Christmas in Georgetown!

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It’s that time of year when “The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas” gets a big dose of Christmas cheer. Walking down the busy Georgetown sidewalks surrounded by wonder and lights feels like stepping into a classic Christmas carol, and at the top of every hour, if you listen closely, you’ll even hear silver bells ringing in the distance.

Every building of the Square is dazzling with hundreds of lights, wreaths and bows, transforming it into a magical Christmas wonderland. In the center of it all, the Courthouse glows with red and green lights, as well as 5 Christmas trees. It’s the ideal family photo-op. While exploring the lawn, you’ll find that even Mr. Dan Moody’s statue has a scarf to help him feel festive!

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The canopies of trees over each walkway are wrapped with twinkling lights, and the sidewalks gleam in the light of old-fashioned street lamps donning Holiday wreaths. It’s like jumping straight into a Currier and Ives postcard — the only thing missing is a blanket of snow! (And as you know, we don’t get that much in Texas…)

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The window displays in each store are like something out of a storybook. You’ll find the wildly decorated Gumbo’s with cheetah-print wrapped columns and giant Nutcracker soldiers. Look in the windows of the restaurant to find extravagant Christmas trees with little gifts underneath!

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The window art at All Things Kids celebrates Georgetown’s new green energy initiative with the downtown Georgetown skyline painted in green. Each building even has it’s own little sign!

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The extravagant Christmas display in Diva’s windows are just a taste of what awaits inside. Every inch of the showroom has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland with ornaments and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and every color of Christmas tree decorating the store. Yule love their Christmas decor!

diva_1Pop by Pink Poppy, which is decked out in funky snowflakes and fabulous sparkly trees, to see the Christmas Pig riding his bike — he’s gotta get to the North Pole to help Santa with all those gifts!

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On your Christmas journey, you can grab some chocolate treats at Sweet Serendipity and see the Christmas Eve scene in their windows.  While you’re there, say “hello” to Three-Legged Willie who’s hanging out in front of the Williamson Museum.

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If you find yourself getting chilly on your stroll through the Square, stop at Cianfrani Coffee Company, a favorite local hangout, for a cup of hot cocoa or a toasty chai latte. At Mikey V’s Hot Sauce Shop, you can thaw out with taste bud-kickin’ hot sauces that’ll keep you nice and warm!

Georgetown is an amazing place to have holiday fun with your family this season. Catch a Christmas performance at the Palace Theater, admire the entries in the town’s Annual Gingerbread House Competition at the Georgetown Public Library, and have an Instagram-worthy photoshoot at the Visitor’s Center photo booth complete with Santa beards, Christmas hats and more!

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The magic of Christmas is waiting for you in Georgetown! Click here for the Upcoming Events in Georgetown like Breakfast with Santa, Historic Homes tours and more!

 

Texas Has 39 Grammy Nominations

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Y’all, here’s another reason why TEXAS IS THE BEST!  The 59th Annual Grammy nominations are out and we’ve got a ton of Texans reppin’ the Lone Star State out there in the music world. That’s right, 25 Texas born-or-based musicians have received a total of 39 Grammy nominations! Below is a list of your fellow Texans making us all proud.

Beyoncé (Houston)
Record Of The Year for Formation
Album Of The Year for Lemonade
Song Of The Year for Formation
Best Pop Solo Performance for Hold Up
Best Rock Performance for Don’t Hurt Yourself (featuring Jack White)
Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade
Best Rap/Sung Performance for Freedom
Best Music Video for Formation
Best Music Film for Lemonade

Tchad Blake (Baytown)
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Andrew Bird – Are You Serious

Edie Brickell (Dallas)
Best Musical Theater Album for Bright Star (with Steve Martin)

Leon Bridges (Fort Worth)
Best Music Video for River

Carol Burnett (San Antonio)
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) for In Such Good Company: Eleven Years Of Laughter, Mayhem, And Fun In The Sandbox

Kelly Clarkson (Burleson)
Best Pop Solo Performance for Piece By Piece (Idol Version)

Crowder (Texarkana)
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for American Prodigal

