A randomized round-up of interesting things we've seen, tried, learned and experienced on the way from here to there.


Pauls Valley, OK


retro red and blue sign on a building, reads Yeatts Furniture.
Yeatts Furniture sign in downtown Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

We stopped in Pauls Valley, Okla. on our way back from Oklahoma City last fall. It was an easy stop off of I35, and is also along the route of the AMTRAK Heartland Flyer. We went specifically to see the Toy and Action Figure Museum, which now houses the collection of my late, great friend who passed in early 2021. Not all of his items were on display at the time, but it was still a fun place to check out. There is so much to see - each exhibit overflows with miniatures, posters, collectibles and other memorabilia. At the same time, each piece was meticulously clean and deliberately placed, so there was a nice order to the chaos. (Which my friend would really appreciate as "bringing order to chaos" was his love language and driving motivation.) The museum is in downtown Pauls Valley, which is a destination in itself with a distinctive look and feel, as well as dining and cultural options.


Muenster, Texas


white building with black farm illustrations in front of an industrial feed mill
A painted facade at Muenster Milling Co., a feed mill on main street Muenster, Texas.

While small, I would not necessarily categorize Muenster, Texas as being off the beaten path. Many travelers and travel media types stop there at some point for its picturesque main street and German influences. We went early in the year, a cool and clear day, in search of German food and Texas vistas, which we found plenty of. Located in the outer boundaries of the North Texas Hill Country, Muenster is a point where the prairies start to roll a bit. A stop at Fischer's Meat Market for cheese, German mustard and other groceries (no meat for us this time, since we were far from home) and a very large blackberry strudel at Bayer's Kolonialwaren gave us fun culinary souvenirs. We can recommend lunch at Rohmer's, which has schnitzel, sandwiches and more.



One Great Shot In Eastland, TX


trees and brick streets offset a white and red building that reads "louise's cafe"
Louise's Cafe, in Downtown Eastland Texas.

We really enjoyed our short stop in downtown Eastland. What I like about this shot, is how timeless it seems. The brick streets, trees and vintage lettering on the weathered sign could be in almost any era.


Misc:


Here are a few extra notes, sharing things that stand out for planning and inspiring past, recent and future trips.


Independent Bookstore Day was Saturday, April 30. And lucky for us, we found one! But then again, we usually find them. Bookish Cedar Creek, in Malakoff, was hosting a special event that included local authors. What a busy place!


We were excited to stop by there in person, and in spirit we were definitely appreciating our other favorite indies, which include The Bosslight, Nacogdoches; Brazos Bookstore, Houston; Murder By The Book, Houston; BookPeople, Austin; Absolutely Fiction, Lufkin; Beausoleil Books, Lafayette; Kramers, Washington DC, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., The Strand Book Store, NYC, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle; Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe, Skylight Books, Los Angeles; City Lights, San Francisco, Literati Press Bookshop, OKC and of course, our local favorite, Interabang Books here in Dallas. And, yes we have been to all of these, and probably more that I am leaving out! Books, like coffee are the perfect travel souvenir. We like to choose something with a local connection, but really any book will do. It's fun to see the different towns' bookseller recommendations and browse for a while, then support the local economy with a purchase to remember the trip by.


With books on the brain, we are excited to announce that our official pub date for "Ten Texas Towns..." is May 24 (but please keep in mind all the caveats and contingencies that exist in this time of supply chain chaos.) Those who have reserved copies will be sure to get theirs first! If you're interested in carrying our book in your store, ordering multiples for business or hotel use or corporate gifting, or if you're a local tourism or nonprofit professional, especially in the towns we've covered, check out our special offers , planned just for you.

 

Field Notes is a weekly post from K.Co Press that highlights some of the places, views and experiences from our travels that have been on our minds lately. Published and posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram most weeks, or add your name to our email list for future subscription delivery.


Please visit us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, where we share day-to-day inspiration, destination highlights and more, and see the art on our radar on our K.CoArts Instagram.


K.Co Press publishes guides and books that celebrate the places in-between. Our debut release "Ten Texas Towns and Places In-Between, Field Notes from the Back Roads," publishes this spring. Get in touch at hello@kcoarts.com.

