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CONTENTS features

5 | THE ST. REGIS HOUSTON: PRESERVING ICONIC LUXURY AND AFTERNOON TEA IN TEXAS The St. Regis Houston proudly delivers exemplary service to guests, offering personal butlers to help ease the inconveniences of travel. The hotel’s traditional afternoon tea service takes the cake, but guests will also find satisfaction in the superb dining options and elegant Texas-style décor.


22 | SOMEPLACE BEAUTIFUL: THE STORY OF A TEXAS BALLADEER TURNED LONE STAR LEGEND Through hardships and good times, music has been a rock for Texas singer Wade Bowen. He learned to play guitar at seventeen and never stopped. Though he has traveled worldwide earning a name in country music, he stays true to his Texas roots and community, especially through the Wade Bowen Family Foundation.

28 | CUSTOM HOMES OF TEXAS This beautiful home designed by Ambrose Furniture Works brings old-world Italian elegance to Texas. They display a stunning collection of unique antiques that seamlessly blend sophistication, history, and practicality. A custom-made backsplash, custom mixed paint colors, and hand-hewn wooden beams give life to the homeowners' visions of a dream custom home.


45 |

CREAMERIES ACROSS THE STATE This article highlights four creameries: Lick Honest Ice Cream, Heritage Creamery, Fat Cat Creamery, and Sweet Firefly. Detailing location, flavors, and other unique features of each business, readers will find themselves licking their lips in anticipation of a creamy treat!

articles TRAILS & TALES


9 | Painting Texas History: A Look at Historic Art in Texas

26 | Thorny Elaeagnus

12 | Critter Colloquialisms: Part Five

35 | Hardwood Design Company: Creating Looks Beyond the Trends

14 | Haunted Texas: Five Scary Spots to Visit – If You Dare

38 | Getting Ready for the Holidays: Creating a Warm and Welcoming Guest Bedroom

16 | Jeremy Lock: Veteran Combat Photographer


19 | Rustic Hill Country Getaways

40 | Not Your Average Pumpkin 42 | Pint and Barrel Brewery 48 | Fall Favorites with a Texas Twist



The Alamo, NASA, Buddy Holly, and Dallas (the TV show) to list a few. Our great state is still associated with the cowboy, the open range, campfires, the Texas Rangers, and cattle drives. Our state is rich in history and has a unique identity, with a “larger than life” personality. At Texasliving, we take great pride in showcasing the history, culture, and style of Texas. We trust that you’ll find this magazine reflects the unique identity that makes Texas great!



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MANAGING EDITOR Claire Wilson COPY EDITORS Becca Nelson Sankey

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© 2019 Texasliving. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of Texasliving.




he St. Regis Hotel in Houston comes with a century-old reputation that began at the turn of the 20th century in New York City. The Astors were social royalty, so to speak, and the hotel’s financier, John Jacob Astor IV, was one of America’s wealthiest men. The first St. Regis opened in 1904 despite controversy among the upper echelons of city society; families such as the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers using any tactic possible to halt its construction over a societal feud. However, the hotel opened to praises and acclaim from local papers. The New York Times called it the “finest hotel in America.” At the time, its luxury even included top-of-the-line technology; every guest room featured a telephone! It was this first St. Regis hotel that established traditions such as afternoon tea and butler service; to this day, these offerings are still signature services

of the hotel. “Caroline Astor [a renowned socialite and John’s mother] used to have tea in the hotel and have her friends come in from around New York,” General Manager Michael DeCanio shared. “They needed that meal between lunch and dinner, so it does date back. It’s the most popular tea service I’ve seen anywhere.” John Jacob Astor IV died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic and was the richest passenger on board at the time. His social standing back home resulted in plenty of stories about his compassionate, jovial, and heroic efforts on board as the ship descended into the icy cold. His son, Vincent, inherited the property before Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the ups-and-downs of the hotel industry took the original St. Regis through a rich and varied history.

THE ST. REGIS HOUSTON The St. Regis Houston originally opened as the Remington in 1982, hence the name of the hotel’s restaurant and bar, which is known for its phenomenal Bloody Mary. It was also a RitzCarlton Hotel before it became The St. Regis Houston in 1999. Located in the heart of the affluent River Oaks neighborhood, right across from the second largest shopping center in the U.S., The Galleria, the hotel has 200 guestrooms and 32 suites, including the Presidential Suite, the Royal Suite, and two master suites. The rooms have a traditional Texas-style décor that includes plush leather chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the Houston skyline or the adjacent treelined park.

The Astor Ballroom

“The Presidential Suite is amazing and comes with two bedrooms, a kitchen, two-and-a-half baths, large living and dining rooms, and the only balcony in the entire hotel,” DeCanio said. The overall theme of the hotel is “boots and diamonds.” “Really, every element of the hotel has some piece of boots and diamonds in it,” DeCanio said. With more than 10,500 square-feet of meeting and banquet space, including the stunning Astor Ballroom with its “show-stopping” chandelier, the hotel is a popular location for events and weddings. In fact, according to DeCanio, the St. Regis is one of the best-known wedding venues in Houston, thanks to its exceptional location, service, and food and beverage offerings. What the St. Regis does best, as DeCanio pointed out, is offer iconic luxury. “We’re the most iconic luxury brand in the world,” he said. “For us, it’s all about personalized service. We really rely on the staff [for] that personal interaction.”

Grand Staircase

The St. Regis Houston comes complete with a pool, that DeCanio described as a tranquil and relaxing oasis, as well as a world-class fitness center, and a full-service spa. The boutique spa offers traditional facials and massages, including couples’ massages. It is also worth mentioning that The St. Regis Houston is a proud sponsor of various polo matches and teams. “We have a Houston Polo Club close by to us, and we sponsor a team each year,” DeCanio said. “We can get tickets to any event for our guests and offer transportation. They’re a lot of fun.”

6 | OCTOBER 2019

Royal Suite Living Room

BUTLER SERVICE While many hotels now rely on technology to process and serve guests, the St. Regis still relies on the quality of its staff. “What I love most is my staff and the amazing connection they make with every one of our guests; it’s truly exceptional,” DeCanio said. “We’re all here for the same reason, and that’s to make sure guests have an exceptional experience.” For those that choose the butler service, which is a perk of the suites as well as dedicated floors, the iconic luxury they speak of is a part of your stay from beginning to end. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by their personal butler, who will review the layout of the room with them, as well as the amenities and services provided. Perhaps one of the best benefits of a butler is that they will unpack and pack for you, if you so choose. Staying at the St. Regis removes the hassle from travel, particularly if you travel extensively. Your butler is also there to offer you daily beverage service. The coffee is always prepared with a French press, or you might prefer one of their signature teas. If you have a few wrinkled pieces of clothing, they are happy to press them for you, yet another complimentary benefit of butler service. As you might expect, they offer nightly turn-down service for every single guest room. The shades are drawn, light music played in the background, and a lovely chocolate is left on your pillow, as if by magic. Library The Remington Restaurant

AF TERNOON TEA Still, as far as luxury goes, afternoon tea service is what makes the St. Regis truly the (clotted) cream of the crop. Every afternoon, Friday through Sunday, guests can enjoy a full traditional afternoon tea experience, which comes with a tea selection as well as an assortment of tea sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream. To round out the experience, your tea is accompanied by live harp music. “It’s, by far, the best [afternoon] tea experience in Houston,” DeCanio said. The staff refers to the experience as one of their rituals, and Chef John Signorelli confirms it is one of the aspects of the hotel that makes the St. Regis truly special. Tea is offered in the tea lounge. “It’s a really beautiful space near our lobby,” Signorelli said. “It’s very popular. We sell out weeks in advance, so it’s important for our guests to make reservations. It’s something we’re known for, and we do it very, very well. There’s no one who can come close to what we do with our tea.” During the holidays, the hotel takes tea time up a notch with Teddy Bear Tea for both adults and kids. It is so popular that they sell out months in advance. Children get to participate in a Teddy Bear Tea story time as well as a puppet show. The hotel is also known for its holiday brunches offered for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

OCTOBER 2019 | 7

REMINGTON RESTAURANT & BAR Chef Signorelli has been with the St. Regis for ten years now but has been with the Marriott brand for 22 years in total. When asked why he explained, “I think it really has to do with the focus of our team on quality food and setting the bar for the city, as far as really pushing to make sure we’re recognized as a leader in Houston for cuisine. It’s exciting that my staff and team are equally passionate about food as I am and want to give the best to our guests.” Chef Signorelli first found his passion for food at home. “My mom was a fantastic cook and really inspired me,” he said. “Just before high school, I decided to work at a small restaurant in the Colorado town I grew up in. I worked with a chef who showed me a lot of interesting things I’d never thought about, and it was exciting to see that level of professionalism in the kitchen.” He went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America and continued to hone his craft. “I like to draw upon my travels,” Signorelli said. “I love to travel, and really enjoy seeing different types of cuisine in the U.S. and internationally.” His love for international cuisine is evident in the staff that he hires. He has cooks from Ethiopia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Singapore, Guatemala, and the list goes on. “I draw my inspiration from their diverse backgrounds and involve

8 | OCTOBER 2019

them in creating menus,” he said. “We can handle any types of cuisine now because of the diversity of the team.” The restaurant menu features contemporary American cuisine with a focus on sustainable foods and influences from different parts of the United States, but with a Texas flare. They try to incorporate some comfort foods with a Texas spin. Recently, they added a Fried Green Tomato Benedict to the menu that comes with a cornmeal-crusted tomato and a rancho crème instead of a traditional hollandaise. The restaurant, like the rest of the hotel, is modern yet elegant and showcases a beautiful conservatory, an open-air space with big windows that look out on the veranda garden. The Remington Bar features a tapas-style menu of unique dishes and comfort food, as well as live music, typically jazz, on the weekends. Guests love their mesquite-smoked chicken wings with a guajillo chili honey sauce. When it comes to luxury and service, The St. Regis Houston has set the bar as high as possible. “I would say being here has been the best in my life and career, and I attribute that to my team, who supports the mission to be the best in the city, if not the state, if not the nation,” Signorelli said. Sounds like a pretty high bar indeed, and one worth exploring, particularly if it comes with a butler!

When Jon Buell came across an old painting by his second great-grandfather in his grandparents’ attic in 2009, he probably had an inkling that it could be special. After all, his second greatgrandfather, Henry McArdle, was one of the bestknown painters of early Texas historical events. The painting had been in the attic for many years, coated with layers of dust, with a few minor holes punctured in the canvas. His grandmother confirmed that it was created by McArdle and gave him permission to look into the painting and sell it. He figured it might bring as much as $10,000 to $20,000, a nice chunk of change for an attic find. When Buell contacted Heritage Auctions in Dallas, he was dumbfounded to learn that the painting was expected to fetch at least $100,000, and that was in its “as is” condition.


A Look at Historic Art in Texas WRITTEN BY: MARK TAYLOR

That was just the beginning of the good news. He had also found another historic McArdle painting, a portrait of Henry Wax Karnes, which would also be auctioned. It turns out; the pieces had been commissioned by Texas historian James DeShields. It had long been believed the paintings burned in DeShields’s house in 1918; however, it turns out that DeShields could not pay the full price for the paintings, so McArdle kept them and eventually gave them to his son, Ruskin McArdle, who later became the librarian for the U.S. Senate. When the younger McArdle retired, he moved back to West Virginia to be in proximity to the bulk of the McArdle family, and there the paintings lapsed into “attic obscurity” before their rediscovery.