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein (Austin)
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Stranger Things Volume 1
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for Stranger Things Volume 2

Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds (Austin)
Best Recording Package for Sunset Motel by Reckless Kelly

Kirk Franklin (Fort Worth)
Best Gospel Performance/Song for God Provides (with Tamela Mann)
Best Gospel Album for Losing My Religion

Best Rap/Sung Performance for Ultralight Beam (with Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, & The-Dream)
Best Rap Song for Ultralight Beam (with Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, & The-Dream)

Sarah Jarosz (Wimberley)
Best American Roots Performance for House Of Mercy
Best Folk Album for Undercurrent

Kris Kristofferson (Brownsville)
Best Americana Album for The Cedar Creek Sessions

La Maquinaria Norteña (Dallas)
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) for Generación Maquinaria Est. 2006

Miranda Lambert (Lindale)
Best Country Solo Performance for Vice
Best Country Song for Vice (with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne)

Demi Lovato (Dallas)
Best Pop Vocal Album for Confident

Tamela Mann (Mansfield)
Best Gospel Performance/Song for God Provides (with Kirk Franklin)

Steve Martin (Waco)
Best Musical Theater Album for Bright Star (with Edie Brickell)

Shane McAnally
 (Mineral Wells)
Best Country Song for Vice (with Miranda Lambert and Josh Osborne)

Maren Morris (Arlington)
Best New Artist 
Best Country Solo Performance for My Church
Best Country Song for My Church
Best Country Album for Hero

Willie Nelson (Austin)
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

Pentatonix (Arlington)
Best Country Duo Group Performance for Jolene ( with Dolly Parton)

Andrew Savage (Dallas)
Best Recording Package for Parquet Courts – Human Performance 

Snarky Puppy (Denton)
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Culcha Vulcha

Solange (Houston)
Best R&B Performance for Cranes In The Sky

Christopher Theofanidis 
(Dallas)
Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Theofanidis: Bassoon Concerto

Catch the 59th Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2017 to watch as Texas TAKES IT ALL at the Grammy Awards!

15 Spectacular Christmas Festivals!

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It’s beginning to look alot like Christmas in Texas. Across the state, lights are twinkling in the trees, wreaths deck the front doors of every home and storefront, and you can find a Christmas tree on just about every corner. If you’re having trouble getting in the Christmas spirit, no problem! We’ve gathered 15 of the holliest and jolliest festivals and lights shows happening across the state, so you can experience as much Christmas Cheer this holiday season as possible!

Georgetown Christmas Stroll – Dec. 2-3

http://www.toddwhite.org

Picture by Todd White.

Head to the Georgetown Square to walk through a Winter Wonderland! During the free 36th Annual Christmas Stroll, the Square transforms into a magical place complete with a Who-Village where the Grinch waits to greet you and a Bethlehem Village where you can explore the town where Christ was born. On Saturday, there will be a Christmas Parade and Santa will be stopping by this weekend to hear all your Christmas wishes!

Main Street Bethlehem - Dec. 2-4, 9-11

Picture by John Hallowell.

Picture by John Hallowell.

The First Baptist Church of Burnet has recreated the holy night that Jesus was born at Main Street Bethlehem. More than just a live nativity scene, you will find yourself transported back to the streets of ancient Bethlehem as you find your way through crowds of peddlers and animals on the outskirts of town, and peruse through the bustling marketplace in the heart of the village. You’ll search for the inn, only to find it’s already full. Finally, you’ll find solace with Mary and Joseph in a cave surrounded by animals as Christ is born in a manger. The event is from 6-9 p.m. each night and admission is free, but donations are accepted.

Austin Trail of Lights – Dec. 10-23

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Picture by Dear Wesleyann Photography

Make your Holiday Season extra bright by walking through the 2 million lights strung across the 300+ acres of Zilker Park. Along a trail of 1.25 miles, you’ll find lights galore, gourmet food vendors, live performances and more! You can stop by Candy Cane Lane and the North Pole to say “hello” to Santa and take some epic selfies with the giant Zilker Tree! Find ticket information here.

