Thu November 14, 2013 2:09 pm By Jordan Breal

It’s officially leaf-peeping season. Thanks to the biological wonder that is chlorophyll degredation, the Texas landscape is aflame with color. Since these autumnal displays are nature’s warning that it’s about to get real cold (“cold” being a relative term here in Texas), now’s the time to go exploring.

Lost Maples State Natural Area, near Vanderpool, and Guadalupe Mountains National Park, in far West Texas, are two of the season’s star destinations, but don’t overlook the Panhandle’s cottonwoods (Caprock Canyon State Park’s a good spot) or East Texas’s oaks and sweetgums (try Athens’ 55-mile fall foliage driving trail or Daingerfield State Park).

Here, a few good-looking Instagram photos from around the state to inspire your next Texas road trip.

Martin Dies Jr. State Park, in Jasper:

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Fri July 19, 2013 3:03 pm By Jordan Breal



Hey. I’m heading to Austin at the end of July and—having worked at Philadelphia magazine for a few years—I figured reaching out to you would be the best way to figure out what to do.

A few college friends and I will be visiting a buddy and his wife for a long weekend (most of us get in Thursday morning). Is there a cultural/historical/enriching event/museum/experience that we shouldn’t miss?

Note: We’ll be staying in South Congress and, considering that we’re millennials, antiquing feels fiscally irresponsible/unappealing. Also, I wouldn’t hate it if you recommended a hip date spot that won’t feel like a total cliché.

Jeez. I know that’s a lot. Sorry for the lack of brevity.

A Fan From Philly

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Fri April 5, 2013 12:07 pm By Jordan Breal

From the bustling cities to the Piney Woods and West Texas deserts, no state has as much to offer travelers as Texas. I keep an ever-growing Texas To-Do list; here’s one of my many entries.

Last May, cranes lifted a 480-ton theater out of the San Marcos River. It was the last remnant of the Aquarena Springs theme park, a fifties-era tourist attraction that famously featured underwater shows starring the Aquamaids, a mascot named Glurpo the Clown, and Ralph the swimming pig. In the early nineties, it was purchased by Southwest Texas State University (which we now know as Texas State University) and the submarine theater and the theme park, which had been struggling to lure in the hundreds of thousands of visitors that it once did, was shuttered. Sadly, watching the Aquamaids in their mermaid tails swim in perfect synchronicity is an item that will be never be crossed off of my Texas To-Do List. (I can still, however, buy my own copy of “Aquarena and Ralph,” a documentary of the diving pig, for $19.95.)

But luckily, the university has preserved one of the theme park’s best attractions: the glass-bottom boat rides, which give visitors the chance to peer into the crystal-clear waters to see the spring-fed world below. In addition to the thousands of springs themselves, which burble up from the sandy lake bottom, you can keep your eyes peeled for the eight endangered species that live here, like the Texas blind salamander and the fountain darter, or one of the volunteer divers who helps tend this underwater garden.

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Thu April 4, 2013 2:25 pm By Jordan Breal

Last week, I asked for a little help answering a California reader’s query about where in Texas he and his family should relocate. I was very happy to read all of your thoughtful comments, as well as the responses on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps unsurprisingly, towns in Texas’s bucolic Hill Country garnered the most votes. Read on for a full list of all the towns that received votes and a few of my favorite responses.

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Thu March 21, 2013 7:35 pm By Jordan Breal

Dear Readers: I need your help answering an email I recently received (below). What’s the best Texas town with fine dining, a good wine store, and high-end shopping all within a 60 mile drive? Let me know in the comments!

Jordan –

My wife and I have a desire to leave beautiful Southern California and relocate to Texas. We have a gorgeous home within walking distance to the beautiful beaches of SoCal but we feel like it’s time to consider a new lifestyle. So, since your column embodies the blessed lives we two have lived, I figured I’d ask you this question: Where do we want to live in Texas? Our choice is not driven by job opportunities, just quality of life and beautiful surroundings.  It could be acreage, it could be just a couple of acres and a nice home. It could be a golf community—as long as it’s not too elite (we did that here and it wore us out, too much drama)—it could be on water, it could be rolling hills and scenic views. All we need is fine dining, a good wine store, and higher-end shopping within a range of one hour. So, tell us, where do we go? We are dead serious. Ultimately, I’m guessing there will be a total of ten or more family members that end up coming along. Oddly, we have two ties to Texas: One is our daughter, who is going to Abilene Christian (no, we do not want to move to Abilene, though I will take a Joe Allen steak occasionally). Plus, we have a nephew who flies jets out of Del Rio for the Air Force (and no, we don’t want to go to Del Rio). Help us out, Jordan. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Soon-To-Be Former Californians


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