PAINTING TEXAS HISTORY McArdle is one of a relatively small number of artists whose depictions of people, places, and events in the unique and colorful history of the Lone Star State have become a part of the Texas legacy. Drawing on inspiration from events that range from battles of the Texas Revolution to the Civil War, these artists captured pre-photography events and people through meticulous study, correspondence with survivors, and on-site visits. The resulting art, while not a primary source, is packed with historical relevance because of its chronological proximity to the subject matter it depicts. PHOTO COURTESY OF: BAYLOR UNIVERSITY TEXAS COLLECTION

OCTOBER 2019 | 9

The larger-than-life events of Texas’s storied history have served as inspiration for myriad artists over the past two centuries. Artists seem to be drawn to the spirit of independence associated with Texas, even if they did not care for the actual physical environment itself. In 1888, Southwestern artist Frederic Remington, who was only 26 at the time, wrote to his wife during a visit to Fort Worth that he was miserable from the heat and mosquitos. Remington kept his home in New York and enjoyed the Southwest’s buffalo, Native Americans, and history from afar, preferring to paint and sculpt them from a cooler climate. Other artists, however, left their homes in the Eastern U.S. and made their way to Texas after falling in love with the people and climate. The laid-back nature of Texans, their independent spirit, and the aura of endless possibilities that pervaded the state were apparently ideal fodder for creativity. Of the hundreds of Texas-inspired sketches, drawings, and paintings that have existed, only a handful achieve the level of being “iconic.” Artists like Henry McArdle, William Henry Huddle, Robert Onderdonk, Louis Eyth, Tom Lea III, and even Frederic Remington are credited with creating paintings of some of Texas’s most storied events, with McArdle and Huddle being the most prominent painters of the state’s history. Remington, for example, painted scenes from the Southwest and painted specific events and characters from Texas history to accompany his stories in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in the 1890s. His images included depictions of the Texas Rangers in various events and on patrol, as well as a detailed painting of the infamous Black Bean Episode associated with the ill-fated Mier Expedition. After a group of Texans tried unsuccessfully to escape from Mexican troops, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna made the prisoners draw beans from a jar. One in ten of the Texas prisoners drew a black bean instead of a white one, and those with the black beans were executed. It is easy to see how stories like these can capture the imaginations of artists, especially prior to the development of photography. Occasionally there were sketches and drawings made by soldiers or citizens who were present. As time went on, artists would interview individuals present at the events, and they would visit the actual sites, for different perspectives from various vantage points. Without such evidence, however, the depiction of the event was simply left to the artist’s fancy.

10 | OCTOBER 2019




TEXAS CONTEMPORARIES Texas artists William Henry Huddle, Robert Onderdonk, and Henry “Harry” McArdle were among a group of 123 students at the National Academy of Design who started the Art Students’ League when the academy closed briefly in 1875. The friends would later compete for commissions in Texas. McArdle set up his studio in San Antonio after teaching at the original Baylor College near Independence, Onderdonk put down permanent roots in Dallas, and Huddle made his home in Austin. Huddle moved to Paris, Texas with his family after serving in the Confederate Calvary from Virginia. After working in the family gunsmith business, he returned to Virginia to improve his painting under the tutelage of his cousin. By 1874, he was in New York at the National Academy of Design, where he was enrolled at the same time as Onderonk and McArdle. In 1876, he returned to Texas and never left, save for a brief period of study in Germany in order to improve his portraiture skills so he could receive portrait commissions of well-known Texas leaders. His portraits of all presidents of the Republic of Texas and the first seventeen Texas governors hang in the Texas Capitol rotunda.

In the south foyer of the building is the massive Huddle painting, The Surrender of Santa Anna (1886), painted in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. The painting is quite possibly the single most iconic painting depicting an historic event in Texas history and is featured prominently in every fourth and seventh grade Texas history textbook. Also in the south foyer is Huddle’s heroic, life-sized portrait of David Crockett (1889).

McArdle started out as a cartographer for Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. Sadly, McArdle’s carefully researched canvas depicting General Lee and Hood’s Texas Brigade, Lee at The Wilderness (1881), was destroyed in the 1881 Capitol fire. Only a black-andwhite print of the painting exists today. Better known are the two large McArdle works that hang in the Senate Chamber of the Texas Capitol: Dawn at the Alamo (18761905) and The Battle of San Jacinto (1898). His earlier work, The Settlement of Austin’s Colony (1875) hangs in the House Chamber of the Capitol.

Fall of the Alamo


McArdle painted in San Antonio until he died at the age of 71. Onderdonk’s most prominent work, Fall of the Alamo (1903), painted for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis and housed at the Texas State Archives building in Austin, is frequently reprinted. The work is known for Onderdonk’s positioning of Davy Crockett at the center; his flintlock rifle raised over his head as he clubs the attacking Mexican soldiers. Onderdonk spent much of his time teaching art in Dallas, and later San Antonio. It is thought that he could have been the most prominent painter of Texas history if he had dedicated his time to painting rather than teaching. He died in San Antonio in 1917 at the age of 65.

A TEXAS ART LEGACY The art of these artists is spread throughout the museums and historic buildings of the Lone Star State. The Texas Capitol itself is filled with works by artists whose names would sadly be unfamiliar to most Texans, including a well-known portrait of Stephen F. Austin by an artist whose name has been completely lost to history. The artist is simply listed as “unknown.” Nonetheless, the sparks from Texas’s fiery history seem to fly higher than those of other locales, likely ensuring that more iconic Texas artists may continue to capture the imaginations of future Texans. If Texas’s past is colorful, it is highly likely that its future will be equally vivid on paper, canvas, and other media, but never more colorful than in the imaginations of the state’s most talented painters.

OCTOBER 2019 | 11





Many idioms and colorful expressions are often credited to the South, and Texas is no exception. However, many of these colloquialisms actually stem from much older parables, proverbs, history, literature, or simply the facts and hardships of everyday life. But, add a good ol’ Texan accent, and each adage sounds more Southern than the next. Many of these phrases reference animals, not surprisingly as the South, and particularly Texas, is largely agricultural. If not native to the Lone Star State, learn these down-home phrases and let the fun begin!


This phrase is more British than many of the other Critter Colloquialisms, but it is an interesting one; nonetheless, as it is truly a pun, a play on words! First used in 1916, the phrase “donkey’s ears” was written in

reference to a long amount of time. Edward Verrall Lucas was a humorous author, and when he published his story Vermilion Box, the term was likely a play on words already in use, such as “donkey’s years,” found in print as early as the late 1800s, meaning the same. While donkeys’ ears are actually long, when it comes to years, donkeys also live quite a long life! The Cambridge Dictionary likens its use to the phrase “a month of Sundays.”


Merriam-Webster defines this idiom as “an elaborate or overblown affair or event.” However, the phrase is often more nuanced than a simply outlandish shindig; it implies an overblown or puffed-up air to what is usually something not quite so impressive, in an attempt to publicize, sell, or sway an opinion. The term is a disparaging one, likely ending up that way through its elaborate history. The original meaning of the phrase was indeed quite literal. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, traveling

shows would show up in small, rural towns, often featuring canine and equine stars. The animals would perform tricks, the townsfolk would enjoy an evening of merriment, and the traveling show would move on to the next town. Large cities were able to host big-name circus attractions, but for the smaller towns, these animal shows sufficed. Around the 1920s, however, these dog and pony show tents sometimes served as a front for illicit business dealings. By the mid-1900s, the term had pretty much been embraced in multiple areas of society, such as the military, business, and politics, to mean what it does today: a farce or elaborate charade to dupe or sway the participants or viewers for the purpose of sales, opinion, or reputation.

12 | OCTOBER 2019


“It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there,” or so the saying goes. But where did the idea of dogs eating one of their own originate, much

less propagate into common use? Dictionaries refer to the phrase


There seem to be several theories as to the origin of this




definitive answer. One thing is certain; it means to speak tirelessly, to go on and on.

as descriptive of a competition, particularly in a sales or survival

Now, some may argue that this is persuasive in nature. A donkey

setting, which is ruthless, savage, fierce, and harmful. It describes

does not sit on its hind legs, so this camp sees the phrase as long-

a situation where participants will do anything to gain the upper

winded salesmanship; someone spoke so long and so well that

hand and win, even if it means harming friends and loves ones.

they convinced the donkey, through their amazing reasoning and

While ne’er-do-wells have notoriously organized cruel and illegal dog fights for profiteering purposes, these animals forced to barbaric means of survival still do not eat one another, but die from injury or slaughter. According to an anti-Catholic publication from the mid-1500s by one W. Turner, the phrase harkens all the way back to Latin roots; “canis caninum non est,” Varro, a grammarian wrote, meaning “dog dog’s flesh does not eat.”

having a negative connotation, and this camp is by far the larger and more accepted of the two. From this common perspective, someone is speaking relentlessly, almost boring the donkey to sit down in an unusual way, from the pure exhaustion of hearing the words. Written references in the United Kingdom, Australia, and America from the 1800s show the phrase in use, although the animal

The phrase has been manipulated and utilized across a variety of literature since, culminating in the modern reference to a dogeat-dog situation, an unrelentingly competitive environment.

convincing, to sit unnaturally. The second camp sees the idiom as

sometimes varied, horse and dog being common creatures in the idiom. There are also a few references to the phrase in writing from the 1800s, which substitute a brass pan, a cow, a hedgehog, an iron pot, a cow, an elephant, and even a bird. No matter the item or animal, no legs actually come off, but rather give out from boredom or the droning on by the speaker.


Meaning spic-and-span, spotless, and incredibly clean, the phrase can be applied to actual cleanliness or even character, meaning pure, unmarred, reputable, and honest. Unlike many

idioms making these lists, this one is mostly used in the South and Midwest, with the same meaning as “clean as a whistle.” Hounds were and are common in more rural areas, such as those found across the South, although the term could simply refer to any dog. When given bones on which to gnaw, the canine teeth of such dogs would appear to be very white, with the appearance of being clean and blemish-free. The simile can be found in print as far back as the late 1700s, and its use at the time indicated it was likely a common saying. It has been used in literary works, by authors like Texas’s own O. Henry. It was even a favorite phrase of President Dwight Eisenhower.

OCTOBER 2019 | 13





As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. That includes the legends and hauntings with which the state is filled, thanks to a long past peppered with tales that range from sweet-natured to downright scary.

Nestled next to the River Walk in San Antonio, the Alamo is certainly an important national and state monument. This is also the spot that Eagleton has pegged for the most haunted spot in Texas. Legend has it that those soldiers who fought to defend the Alamo haunt the spot to this very day; they have not forgotten to remember the Alamo.

According to Amanda Eagleton, team founder of Haunted Texas Paranormal, it is exactly Texas’s deep, rich, and complex history that comes in to play with hauntings. “From Native Americans to French to Spanish to your regular Texan, much blood has been spilt in the land,” she said. “Many amazing and terrible things have happened here, and it can all be the reason why Texas is home to some of the most haunted locations around.”

After Mexico defeated the Texas fighters in a bloody battle that is a cornerstone of state history, those who fought to defend the Alamo were not given a proper burial. Some bodies were lit on pyres, while story holds that others were tossed into the San Antonio River. The ashes were thrown into a massive unmarked grave, the location of which is still veiled in mystery.

Every corner of the state is filled with stories of ghosts who are not quite ready to bid their final farewells. If you are feeling extra brave this Halloween, venture to one of these haunted spots across Texas. 14 | OCTOBER 2019

It was only days after the defeat at the Alamo that strange occurrences and stories began. One common sighting is a little boy with blond hair who is usually seen in the upstairs gift shop window. Another common apparition is a Mexican soldier walking around the exterior of the building, solemnly shaking his head. Davy Crockett has even been known to make an appearance multiple times. Visitors and employees both report hearing sounds of moans, cries, and a feeling of unease, with numerous nightshift workers resigning after a supposed encounter with the dead.

