Right or wrong, the Freemasons are sometimes stereotyped as a closed group, characterized by secrecy and backroom power brokering. But when you come upon the massive Memorial Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in downtown Waco, it's hard to imagine the fraternal organization as a group of shrinking violets.
When I got to thinking about the concept of sightseeing by bus in Texas, San Antonio was one of the first destinations that came to mind. Not only does San Antonio have a walkable downtown with a dense concentration of tourism sites, its intercity bus-line stops are conveniently located in the city center. Still, I wasn't sure whether it would be practical or enjoyable to take a sightseeing trip by bus and foot. So I decided to give it a shot, purchasing a round-trip ticket between Austin and San Antonio for a 10-hour daytrip.
I recently made the short drive from Austin to Elgin, a town about 25 miles east of the city via US 290. Iâ€™d heard about a new wine bar and home dÃ©cor shop on the townâ€™s historic downtown strip, and I realized: While I frequently pass through Elgin on my way to Houston, Iâ€™d never really explored the town except to stop for barbecue at Southside Market or Meyerâ€™s.
For the August 2013 print issue of Texas Highways, I wrote about a Madeira tasting, held at Austin's Red Room speakeasy, which featured the wines of Haak Vineyards in Galveston County. Haak is the only Texas winery that makes Madeira a richly flavored fortified wine that is usually produced on the Portuguese islands of Madeira.
Freedom Over Texas, Houston's Fourth of July celebration, includes a huge firworks show over downtown. (Photo by Richard Carson)
From big-name concerts to small-town celebrations, there are plenty ofÂ places to celebrate America's birthday Texas-style this Fourth of July. Here are my top three picks for sure-fire fun this weekend:
The nightlife scene continues to heat up on Austin's Rainey Street, a former residential byway in the shadow of downtown. Transformed in recent years with bars, restaurants, and food trucks, Rainey Street draws crowds interested in craft cocktails, local beers, and food ranging from authentic Oaxacan fare (at El Naranjo) to Indian (at Raj Mahal). And now, Rainey Street boasts Austin's first food truck devoted to Southeast Asian Noodles, DFG Noodles.
Some Texas rivers are running too low for good floating, but a few waterways are flowing well enough for tubing or boating, according to the National Weather Serviceâ€™s Texas River Recreation Advisoryfor this weekend.
The International Accordion Festival is back.
After the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in 1863, it took two and a half years for the word that slaves were free to make it to Texas. The date that a Union general announced the news in Galveston on June 19, 1865 now known as Juneteenth is marked with celebrations across the state during the next two weekends.