Concho Christmas Celebration – Dec. 2-31

Picture by Don Treadwell Photography.

Picture by Don Treadwell Photography.

Along the banks of the Concho River in San Angelo you’ll find a 2.5 mile Tour of Lights with giant Christmas cards and Holiday scenes galore! The twinkling lights along the trail depict The Twelve Days of Christmas, a nativity scene, poinsettias and more at the Concho Christmas Celebration! Admission is free, but a donation of $5 per car is suggested.

Christmas in the Gardens – Nightly until Dec. 23

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Picture by the Amarillo Botanical Gardens.

In Amarillo  during the Christmas season, the Amarillo Botanical Gardens become a 4-acre dazzling display of twinkling lights and beautiful flowers and foliage as over 200,000 lights are strung across the garden. Stop by Christmas in the Gardens to watch the plant life glow. Admission is free, and donations are accepted. Each night, the festivities last from 6-8 p.m.

Rail of Lights – Thurs. – Sun. until Dec. 24

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Forget the Polar Express, this railroad in Jefferson is all you’ll be needing this Christmas! Hop aboard the 1964 Christmas Train steam engine where you’ll ride past a life-size nativity scene, the German Markets, a Teddy Bear tree, Jerusalem and so much more! Find more information and purchase your tickets here.

EmilyAnn Trail of Lights – Nightly until Dec. 29

Picture by Scot Brinkley

Picture by Scot Brinkley

Visit Wimberley for all the Christmas fun you could possibly imagine at the EmilyAnn Trail of Lights! Not only can you walk through 8-acres of lights and explore a musical garden, but you can visit Santa, hop on the Jingle Bell Express and even meet a few Disney Princesses! At the event, there will also be raffle prizes and all kinds of sweets and snacks. Admission is free, and donations are accepted.

Gift of Lights – Nightly until Dec. 30

Picture by Roderick Cordova Photography.
Picture by Roderick Cordova Photography.

Race on over to the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for lots of lights and tons of fun – and it benefits FIVE local charities! The Gift of Lights trail will lead you through archways of light and Christmas figurines, and you may even find yourself on the inner track of the largest Speedway in Texas! And while you’re there, stop by Santa’s Village to share a cup of hot cocoa with the big man in red, himself, and even see a few retired race cars! You can save $5 on tickets if you bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots. Find more information here.

Wonderland of Lights – Wed.-Sat. until Dec. 31

Picture by the Marshall News Messenger.

Picture by the Marshall News Messenger.

Visit Marshall, TX, where the heart of downtown is decked out from top to bottom in Christmas cheer and dazzling decorations at the Wonderland of Lights. Glide on the outdoor skating rink, decorate cookies, take photos with Santa in his workshop, and hop on the carousel, horse-drawn carriages or Wonderland Express for a truly festive view of the glowing Square.

Santa’s Wonderland – Daily until Jan. 1

Picture by Santaland.

Picture by Santa’s Wonderland

In College Station, you can wander through an entire village of Christmas fun and Holiday festivities! Take a carriage ride through archways of dazzling light, cozy up by a crackling fire, climb to the top of West Pole Mountain Adventure to slide down the Texas-sized slide or visit with Santa. To make the whole experience even more magical, it snows every night at Santa’s Wonderland. 

Prairie Lights – Nightly until Jan. 1

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Take an enchanted journey through 4 million lights in Grand Prairie at the Prairie Lights. You’ll enjoy driving through archways of dancing lights and seeing fun Christmas scenes from the comfort of your warm car. Halfway through, you can stop by the Holiday Village for hot chocolate, fun with Santa, a Magical Forest and more!

SantaLand - Nightly until Jan. 4

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When Santa’s not at the North Pole prepping for Christmas, he likes to spend time in Tyler, and he’d love for YOU to visit him! This 24-acre park is filled with Christmas Cheer from giant dancing trees and marshmallow monsters to tractor trailer rides and Christmas Tree Lane. And until Dec. 24, you can visit old Kris Kringle at Santa’s Igloo! Click here for ticket information.

Magic of Christmas Light Show - Daily until Jan. 8

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Pictures by the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau.

