Spring Break ESCAPES FAMILY-FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS
ON THE COVER: BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK is a land of beautiful desert, river and mountain landscapes alongside the unique communities of Marathon, Lajitas, Study Butte and Terlingua. www.VisitBigBend.com 35
Spring Break ESCAPES Lake Hamilton, Ark. Photo by Brandrush/Wikipedia
COMPILED BY BARBARA KUNTZ
pring Break means the children are out of school for a week, and you are ready to take time off, too, from the hustle and bustle of busy days and work. Where to go and what to do? Let us take you on an adventure of ideas a little bit off the beaten path. Think of sugar-white sand beaches in Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. Or consider the natural beauty of lakes, mountains and hot springs in Arkansas. Perhaps a Texas Hill Country dude ranch to experience the cowboy — or cowgirl — way of life? And Big Bend National Park is right in our backyard. Whatever destination you select, and whether you head to the airport or hop in the car for an old-fashioned road trip, you’ll find fun times await at your chosen escape.
ALABAMA While the state of Alabama and alumni nationwide are still celebrating another NCAA football championship (congrats!), you’ll find even more to enjoy here than the “Crimson Tide” pride. You’ll become a fan, too, of this beautiful getaway, and even make it your second “Sweet Home” for year-round stays. www.alabama.travel
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach A beach vacation on the Alabama Gulf Coast is a family affair, with Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offering activities for all 36 house& home | February 2018 | www.houstonhouseandhome.net
ages. Children build sandcastles and teen-agers hone their skim board skills. Parents can watch or join in the fun with volleyball, parasailing and much more. Introduce your family to the wetand-wild action of charter fishing off Orange Beach, home to the country’s largest artificial reef program. www.gulfshores.com
ARKANSAS You’re entering a world of enchantment when you pass through Texarkana, a city that straddles the Lone Star State and Arkansas, “The Natural State.” Arkansas is famous for its scenic wonders, with clear lakes, rivers and streams; mountains and caves; abundant wildlife; and of course, its hot springs. www.arkansas.com
Hot Springs Ahh. In Hot Springs Natural Park in the Ouachita Mountains, take in the relaxing and top-spa getaways in the country — and of, course, the therapeutic waters. According to a recent report by Time magazine, saunas, even of the outdoor type, are “ridiculously” good for you. In town, the art scene is amazing, as the city is home to glass blowers, leather craftsmen, jewelers and woodworkers. Gifts to the hears include the Hot Springs Music Festival, a premier performing and teaching classical music event set this year June 3-16; Hot Springs Jazz Festival; and Spa City Blues Festival. And check out the Arkansas Derby, which finalizes “The Racing Festival of the South.” www.hotsprings.org
Lake Hamilton Ringed by condominiums, resorts, motels and restaurants, the 7,460-acre Lake Hamilton impoundment is one of Arkansas' most popular recreational lakes. And all aboard the “Belle of Hot Springs,” a 400-passenger riverboat that offers sightseeing, lunch, dinner and dance cruises on the lake. www.arkansas.com
Lake Ouachita Named one of the cleanest manmade lakes in America, 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita is a water sports mecca for swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating and fishing. Rent a fully equipped cabin along the lake's 975 miles of shoreline — and stay a while. www.arkansas.com
You’ll find Scenic Highway 30-A the path to an ideal Spring Break vacation. Hugging the Gulf of Mexico, this breathtaking drive includes white sand beaches and a mix of eclectic beach communities dotted like pearls along the northwestern coastline. Miles of greenway trails connect state parks, preserves and residential areas along this byway. The Coastal Dunes Lakes of South Walton intrigue with 15 unique geographical features found only in Walton County and in Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand and Oregon. www.visitflorida.com
Destin Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Scenic Highway 23 includes a stop at this USDA-licensed and GFAS-verified refuge, just a short seven miles from the historic tourist town of Eureka Springs. The lions, tigers, cougars, bears, monkey, coati, ligers, tiliger and servals are located in natural habitats where visitors can view and learn more about these magnificent creatures — all in the setting of the Ozark Mountains. www.turpentinecreek.org
Destin is the place to go for great catches year-round and has earned the reputation as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” Where there is great fishing, you’ll find great seafood restaurants. Golf enthusiasts at all skill levels love this paradise at eight championship courses. Or just soak up the sun, walk on the beach…and bring a bucket and shovel along for the children — or you — for play in the sand. www.visitflorida.com
HistoricTyler on Tour 2018
6 Distinctive Historic Homes 1908-1959
Candlelight Tour & Party March 23, 2018 Visit our website for details
Home Tours: March 24-25 Saturday 10 am – 5 pm • Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm Members $15 • Non Members $20
903-595-1960 • www.historictyler.org
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Offering a wide variety of fine art at reasonable prices 113 W. Alamo St., Brenham, Tx. 979-836-1622 Mon. - Sat. : 10am to 5pm • Sun.: 12pm to 4pm
Visit Chappell Hill
“Official State of Texas” 2018 Bluebonnet Festival Saturday 9AM-6PM Sunday 10AM-5PM www.chappellhillhistoricalsociety.com
April 14 & 15, 2018
“Into the raging storm: Texas, Washington County, and the Great War"
May 12 - Nov. 11, 2018
Historical Society Museum
Located at 9220 Poplar Street, Chappell Hill, TX
Free admission and seasonal exhibits Wednesday - Saturday 10AM - 4PM, Sunday 1 - 4 PM www.facebook.com/ ChappellHillMuseum for udpates
Historic Group Tours Tour Chappell Hill's historic district and see the Historical Society Museum, mercantile buildings, and two historic churches. Flexible scheduling available for group sizes 8 - 40 people. Call 979-836-6033 for more information.
