Written by Texas Highways
Tired from a long day of driving, we pulled up to the Antelope Lodge in Alpine and were transported into a 1940s-period postcard. White stucco cottages with covered porches and vintage metal lawn chairs framed a grassy courtyard studded with picnic tables. The foothills of the Davis Mountains loomed against a big blue sky behind the retro red-tile rooftops.
May can be the cruelest month for travel lovers. Spring break has come and gone. Summer vacation is but a dream.
Glen Rose’s Oakdale Park celebrates its 90th anniversary on May 2 with historical tours of the park, live music from bluegrass to doo-wop, a Model A Ford Club meet, woodcarving demonstrations, and the Art on the Paluxy Show. That same day, Glen Rose marks the induction of its downtown square into the National Register of Historic Places with live music and tours that feature Barnard’s Mill and Art Museum and the old jail house. You can even ride in a vintage fire truck to Oakdale Park and back.
Presidio La Bahia played an active role in Texas’ tumultuous early days, both militarily and agriculturally. Established by the Spanish in 1749, the historic limestone presidio, located in present-day Goliad and home to an active Catholic parish, will interpret different historical eras spanning 1749 to 1836 with the inaugural “In the Shadow of the Presidio.” The May 16 event will feature reenactors portraying the Spanish Colonial era, the Texas Filibuster era of the 1810s and ’20s, the subsequent Mexican period, and the Texas Revolutionary period. On May 15, the presidio will rekindle a lost tradition by marking the Feast of San Isidro, named for the patron saint of farmers and a patron saint of the presidio’s Our Lady of Loreto Chapel.
Started 68 years ago as a tour of historic homes, the Jefferson Pilgrimage has expanded over the years into a weekend of activities harkening to the town’s 19th-Century heyday as a Northeast Texas inland river port. Events taking place April 30-May 3 include five presentations of the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial at the Jefferson Playhouse; tours of four homes built between 1851 and 1893; a parade; reenactments of Civil War land and naval battles—including a locomotive chase and a gunboat on Big Cypress Bayou; living history encampments; twilight garden strolls; and a craft fair and sale. jefferson-texas.com/events or jeffersonpilgrimage.com.
The Lone Star State’s Czechoslovakian heritage will be on full display as Ennis hosts its 49th annual National Polka Festival, May 22-24. Polka and dancing are the highlights, including 14 bands and nightly performances at three Ennis fraternal halls. Don’t miss Friday night’s King and Queen Dance Contest, featuring dancers in traditional Czech kroj, or folk costumes, and music by the Dujka Brothers. The weekend also includes a parade, arts-and-crafts show, horseshoe tournament, kolache-eating contest, fun run, and polka Mass. www.nationalpolkafestival.com.
“I’d like to be in Texas for the roundup in the spring.” So goes the old cowboy song, reflecting many a Texan’s longing for the most vibrant of seasons. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin celebrates spring with Wildflower Days, including The Spectacular Wow!, an exhibit of Texas Highways’ springtime photos from our annual April wildflower issue. The show runs April 25-May 31 at the center’s McDermott Learning Center. Also on April 25, Texas Highways Photography Editor Brandon Jakobeit will host a wildflower-photography portfolio review for budding photographers. TH contributors Theresa DiMenno and Laura Vu will be on hand to talk shop and review your photo work.
On a typical Saturday night in Meridian, a town of some 1,500 people about 50 miles northwest of Waco, the Cactus Grill’s shoebox-shaped dining room hums with conversation.
I’m standing with my wife and young son in front of Nostalgia Antiques/Soda Fountain in Bowie, a town some 47 miles west of Gainesville, when it hits me: Should we really take our eight-year-old into an antiques shop?