If you’re looking for the Christmas Spirit, look no further than Grapevine, the “Christmas Capital of Texas.” Each night, as you’re exploring Main Street, which is decked out in Holiday lights and decorations, be sure to catch the Magic of Christmas Light Show that plays continuously from 6-11 p.m. This town is as packed with seasonal festivities as Santa’s bag is filled with toys on Christmas Eve. Check out our Holiday fun in Grapevine here.

Magical Winter Lights – Daily until Jan. 8

Picture by Magical Winter Lights.

Picture by Magical Winter Lights.

Modeled after Chinese Lantern Festivals that date back to about 2,000 years ago, this festival in La Marque is sure to be like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. The park is divided into different sections, but no matter where you start, you’re sure to be amazed. Walk through giant Dinosaurs, furnished castles, Christmas trees and even landmarks of the world — all formed out of multicolored, glowing lanterns. At the festival, you’ll also find an epic carnival and cultural performances.

Holiday Lights on the River Walk – Nightly until Jan. 16

Picture by J. Michael Short and the Paseo del Rio Association.

Picture by J. Michael Short and the Paseo del Rio Association.

Visit the San Antonio River Walk during the Holidays to see the river dressed up for Christmas. Not only are hundreds of lights strung along the historic architecture of the river walk, but as you wander up and down the water, you’ll find all sorts of Christmas festivities, from Holiday Boat Caroling to traditional Mexican Christmas luminary lanterns strung along the water. Click here for coupons that you can use along the River Walk provided by Rio Magazine. Find the complete schedule of activities here.

Spring 2017 Intern Wanted

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Ever wanted to work for the strangest travel show in Texas? Looking to gain experience in production, editing, marketing, journalism, and being on set of a TV show?  Well then listen up!

We are currently looking for our next intern for the SPRING OF 2017.  Here is the criteria:

  • Must be currently enrolled in college and seeking credit for the internship
  • Must show interest in aspects of television production (filming, editing, writing, marketing, etc.)
  • Knowledge and/or experience with non-linear editing preferred (Premiere, Avid, FCPX)
  • Must be available to work for 15-20 hours/week at our offices in Georgetown, TX

This is a PAID internship at $8/hour.  If you are attending one the following schools, apply through the links below. All others, please send your resume to tosha (at) hogaboomroad.com.

University of Texas - https://moody-utexas-csm.symplicity.com/
Austin Community College - http://sites.austincc.edu/jobs/
Southwestern University - https://southwestern-csm.symplicity.com/

Keep on Trippin’

Dia de Rudy’s: DFW Recap

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It was one crazy weekend in DFW as we attempted the greatest challenge of all: eating at ALL 5 Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q locations across the Metroplex! We enjoyed fun, games and (of course) TONS of BBQ from Rudy’s, but it was YOU that made this event possible and awesome!

We started the day bright and early at the Arlington location with a 9 a.m. breakfast of bacon, brisket, egg and cheese tacos!

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For brunch, we were dying to have some of Rudy’s moist brisket…that always hits the spot on a day out trippin’!

Stop two #diaderudys @rudysbbq Fort Worth. A little brisket brunch A photo posted by Chet Garner (@chettripper) on

At the Denton location, we were starting to feel the pains of our barbecue-induced coma, but we’d come too far to turn back. So we stuffed our faces and journeyed on.

A photo posted by Chet Garner (@chettripper) on

Throughout the day, we had an amazing turnout at all five locations, and YOU took epic pictures and tagged them with #diaderudys, so here’s a few of our faves!

 

  A photo posted by Linsey T. (@linseylouu) on

Great to meet you, Jason C.

Great to meet you, Jason C.

  A photo posted by AJ Lomas (@lomasaj) on

Hat swap? Vaya con dios! #diaderudys #rudysbarbq #thedaytripper #chetgarner #dfw #hatswap A photo posted by Lauren (@laurenmann33) on

  A photo posted by Zachary Mann (@deca_zachmann) on

The Frisco Rudy’s location gave us an awesomely artsy welcome!