Those who have tattoos should take extra precaution if venturing inside the building, particularly in the chapel within the hospital. People with tattoos have reported leaving with scratch marks on their skin, or even the sensation of being choked. Nearly every person who has dared to set foot in this building has walked away with a creepy tale to tell. Even without seeing a shifting shadow or hearing ghostly whispers, the experience of stumbling through an abandoned hospital, still filled with medical equipment, is not for the faint of heart.

THE DEVIL'’ S BACKBONE A limestone ridge running from Wimberley to Blanco, the Devil’s Backbone is a spot in Texas where the paranormal is encountered again and again. The area holds 4,700 acres of wilderness filled with woods, mountains, and ravines and was occupied by Comanche and Apache tribes, as well as the Spaniards in the 1700s. In the 1800s, Confederate soldiers seeking gold came to the area, as well as ranchers and their families. Hikers and modern-day ranchers both have been known to hear herds of ghostly galloping horses, at times so loud that buildings shake. There have also been claims of apparitions, including Native Americans, marching Confederate soldiers, and ghostly women and children. One particularly chilling story even details the possession of a man who was hiking in the area. If you are in the area and want to get even more spooky, make sure to stop by the Devil’s Backbone Tavern in Fischer, Texas. This local legendary spot is built on an ancient Native American campground and has played host to countless ghosts throughout the years. The ashes of loyal patrons have been scattered on the floor, and cowboys have died sitting at the bar. Look for evidence of a shootout from years past and ask anyone in the bar to tell you about his or her experience with the paranormal; they are guaranteed to have a good story.



One of Eagleton’s most memorable encounters with the paranormal took place in Mineral Wells at Elmwood Cemetery, the last stop on a twelve-guest ghost tour. She was using a device called an Ovilus, which is a tool spirits are said to use to communicate with humans. As they walked through the cemetery, the tool was calling out seemingly random names until everyone realized it was actually reading off the names of each tombstone. The story gets even more interesting from this point. Eagleton shared that as the group continued to walk, the Ovilus began counting down from five, ending with a command to stand still. “We all froze in our tracks, and it’s a good thing we did because as soon as the Ovilus hit zero, a large group of about twelve deer burst out of the trees next to us. If we had walked another step we would have been trampled,” she said. The event repeated itself one more time with the machine again counting down, and the group coming to a standstill as the herd of deer came running back the other way. “Let’s just say it was an amazing night, and I honestly feel like the spirits were looking out for us that evening,” she said.



An abandoned hospital filled with glowing red eyes, talking dolls, and spirits rapping on glass windows sounds like scenes straight out of a scary movie. It also happens to occur daily at Yorktown Memorial Hospital in Yorktown, Texas. The hospital was abandoned in the 1980s, before which nearly 2,000 people died in the building.



According to Hotel Galvez, “every great hotel must have its ghost.” The Galveston hotel is no exception with a ghostly wouldbe bride named Audra in Room 501. The story holds that in the mid-1950s, Audra was engaged to a mariner, and would leave Room 501, climb the turrets of the building, and wait to spot his ship in the port. Following a particularly bad storm, his ship was days late returning, and word reached her that it had sunk. In despair, she hanged herself in the turret at the west of the building, just days before her fiancé returned, alive and looking forward to a wedding that would never happen.

In addition to the haunting of Room 501, the staff has reported several other experiences that are otherworldly. A ghostly vision of a young girl bouncing a ball in the lower level of the hotel has been seen, while in the hotel restaurant candles have been known to extinguish on their own. Dishes are inexplicably moved and broken. Additionally, ghostly breathing and laughter has been heard in different parts of the hotel, with no plausible explanation. If you are interested in taking a ghost tour with her team and having an otherworldly experience of your own, check for available dates on the Haunted Texas Paranormal Facebook page. OCTOBER 2019 | 15


Lock was born the oldest of four, growing up in a military family in Dayton, Ohio with a father who served as an officer in the USAF as an aeronautical engineer and a grandfather who served as a World War II chief. After being “politely asked to leave” college, Lock enlisted in the USAF. Aspiring to be an x-ray technician, Lock was assigned to image processing. It was here in the darkroom that he fell in love with the art of photography. 16 | OCTOBER 2019


The Lone Star State is home to the unparalleled photojournalistic talent of Jeremy Lock, a retired United States Air Force (USAF) Master Sergeant Combat Photojournalist with 22 years of service.

From there, the USAF sent him to study photojournalism, and he graduated from Syracuse University’s photojournalism program. The skills he learned, coupled with a hefty dose of self-motivation, resulted in an adrenaline-filled career as a combat photographer. Lock was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for distinguished service in Iraq. His hard work was also acknowledged by winning the Military Photojournalist of the Year an unprecedented seven times! His Air Force career allowed him to document battles, disasters, as well as everyday life in Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Haiti, Mongolia, and many other locations. Lock’s passion lies in his intense determination to document moments that the world might not otherwise see. “My photographic journey is rooted in my ability to capture the essence and reality of humanity at its finest and at its worst,” Lock said. “I’ve captured everything from the hunt for Osama bin Laden, to the playful nature of our young military defending our freedom, and the plight of humans in search of food after the Haiti earthquake disaster.” He has a distinct photographic style that skillfully captures moments in such a way that creates connection across common human emotions. "It is an honor to be able to share my vision and hopefully foster awareness, understanding, and empathy,” Lock explained in an interview following his fifth award acceptance as Military Photojournalist of the Year.

STRESSFUL SITUATIONS Lock stated that in such a stressful, war-time atmosphere he was able to focus on getting great shots as a result of his extensive training. He talked about his body almost going into a state of autopilot when it needed to, and yet how valuable the dangerous situations were in order to document what the men and women of the U.S. military do overseas. He called it “an honor and a privilege” to tell their stories. Throughout the intense moments interwoven into his military career, Lock was motivated by the words of a mentor who told him, “If you really want to capture war, you capture it on the soldier's face next to you." There is a very real inner struggle in combat photography between documenting the significant moments while also remaining safe and alive. Lock shared that he had tactical as well as strategic training to be an asset to the teams with whom he worked. “We could provide first aid, act as vehicle commander/ driver, fight, or act as a soldier in the stack, going into a house if the need arose. However, I saw myself as a photojournalist first, there to document and tell the stories of our Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen.” Lock recalled an innate sense of intuition that essentially told him when to put the camera down to stay safe or help out a team member.


In addition to his intense combat documentation, Lock covered the military humanitarian effort in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and in Japan following the 2011 tsunami. “Not only do I get to live my life, but I’ve been able to live the lives of those I photograph, even if it was just for a moment,” he said. “I thrive on sharing my experiences to remind myself and others that what I am doing is very important; the world needs to see it. I like to think the experiences haven’t changed me, but I know they have, and I’m thankful for that change. There is more to the world than what is outside your front door.” Lock has carried this sentiment forward into his civilian career.


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“IF YOU REALLY WANT TO CAPTURE WAR, YOU CAPTURE IT ON THE SOLDIER'S FACE NEXT TO YOU." HOME IN “THE BIG D” Lock continues to develop his post-military career after retiring from the USAF in 2013. Working from his private studio in Dallas, he teaches some photography classes while pursuing passion projects. Additionally, he enjoys working with nonprofits and other charitable organizations and hopes that these will be seen as a call to action for others to engage with and support them as well. In his independent endeavors, he enjoys being able to align his projects with his values. Annually, he likes to have one big personal project that he considers to enlighten his life; additionally, he likes to partner with two charities, one military and one civilian. One example of a past personal project is when he traveled to Kolkata, India in November of 2017 with a fellow retired military photographer friend. As the trip unfolded, they embarked on a photography challenge they later named Kolkata 24. They decided that they should document Kolkata for 24 hours, producing an image each hour. A local friend and photographer joined them and helped them around the city. The photo gallery from this trip is found on Jeremy’s blog. Lock traveled back to India in 2018 to continue working on a larger project yet to be revealed. Currently displayed on his website is a collection Lock titled Twenty-One. To “encapsulate his 21 years as a combat photographer,” the artist selected 21 thought-provoking images from his time spent doing work for the military. According to his website, “They showcase his ability to imbed himself into the tragedies, celebrations, and everyday realities of our world.” In early 2019, Lock partnered with the Warren Center in Richardson, Texas, whose mission is to advocate, serve, and empower children and families impacted by developmental delays and disabilities. Lock created a few pieces of art that were auctioned off at its gala, which raised over $10,000 for the agency. Lock’s blog shows a video project of a compilation of his work on this project, entitled Beautifully Broken. The artist 18 | OCTOBER 2019


described his experience of meeting and getting a glimpse into the lives of these families as seeing a “beauty in these children, not held down by their disabilities.” On the technical side of his business, Lock continues to hone his craft by selecting areas in which to intentionally advance his skill set. One of those areas is experimenting with light. Historically, most of his photography has been done in natural light, and he has now been playing with studio lighting. On the teaching side, Lock’s instruction to his students is three-fold in creating a somewhat conditioned response to consistently produce high-quality images: first, fill the frame; second, control the background; third, wait for the moment. He explained that after a while, “Your mind just takes over.” Lock’s presence on both the national and international stages certainly keeps him busy and definitely adds to his already impressive and extensive photographic (and recently directorial) résumé. However, he can still be found out and about his own neck of the woods in Dallas, capturing the beauty, sadness, struggle, and reality of local everyday lives. He recently documented several local rallies that occurred when the NRA convention took place, photographing protesters and supporters alike. When a buddy of his invited him to McKinney, Texas’s “Bike the Bricks” event, he grabbed his camera, and likely a beer in solid spectator spirit, and went out to see what the event was all about. Lock has a vast portfolio of superior images with one thing in common: they freeze a moment in time in order to tell a story and evoke emotion. Lock strives for this connection and stated, “I hope that when people look at my work, they feel something.” When asked which photograph is his favorite, he answered, “I haven’t taken it yet. I’m still waiting for that one.”

Rustic Getaways





ho does not love a retreat from the daily grind to immerse themselves in a stunning natural landscape, where the quiet beauty can pacify the soul? The rolling hills and rugged landscape of the Texas Hill Country provide the perfect backdrop for stunning skyward views at dusk and dawn. The terrain boasts beautiful exhibitions of limestone and granite including Enchanted Rock, the second-largest granite dome in the United States. Read below about a few hand-selected getaway options with some unique features.

Camp Lucy

This experiential luxury resort in Dripping Springs, just west of Austin, has a rich architectural history. Several structures on its property originated in Vietnam and were then dismantled and reconstructed on the property, including the chapel and pavilion, as well as an Amish barn built in Ohio and later moved to the property. In 1999, Whit Hanks took control of the property, which his family originally acquired in 1985 and named after his mother, Lucy Hanks. “I knew I wanted this property to be something I could share,” Hanks said. “I didn’t want to keep this beautiful land to myself.” Camp Lucy is currently a popular wedding venue with multiple beautiful locations on the property to tie the knot. Guests at Camp Lucy can expect luxury in any of the 26 guest rooms and additional Luxury Suite. Two cottages, which each sleep up to ten people, are also available. Guests can expect an array of unique seasonal activities such as guided hiking tours, catch-and-release fishing, archery, hatchet throwing, alpaca feeding, wine tasting classes, yoga sessions, line dancing tutorials, and vision boarding. Growing in amenities over the years, Camp Lucy now offers an on-site swimming pool, vineyard, winery, and an award-winning restaurant. OCTOBER 2019 | 19



At this unique riverside resort, guests sleep among the trees! These are not your childhood fort-like treehouses; instead, they are premier vacation rental-style cabins. Six amazing treehouses are situated on River Road next to the Guadalupe River, with an exclusive 1.5-acre riverside park for guests to enjoy. Each treetop cabin sleeps up to eight guests and also offers a master suite and an upstairs sleeping loft. All of the treehouses are equipped with Wi-Fi, satellite television, air conditioning, and are fully furnished, with a fully stocked kitchen and linens and towels provided. Natural light spilling in from all angles, visitors enjoy views of lush foliage as they dwell in their treetop perch. Amenities include picnic tables, barbeque pits, fire pits, hammocks, and fishing and tubing on the river. Five of the treehouses are accessed via a 100-foot pedestrian bridge across Jacob’s Creek, a tributary to the Guadalupe River. Outdoor living is encouraged with large porches perched above the river, outfitted with lounging and dining furniture.