A randomized round-up of interesting things we've seen, tried, learned and experienced on the way from here to there.


Oil Boom


Oil derricks and a red Coca-Cola mural in downtown Kilgore.
Downtown Kilgore, Texas.

Growing up in East Texas, Kilgore was an almost mythical place. Home to the "world's richest acre" and the famous Kilgore College Rangerettes, a field trip to the East Texas Oil Museum was a rite of passage just as soon as we could sit still - or still enough - on the 1.5 hour bus ride from Lufkin. I visited for the first time in the mid-80s, and only went to the museum and back. Later in my life, I worked at a newspaper in Kilgore adjacent Marshall and lived in nearby Longview. We stopped through on the way to Shreveport in late January, and I'm happy to report that it is still a very unique and memorable place. The proliferation of oil derricks in and around downtown make for a visual reminder of how Kilgore's oil, commerce and community are entwined. We can't wait to return and try Brigittas Hungarian Restaurant!



Abilene: Storybook City


A pink, peach and yellow brick sculpture surrounds sculptures of three pigs and a big bad wolf menacing them through the window
Big Bad Wolf and Three Little Pigs in the Adamson-Spalding Sculpture Garden in Abilene.

We're not just readers, but fans of children's literature as well. A great book can change a child's life and give them tools to navigate the world through stories and examples that they can understand and relate to. Books, audio books, being read to - we advocate for any and all methods to get great stories into minds of all ages. So you might imagine that Abilene - also known as the Storybook Capital of America - really spoke to us. We started a Saturday morning at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, where we saw the phenomenal work of artist R. Gregory Christie. From there, we visited the many children's book character sculptures around downtown and in two dedicated gardens: The Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden and Dr. Seuss Park. Both are conveniently located near the NCCIL. The Adamson-Spalding was just a little too far for us to walk to, but a very quick drive. Dr. Seuss park sits across from Candies by Vletas and The Grace, which makes it an exponentially happy place for us!


One Great Shot In Athens, TX


carnival scene with American flag and funnel cake stand
The 2021 Old Fiddlers Reunion in Athens, Tx.

Last Memorial Day Weekend, we found ourselves in Athens, Texas on its Old Fiddlers Reunion weekend. This photo captures a quintessential summer weekend - I can almost smell the funnel cakes just from looking at this photograph. We do love a small town festival!


Misc:


Here are a few extra notes, sharing things that stand out for planning and inspiring past, recent and future trips.


A town's cultural legacy can be found in its historic theaters — a must-see in our travels in Texas and elsewhere. From theaters that are beautifully preserved and operational like The Strand in Shreveport to those those that just may be returning to the earth, like Cranfill's Gap's Viking, we love them all.


At home in Dallas, we spent a recent Wednesday evening at a Design District gallery night. We love, love, loved Natalie Wadlington: Places That Grow at the Dallas Contemporary; were blown away by the cut paper artwork of Annabel Daou: God's and Grifters at Conduit Gallery and wanted to escape into the mystical abstracts of Claire Colette: Open Channel at Gallery 12.26.


We are excited to announce that our official pub date for "Ten Texas Towns..." is May 24, and those who have reserved copies will be sure to get theirs first! If you're interested in carrying our book in your store, ordering multiples for business or hotel use or corporate gifting, or if you're a local tourism or nonprofit professional, especially in the towns we've covered, check out our special offers , planned just for you.

 

Field Notes is a weekly post from K.Co Press that highlights some of the places, views and experiences from our travels that have been on our minds lately. Published and posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each Sunday or add your name to our email list for future subscription delivery.


Please visit us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, where we share day-to-day inspiration, destination highlights and more, and see the art on our radar on our K.CoArts Instagram.


K.Co Press publishes guides and books that celebrate the places in-between. Our debut release "Ten Texas Towns and Places In-Between, Field Notes from the Back Roads," publishes this spring. Get in touch at hello@kcoarts.com.

A random round-up of interesting things we've seen, tried, learned and experienced on the way from here to there.


Flowers and Caddo Mounds



Yellow and brown sunflowers on a green field.
Sunflowers at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto.

