In the Big Bend country of West Texas, a region composed of mountains, ocotillo flats, and grassy rangelands of the northern Chihuahuan Desert, weather is often a wily beast. A storm can rise above the arid plains in surprise puffs, turn wicked green in the blue of a Sunday afternoon, and then suddenly dissipate as if collapsing in the effort. Air currents, moisture, and temperature serve as the storm’s coconspirators, revising its characteristics in seemingly predictable yet uncanny ways. Ice, wind, and fire are its progenies, delivering a glass-shattering torrent of hailstones on a balmy spring day, kicking around a whirlwind of dust and flying debris, or, more devastating, striking up a wildfire with 100 million volts of electricity.
The newest addition to Galveston’s shoreline, the $60 million Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is futuristic by boardwalk standards, with 16 rides, various carnival games, and dazzling LED light displays. But the history of the island’s seaside amusement park dates to the 19th Century.
A series of limestone ledges partially surrounding the small lake inside Meridian State Park has long been my go-to place when I need to disconnect with the hectic world and enjoy a quiet interlude with nature. Just over an hour’s drive from my home in Fort Worth, the park’s cedar thickets, rocky hills, and serene water, tucked away in the landscape that gives way to the Hill Country, restore me when city life wears thin.
To locals, the town of Dripping Springs is known only as “Drippin’.” But you don’t have to be a local to see the beauty that this proclaimed “Gateway to the Hill Country” offers.
As I swerved to miss the potholes along a stretch of warehouses in northeast San Antonio, I finally caught sight of the headquarters for Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling. Even with a towering windmill out front, if it weren’t for the rustic metal sign on the building, I might have imagined that the crowds were waiting for access to a warehouse sample sale. Discounted furniture or couture? Not today: Lucky for us, we were in for an entirely different sort of sampling experience—a Saturday “brewstillery” tour.
Lori Moffatt plays hooky—and tourist—for the day
Matt Joyce explores life on Austin’s aorta, where history meets quirky
Jill Lawless’ grade-schooler runs a tight ship. Here’s her kid’s dream day downtown.
It’s a challenge to write about the place you call home, especially when that city is as multifaceted as Austin, a bustling burg flavored by music, art, and the outdoors. In the end, our Austin story is a staff collaboration: Jill Lawless explores Austin’s kid-friendly enticements, Matt Joyce rediscovers Congress Avenue after returning to town from a nine-year hiatus, and Lori Moffatt embarks on the perfect grownup “staycation” day. We had to leave dozens of worthy experiences on the cutting-room floor, so see those here. Check the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau website for details on hotels and tours, as well as maps and other information.