Tres Lunas Resort Tres Lunas Resort is nestled in the Loyal Valley of the Texas Hill Country, between Fredericksburg and Mason. Tres Lunas, a boutique resort bed and breakfast, is designed to help anyone unplug from the noisy, busy world and come back to nature for quiet and relaxation. You are close enough to do fun activities or absolutely nothing.


Guests call Tres Lunas a “Texas zen ranch,” offering stunning 25-mile views as well as opportunities for yoga, meditation, and connecting with nature on the hiking trails, poolside, or submerged in the hot tub. The two Poolside Zen Suites have a romantic poolside setting, while the Sheriff ’s Office offers guests a glimpse into the wild west with a vintage jail cell enveloping the bedroom. These three, exclusive guest rooms offer complimentary beer and wine as well as a hot, plated breakfast each morning. Their last accommodation option is the Una Luna Casita, a private three-bedroom house with a full kitchen and washer and dryer. Each lodging option encourages interaction with nature, from the comfort of a sturdy rocking chair to the artisanal outdoor dining furniture and poolside loungers. There are even binoculars and a high-powered telescope available for guest use to enjoy the starry nights. The lovely stone chapel on-property is a great place to meditate or spend time in the quiet. Tres Lunas even offers small wedding packages for couples looking to tie the knot on this tranquil property. Even in the colder months, the lovely lobby has a cozy fireplace that is a great place to snuggle up and enjoy the retreat from life’s fast pace. Regardless of the season, this is a wonderful option for slowing down and enjoying some rest and relaxation.

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Hideout on the Horseshoe


This nineteen-cabin riverside property transverses the Guadalupe River and is a great choice for submerging oneself in the natural beauty of the area. This is a one-stop shop with a tubing company and music venue, as well as direct river access. A typical day at this lovely refuge is spent floating the river during the day with a live performance in the evening. Past performers include Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Skrillex, Fitz and the Tantrums, and ZZ Top.

Geronimo Creek Retreat

This gem of a property situated on Geronimo Creek in Seguin has multiple lodging offerings for guests, including getaway cabins, treehouses, and teepees! Ten getaway cabins are on the property. Elevated under the canopy of pecan trees, these mini-retreats are small but mighty. They offer an “ingenious cabin� design, which allows guests to open the entire front wall onto the front deck to truly invite in the outdoors. These fully furnished cabins have air conditioning, multiple kitchen appliances, a barbeque grill, picnic table, and a half bath, with access to a nearby full bathhouse. The four creekside treehouses sleep up to eight and offer a lush backdrop of natural beauty. For indoor enjoyment, these cabins offer a full-sized kitchen and refrigerator, along with multiple televisions, Wi-Fi, and a DVD player. To encourage outdoor living, they offer a gas grill, picnic table, and fire pit. GERONIMO CREEK RETREAT, PHOTO COURTESY OF: BEST TEXAS TRAVEL

Accommodations are configured in a variety of ways with several choices, including hotel-style rooms, lofts, or, for a larger group wanting more space, a three-bedroom cabin. The single luxury loft is situated to capture stunning views and welcomes guests outdoors with an oversized porch. All lodging options offer a rustic style, with a multitude of windows constantly displaying the breathtaking scenes all around the area. During the off-season, the Hideout doubles as a wedding venue. With a choice of two honeymoon suites on-property, the Hideout accommodates up to 108 overnight guests and 250 wedding guests. Additionally, during the off-season, winter Texans flock to this area to enjoy trout fishing. These locations are primed to showcase the natural beauty of the landscape. In contrast to the business that creeps its way in, these properties will encourage a slower pace and a more peaceful state of mind. The beautiful Hill Country beckons.






Wade Bowen’s music career has taken him everywhere. With tour dates in France, the U.K., and Germany, Wade has journeyed all across the world sharing his heart through music. Yet, regardless of where he has roamed, one place is always in the back of his mind beckoning him home . . . his beloved Texas. If home is truly where the heart is, then Wade Bowen’s heart is as Texan as Franklin’s Barbecue, Lady Bird Lake, and Sunday night football. In spite of his travels near and far, at the end of the day, there is no place on Earth quite as special to Bowen as the Lone Star State.


Wade Bowen was born in Waco, Texas in 1977 to parents Glenda Waller Bowen and James (Jim) Bowen. Jim is the president of Bowen Electric in Waco, which was founded by Wade’s grandparents Paul and Dorothy Bowen in 1955. Growing up, Bowen’s childhood was nothing short of idyllic. His parents were both huge country music lovers who always had the house full of music, singing, and dancing. Bowen’s mother loved Patsy Cline and Elvis, while his dad loved Willie Nelson and Guy Clark. His sisters Tammy, Tracy, and Jill liked George Strait and Garth Brooks and were always dragging Bowen off to concerts. At age five, Bowen’s first concert was Alabama – an unforgettable experience. Around age 6 or 7, Bowen told his buddies that when he grew up, he was going to be a country singer. However, Bowen was always shy about music, rarely sang in front of anyone, and said little else about the subject. Because of this, no one really paid attention to the statement; yet the words were still prophetic. Bowen’s parents, who were both Catholic, sent their children to Waco’s Catholic schools to give them a strong

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religious foundation. However, Glenda was raised Baptist and still sung some of the old Baptist hymns she grew up with, songs that would later become the foundation of one of Bowen’s most cherished albums. Then Sings My Soul . . . Songs for My Mother was recorded as a Christmas gift for Bowen’s mother in 2016. Growing up, Bowen always recalled his mom singing, and credits her for being the one who really pushed him to chase his musical dreams. In school, Bowen was a popular, friendly kid. He was an avid sports fan and athlete who was involved in just about every sport. He attended Reicher Catholic High School where he played football, baseball, basketball, golf, and ran track. Bowen’s musical gift did not blossom until a little bit later. Although he got his first guitar at age nine, he did not really work on playing until he was older. His writing eventually ignited the fire. Bowen began writing short stories and poems in high school. As he got better at it, he wanted to learn some guitar chords so he could put them to music. At age 17, he finally worked on playing guitar, and once he began putting chords and lyrics together, Bowen just could not stop.

HONKY TONK ROAD Bowen’s first paying job was working for his father at Bowen Electric, so for a while, people naturally assumed he would carry on the family business. However, Bowen made it clear that he had other plans. After high school, he enrolled in Texas Tech University where he earned a degree in public relations and minored in marketing. During college Bowen worked a string of odd jobs, including one as a maintenance man at an apartment complex for the elderly where he would often get tipped in Hershey’s bars. During his freshman year of college, Bowen saw a Robert Earl Keen concert. Up until that point, Bowen thought the only way to make it in country music was to move to Nashville. Yet after seeing Keen, he realized that the best way to get started in the music business was to just get started. From that point on, he was determined to start a band and get himself out there. He decided that he did not have to have all the answers, he would simply figure them out along the way. At age 20, during his sophomore year of college, Bowen and his friend Matt Miller got some buddies together, started a band, and began practicing in Bowen’s garage. His first gig was an open mic night at Stubb’s in Lubbock. At the time, the group did not even have a name. On the way to the gig, inspiration struck and West 84, the name of the freeway from Waco to Lubbock, became the band’s official name. The band played a lot of cover songs and tried to learn what stirred clouds. Six months later, Stubb’s closed and the group began playing at The Blue Light. “You’ve got to be awful at first to figure it all out,” Bowen explained to Jim Casey, editor in chief of Nash Country Daily. “My theory was always let’s throw ourselves into shark-infested waters and swim our way out and survive instead of just hanging out at the shore watching everybody.” Once Bowen got a taste of music, he dove right in and began singing as often as possible. Although his heart was already elsewhere, Bowen was still determined to earn his degree in order to make his father happy. After college, he worked temporarily for Bowen Electric to make some extra money, but from the moment he first got on stage, everything Bowen did seemed to somehow revolve around music. “He started playing in a band around ’98,” said Bowen’s pledge brother from his college fraternity, Sigma Chi. “Wade would always be sitting around playing his guitar and singing George Strait songs. He was really good. He’s still the same. He’s still a really good guy.” In 1999, Bowen released his first album Just for Fun. Just like most beginnings, Just for Fun was a venture that Bowen is slightly embarrassed about today and has deemed “awful.” In 2002, Bowen released his next album, Try Not To Listen, which became a local phenomenon. After that, Bowen took gigs anywhere he could, performing up to 250 gigs a year. Eventually, his title track rose to the top ten on the Texas music charts. He followed up that album with The Blue Light Live in 2003 and Lost Hotel in 2006. For the first time, Bowen was getting audiences outside of his home state and his star was beginning to rise. At that point, Bowen began collaborating with country music legends like Pat Green, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Radney Foster, Randy Rogers, and brother-in-law Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed. The collaborations brought Bowen’s music in front of new audiences and really got his name out there.

YOURS ALONE During his early days out on the road, Bowen did some touring alongside singer Cody Canada and his band, which was then Cross Canadian Ragweed. Bowen and Cody were playing some of the same gigs, and had really developed a liking for each other, and he began spending time with Cody and his wife Shannon. However, Bowen got the shock of a lifetime when Shannon introduced him to her attractive single sister Shelby who had just moved to Texas from Fresno, California. Bowen hit it off with Shelby right away and the pair began dating. Four years later, in early 2005, Shelby officially became Mrs. Wade Bowen. That July, Wade and Shelby welcomed their first son, Bruce (named after Bruce Springsteen) into the world. Three years later, a second son, Brock, would be born. “We just kind of slowly got to know each other, and then we just fell in love,” Bowen said of his wife. “What wows me about Shelby, though, is that she just gets prettier. A lot of women feel like when they get older, they lose their good looks, but to me, she just gets prettier.” A pleasant surprise to the Tired of Being Alone singer, Bowen’s whole world would change by this amazing little family that began to capture his heart. In fact, one of Bowen’s most treasured and beloved songs, Before These Walls Were Blue, was written about his sons.

“My theory was always let’s throw ourselves into shark-infested waters and swim our way out and survive instead of just hanging out at the shore watching everybody.”

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A PATCH OF BAD WEATHER However, everything in life was not a bed of roses, as Bowen’s wife suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of their first son. Bowen felt partially to blame because of his time on the road touring. During that time period, there was both contention and emotional turmoil as they each tried to deal with the effects in their own way. Bowen said he just tried to hold on through the difficult times and be there for his wife in any way he could. He later wrote a song, Turn on the Lights about that difficult period where Wade and Shelby were just trying to stay afloat. In 2008, Bowen released an album If We Ever Make It Home. It was a more mature album that dealt with the difficulties of life. This album rose to number 29 on the country music charts. During this time, Wade and Shelby also decided to help bring awareness to postpartum issues by talking about the struggles and by raising money for Postpartum Support International. Over the next three years, Wade Bowen’s foundation would raise over $300,000 for the organization.

