Travel & Outdoor
Texas Highways Magazine

Texas Highways Magazine August 2019

Texas Highways, the official travel magazine of Texas, encourages recreational travel within Texas and tells the Texas story to readers around the world. Renowned for its photography, statewide events coverage, top weekend excursions, off-the-beaten path discoveries, and scenic destinations, Texas Highways helps readers discover the treasures of the Lone Star State.

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12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
small-town spotlight

We started discussing our list for this month’s cover feature on “Small Towns To Visit Now” more than a year ago. Even so, we were still debating final picks up until a few weeks before press time. With more than 3,000 cities and towns to choose from, we tapped writers across the state to help us curate a list that would represent the best of small-town Texas in all its charm and diversity. Our aim was not to present a definitive ranking of best small towns (that would take us years to agree on) but a collection of under-the-radar places that are forging new identities through revitalization, reinvention, or recovery from big setbacks. We wanted our list to inspire discovery, so we skipped the small towns that already have well-established claims…

1 min.
behind the story

Artist Judy Paul created the digital collage on the cover and opening spread of “Small Towns to Visit Now” (Page 30). The image, created in Adobe Photoshop, contains hundreds of layers of elements of photographs. While the buildings stand out, there are also surprises throughout for those who look closely enough—palm trees, a rooster, a horse, and an armadillo. “It’s the places that you recognize, but kind of reimagined,” Paul says. “It represents the vitality, fun, and excitement about living in a small town, put together in a rich, dense way.” Paul was raised in Orange but moved to Austin in 1984 to pursue a career in graphic design. She’s been a full-time painter since 2000 and moved to Smithville three years ago, opening her studio and gallery space in…

1 min.
featured contributors

Mary Helen Specht Writer Mary Helen Specht went dancing at The Stampede in Big Spring for the piece “Let’s Waltz, Boys!” (Page 12). “It was a pleasure and challenge to focus a reportorial eye on a place that meant so much to me growing up,” she says. Specht is the author of the novel Migratory Animals and an associate professor of creative writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin. Asher Elbein Journalist and short fiction writer Asher Elbein visited San Antonio’s botanicas to write “Spirited Away” (Page 22). “They’re great places for anyone fascinated by folk magic and mixtures of different religious beliefs,” he says. Elbein writes about folklore and natural history for The Texas Observer, New York Times, and Audubon, and is the author of the short story collection Ghost Days (Campanian…

3 min.
a familiar face

The Vintage photograph [“Spinach Salad Days,” May] is of my father, Domingo L. Palomo, a farm worker. He was born in 1904 in San Luís Potosí, Mexico, and moved with his family to Zavala County in 1920, crossing at Piedras Negras. The family initially settled in the Loma Vista area, south of Batesville, working for the Holdsworth family, but later moved to Crystal City. It was there that my father met my mother, Martina Lopéz. They married in May 1928 and had nine children (I am the youngest). He died in 1984. Growing up, we used to see this photo whenever we rifled through my mother’s picture box. I always wondered who had taken the photo, given that no one owned cameras in those times. Domingo never owned a truck…

3 min.

Located at the intersection of Interstate 10 and US 77, Schulenburg may be best known as a reliable stop for a kolache fix. But with its roots in German and Czech settlement, this little town offers outsized cultural attractions, including spectacular painted churches, the Texas Polka Music Museum, and the Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum. Schulenburg was incorporated as a railroad town in 1875, and the arrival of a Carnation Milk condensing plant put the town on the map in 1929. The plant still operates, now part of Dairy Farmers of America, and employs more than 200 people making dips and salsas. Mayor Elaine Kocian was raised 8 miles down the road in Weimar and moved to Schulenburg when she married in 1966. Along with her mayoral duties, Kocian relishes evening…

12 min.
let’s waltz, boys!

The fog is so thick that when I drive directly over the roadkill—the wheels of my Honda Civic eliciting a terrible crunch—my only solace comes from knowing it was already dead. This weather makes everything seem mystical, as though I were driving into County Cork, Ireland, and not West Texas. State Highway 71 from Horseshoe Bay to Brady winds leisurely, dotted with historic courthouses and Dollar Generals. The cows in the field plod along, steam rising from their backs. Extremely tall fences signal game reserves, and I imagine African kudu lurking in the cottonwoods. My big city compatriots spend almost no time on roads like these. Most people I know shuttle between Dallas and Houston and San Antonio on crowded, stressful interstates. To a woman raised in Abilene, that’s not real…