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Written by Texas Highways

Chet Garner standing in front of a Nocona Mural

I don’t go trippin’ to North Texas as much as I’d like to, so in the hopes of finding a new adventure I hopped on the highway and drove as far north as it would take me (without landing in Oklahoma). And what I found was Nocona, a fascinating town with a storied leatherworking tradition.

Illustration of Lawrence Wright at his dest with a typewriter and map of Texas

Lawrence Wright doesn’t do well with downtime. 

“I’m horrible, just horrible,” Wright says, lounging in his west Austin home. “I cannot stand not having something to do.” Along with restlessness comes a curiosity and commitment to deep-dive into dangerous and labyrinthine subjects like terrorist organizations, the Church of Scientology, and the Satanic underground. That exacting combination has earned the author and staff writer for The New Yorker a year for the ages.

The Rookery at High Island feature

The art aficionados at the opening of Frank X. Tolbert 2’s Texas Bird Project exhibition in Austin were clearly enamored with the artist’s prints, paintings, and drawings of the state’s winged and feathered beings. But the birdwatchers who came to meet the Houston artist were absolutely rapt.

Outside front of the Hotel Saint George.

He likes to sit and drink and think.” That’s what one of Donald Judd’s interns told me about the New York artist, pioneer, and patron saint of Marfa’s contemporary art scene. We were standing by the bonfire, bagpipe song rolling over the Chihuahuan Desert. It was late winter in ’93, the year before Judd passed away, and I was a guest at one of the bonfires Judd regularly hosted at his Marfa art compound, The Chinati Foundation. He’d flown bagpipers in from Scotland; the burly, jolly Scotsmen in full kilt made a surreal contrast against the wide skies and pale grasses of this West Texas landscape. Even more surreal for me is the memory of Judd telling me why he likes bagpipes: They are, he said, the music that least reminds him of human voices.

Clouds over the teepees at El Cosmico in Marfa

Arriving in Marfa, the high-desert ranching town with a lofty reputation as a mecca for modern art, first-time visitors sometimes find themselves wandering empty streets and wondering, “What’d I miss?” Those who come to love this creative outpost understand that it takes patience to get a feel for the town’s enigmatic allure. For three days each fall, however, the stylish counter-cultural side of Marfa is on full display at the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love.

San Antonio’s River Walk has a new anthem: Singer-songwriter Jefferson Clay just debuted his music video for the song “Riverwalkin’,” a tribute to one of his hometown’s quintessential attractions.

A San Antonio native and graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, Clay decided to embark on a music career when he was 17 years old, and his first EP landed him a spot on the Texas Music Picker’s list of breakthrough artists of 2015. He is currently working on a new EP that will be released by the end of the year.

The Battleship Texas resting in the waters of Buffalo Bayou

The USS Texas, America’s last existing dreadnought, is in danger. Docked in the brackish waters of Buffalo Bayou east of Houston, the hull of the battleship is corroded and leaking, which threatens its existence as a Texas landmark.

nautical escapes

We love the idea of taking a boat ride—the cool breezes, sparkling waters, and rare perspectives you just can’t see from shore. Not everybody has a boat, though. For the otherwise landlocked, here are nine Texas cruise experiences—from spotting dolphins on a paddleboat to serenading your sweetie on a gondola—that make getting out on the water a summer treat anyone can enjoy.

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Savoring Summer South Padre-Style

Much as you’d like to summon the proverbial “lazy days” the season suggests, it’s often a stressful—and expensive—juggle of child care, camps, and fleeting windows to accomplish far too much. However, last summer I was determined to mark my kids’ vacation with a few iconic—maybe even extraordinary—experiences that embody the best of summer’s promise. 

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1979 72 Sam Maverick Portrait

Deep down, every true Texan wants to be a maverick. Whether your folks have been here for centuries or you just arrived this morning, a disposition to be different from the herd—to mosey through life unbranded—slips into your psyche on Lone Star soil.

Chet Garner dressed like a hippie on Lake Travis

Texas summers are so hot, the only choice a daytripper has is to head straight to the nearest body of water and stay submerged for as long as possible. On just that sort of sweltering day, I took a drive to visit one of the Hill Country’s most popular lakes, Lake Travis, just 20 miles outside of Austin. I found plenty of ways to get wet, and a whole lot more.

Illustration of the Astros players in orange jerseys

It’s a good time to be the Houston Astros.

After several tough seasons of rebuilding and an unpopular move from the National League to the American League, the team capped its recovery last fall with its first World Series title.

The Houston Astros

The Houston Astros regular season runs through Sept. 30, including a home series against the Texas Rangers July 27-29 at Minute Maid Park.
mlb.com/astros.

They did it with a roster of charismatic young players who breathed new life into fans across Houston and beyond. But as they were coalescing into a contender last summer, Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, leaving the city desperate for a break in the clouds.

The Astros answered the call.

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