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Following the tougher times, Bowen decided to do something a little more fun and released Live at Billy Bob’s Texas in 2010. After that, he signed with BNA Records and released The Given. This time, Bowen’s album reached number nine on the country music charts. His next album was self-titled, and to Bowen’s surprise reached the top ten on the Billboard country chart. He also appeared on Conan and received national television coverage for the first time. However, his greatest success yet would come in 2015 with the release of Hold My Beer, Vol. 1, which was a duet with Randy Rogers. This album reached number four. “We decided we’d just go into the studio with Lloyd Maines and record a couple of songs, and tack ‘em on to the live record,” Bowen said in an interview with Texas Music Scene TV. “Randy looked at me and said, ‘This is really good . . . we should make a whole record.” The album with Randy Rogers went so well that Bowen and Rogers followed it up with an acoustic live album in 2016 called Watch This. That same year, Rogers and Bowen were featured in Rolling Stone Magazine. They followed up their albums with a very successful Hold My Beer and Watch This tour. Following on the heels of that tour, Bowen released what Rolling Stone Country called

TOO LATE FOR GOODBYE To add insult to injury, Bowen received an even worse blow when he got a call telling him that his nephew Chase Cavender, also his stage manager on the road, committed suicide without warning on Father’s Day of 2018. A happy-go-lucky husband and a brand-new father, nobody quite understood why Cavender would do such a thing. The fact that the whole band was super close to the lively and charismatic Cavender made the tough news even worse. It left the whole group battling shock, emptiness, despair, and anger. It also left many questions that could never be answered. Following the devastating news, Bowen reluctantly got back out on the road. Because music was his coping mechanism, because he needed a distraction from the questions, and because he had people relying on him financially, Bowen returned to singing, taking things one painful day at a time.

a love letter to his home state of Texas and his most musically ambitious set of songs in a career that spans two decades. Critics and friends both said they were the best songs he has ever written. However, Solid Ground did not reach the same success level on the charts, partially due to a medical problem with Bowen’s vocal cords that forced him to completely stop singing and have vocal surgery. Because of the medical issues, Bowen stopped promotion of his new album entirely. “I noticed then that my voice was not normal to me,” Bowen said in his recently released documentary Inconsistent Chaos that chronicled the hardships of 2018. After visiting the doctor, Bowen was told that his vocal cords were hemorrhaging and that blood was pooling in his throat. What started as three weeks off ended up being a three-month sabbatical from singing. However, as much as Bowen was worried about his voice, he was more worried about paying his staff with no income. On the verge of bankrupting his touring company, Bowen paid all of his people anyway. However, donations came in and helped Bowen through those tough financial times. This got them through the tough financial struggles during his surgery and rehabilitation. “I knew he was scared because he would say, ‘Don’t tell mom!’” Bowen’s sister Jill Goss said. “We didn’t want her to worry.” However, Bowen made it through the surgery, and returned quickly to singing, only this time, he vowed to take better care of his vocal cords.

“I think I relied on my friends and family... all of that has been the reason I got through it all,” Bowen said. “That, and I just keep working. I try to outwork it. That, and just trust that God has a plan. I trust in God’s words and just do the best I can.” Last July, however, Bowen had a happy distraction when he sang for his hometown family and friends at the 21st Annual Wade Bowen Music Festival. The annual event is hosted by the Wade Bowen Family Foundation, which gives back to the people of Texas, particularly Bowen’s hometown of Waco. The foundation has donated to organizations like the March of Dimes Waco, CASA of McLennan and Hill Counties, Boys & Girls Clubs of Waco, REACH, Inspiración, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the City of West Disaster Relief. The foundation was thrilled to reach a new milestone this year, as they have now raised over $3.5 million for various charities. “Earlier this year our foundation received a humanitarian of the year award at the Texas Regional Radio Awards, and that was really fun for me,” Bowen said. “The legacy that I’d like to leave behind is the foundation and all the work that we do. I like to see the good in people and just help other people. That’s really important to me.” Following his current tour, Bowen hopes to finally make some time to just relax, smell the roses, and play golf, eat pizza, or just watch his favorite funny movie Christmas Vacation. Bowen says that music makes the world go around, because music helps people express what they feel. Perhaps the thing that makes Bowen’s world musical at all is the wonderful people he has had the opportunity to love along the way. In spite of the losses, Bowen still feels that love makes all the difference in the end.

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T The matter of planting an elaeagnus in the yard can be a thorny issue. Literally. A large shrub with modified “thorns,” elaeagnus does not belong in everyone’s landscape because of its ultimate size. However, in the right situation, thorny elaeagnus makes an ideal shrub with many fine qualities.


horny elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens) comes from Japan and forms a large, sprawling, evergreen shrub that can reach an ultimate height of 6 to 8 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. The shrub grows fast and sends up long, cinnamon-colored, arching stems from the crown of the plant; these stems, or suckers, quickly rise above the rest of the foliage and easily draw attention to themselves. The stems, buds, and twigs are all covered with silver scales. Long, slender “thorns” appear on most vigorous new shoots. These thorns are not especially stout, but they could hurt if accidentally jammed into flesh. Eventually, though, small leaves sprout from these thorns, and they quickly grow into a soft, young stem. The oval- to oblong-shaped leaves alternate along the stem and have a smooth but wavy margin. The leaves on the common cultivar ‘Fruitlandii’ are grayish-green on top and light tan on the underside; the upper and lower surface of the leaves are covered with silvery scales, which give a flaky, silver appearance. Some cultivars of thorny elaeagnus have variegated leaves. ‘Maculata,’ for instance, sports 3- to 4-inch-long leaves with a bright yellow center and green margins. The Southern Living Plant Collection now features a cultivar named ‘Olive Martini’ that has green leaves edged in gold. ‘Olive Martini’ creates a striking display in the sunny border, provides sturdy structure and stable color, and its silvery new growth adds seasonal interest to this evergreen shrub. The hybrid Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Gilt Edge’ features green splotches in the center of the leaf and banana-yellow leaf margins that really give the plant an overall yellow appearance. Apart from the wonderful, large shrub that thorny elaeagnus makes, its flowers bring utter delight to the fall garden. The bell-

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Flowers Fruit

shaped, cream-colored flowers are very small, only about a quarter-inch long, and look as if they have been sprinkled with cinnamon. You can find them in small clusters where the leaf joins the stem. Because of their size, they are essentially inconspicuous. However, their captivating fragrance, reminiscent of cloves, makes a huge impact on the olfactory system and perfumes the air during November, even from quite a distance. These tiny flowers give way to small, half-inch-long red berries (drupes) that ripen in the spring. Each fruit is almost completely filled with one large seed. Between the seed and the leathery exterior of the fruit, there is a blood-red pulp that is sweet and edible when ripe. The fruit is subject to freeze damage in the colder part of its range. Therefore, although the shrub will bloom in the fall, its fruit may not make it to spring. When fruit does develop on the shrub, it provides food for birds. Thorny elaeagnus grows in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9 in full sun to part shade in just about any kind of soil except constantly wet, soggy soil. It is a tough, fast-growing, lowmaintenance shrub that withstands pests, pollution, salt spray, heat, drought, and deer. Once established, it requires very little, if any, supplemental water. Plant thorny elaeagnus in a location where it has plenty of room to reach its mature size. Start with five-gallon plants, and install them 6 feet on center (6 feet from the center of one plant to the center of the next plant). In 2 to 3 years, the shrubs will have grown into each other to form a large, continuous hedge. The better you can water and fertilize it, the faster it will grow and fill in. Do not shear this large shrub into shapes such as squares and balls or even into a boxed, continuous hedge; let it attain its natural shape and full size. Shearing and pruning this shrub will be frustrating, as suckers emerge from

the crown of the plant in no time. These long, branchless stems rise into the air above the sheared foliage and create an unkempt appearance even after a recent shearing, and are less of a problem if pruning simply does not occur. Use this shrub along a property line as a large hedge or screen for privacy or even security. It also looks good as a backdrop for a mixed border of smaller, blooming shrubs, ornamental grasses, perennials, and annuals. It is especially striking planted in front of ‘Little Gem’ magnolias because the silver leaves contrast with the dark green leaves of the magnolia, and the cinnamon-colored stems correspond to the brown undersides of the magnolia leaves. It is the perfect shrub for holding soil and providing vegetation on slopes and hillsides and even looks great and will perform well at the edge of ponds and pools. Include thorny elaeagnus in the landscape as a wildlife habitat; its dense mass of tangled branches provides the perfect shelter for birds to roost and build their nests. One caveat about thorny elaeagnus is that it is considered an invasive plant in Texas. Although plants do not always produce fruit, animals and birds can disperse the seeds, therefore widening its area of distribution. Reproduction also occurs via stem sprouts. Because this shrub gets large, it can climb into trees and choke out native vegetation. Whether or not to plant elaeagnus in your yard can be a thorny issue. However, if you have the right conditions for it and will manage it well, it makes a wonderful, and an especially fragrant, addition to the landscape. Steve Huddleston is the senior horticulturist at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, co-author of Easy Gardens for North Central Texas, and president of his own landscape company.

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Interior designers Hailey Kolbe and Joshua Ortiz of Ambrose Interiors were charged with the task of creating a home that merged the old-world Italian style with a modern, progressive color palette. The two designers used the client’s curated collectibles from traveling to Italy, paired with textiles, antiques, and natural materials to create a custom, one-of-akind space. “We wanted to incorporate a brighter vision along with their vision for the home,” Kolbe said. “We merged old and new together appropriately.” From classic Italian hand-hewn beams to softcolored custom textiles, every inch of this home blends old world charm into a modern setting. The result is a large home that somehow feels both expansive and intimate and reflects the homeowner’s love for Italian charm.

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A custom blend paint color adds warmth into the space. It reflects sunlight, and the color changes slightly as the sunlight changes.

These custom chairs covered in a velvet fabric add a light, subtle softness to the room and help guide the eye toward the window.

Authentic materials were brought in to keep the space balanced. The light-colored chairs bring out the gray undertones in the hand-hewn beams. Additionally, the custom blend paint color on the walls draws your eyes toward the draperies and the window to make the space feel even larger.


The fabric inspired the entire palette for the living room. It incorporated a teal shade the client loved, but also introduced a muted coral dubbed “the color of sunset� into the space.

The kitchen certainly serves as the heart of the home here. The open concept shelves model a more authentic Tuscan Italian home, while the appliances and cabinetry have more modern appeal. Above the stove is a custom tile backsplash. A photo the homeowners took in a scenic Italian town was turned into a one-of-a-kind focal point. The iron details throughout the space are also reflected in the staircase, living room, and dining room, to create a seamless multi-view experience.

30 | OCTOBER 2019

This antique Portuguese cherub mantel is a Round Top find that is installed into the stone exterior fireplace on the back patio.

The same stone that was used on the exterior of the walls was continued inside the space here. “It feels like an expansion of the space,” Kolbe said. “It makes the room feel more open.” The iron wall sconces help deepen the illusion and create an indoor-outdoor experience. This tree-lined space is lined with olive trees and bright florals that lead to a custom pool.

A powder room directly off the family room features sourced antique sconces and mirror. The wallpaper incorporates a subtle shade of sage that is found throughout the rest of the home. The focal point of the room is undoubtedly the onyx vessel bowl that rests on a wooden countertop. The marble aproncut backsplash draws the eye, without being too flashy.

The client’s love of butterflies is showcased over and over throughout the home. Here they are shown as mirrored prints hanging on the wall.

Bunkbeds in the bonus room serve as extra sleeping space without taking up too much of the room.