Hot Springs Music Festival Season 23 June 3-16, 2018 Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas Featuring the music of John Williams, Gustav Holst, and Gustav Mahler Open rehearsals, nightly concerts, performers from around the world www.hotmusic.org
Pensacola Located in Florida’s Panhandle, Pensacola beckons with white sand beaches in numerous parks, reef snorkeling, water park rides, deep-sea fishing and diving, hiking, bicycle rentals and casual waterfront restaurants. History buffs take in historic Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas and other Civil War landmarks. As well, a vacation in the Pensacola Bay Area will convince you why it’s one of the top family-friendly destinations in the country as endorsed by Southern Living magazine. Plus, it’s a favorite wedding site with fabulous venues for your big day. www.visitpensacola.com
Rosemary Beach This master-planned community on a beachside road in Walton County includes about 105 acres of 400-plus home sites and a mixed-used Town Centre filled with sophisticated shopping and fine restaurants. Rosemary Beach is a haven for fitness lovers, too, especially tennis enthusiasts. Vacation rentals are aplenty. www.rosemarybeach.com
Seagrove Beach Discover the charm of Seagrove, a two-mile-long beach community on the Florida Panhandle. Laid-back but luxurious, Seagrove is a place that embraces variety. From upscale boutiques to
205 West Hunt St. McKinney, TX 75069 972-569-6909 www.heardcraig.org HISTORIC MUSEUM * EVENTS 40 house& home | February 2018 | www.houstonhouseandhome.net
casual cafes, this friendly area offers a little bit of everything. www.visitsouthwalton.com
Seaside Beach In artsy Seaside, you’ll feel immediately at ease among the internationally acclaimed New Urbanist resort area. “Here, most people get around by bike or by foot. Funky airstream trailers serve hot dogs, fresh juice, shaved ice and more. And just down the road, you’ll find cozy cafes and a specialty market,” according to the www.visitsouthwalton.com website. Seaside is a great place to rent an entire home for your family, with many villas available. www.visitsouthwalton.com
South Walton South Walton boasts turquoise waters, miles of white sand beaches and challenging golfing opportunities that are a big draw year-round here. South Walton’s luxury accommodations, eclectic shops, unique art galleries and award-winning dining are part of the area's distinctive character. www.visitsouthwalton.com
WaterColor A master-planned community with Southern grace, WaterColor is tucked between the beaches of the Emerald Coast and Western Lake, a natural 220-acre coastal lake. The WaterColor Inn is a 60-room beachfront resort rated the No. 1 Family Friendly Resort in North America by Travel + Leisure magazine. Numerous other vacation rentals are available as well. www.watercolorflorida.com
MISSISSIPPI Mental spell check from memories of elementary school days: “M-I-double-S double-S double humpback humpback I.” Your visit to Mississippi will also be etched in your memories forever. www.visitmississippi.org
Biloxi & Gulfport Adults play cards, roll the dice and hit the slot machines at the numerous casinos in Biloxi, including Houstonian Tilman Ferttita’s Golden Nugget location there. Or, with the kids, take a boat ride from Gulf Port to one of the barrier islands for fun in crystal clear waters. www.visitmississippi.org White sand beaches in Destin, Fla. Photo by Tim Donovan/Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr/Creative Commons License
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H E AT I N G
FOR DEPENDABLE COMFORT Since 1977 • Rebates & Special Financing* still available, call for details Check us out on the Web!
We Service All Brands
www.AirDepot.com • 281-477-3700 * With approved credit
License # TACLA000225C
TEXAS No matter where you roam, you’ll find great adventures in every direction, whether you go north, south east or west. Everything is bigger — and better, as native Texans like to say — in The Lone Star State.
