Posted on August 21st, 2011

In Austin, the words “College Station” and “Aggie” are often the punchline of a joke. But that’s not entirely fair. Not all Texas A&M students look for the “11” on the keypad when calling 911. Haha.

Anyway, the Bryan-College Station area is far from a cultural vacuum; in fact, it’s brimming with impressive museum facilities, historical attractions, and even (gulp) tasty eateries.
Speaking of culture, one of College Station’s biggest claims to fame is the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The easily navigable and impressively interactive facility includes a section of the Berlin Wall, a replica of the White House situation room, and an Oval Office exhibit that allows visitors to sit in the “seat of power” and have their photo taken behind the president’s desk. Fun fact: now that Bush and his wife Barbara have an apartment on the museum grounds, they make occasional “surprise appearances,” shaking hands, signing autographs, and interacting with visitors.

Befitting of the Agriculture referenced in A&M, locals in this region of cattle country take their burgers very seriously. And they don’t get much better than the hearty hunk of meat served at Chicken Oil Co.Despite the name (a reference to a former service station), this restaurant offers top-notch beef in a down-home atmosphere.

Posted on July 15th, 2011

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve documented my Texas Rhodes Trips. Now that I'm back in the saddle, I’m just going to pick up where I left off.

My favorite city in Texas (besides Austin) is Fort Worth. Since its population of circa 750,000 is similar to Austin's, it shares a comfortably sized city vibe and easy accessibility. There’s something very appealing about being able to get anywhere in 15 minutes and mastering the road system within a day.

But unlike most small cities, Fort Worth offers a distinctive mix of cattle, cowboys, and culture.
I can’t think of anywhere else where you can marvel at a Matisse then walk across the street to revel in a rodeo. Toss in some amazing Tex-Mex and a trip to the ballpark or botanical gardens, and you’ll be yodeling Cowtown’s praises across the plains.

Posted on October 27th, 2010

Things got a bit wild at my recent book signing at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center's Fall Plant Festival. Actually, that's not true at all. But it certainly was an entertaining experience and a good way to mingle with readers while promoting my book.

While whiling away some time at the Wildflower Center, I was reminded about the site's genuine natural appeal. Although it springs to life primarily from March--May, I found that autumn offered a nice change of scenery, in a subdued yet welcoming way. This season, the Center has been educating people about native fall plants with distinctive aromas, including local varieties such as chocolate daisies, daturas, and shrubby bonesets. It's worth making a trip to the Wildflower Center just to get a whiff!

Posted on September 28th, 2010

I made a quick road trip to Dallas this summer to meet Phil Collins. S-s-seriously. I was invited to attend a Dallas Historical Society event at the Hall of State, where Collins discussed the Genesis of his Alamo artifact collection.

As improbable as it may sound, Collins has amassed a vast number of historical documents and objects related to the iconic Battle of the Alamo. Since shifting his primary focus away from music several years ago (due to family responsibilities and physical ailments), Collins has devoted much of his time to pursuing his passion for the Alamo, a topic of fascination since childhood.

To find out how he's been remembering the Alamo lately and about his insightful discussion in Dallas, read the article I wrote in the current issue of The Medallion.

Posted on March 10th, 2010

I recently spent several days researching heritage travel destinations in Far West Texas, my favorite region of the state. Here's a sampling of locales captured on my iPhone.

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