Last Winter, in San Antonio, we had tried to spend part of just Dahlia Cafe about every day taking a walk, finding a number of city parks with pleasant trails. It was fun walking under the trees, meeting many dog-owners and a wide variety of dogs, and knowing we were getting some exercise.
We wondered whether we would find pleasant places to walk during the summer, as we planned to visit many states and much of Canada. Little did we know that just about every city has made efforts to entice walkers, with pretty paths, boardwalks, nature parks in which plants' names are listed. We found pretty quickly that the major obstacle was weather.
We left Texas this year toward the west, enjoying the result of Lady Bird Johnson's wildflower initiative. This was bluebonnet season and they were everywhere. Lampasas County Courthouse
Before we even left South Texas, in Liberty Hill, we stopped for lunch at the Dahlia Cafe, where the management had created a large child-free dining room, while leaving plenty of room for more boisterous family groups. We thought that was quite civilized.
We continue to collect Texas county courthouses. Actually, we photograph those of other states, too, when we find them beautiful and/or impressive, but no state outdoes Texas in the way they place them in the center of a courthouse square, so that the building is not only the biggest in the area but also the most impressive. (And every citizen knows how to find his courthouse). We liked the courthouse in Lampasas.
In Abilene, Texas, we had some happy surprises.
A few years ago a group of civic leaders got the idea for a The Grace Hotel museum of illustrations for children's books. The plan was that a committee would select the subject for the next exhibit, and then they would have some original watercolors from the artist as they appeared in the book. They've been doing this, perhaps ten years, and it's great. The current exhibit featured Jon Muth, who is so talented.
After enjoying that museum we moved the car one block, went to the visitor center in the old Texas and Pacific Railway station and got the Abilene guidebook. The city seems to be strong in art and literature (no mention of much of a music scene, which probably suits everybody OK) and has three colleges and Dyess AFB (cargo planes) and some oil and wind power and this and that and several golf courses. It was too windy to play today. (Bob says this with a straight face).
Next we went to the Grace museum in the old Grace hotel named after the owner's daughter, which was cute and had some 50's home The Open Road, Again movies... and a Texas bootmaker's workshop, and another art exhibit which had a nice Thomas Hart Benton and a few others we liked.
We did not go to the other two art museums or galleries, but hurried on to The Flipping Egg, which served us German apple pancakes which were TO DIE FOR. It was baked in a small pan and curled up the edges and the sugar caramelized and they served it with butter and whipped cream. Yes!
We picked the name for our website back around 2000, when we repeatedly found ourselves on a gorgeous day, somewhere all alone on a road in America. It still happens, and the last picture proves it, taken near Nubia, Texas. We park the car, get out and walk to the middle of the highway, kneel down on the centerline, hold the camera near to the road surface, and snap! Beautiful, ain't it?