A photo posted by Linsey T. (@linseylouu) on

And though we truly enjoyed our second lunch of peppered tenderloin…we were having a really hard time hiding our fullness!

  Stop 4 of #diaderudys @rudysbbq in Frisco called for peppered tenderloin. This is the way it should be cooked.   A photo posted by Chet Garner (@chettripper) on    

rudys-food_new Before we knew it, we were at our last stop at the Rudy’s in Allen. They spoiled us with THREE desserts: “Nanner Puddin,” Chocolate Pudding and Peach Cobbler! So we ate as much as we could into the remaining room in our stomachs and ended our day on a sweet note!

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Stop 5 of #diaderudys @rudysbbq Allen. Squeezing “Nanner Puddin” into any open crevice I can find. A photo posted by Chet Garner (@chettripper) on

However, after 5 meals of barbecue, we had to surrender ourselves to the meat coma taking over. But just because we were full doesn’t mean the party was over.

In addition to the awesome Rudy’s swag that we gave folks who won our Bingo challenge and the $50 Rudy’s gift cards we gave to everyone who made it to all five locations, we also gave out a BIG Grand Prize at the end of the day. Using the playing cards folks collected at each location, we played a game of 5-card stud for a $250 Rudy’s gift card. Congratulations to our winner Ramiro, who won with three of a kind (all aces)!

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Shout out to the 21 folks that were brave — and hungry — enough to make it to ALL FIVE LOCATIONS. It was a meaty job, but someone had to do it, and we’re glad we had so many awesome folks join us! 

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What a day! We had a blast and can’t wait to do it again! Thank you so much for coming out to say “hello” and thanks to Rudy’s for making it possible!

Check out our recap from the Dia de Rudy’s in Houston here

TWO Ultimate Fall Color Road Trips

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It’s fall and you’ve been seeing pictures of wondrous places all around the country with fiery orange and candy-apple red leaves blanketing the tops of the trees. You’re probably feeling discouraged as you look at the green leaves or bare trees around you — thinking that your dear ol’ Lone Star State doesn’t have colorful fall foliage. You may even be planning a trip to New England for a little fall beauty.

However, Texas does, in fact, have some of the most picturesque fall foliage in the country if you know where to look. So here’s TWO Ultimate Fall Color Road Trips (one in the Hill Country and one in East Texas) to give you all the brightly colored leaves and fall foliage fun your heart desires!

Here’s a little tip before you get started: Fall is a fickle creature. In Texas, fall foliage usually hits peak around the middle of November to the beginning of December, but even so, when fall color starts showing and how much there is depends on the yearly rainfall, as well as other factors. So to make sure you’ll get peak red and orange beauty, call ahead to the parks you’re interested in or check their website to see what the color is like.

Hill Country Trip

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Autumn beauty along the Frio River in Concan, TX. (Hill Country River Region/ visituvalde.com)

hill-country-route Route: Vanderpool, TX to Concan, TX 

Destinations: On this trip, you’ll be trippin’ through some of the tallest peaks of the Hill Country.  Your trip starts in the Lost Maples State Natural Area, one of the most beautiful spots to see fall color in the entire state. For the best view of the fall foliage, take the Maple Trail. Surrounded by fiery red and bright orange Uvalde bigtooth maples, you’ll feel like you’re in New England. Next, you’ll drive into Utopia to dine at Lost Maples Cafe, which was featured in the movie “Seven Days in Utopia,” and serves each plate of breakfast with a mason jar of fresh salsa. Be sure to take a slice of freshly baked pie to go.

You’ll take Ranch Road 1050 out of town for a scenic drive over the serene Sabinal River and through the fall-colored trees covering the surrounding hills, until you reach Garner State Park. At the park, you’ll see beautiful red Bald cypress trees tower over the crystal waters of the Frio River. For a peek at Old Baldy without paying to enter the park, head to Magers River Crossing (one of the best kept Hill Country secrets) where the Frio trickles over County Road 350, a canopy of colorful trees provides shade and the majestic mountain is in full view in the distance. Find the full map here and the Lost Maples Foliage Report here.

