If you’re looking for an easy way to recharge, check out Getaway, a glamping retreat that combines tiny cabins with the detoxifying wonder of rustic isolation. Known for their black cabins with large windows that peer into the woods, the thirteen Getaway outposts across the country are all within a few hours’ drive of major cities. I stayed at the Wimberley location, about an hour from Austin and San Antonio. The company warns guests to expect spotty cell service, but my connection was just fine. I decided to embrace the unplugged experience anyway, and eagerly placed my phone in my cabin’s wooden lockbox. Despite fears of cellphone withdrawal, I surprisingly wasn’t bored one bit. Each cabin comes stocked with books, a radio, playing cards, and games for passing the time, not to mention a kitchen, bathroom, and an outdoor firepit with seating. Lying in bed beside my jumbo-sized window, I spent my days watching cardinals chase one another and tree branches swaying in the wind before I closed my eyes to meditate. I also enjoyed one of the short walking trails. After a couple of days in my cabin, I departed with the realization that I don’t have a phone addiction, I need to spend more time in nature, and I’m more than capable of starting a campfire (no flora or fauna were harmed, praise be).
—Michelle Williams, editorial director, texasmonthly.com
Listen to Freaky Little Monster Children by the Living Pins
Begin with the riff, and the song will follow. If you’re lucky—or just really good—a vibe will come too. Freaky Little Monster Children, a sneaky little psychedelic-rock EP by the Austin band the Living Pins, has plenty of riffs and vibe. Band members Carrie Clark and Pam Peltz both have infinite Austin slacker cred—Clark from singing and playing with nineties noise-pop band Sixteen Deluxe, Peltz from doing the same in various groups and producing songs on one of Daniel Johnston’s early recordings. The pair started the Pins in 1996, while both were working at an Austin food co-op; it’s somehow fitting that they made their first record 25 years later during a pandemic in an empty artist’s warehouse. Freaky Little Monster Children is part Breeders, part Stones, part early Pink Floyd. Producer Jeff Copas (from Sixteen Deluxe) puts a drum machine under the guitars, so there are no jams or solos, just lo-fi attitude and a worship of the arcane. While I love the riffing, maybe my favorite thing is that Clark and Peltz sound like sisters when they sing.
—Michael Hall, executive editor
Travel across Texas with @MyCurlyAdventures
Though I’ve been cooped up inside for the better part of a year, my TikTok “For You” page didn’t seem to get the memo, showing me video after video of scenic European countrysides or tropical beaches. In no small part due to the #TravelTikTok tag, my wanderlust is stronger than ever, especially as summer gets closer. Though I won’t be traipsing around the Swiss Alps or exploring sea caves in Italy, blogger Jessica Serna’s videos have given me an endless amount of travel inspiration—and the best part is, I don’t even have to leave Texas.
On her My Curly Adventures account, Dallas native Serna shares recommendations for day trips across the state, from a castle near Houston to fairy gardens in Palestine. She began posting in 2017, after she returned to the U.S. from a five-month stay in Spain. There, Serna had traveled to a new place every weekend; not wanting to give that up, she set out to discover unexpected destinations in her home state. “Texas has so many international influences, so you can practically travel the world without leaving Texas,” reads text in one video.
Serna’s blog serves as a refreshing reminder of just how much our state has to offer, and her directory truly has something for everyone, with a variety of locations and affordable trips. She even wrote a guide to fifty trips in Texas for under $50 each. If you’re looking to plan a close-to-home, COVID-safe vacation—or just want to vicariously visit a multitude of diverse and beautiful spots—be sure to consult My Curly Adventures.
—Morgan Pryor, editorial intern
Enjoy some homegrown tomatoes
The late, great Guy Clark had more than his fair share of homespun wisdom, but his most inarguable truth may have been this, from his 1981 song “Homegrown Tomatoes”:
What’d life be without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes
I share Clark’s enthusiasm for homegrown tomatoes. Commercially grown ’maters, even the organic ones, tend to be bland, mealy, and watery. And most grocery stores offer only a few kinds, even though dozens or even hundreds of varieties are available through seed catalogs and quality local nurseries. (One of my favorite gardening rituals is flipping through the Totally Tomatoes catalog in winter and picking out new varieties to start from seed under grow lights in January.) Homegrown tomatoes taste better, look better, and are a lot more fun than their store-bought cousins. Two of my favorites this (and every) season are Berkeley Tie-Dye, a colorful flavor riot that is as handsome as it is tasty, and the ultra-classic Sungold cherry tomato, which is best eaten right off the vine as a sugary, tangy snack. Right now, enterprising gardeners in much of Texas are starting to pluck the fruits of their early-spring labor.
If you lack the space or the green thumb for a garden, don’t fret: there are other ways to get your hands on America’s favorite nightshade. Many gardeners have more produce at times than they can eat. In late spring and early summer, I happily hand out tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies to friends, families, and neighbors. I bet there’s someone in your life who would barter, or give away, surplus tomatoes. Farmers’ markets are also brimming with produce. Technically not “homegrown,” organic tomatoes grown by Texas farmers are a close second. Nothing beats shopping for your veggies in person and perhaps making a personal connection with a grower. Community Supported Agriculture groups are a good option if you prefer to have your veggies delivered to your door. And it’s never too early to plan for next season. Those with apartments may be able to take advantage of a sunny patio or porch or find space in a community garden to start a plot. I’ll give Clark the last word:
If I’s to change this life I lead
Well, I’d be Johnny Tomatoseed
’Cause I know what this country needs
It’s homegrown tomatoes in every yard you see.
—Forrest Wilder, senior editor