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Written by Texas Highways

The National Museum of the Pacific War complex sprawls across six acres today, but it began as the Admiral Nimitz Museum, housed in the historic Nimitz Hotel building with its distinctive steamboat shape.

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The Commerce Street Bridge—one of the state’s oldest bridge sites—stands at a confluence of time and place in downtown San Antonio. The historic span has supported a parade of historical events and personalities for more than two-and-a-half centuries.

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Folks flock to the tiny East Texas arts enclave of Edom for several reasons. They come for its artisans, who make jewelry, pottery, and birdhouses; for its live music and arts festivals; and also to pick blueberries and blackberries each summer at Blueberry Hill Farms. As much as anything, though, visitors come to chow down on home-style cooking at the quintessential roadside eatery, The Shed Cafe.

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Just a few hours into our first visit to Rancho Loma, it was clear that my husband and I were destined to return again and again. I told Marshall so, as we sat near the crackling flames of the fire pit, winding down with conversation and coffee after an extraordinary dinner at this remote ranch house restaurant. He nodded in happy agreement.

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Seated at a softly whirring potter’s wheel at Castroville Pottery, artisan Mark Dykes leans forward, his fingertips shaping a blob of morphing clay.

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The legendary “marble falls” may have been submerged in 1951 when Lake Marble Falls was formed, but the namesake town still flows with history, adrenaline-pumping adventure, and pie as high as the Texas sky. All of this and more awaited me on a recent trip to this Hill Country hideaway.

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Right around dusk, it happens all across Texas. A couple of flickers. A buzz. And then the illumination of vibrant colors clicks on, emanating a hum as electrified gases dance within their glass conduits.

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In a darkened room, veterans wearing World War II caps embroidered with command insignia peer down at a tabletop video screen. A map of the Philippine Islands flashes on.

IMG 3639Pecans permeate the shady town of San Saba, emerging in pies, jams, and candies; infusing local coffee, beer, and steaks; forming a canopy over three lush parks; and providing a 1,200-trunk challenge to golfers plying the fairways of the San Saba River Golf Course.

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In the closing decades of the 19th Century—and especially after the arrival of the railroad in 1877—many travelers were drawn to San Antonio by the allure of the fabled young women known as Chili Queens, who served chili con carne, tamales, enchiladas, and other fiery fare at makeshift restaurants on the centuries-old city plazas.

OprySomething about the boxy shape of the building first catches the eye. It’s broader and taller than the 1960s-era Texarkana shopping center that surrounds it. A modest sign over the entrance reads: Oaklawn Opry, Country Music Theater. It looks like something past its time, an old civic auditorium, maybe, where Elvis once gyrated. But this is no relic. There will be a show tonight.

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We love the night illuminated, whether by the strobe of fireflies or the dazzle of Ferris wheels, and we are drawn to light’s embrace whenever it glimmers in the darkness like an invitation to dance. We may not be much good at the moves, but it beats standing alone in a dark corner tapping our feet.

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