And here’s a trip tip: If the fall beauty is too breathtaking to enjoy for just a day, make reservations to stay the night at the River Rim Resort in Concan. Just miles away from Garner State Park and Magers River Crossing, this resort provides amazing cabins, cottages and lodges with access to the stunning Frio River.

East Texas Trip

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Fall Color along the trails in Tyler State Park.

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Route: Daingerfield, TX to Jacksonville, TX

Destinations: Take a journey through East Texas for fall color mixed with the deep green towering pines in this area. Starting at Daingerfield State Park, hike the Rustling Leaves Nature Trail to see the oak, maple and sweetgum trees reflecting in Lake Daingerfield like a gold and red watercolor painting. Next, you’re on to Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, which is also an East Texas trove of fall foliage as patches of red and orange pop up in the greenery around the lake.

Take Highway 37 for a scenic drive through part of the Autumn Trails of Winnsboro, TX, where they’ve been hosting a fall foliage festival since 1958. Next you’re on to see trails surrounded by reds, golds and oranges in Tyler State Park and the famous Tyler roses at the Tyler Rose Garden Center.  If your stomach’s growling, stop by Coyote Sam’s Bar and Grille in Tyler for a Kobe burger so mouthwatering, it made Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Burgers List. Your last stop is at Love’s Lookout in Jacksonville, which — though small — provides a stunning bird’s eye view of the East Texas countryside. Find the full map here

Here’s another tip: If you’re yearning to see even more fall beauty, continue on through Rusk, TX and then to Mission Tejas State Park in Grapeland, for just a bit more foliage combined with Texas history.

For more road trips, CLICK HERE.

“Dia de Rudy’s” in DFW, Nov. 12

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Okay, Dallas/Fort Worth it’s your turn for a day of barbecue! We had tons of fun at the Dia de Rudy’s in Houston and now we can’t wait to party WITH YOU!!! We’ll be making our way through all FIVE Rudy’s locations in the Metroplex on November 12! It’s a meaty job, but someone’s gotta do it and we’d love for you to join us! We’ll start with a barbecue breakfast at the Arlington, TX location and end our meaty journey through town at the Allen, TX location. If you can’t make it through all of them, join us at one or more — but just so you know, there will be awesome PRIZES for anyone who makes it to all 5!

TIMES AND RUDY’S LOCATIONS

9:00 a.m. —  Arlington, TX location (451 Interstate 20) How about some barbecue breakfast tacos to start off the day?

10:30 a.m. — Fort Worth, TX location (6800 N Freeway Service Road E) Who doesn’t love a brunch of pecan pie and jalapeno sausage?

11:45 a.m. — Denton, TX location (520 I-35 Frontage Rd.) Time for a lunch of brisket by the pound!

1:15 p.m. — Frisco, TX location (9828 Dallas Pkwy.) Oh boy! An afternoon snack of ribs and pulled pork!

2:30 p.m. – Allen, TX location (1790 N Central Expy) To end the day, how about an early dinner of prime rib?

Of course, eating TONS of BBQ in one day will be awesome, but the fun doesn’t stop there! At each location, we will be handing out a playing card and at the end of the day, all card-holders will play a game of 5-card stud for the chance to win a $250 Rudy’s gift card.

Throughout the day, participants will be given a BINGO card to play on for an all-day contest. Winners will receive awesome Rudy’s swag.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Each participant that completes the challenge of eating at all 5 locations on November 12 will win a $50 gift card to Rudy’s!

Click here to see our Facebook Events Page! 

So join us for a day of fantastic BBQ, fun games and sweet prizes!

Indescribably Uvalde

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Since Chet and I have started writing a Hill Country travel book, I’ve traveled to a ton of cities across the area (from Belton to Gruene, and beyond!) I fancied myself an expert on all things Hill Country, and when I headed to Uvalde I thought I knew exactly what I’d find.