32 | OCTOBER 2019

The massage room is a tranquil space with French doors that lead out to the front of the home, where a fountain is located. “We originally had windows in this spot, but removed them to add outdoor access,” Kolbe said. “On nice days, the door can be opened to experience the sound of water while getting a massage.”

A reclaimed wine barrel serves as a sink in the bathroom.

A patterned tile wall adds visual interest and color while also infusing the space with texture.

OCTOBER 2019 | 33

“We introduced a lighter stain to add a new natural element in this space, and also played with mixing a lot of browns,� Kolbe said.

The remainder of the hand-hewn beams from the living room were able to be used in this study.

The bookshelf items were categorized by scale, with large items being placed into the shelves first. Books were added next to balance the shelves, with smaller accessories placed last. Color was used as needed to draw the eye.

This custom leather office chair has tufted tobacco leather and nail head trim.

34 | OCTOBER 2019


Creating Looks Beyond the Trends




veryone knows that having a new house built can be a stressful and arduous process, from finding the right architect and builder to choosing materials and hardware that might remain in the home for years to come. Knowing that the materials being installed will gracefully endure is a nail-biting concern. If you have already begun this process or are about to and are worried that the art of fine craftsmanship is dead, then hope has arrived, and its name is Hardwood Design Company. With their products recently featured in Architectural Digest, this independently owned company was founded in 1998 by friends and Texas A&M University graduates Brandon Claborn and Jim Matson. “Jim and I were childhood friends,” Claborn said. “He was my older brother’s best friend. We grew up together. Sophomore year in college, we knew we were going to do something on our own but just didn’t know what yet. We’ve been partners now for 22 years, and our families are super close. His dad’s my second dad.” The company creates and designs high-end, innovative, and one-of-a-kind hardwood products for luxury, residential, and commercial projects. Perhaps more importantly, they stand behind three pillars that make up the company’s ethos: thoughtfully sourced, locally-made, and authentically-crafted. OCTOBER 2019 | 35

Hardwood Design Company was founded in 1998 by friends and Texas A&M University graduates Brandon Claborn (left) and Jim Matson (right).

Post oak hardwood floors

What makes them even more unique is that they use salvaged wood. Whether it is mesquite trees being torn down to make room for agriculture or materials reclaimed from an old, abandoned barn, they are creating exceptional products and operating a sustainable business at the same time. “When we started it was just about Texas mesquite,” Claborn said. “It’s the most beautiful and indestructible of woods, but it’s a land hog and a water hog, and there were millions of dollars being spent trying to figure out how to eradicate it.” Mesquite trees are prolific on many Texas lands but can cause problems for landowners. Instead of just burning them, which is what typically happens, Hardwood Design procures the wood and then transforms it into stunning materials for a myriad of projects. “We created an industry for ourselves, clearing and taking trees,” he said. “It’s a very difficult process for us. We’ll get

36 | OCTOBER 2019

them from farmers or ranchers who are clearing land for cattle or crops. A lot of times, we get materials from residential and commercial developments that will bulldoze down big beautiful trees, and we take them.” A perfect example of this is when Hyatt’s Lost Pines Resort cut down some stunning native pecan trees in 2004 for their property but had Hardwood Design use those same trees to make the flooring for the property. “That just solidified our direction and the belief that what the company was built on had relevance,” he said. Although they still use salvaged wood, they have expanded the types of wood they work with, including their top sellers: post oak and Texas pecan. The natural face post oak became one of their number-one products and is Claborn’s personal favorite. “I love that it’s sourced right here in my backyard, love the natural coloring, graining, the density,” Claborn said. “It’s a wide

oak and white in color, so there’s a lot of creativity in making it anything you want. I always say it’s like everything mesquite is and everything it’s not.” One of their clients, Waggoner Ranch, the largest ranch in the United States, used large amounts of their natural face Texas post oak. The Kendra Scott flagship store in Austin also used this same type of wood. “Whether it’s post oak or pecan, it’s becoming the way to have that truly old, authentic look and feel on your floor,” Claborn said. “We work to bring out its natural beauty. You don’t put lipstick on a pig.”

“I know where the wood is sourced; I know how it got cut, made, and finished. We’re in control of the entire process from start to finish. Very few people out there do that.” - Brandon Claborn, Founder and Co-Partner However, achieving this look is not easy. In fact, it is a true labor of love from start to finish that requires an elevated level of craftsmanship and technology that is quintessentially beautiful.

Sourcing of post oak logs

“I know where the wood is sourced; I know how it got cut, made, and finished,” he said. “We’re in control of the entire process from start to finish. Very few people out there do that.” “We’re gonna use the highest quality materials for the best, most authentic outcome,” he said. “We do good work the right way. We’re not going to use a cheap glue or stain.” Claborn said the types of materials they create are meant to be evergreen, not a flash in the pan like shag carpet that will be gauche by the time you move in. He explained that Europeans have always used oil or wax on their wood floors as opposed to polyurethane, and it seems Americans are getting back to that, too. “We’re now seeing a lot of floors being oiled to achieve that low sheen, that matte, that natural raw wood look,” he explained. He pointed out that you will need to maintain your floors by re-oiling every one to two years; however, depending upon the look you want, you might not. “There is a rise in people who really want that natural worn look,” he said. For Hardwood Design Company, it all boils down to authenticity and letting the beauty of nature speak for itself. It is a talent that they have honed to a fine sheen.

Live sawn oak floors Hand-scraping


Creating A Warm and Welcoming


As Texas leaves the scorching season of summertime and eases into autumn, it is time to turn our attention toward the holidays. This is the time of year when friends and family join us to celebrate, so why not create a luxurious retreat for them to enjoy when visiting? The best guest rooms are uncluttered, promote relaxation, and are inspired by favorite hotels. The following tips are easily implemented.


If your guest room is the catch-all for your old, collegiate dÊcor, it is time to upgrade. This does not have to break the bank, but it does mean being intentional about selecting items that are appropriate for your current lifestyle so you and your guests can enjoy the space for years to come. A fresh coat of paint will change the vibe in any room. Consider a creamy white or subtle gray to neutralize the walls and allow artwork to shine. A new headboard will go a long way in updating your room’s style; look for an upholstered option to provide a place for your guests to recline when sitting in bed.


Nice linens are essential in a guest room. Bedding should be a high thread count or soft, bamboo sheets, layered with a thin blanket and a thick duvet comforter. White sheets, blankets, and comforter are always a safe and attractive choice. Adding a hint of color with an accent pillow or two is an easy solution with the option to mix and match seasonally. Keep the pillows to a minimum, so your guests do not have trouble making the bed each morning. Providing extra blankets and pillows in the closet for your guests to access gives each individual a level of comfort to meet their desires. Bathroom linens in white provide a coordinated, luxurious appearance and are also easy to clean. Simple hot water and bleach for any stains provide a simple solution when your guests depart. White linens are also easy to replace without needing to coordinate varying shades and tones of colors throughout the room.


A surface next to the bed is a necessary convenience. If space allows, a nightstand on either side of the bed is a welcome element, but even a single side table allows for your guest to place their phone, reading glasses, and water nearby when they climb into bed. This piece of furniture can even double as storage, with drawers for your guests to unpack and store smaller items. Adding a charging station inside the top drawer or simply plugged in next to or behind it is a helpful solution for guests who travel with their electronics.


A writing table or small desk stocked with stamped, local postcards and pens is a thoughtful addition to any guest room. Place a mirror above this surface, and the space can double as a vanity or dressing table.




Today’s televisions are easily mounted on the wall; use a retractable swing arm if the room is large enough to view the screen from multiple angles. There are also televisions that turn into art when not in use, providing additional beauty to the room at all times.

Providing the light necessary to read in the guest bedroom is a luxury easily delivered to your guests. Place lamps on the bedside tables that are proportional to the side tables; a chunky lamp will feel out of place on a delicate nightstand. If tabletop space is limited, hang pendant lights on one or both sides of the bed. Wall sconces are another solution you can layer with either option or install alone if space is limited. A floor lamp opposite the bed will also provide a layer of lighting that is both functional and attractive.

Recent magazines and local publications are a welcoming touch to any guest room. Guests may enjoy flipping through the periodicals as well as learning more about local events. Sharing your favorite books is another great option, but keep in mind they may leave your house with your company, so choose wisely.


Having the space to unpack is essential for visits longer than a single night. A small dresser or chest is useful, as are hangers and space in the closet for hanging clothing. Keep a bottle of wrinkle releaser labeled and on hand for guests to refresh unpacked clothing. If you do not have a lot of room for a dresser or chest of drawers in the bedroom, build drawers into the closet, or slide a small chest inside for storage.


Sunshine is a natural mood enhancer. Allowing sunlight to stream through the windows in your guest bedroom naturally creates a welcoming environment for your visitors. Sheer or thin curtains provide a beautiful filtering effect during the daytime. However, outside light is not welcome when trying to sleep in an unfamiliar place. Installing blinds, shutters, or heavy (or blackout) curtains provides a cozy, dark sleeping environment for guests to get a good night’s rest.


If space allows, additional seating is a luxury that provides your guests with relaxation options other than the bed. Whether a couch or bench at the foot of the bed, or an occasional chair in the corner, secondary seating may be used for reading, relaxing, conversational arrangements, or simply a place to put on shoes.

You do not want your visitors to spend all their time in the guest bedroom, but you do want them to feel at home while staying with you. If they are generally used to winding down with late-night programming or getting ready in the morning with the news playing in the background, a television provides them with this additional layer of comfort.

DE TAI L S . DE TAIL S . DE TAIL S . The essentials of a guest bedroom are easily implemented, but the little details are what make a plain room special. Take the time to elevate your guest’s experience.

Provide a robe for your guests.

Hang one or two on the back of the door or in the closet for your guests to use during their stay.

Fresh flowers.

Freshly cut flowers or greenery add life to any room. Sharing some seasonal freshness is a beautiful addition to a short or long stay.

Travel-sized necessities.

In case something was forgotten, small selections are useful. Toothpaste, soap, shampoo and conditioner, and mouthwash are always convenient.

Coffee or tea.

If space permits, a small coffee pot with coffee and tea service is a detail that is sure to please your early rising guests. In fact, this may please the host just as much, rather than entertaining early morning.


… Or on the back of the door. A full-length mirror provides your guests the opportunity to give themselves and their outfit a final check before stepping out for the day. A mirror on the back of the bedroom, closet, or bathroom door is a great way to provide the function without taking up a lot of room.

Implementing some or all of the above tips will be certain to showcase true Texas hospitality to your visitors this holiday season, and year-round.

OCTOBER 2019 | 39

Not Your Average



It is no secret that pumpkins are fall’s favorite friend.


The addition of pumpkin spiced lattes to menus signals the transition from summer to fall just as much as the arrival of cooler nights, Friday night football, and the changing leaves. However, this year, we are planning to get our fill of pumpkin through more than just our morning coffee run. Welcome the new season with these pumpkininspired goodies and activities.

Before we dive headfirst into our ideas for how to best enjoy pumpkins this season, we will start with everyone’s favorite way: through food. How often does someone encourage you to eat cake for breakfast? Probably not enough, but this October, that is exactly what we want you to do. Polly’s Pumpkin Bread, affectionately nicknamed pumpkin cake because of its sweetness and classic Bundt shape, is a longtime favorite of a large Central Texas family. Whether you choose to serve it up next to a side of sweet potato hash, brown sugar bacon, or just another couple of slices, Polly’s Pumpkin Bread will hit the spot every morning this fall.