Big Bend National Park It’s the wild, wild west at this 800,000-plus-acre park, where night skies are dark as coal yet filled with twinkling stars. Big Bend sits along the Chisos Mountains and is home to hundreds of bird species that take refuge in this area surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert, as well as bountiful wildlife and more than 1,200 species of plants, including tenacious cacti that bloom in the sun. The Rio Grande carves temple-like canyons in the ancient limestone along the U.S.-Mexico border. A haven for hikers, bird-watchers, campers, outdoor enthusiasts and the entire family, Big Bend is truly magical. www.visitbigbend.com
Big Bend National Park. Photo courtesy of www.visitbigbend.com
C O L E ’S • A N T I Q U E • S H O W ANTIQUES WEEK’S FINEST AND MOST POPULAR SHOW
in Warrenton, Texas (4 Miles from Round Top)
More than 200+ DEALERS in a 63,000 sq. ft. AIR CONDITIONED building. Free Admission and Parking Food and Drinks, ATM and Clean Restrooms available 3637 Hwy 237 at FM 954 Saturday, March 24 thru April 6, 2018 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. thru Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., April 7
Join us for a FR EE WIN E TA STIN G
Tues., March 27, 5-7:30 pm
Diane Cole, 281-961-5092, email@example.com or colesantiqueshow.net For info
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Home of the Santa Fe Warbonnets!
GALVESTON TRAIN DAY March 10th, 2018
COME BE A PART OF OUR ANNUAL SPECIAL EXCURSION ON THE TEXAS CHIEF!
Spanning 230 acres on the Medina River and Indian Creek, 2E Twin Elm Guest Ranch is one of the oldest dude ranches in the Hill Country, founded in 1939. Every night there’s a rodeo with bull and steer riding, barrel racing and roping. Go on a hayride, fossil hunt and swim and tube, as well as horseback ride. Accommodations include camping and RV sites, in addition to 21 rooms in cabins and bunkhouses. 830-796-3628, www.twinelmranch.com At Dixie Dude Ranch, a 725-acre ranch in Bandera founded more than 75 years ago, your cowboy hosts who work the horses here also train for and compete in rodeos. Enjoy horseback riding, fishing, bonfires, hayrides and Western entertainment. Duplex cabins, cottages, lodge rooms and a two-story bunkhouse are available. 830-796-7771, www.dixieduderanch.com Owned and operated by the Hicks family for more than a halfcentury, The Mayan Ranch sits high in the Hill Country. Producing seven world champion rodeo cowboys, the 348plus acre ranch offers visitors picturesque trails along the Medina River for horseback riding and nature walks, as well as fishing and tubing opportunities. Get a heaping cowboy breakfast or dinner on the trail or at Old West Town, where you can also two-step to your heart’s content. Shop at the general store for your Western needs. Accommodations include 68 rooms in cottages or lodges. 830-796-3312, www.mayanranch.com Horseback riding is a popular activity at dude ranches. Photo courtesy of HD Wallpapers
TEXAS DUDE RANCHES
COMPILED BY BARBARA KUNTZ
ou won’t be strapped on top of an enormous, raging bull determined to throw you off his back, promise. Leave that to the experts at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Texas dude and guest ranches gently — and often luxuriously — show visitors the cowboy lifestyle as vacation destinations on a working ranch. Learn how to ride a horse. Sit around a roaring campfire while the “cookies”...or chefs… whip up the day’s grub. And enjoy a night sky full of stars before shut-eye. Considered by many the Cowboy Capitol of Texas, Bandera in the Texas Hill Country is home to a passel of dude ranches. Here are just a few we wrangled up for your pleasure.
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Saddle up for your vacation at Rancho Cortez. Bring the entire family or schedule a company or church retreat to enjoy horseback riding, hayrides, campfires, cattle roundups, lasso lessons, swimming in the pool or soaking in the hot tub. The ranch also combines the fun with popular weightloss programs. Work with personal trainers under the direction of Mary Cortez for guided hikes, water aerobics, yoga, weights, aerobics and Pilates, along with more classes in the air-conditioned gym. 830-796-9339, www.ranchocortez.com Trade in your tie and slacks for a red bandana and jeans at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch in Bandera. Relax in the 14,000-square-foot lodge, and venture off for horseback riding, hiking or fossil digging. Even learn how to two-step or line dance to live music. The Silver Spur Guest Ranch has nearly 300 acres where you can explore, experience and enjoy Western life, from hayrides to campfire camaraderie to outdoor barbecues to cowboy breakfasts. 830-796-3037, www.silverspur-ranch.com
Welcome to the Ranch...
for a family vacation or holiday, fitness vacation, company retreat, church retreat, family reunion, or other group event. Saddle up and live your dreams for an hour, day, week, month, or longer.
RANCHO CORTEZ TEXAS DUDE RANCH / COWBOY FITNESS FARM
• Boys and girls camps during the summer • Year-round fitness camps for adults • Discount for campers/parents that attend the same week 830-796-9339 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.ranchocortez.com