But upon my arrival in Uvalde, I instantly understood why the town’s motto is “a whole other Hill Country” — it was like I had entered a different world. It was larger than I’d thought it’d be, flatter than the tremendously hilly areas around and I even saw a few palm trees… Yet that’s not all that made it unique. You can’t compare this town to the other cities in the Hill Country, but to be fair, you can’t quite compare it to any other Texas town, either. Uvalde is filled with an interest and intrigue unlike any other city.

After learning about the town’s history at the museum in the El Progreso Memorial Library, I stopped by the First State Bank of Uvalde, the town’s understated crown jewel. Decorating the walls of this bank is the incredible art and antique collection of Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe and his wife, Janey. I was shocked to find priceless pieces from around the world like two original Rembrandt etchings from the 1600s and a gold-encrusted mirror that belonged to the 4th Earl of Sandwich just inconspicuously hanging on the walls of this little bank!

My lunch was equally surprising. Before arriving, I had learned that Live Oak Gorditas was the local foodie spot. There’s a long list of celebrities who have visited, and every single person I spoke to in town pointed me there for lunch. I was pumped to go — even though I had no idea what a gordita was.

gordita-stand

I must admit, my confidence in it was shaken when I arrived at the little wooden shack. Yet, I uneasily opened the door and stepped into the screened-in dining room. My apprehension didn’t lessen as I stepped up to the menu and saw that it didn’t provide anymore clues as to what a gordita was, and that only meats were listed. Of course, I chose brisket.

gordita

I took my homemade meat pie to the Square and bravely took a bite. What followed can only be described as an angelic symphony of separately exquisite flavors (marinated, moist brisket, homemade guacamole and fresh, spicy jalapenos) melding into the best thing to have ever passed through my lips. I quickly devoured the wondrous gordita and instantly regretted that I’d only ordered one.

A photo posted by Linsey T. (@linseylouu) on

Nearby I admired the powder blue Janey Slaughter Briscoe Opera House that was built in 1891, and even peeked in the windows to see if I could spot a Phantom lurking in the shadows. No such luck.

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The rest of my day was spent learning about the Briscoe’s and Vice President John “Cactus Jack” Garner at the Briscoe-Garner Museum in Cactus Jack’s old home. It showcased relics like Briscoe’s high school diploma, Mrs. Garner’s dress from Inauguration Day in 1933 and even Cactus Jack’s old gavels from his days as Speaker of the House in the 1930s. And look, John Garner was also known for wearing a Stetson, just like another Garner we all know….

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I walked through memorabilia of WWII flights at the Aviation Museum of Texas At Garner Field. In the back of the museum, I stumbled upon the moon boot prints of astronaut Charles Conrad of Apollo 12, third man to walk on the moon. I couldn’t believe that the prints made by the boots Conrad actually wore on the moon were in this little museum in Uvalde!

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To end the day, I ate at Vasquez Restaurant, which is as unique as the city, itself.  It’s opened so sporadically that even the locals don’t know the actual hours - but they always seem to know when to show up for homemade Tex-Mex – and the walls are plastered with pictures of owner Enrique’s celeb customers (next to my booth was a picture of famous Uvalde native Matthew Mcconaughey’s shirtless father holding a fish.)

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As soon as I sat down, the eclectic owner Enrique immediately introduced himself to me. While I silently enjoyed my taco dinner complete with homemade white corn tortillas and chips with fresh salsa, Enrique pulled up a chair and told me his life story speckled with tall tales of a young man rising the ranks in the army despite being illiterate and his long quest around the world in search of the perfect snow cone machine.

And, oddly enough, it was the perfect ending to my crazy, extraordinary and, at times, random day in Uvalde! Though it’s quite different from the towns that surround it, it’s full of significant history, fantastic homemade food and some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet! It’s hard to explain what makes this town so extraordinary, but once you visit, you’ll instantly know why this town is so indescribably fascinating!

Podcast 36 – “Talkin’ Texas November 2016″

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Join us this month as we talk about chasing Fall color in Texas, a day for everything, Gators in Texas and tiny houses. There’s a ton going on in Texas and with The Daytripper so tune in to get caught up!

We love your questions or feedback on the show…so if you have comments or questions you’d like us to address or topics you’d like us to feature, email us at: podcast@thedaytripper.com.

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