador)

I’ll confess that I have never been a big zoo fan—until recently, that is. I blame the small, sad zoos that I visited as a kid, where skinny, world-weary animals paced in tight quarters. Thankfully, matters have changed dramatically since then, as I discovered during a recent trip to Houston.

For its size, what small town boasts the most walking paths anywhere in the state, but doesn’t show up in guidebooks about Texas hiking or biking? The answer might surprise you—San Marcos.

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference takes place Jan. 16-19 in downtown San Antonio, with proceeds going to charity.Every July, New Orleans throws an event called Tales of the Cocktail, a five-day celebration of fine drinks and the people who love them. Likewise, New York City stages the Manhattan Cocktail Classic each May; and in March, Aspen holds its annual Après Ski Cocktail Classic. It seems that from San Diego to Kansas City to Atlanta, people gather to acknowledge these heady days of craft cocktails. Texas’ big event is called the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (SACC), and this year it takes place January 16-19.

TM-Giraffe-Finish

After he turned 80, it was difficult to get my Pop to leave the house. I found it hard to accept this sea change in the man who had been my travel mentor. But Pop’s joie de vivre had been stolen by dementia. I longed to awaken his spirit of discovery, and allow my young son to see his grandfather as the man I remembered.

The river best known for its summertime activities also is the southenmost trout fishery in the United States. (Photos by J. Griffis Smith)

Seated on a large, flat rock along a tranquil section of the Guadalupe River, I hear the faint whoosh of my husband’s fly line as his cast cuts through the air. He’s fishing in front of me, hip-deep in the water. Behind me, two squirrels are chasing each other, rustling about in crinkly fallen leaves. I look up at a towering pecan tree next to me, relaxed by its occasional sway. This is the soothing soundtrack I look forward to every winter. I’m at Rio Guadalupe Resort in Sattler, reading a book at water’s edge, just steps away from my rented cottage for the week.

There is no shortage of events in Texas. Our searchable database is proof that you'll find plenty to keep you busy. Here, Texas Highways editors offer a few recommendations. If you'd like, feel free to submit an event listing.

On March 2, 1836, when Texas was still part of Mexico, 59 delegates gathered at Washington, Texas, to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Pat the horse served for 26 years with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division. After “enlisting” in 1912 at age four, Pat served as a cannon-pulling horse. During the first half of this century, horses (and mules) pulled guns, as well as wagons loaded with ammunition. Pulling teams consisted of three pairs of animals, each pair performing a different function. Though no one now remembers Pat’s position in the team, they do recall his disposition: Pat displayed a benevolent temperament.

LBJSam Johnson went to Austin on business one day–his home was about 50 miles west of Austin–and came back with a radio that was the talk of the town. He had paid $150 for the device. When his neighbors heard about the purchase, one commented, "Sam must have slipped a cog between his ears," or something like that, and others nodded. In those times, when most folks in the hills were struggling to wrest a mere living from the hard-scrabble soil, 150 bucks was Big Money. We're talking 1925.
Gage Angeley sports a green cowboy hat and Donegal beard, and hey, isn’t that tractor green, too?

A question for our male readers: How quickly could you grow a beard? Every March, the little Panhandle town of Shamrock celebrates its Irish heritage. For St. Patrick’s Day, the menfolk are encouraged to grow a “Donegal” beard, the name taken from the county in northwest Ireland. The style of the beard comes down from the sideburns and across the chin, but without any hair above the upper lip. (Think of the University of Notre Dame’s leprechaun mascot.)

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