Polly’s Pumpkin Bread WHAT YO U WILL NEED :

• 3 cups flour

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 3 cups sugar

• 1 can of pumpkin

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 cup vegetable oil

• 1 teaspoon nutmeg

• 3 eggs

• 1 teaspoon allspice

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1 teaspoon cloves DIR E CT IO NS :


Start by sifting together the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well until everything is combined. 3. Pour the batter into a greased pan (either two loaf pans or one Bundt pan). 4. Bake at 350°F for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy! Anyone in the family that provided this recipe will tell you that pumpkin cake for breakfast is best when slathered in butter and toasted in the oven for a couple of minutes.



IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN We have all heard of (and probably participated in) a classic Christmas card photo shoot, but it is time to bring that tradition to October. Who said picking out pumpkins had to be boring? Skip the quick run to the grocery store and turn this typical task into a special occasion. Grab a camera, gather your people, and head to the local pumpkin patch! Whether you are bringing a slew of kids in matching outfits or a group of girlfriends looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve, you are sure to capture some sweet and fun moments on camera. This is a wonderful way to make memories with loved ones that will last long after the festive gourds and jack-o-lanterns are put away.

Picture Perfect Coordinating outfits is part of the fun with this activity, so we have gathered some of our favorite pumpkin patch looks to share. • All denim everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but nothing beats a good pair of jeans or a nice denim button-down. The cool blues will contrast with the bright orange all around and make for great photos. • Fun with flannel. Nothing says fall quite like a flannel shirt. Not to mention, it is easy to find a variety of colors and styles for everyone in your group. • Go neutral. Keep it simple with all blacks, whites, and grays. Whether it is a top, dress, or romper, everyone will already have that go-to basic in their closet.

So, you are tired of the inevitable mess that comes along with carving pumpkins. Many people are. That is why we want to share some different ways to get your pumpkins party ready. These alternatives to carving faces and designs are more forgiving, kid-friendly, and long-lasting. (You can also keep them in more places than just the front porch.) After you have picked the perfect pumpkins, plan a day to decorate. Painting pumpkins has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and this option gives you and your kids room to get more creative. You can paint small, sleek pumpkins in blacks, whites, and golds for your dining room table, all while your children paint fun faces with glow-in-the-dark paint. Acrylic paint and spray paint typically work best for this craft, and you can even use stencils or cutouts intended for carving. If you are okay with a little mess, try turning your pumpkins into planters for some colorful fall blooms. Start by cutting a hole in your pumpkin around the stem (the size will depend on the plant you choose), then hollow out the pumpkin just like you would if you were going to make a jack-o-lantern. Once you have it cleaned out, carve a small hole in the base for water drainage. Last but not least, add your soil and plant of choice, and it will be ready to go! You can make multiple planters in different sizes and colors, and they will work inside or outside all season long.

SMASHING PUMPKINS One of the inevitable parts of keeping pumpkins as decorations is that they will go bad at some point during the season. There are plenty of tips and tricks to keeping them around longer, but at some point, everyone will have to throw them out. However, there is nothing that says you cannot have fun doing it. As opposed to the trash can, we recommend the considerably more entertaining pumpkin smash. This is a super fun, energyreleasing activity for kids (and even adults) of all ages and is guaranteed to brighten up the task of changing decorations out for the approaching holidays. There are a few ways you could go about this, but the first thing you have to do is find any relatively open space. This could be someone’s backyard, an open field, or even a driveway. If you are near an elevated surface, you can take the approach of throwing the pumpkins to the ground from up high for a satisfying splat. If the ground is all you have to work with, bring along a couple of baseball bats or sledgehammers to do the job, and take turns until the pumpkins are gone. No matter where you do it, or which method you choose, invite some friends and enjoy this year’s pumpkins one last time.

OCTOBER 2019 | 41

d : : n l a e r r a B t n i P EXPERIENCE


Pint and Barrel Drafthouse owners Chris and Allison Keller set out to create an establishment that would serve great craft beer, dish up delicious comfort food, and serve the community as sort of the “living room” or “back porch” of the area. They seem to have accomplished all three! SETTING UP SHOP Chris’s beer background began with home brewing, a hobby he enjoyed with his best friend. His interest led to a career with Saint Arnold Brewing Company, located in the outskirts of Houston. However, the couple dreamed of someday opening up their own place. They enjoyed the smaller town feel and set out in search of the perfect downtown setting when the time was nearly right. They looked into opening in Wimberley, Kerrville, and various quaint towns with town centers or squares. They moved their search eastward, looking at places like Tyler and Nacogdoches, before narrowing down to Palestine. After looking all over the small city, “We decided to bring craft beer to East Texas because there was nothing else like what we wanted to do,” Chris said. 42 | OCTOBER 2019

These days, while Chris manages the bar and kitchen, Allison is the genius behind all of their graphics and marketing, her area of expertise. She truly hit the nail on the head with their logo and vibe. Much of the art that adorns the walls was created by Allison’s father. Because of the down-home, local feel, customers even leave their own art drawn on the back of coasters and set upon the shiplap that covers the lower portion of the walls. Overall, the two seem to make an incredibly successful team.

THE FLOOD With no major chain restaurants, casual bars, or dining establishments where families can relax while their kids play outside, the decision was mutually beneficial;

PALESTINE NEEDED THEM AS MUCH AS THEY NEEDED THE LOCATION. Everything seemingly fell into place when it came to finding a building and staff, or at least as much as it can when undergoing a major endeavor and life move. The building sits on a lot next to a creek bed in the main part of historic downtown. The porch includes a broad covered deck and a grassy courtyard, which the Kellers have turned into a venue for music, outdoor eating, and any sort of fun gathering. While playing outside, their youngest child will often find metal hardware such as bolts and washers buried beneath the dirt, a testament to the lawnmower repair business that occupied the building in a previous life! Finding a cook was also “meant to be.” Scotty, who was living in Tennessee at the time, replied to the couple’s Craigslist posting for the role within hours. He had been looking to relocate and came on board with several decades of experience and brought along his barbeque secrets. “Not even his wife knows them,” Chris said. Early in their relationship, Allison cooked her future husband a meatloaf dinner. He enjoyed it so much that he commented, “If we ever have a place, that’s on the menu.” Sure enough, the dish was the menu’s first item. Scotty, their incredible creator of comfort foods, contributed as well, and current and past favorites include items like their cheesy chicken parmesan sandwich, a Reuben with a fried egg, good old-fashioned brisket, and Shepherd’s Pie!

On April 30, 2016, a severe flash flood ravaged Old Town Palestine, particularly Crawford Street. Considered a “100-years flood,” lifelong residents had never seen anything like it. But despite the shock and damage, the next morning, hundreds from the community crowded into the area, ready to lend a helping hand to local businesses that suffered severe losses. Oxbow Bakery and Antiques, Hambone’s Cajun Grill, Shelton Gin, and Pint and Barrel Drafthouse were among the businesses suffering the greatest losses, some with water marking the walks nearer the ceiling than the floor. Oxbow lost many of their irreplaceable antique goods, and as the flood swept through Pint and Barrel, the pub immediately lost about $10,000 in food supplies alone. The day after the flood, Chris described how the town came together to help rebuild. “Customers wanted it back up and running,” he said. “Probably at least 200 people showed up, ready to lend a hand.” He explained that the local residents sort of formed into a reconstruction crew of sorts, offering services and help from electrical repairs to carpentry to HVAC services to fan and dehumidifier donations. Thanks to the help of these neighbors, friends, and even strangers, Pint and Barrel was closed for only ten days. While that likely felt like an eternity to the owners and employees, the fact that the restaurant was able to be cleaned and restored to operational status in a little over a week is nearly unbelievable. But the community loves the ability to hang out, meet with friends and family, relax with a beer or wine, and just enjoy a fantastic meal. Chris and Allison made sure their staff was paid during that time, as well! The downtown businesses did not have flood insurance, so once Pint and Barrel was running full speed ahead again, the Kellers faced a mountain of bills; but that did not get them down. They kept moving forward, opening their doors welcoming guests and making sure no one left hungry or thirsty! OCTOBER 2019 | 43

DAYTRIPPER In the summer of 2017, the drafthouse got some additional attention by way of local Texas travel celebrity, The Daytripper. Chet Garner, the “trail boss” of the production as well as the main star, travels around Texas on one-day trips, diving into the history, culture, and cuisine of a different town on each episode. The television portion has won six Emmy Awards, but he also is incredibly active online through blogs, podcasts, and social media. Garner and his team discovered Pint and Barrel through the local tourist bureau, the Palestine Visitor Center. They recommended Garner try the Three Little Piggy Sandwich, which includes bacon, ham, and SPAM. He called it, “Cheesy, greasy, and oh-so-delicious pub grub!” Although the episode aired two years ago, Chris said that the episode was still bringing people in to try them out.

CHRIS KEEPS ABOUT SIXTEEN TO EIGHTEEN VARIETIES OF CRAFT BREWS ON TAP, with various types represented, from ambers to wheats to stouts.

A LAID-BACK HANGOUT Never fear, the fame has not gone to their heads. They are still as down-to-earth as ever. In fact, there is really no wait staff. Guests can come to the bar to order both drinks and food. Chris keeps about sixteen to eighteen varieties of craft brews on tap, with various types represented, from ambers to wheats to stouts. The couple said that one of their biggest challenges has been learning to manage a team of staff members, especially because of the place’s family feel. In terms of challenges they expect to arise in the future, the two foresee needing a bigger kitchen. This seems like a positive problem to have! An actual living room-like area at the front of the building offers darts for adults and couches where people can gather to hang out or get to know one another. There are tables inside, of course seats at the bar, and a plethora of outdoor seating on the expansive porch. According to Chris, a local lawyer once approached him and said, “Thank you for what you are doing for the community.” Plenty of people bring their birthday gatherings to the pub (although they will not reserve tables). They have hosted many events, from the 1985 Palestine High School Reunion crown to a 70th birthday party. Recently, they provided space for a corn hole tournament benefiting the Special Olympics, and the pub participates in and supports many local events. Chris shared that he and Allison often witness folks reunite after years of living in or visiting the same town who have simply had no opportunity to run into each other! “We want people to feel comfortable coming, even if they are by themselves,” Allison said. For those looking to get out and enjoy a day trip, find themselves driving through, or are just in the mood for some craft brew and pub fare, head on over to the Pint and Barrel Drafthouse and tell them Texasliving sent you!

44 | OCTOBER 2019



You scream! I scream!

We all scream for ice cream! This rich and creamy dessert has become a present-day staple in many U.S. household freezers. Until around 1800, when insulated houses were invented, ice cream was a rare and exotic treat, reserved mainly for the elite. Historically, no one has been awarded the “inventor of ice cream,” but many references report evidence of ice cream among the early presidents including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. A recipe for vanilla ice cream, written in President Jefferson’s handwriting, was found as well as culinary tools such as ice molds and two pewter ice cream pots of Thomas Jefferson’s at Mount Vernon.

In 1851, Baltimore milk dealer Jacob Fussell opened an ice cream factory to make use of his unsold milk. The factory’s success was the pivotal beginning of the mass production of ice cream. The late 1800s brought the introduction of the traditional ice cream parlor and soda fountain, which converged to make a new creation — the ice cream float! Then, the multitude of technological advancements throughout the Industrial Revolution, such as refrigeration, steam power, and automobiles, made it possible for ice cream to be distributed to grocery store shelves starting in the 1930s. This frozen treat became so popular during this time that it was offered as a morale-booster to U.S. troops during World War II. The increase in prepackaged ice cream sales within supermarkets diminished the novelty of ice cream parlors, so many of them closed their doors. In more recent times, artisanal ice cream shops have been emerging. Here are a few of our favorite Texas finds.

