Big Bend rewards patient travelers. “Patient” because not only does it take a long time to get here from most everywhere in the state, but also because it can take some time to fully relax into Big Bend’s transformative pleasures.
Who, on Earth, can resist the allure of a full moon? Twelve nights each year, we gaze into the sky as the lunar satellite casts cold light on the planet.
Stargazing can be an out-of-this-world experience, but here in Texas, there are a few places that are able to magnify that experience even more.
A public event Sep. 27 will recognize an influential figure in the economic development of the area. Historians and family members will gather at the Terlingua Cemetery grave of Federico Villalba to honor his legacy with the unveiling of a new Texas Historical Marker.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has introduced its first new conservation-themed specialty license plate design in a more than a decade. Sales of the plate, which depicts a campfire and tent under a starry sky, help fund state parks. The camping plate won the department’s online survey last year, garnering more than 6,000 votes.
Sunday mornings in the West Texas town of Alpine are remarkably quiet for a community with a population of around 6,000 people.
The main entrance roads to Big Bend National Park offer about 50 meandering miles of glorious scenery.
Don’t let the still, ancient expanses of the Chihuahuan Desert fool you—there’s a lot happening out here, from cultured art festivals to white-knuckle car racing. You just have to know where and when to look. In Alpine, that might mean watching the skies for a colorful, high-flying balloon festival on Labor Day weekend; or in Terlingua, following your nose to its storied chili and black-eyed pea cook-offs. Try any (or all!) of these annual festivals—by no means the only events going on in this part of the state—to get in on the far West Texas fun.
The Texas landscape has often served as both origin and inspiration for the creative mind. The stark, windswept plains of the Panhandle drew painter Georgia O’Keeffe west to Texas in 1912. The humid shores of Port Arthur gave us singer Janis Joplin and modern artist Robert Rauschenberg. Archer City, hometown of author and screenwriter Larry McMurtry, provided a prototype for the human landscapes that appear in many of the writer’s stories. And the late sculptor Donald Judd loved the West Texas community of Marfa so much that he made it the heart of his legacy.
La Posada Milagro Guesthouse and Casitas, an eclectic restoration of historic stone architecture located in the Big Bend ghost town of Terlingua, rises above a desert floor dotted with greening acacias, blooming yuccas, and flowering stems of tri-colored mustard. Although it’s only February, spring has arrived in this region of the northern Chihuahuan Desert, as it often does when winter moisture and warming air animate a sleeping arid landscape. With its commanding vistas of the surrounding area, framed by the Chisos Mountains in nearby Big Bend National Park, La Posada is perfectly positioned to provide you with a front-row seat to this desert awakening. It also offers desert lovers conveniences such as private baths, air-conditioning, and fireplaces, plus design features like handcrafted doors and windows, tin roofs, and sotol-stalk ceilings, all enhanced by the breathtaking view.
Last fall, we asked Texas Highways readers to share their favorite places in the state for our Texas Top-40 Travel Destinations. And share you did—by phone, email, Facebook, and through many amazingly detailed letters. Thousands of TH readers helped to shape the final list, which we will divulge throughout 2014, Texas Highways’ 40th-anniversary year.
The approach of a Texas winter brings with it mesquite smoke above Hill Country chimneys, migrating sandhill cranes over the Panhandle plains, and blue northers churning coastal bays. Our winter’s mild frost still reminds us that seasons do change in Texas; without an occasional freeze and its icicles, our memories of past summers might not seem so sweet. Fortunately, Texas also offers the ideal antidote for those prone to the winter blues—a vacation in the remote Big Bend Country, where warm afternoons and crisp nights are common from December to February.