1) Barton Springs Pool
I went to Athens to check out Ray Price’s tour bus. Of course, Ray wasn’t in this particular bus, since it broke down long ago and now sits at the bottom of a 35-foot-deep, eight-acre reservoir at Athens Scuba Park, along with a triple-decker houseboat, a space capsule, a military transport jet, and dozens of other wrecks. Left on land, such machinery is junk. Sunk in a former clay quarry that closed more than half a century ago, such machinery is an adventure.
1. Due in part to a mandate that requires homeowners to renovate instead of rebuild, Galveston harbors the most spectacular collection of historic Victorian buildings in Texas. For a sampling, start at the Landes-McDonough House and stroll down Postoffice Street, keeping an eye out for plaques commemorating Great Storm survivors. Postoffice and Sixteenth
My recent canoe trip on the Colorado River at Columbus was so effortless it seemed more of a thought than an action. For one thing, right at the put-in sat Howell Canoe Livery, whose cheerful proprietor outfitted me with a pristine canoe, carried it down the hill, held it steady at the dock while I stepped in, and fetched me at nearby Beason’s Park when I was finished.
1. April in Texas means roadsides and pastures gloriously awash in bluebonnets—and no more so than in and around Brenham. Tool around for that perfect photo op, then pick up a few Lupinus texensis trinkets at the Texas Store, where you’ll find mugs, tea towels, jewelry, and silk ties bearing our official blossom. Can’t get enough? Head to nearby Chappell Hill for the annual Bluebonnet Festival (April 12 and 13, chappellhilltx.com).
The sights I saw on my drive to Government Canyon State Natural Area this winter pushed me to the brink of vandalism. The endless strip malls. The bulldozed hillsides. The dense housing developments named after the scenery they’d replaced.
1. Yes, Lee’s Sandwiches hails from California, but that just means it’s a spot where you can experience Melting Pot America in its myriad glory. Your order is called in Vietnamese and English; it’s a little like being in a train station in seventies Saigon. The baguettes and croissants are made on the premises, as are the Vietnam- ese sandwiches. The grilled pork is, at $2.50, a cheap ticket to heaven. 11210 Bellaire Blvd., Suite 113; 281-933-9988
Yes, the wildflowers of Llano County can be spectacular— sometimes. If the rains come in fall and spring. If the searing heat holds off until summer. If, when the blooms do appear, they aren’t crushed by zillions of kiddos and pups posing for photos.
At first blush, it’s almost impossible to tell the age of a resident of south Brewster County, and there are two good reasons for that. The first is the effect of the arid Big Bend environs, of the baking sun, beating winds, and unrelenting dust. Faces age faster in the desert, the skin browning and creasing and toughening up in ways that city and suburban dwellers don’t have to worry about. But the other reason for the difficulty in determining someone’s age out there cuts the other way.