OCTOBER 2019 | 45

AU S T I N & SA N A N TO N I O Co-founders Anthony Sobotik and Chad Palmatier both grew up in small towns, making homemade ice cream. These rural roots provided a strong foundation for the inspiration of Lick Honest Ice Creams, which opened its doors in 2011. Now the company has three Austin-based stores, one shop in San Antonio at the Pearl, and an ice cream truck called the Scoop Truck. Sobotik explained the passionate reasoning behind starting this charming local creamery. “The inspiration behind Lick Honest Ice Creams was to celebrate the seasons, flavors, and farmers of Texas through ice creams that are made honestly. To us, that means making ice creams with ingredients that come directly from local farmers and food artisans and making every single thing that goes into our ice creams from scratch.” This is carried out meticulously in the everyday operations at Lick. Even the base of each ice cream is their own recipe and made fresh for them weekly at the dairy.



HERITAGE CREAMERY WACO Independently owned and locally operated, Heritage Creamery is situated right across the street from the Baylor University campus, and next door to Common Grounds, a locally famous coffee shop. Heritage Creamery’s mission is to “provide locally and responsibly sourced, delicious, frozen treats for the community.” Along with the frozen, creamy goodness at Heritage are the incredible chocolate chip cookies. It is actually with a family chocolate chip cookie recipe that the dream for Heritage was born. At Heritage, customers can get scoops and cones, as well as ice cream sandwiches — any flavor ice cream with any two cookies. Shakes and floats are also on the menu, as well as ice cream by the pint.

The store carries seasonal flavors, based on seasonal availability from the farms. Essentially, the result is an ice cream creation of a farmer’s market! A favorite among these seasonal flavors is Sweet Cream and Strawberry, available during, you guessed it, strawberry season. Along with the seasonal flavors, their portfolio of everyday flavors is just as exquisite. A few of these include Caramel Salt Lick; Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Honey; and Texas Sheet Cake. Lick Honest ice cream can be found in select supermarkets in and around Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.

Everything at Heritage is made from scratch, in-house. “One of the best ways that we can SERVE our community is to BUY from our community,” General Manager Scott Spain-Smith said. It is in this vein of community support that Heritage partners with several local businesses. All of the milk that they use is of superior quality and comes from Mill-King Market and Creamery in McGregor. Additionally, they partner with Heart of Texas Farms for eggs and seasonal produce. To create some of the adult-only ice cream flavors, Heritage partners with Balcones Distilling, a local distillery, to create flavors such as Mojito (made like the cocktail with lime, mint, and rum from Balcones), Rumble Butterscotch, and Whiskey Peach.

Sobotik summarized, “We really feel that we can make the planet a better place through ice cream, one lick at a time.”


If guests are looking for more family-friendly flavors, they will find several standard flavors on-hand, such as Salty Vanilla Bean (made with real vanilla beans), Brown Butter Texas Pecan, and Dark Chocolate. For their coffee-loving customers, Heritage partners with Waco-based Native Sons Roasters for their Coffee flavor, rotating through various roasts and countries of origin. Some seasonal flavors to expect this fall are Apple Pie, Cinnamon Roll, and Sweet Potato Sorghum. Heritage also has two options to bring ice cream to you, via a mobile freezer or a retro ice cream van. Another way to bring Heritage to your event is by a custom-ordered cookie cake!

H O U STO N After a realization that Houston Heights did not have a local ice cream shop, Sarah Johnston decided to take it upon herself to change that. She began experimenting in her kitchen and initially started a tiny wholesale and catering business. After expanding a bit Johnston began using a shared commercial kitchen, grinding away after her day job. Johnston then decided to take her business one stop further and opened her doors in the Heights in December 2013, two and a half years after making her initial declaration of Houston Height’s need for an ice cream shop.



SWEET FIREFLY RICHARDSON Two local Richardson moms, Angie Conard and Patti Otte, had a dream of starting an ice cream shop “to create a space where generations of family members could gather to share happy times together,” Otte stated. This sweet shop caters not only to families, but also to the University of Texas at Dallas students, local business people, and visitors from across the Metroplex. The duo formed a partnership and opened the doors to Sweet Firefly in 2011.

Fat Cat makes all of their ice cream completely from scratch using Texas milk, cream, eggs, and sugar. “We’re committed to using local ingredients wherever we can — our eggs come directly from local farms, and we have seasonal, local produce delivered weekly,” Johnston said. Eggs, for example, are delivered twice weekly from Ole Dad Farms. After hand- cracking all of the eggs necessary for their ice cream and baked goods, Fat Cat follows through on its commitment to sustainability by selling the leftover egg whites to locals. Additionally, their ice cream pints and single-serve packages are made from leftover wheat straw and are compostable. Their spoons are also made of environmentally-friendly materials such as bio-plastics and cornstarch.

Located in the II Creeks shopping center, they are a bit “off the beaten path,” but word of mouth and glowing reviews has kept a steady customer base over the past eight years. The Sweet Firefly team makes its own premium, gourmet artisan ice cream by hand. Churning off-site since opening, the shop recently expanded into a new creamery and is now able to create their sweet, creamy product in-house. They boast 22 flavors, fourteen of which are consistently available and eight rotate weekly. Seasonal flavors make special appearances as well. Their best-selling flavor is a delectable Sea Salt Caramel, with Bourbon Vanilla making a close second. A few other favorite flavors are Oreo Cookie Crunch, Cinnamon, and Coffee Toffee. A sure-fire favorite with the kids is the bright blue Kooky Monster.


When it comes to flavors, Fat Cat does not disappoint. Their offerings include signature, year-round flavors such as Cat’s Meow Mexican Vanilla, Milk Chocolate Stout (using Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout), and Waterloo Strawberry Buttermilk (using Waterloo No. 9 Texas gin). Fat Cat also offers seasonal flavors, averaging four to six new flavors each month, created by their ice cream chef and production manager. Historically, some favorite fall flavors have been Caramel Corn, Raspberry Jam and Biscuits, and Cream Milk and Cookies. Fat Cat can also be found at several Houston establishments sold by the pint and by the scoop.

Sweet Firefly tends to each aspect of their business with love and care. Otte pointed to examples of this: “From choosing the most amazing team members to pouring hours of training into them to ensure their success, from hiring the best ice cream makers and using premium products . . . every decision we make and every action we take is made thoughtfully with the goal of producing an unforgettable experience.” This quaint shop has a light and happy feel and is adorned with sweet sentiments to offer additional pleasantries to the customer experience. One wall is inscribed with a sweet sentiment about fireflies, ending with “We’re glad you’re here, and we hope you’ll be inspired to look for ‘fireflies’ and spread your own joy and light when you leave this happy place.” It is hard to leave this upbeat atmosphere without a smile on your face, which accomplishes their mission, which Otte stated is to “Spread joy… one scoop at a time.”

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Fall weather often prompts nostalgia for simple meals and family gatherings. Sunday brunch is a great time to get people together around the table for chatting, reminiscing, and good food. Typically, favorite dishes are the ones that deliver a little comfort to the table.

Café de Olla is a traditional sweetened coffee brewed in a clay pot. Flavored with spices and a hint of orange, café de olla is a delicious treat on a blustery day. A regular saucepan will work if you do not have a reliable clay pot. Add a bit of cream to the cup for a richer flavor.



• ½ orange, unpeeled • 4 whole cloves • 1 stick cinnamon • 2 pieces star anise • 1 ounce piloncillo or 2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed • 3 to 4 tablespoons ground coffee INSTRUCTIONS

1. Pour 4 cups water into a 2-quart saucepan. 2. Stud the orange with the cloves and add to the saucepan, along with the cinnamon, anise, and piloncillo. 3. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. 4. Add the coffee and simmer for another minute. 5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and it steep for 2 minutes. 6. Remove the orange and whole spices and then strain into a serving pot. Serve hot. This recipe easily doubles!

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Pumpkin empanadas are delicious, pumpkin-stuffed turnovers that are enjoyed across Texas and Latin America. Finding a good homemade crust recipe for empanadas is not easy, but you are sure to enjoy this version. Made in a food processor, this crust recipe can easily be filled with anything you like. Perhaps a savory version will be in the works soon! Pumpkin empanadas are a delicious fall classic to share over a cup of coffee with company.



• • • • • • •


4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons sugar 6 tablespoons butter, chilled 3 eggs 1 cup water

• 15-ounce can or fresh pumpkin puree • ½ cup sugar, or to taste • 1 egg • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice E G G WA S H

• 1 beaten egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water


1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour along with the baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pulse once or twice to combine well. 2.  Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl, pulsing until the mixture makes a course meal. Add the eggs one at a time, pulsing to combine well. 3. T  urn the food processor on and add the water through the feed hole. Once the dough gathers into a ball, turn off the food processor. 4. Remove the dough and knead by hand on a floured surface until it is no longer sticky. 5. D  ivide the dough into 12 to 14 equally sized balls. Knead each piece lightly to coat with flour. Shape each equally sized piece into a flat patty. 6. Place the pieces in a bowl and store in the refrigerator for at least one hour. TO MAKE THE FILLING

1. Add the pumpkin to a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, egg, and pumpkin pie spice.



1. Roll each of the chilled dough patties into circles on a floured surface. Roll the circles to approximately 8 inches (20 centimeters) in diameter. 2.  Add a large spoonful of the filling to the center of the circle. Fold the dough over the top to make a half-moon shape and seal the edges with a fork. Crimp the edges decoratively, if desired. 3. Heat your oven to 375°F while you continue to shape all of the empanadas. Place the formed empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 4. Brush each of the empanadas with the egg wash. 5. Bake the empanadas for 25 to 30 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving. OCTOBER 2019 | 49


Uncomplicated dishes like Huevos Rancheros are usually what everyone craves on Sunday mornings. Slightly spicy and hearty, making your own fresh salsa definitely makes a big difference. This is a great recipe for beginner chefs looking to impress. If you are accustomed to jarred salsa, try making salsa from scratch the day before, so your meal time preparation is not rushed. If you do not have a mortar and pestle or a traditional molcajete stone mortar, you can simply chop your ingredients finely by hand. Blenders or food processors are not recommended for this recipe, but you might be able to use a mini-chopper that is designed for making pico de gallo and other salsas. Good texture is key for a good, authentic salsa.


• ½ pound ripe tomatoes (about 2) • 2 to 3 fresh green Serrano chiles • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste • ½ teaspoon whole pepper  • 1 clove garlic, peeled  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil • 2 to 4 eggs


1. Brush the surface of a griddle lightly with some vegetable oil and heat the griddle to 350°F. Roast the tomatoes and Serrano chiles on the heated griddle until the skin blisters and blackens in patches. 2. Remove the tomatoes and chiles from the griddle and allow them to cool. 3. Cut the tops off of the chiles and roughly chop. 4. Remove the skin of the tomatoes and cut in half. Squeeze out the seeds of the tomatoes, and then roughly chop. Set aside. 5. Using a molcajete or mortar and pestle, grind the salt together with the whole pepper and garlic. Once the spices are finely ground, grind in the chiles, and then the tomatoes. Crush the vegetables in the molcajete/mortar until no large chunks remain. 6. Add the vegetable oil to a small saucepan and heat for about 30 seconds. Add the crushed salsa mixture and allow to simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes, until the salsa is reduced. 7. Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, prepare 2 to 4 eggs as per your preference. Serve immediately topped with the warmed salsa.

50 | OCTOBER 2019

Profile for Texasliving

Texasliving Magazine - October 2019  

A veteran turned combat photographer, an elegant hotel preserving luxury in Houston, an old-world Italian style custom home, and so much mor...

Texasliving Magazine - October 2019  

A veteran turned combat photographer, an elegant hotel preserving luxury in Houston, an old-world Italian style custom home, and so much mor...