A hay bale in front of a Caddo mound covered in grass.
Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto, Texas.


Last July, we found ourselves in East Texas after a brief, heavy rain. The weather had canceled morning coffee plans with friends, so we had some extra time on hand, and we chose to spend it on a first visit to the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Alto. While the rain had derailed our plans, it had the benefit of offering a brief cool down, which gave us motivation to linger that July in Texas usually doesn't.


The Caddo Mounds preserve the Mound Builder culture of the Caddo Indians known as the Hasinai, the region's first inhabitants. The Texas Historical Commission says that "The Caddo selected this site for a permanent settlement about A.D. 800." The settlement flourished until the 13th century, when the site was abandoned, however the Hasinai Caddo groups continued to live through the 1830s in the Neches and Angelina River valleys, and eventually moved to the Brazos River area to escape Anglo-American repressive measures and colonization efforts.


The Caddo Mounds State Historic site is immaculately maintained, from its beautiful grounds to its gardens that are preserved and restored to be as close to original as possible through the research and diligence of the site's staff. We loved being there. It didn't feel ancient; it felt timeless.


In 2019, the site was directly impacted by a deadly tornado. When we visited in 2021, there was no sign of it, although we know that scars were there, hidden in the way that trauma can be. Land, like people, is resilient. You plant, you grow - you grieve your losses, you honor what's important, repair and rebuild. We can't even come close to knowing everything that has transpired since the Hasinai Caddo found this land, claimed and cultivated it, much less what came before. But the mounds stand and the grass grows, civilization to civilization. There are bright flowers and green grasses. The rain clears, and they are beautiful.



Aisles of Delight at Alamo Candy



red and purple cans of peanuts stacked in a store shelf.
Picosos Hote Chile Peanuts at Alamo Candy Company in San Antonio.

As summer approaches, we are fondly remembering a trip to San Antonio last June, where we spent a happy afternoon wandering the aisles of Alamo Candy Company. From sweet to savory to spicy to all-flavors-in-one, this local, family owned company has produced, packaged and sold Mexican treats -along with some American and other international snacks - since 1991. We were happy with our purchase, which included mango/tamarind El Azteca Cucharita; Beny Locochas Fresa and Tamalito Tamarindo candies! Click here for its online selection, but trust us, its more fun and worth a visit to go in person.


One Great Shot In Lake Whitney



sunset over a dam with lamps glowing
Lake Whitney Dam, in Bosque County Texas.

We were in Bosque County, between Meridian and Hillsboro, when we caught this beautiful sunset on the Lake Whitney Dam. It's a passenger side pic - safety first - and captures the cotton candy skies and dam lights beginning to glow in the late winter evening. Our days on the road are long, and this photo represents the last leg of a very busy trip. Stephanie was taking down an art show in Bee Cave, so this particular day took us from Austin to Bee Cave, Lakeway, Lampasas, Hamilton, Cranfills Gap, Meridian and Hillsboro before connecting to I35 and homeward bound.


Misc:


Here are a few extra notes, sharing things that stand out for planning and inspiring past, recent and future trips.


Our visit to Alamo Candy Company ignited a desire to try more Mexican treats. Luckily, we live in Texas and there are plenty to be found. We've already waxed poetic about Panaderia Athens, and we want to try Austin's Hay Elotes as well as Fruteria Tropical , which is in Plano and closer to home. I'm so excited about the relatively new La'Bonita Michoacana, serving ice cream and other goodies in Lufkin and Nacogdoches - two places where we spend a lot of time. Chicle popsicles! Gansito popsicles! Auguas Frescas, OMG!


We've been thinking lately about public libraries, and how many of them have such striking architecture. In Hillsboro, for example, the Hillsboro City Library has a great side garden to explore - although step lively if you're there in the summer because bees love it, too. The Lampasas Public Library is smaller with more of a mid-mod aesthetic. And the train track-adjacent Grand Saline Public Library at The Old Depot is housed a renovated railroad station with preserved original details, including its freight scale, ceiling and tiles. In addition to being a vital public service, libraries are often great examples of interesting civic facades and historic preservation.


We'll soon be in Lufkin and Nacogdoches for a quick visit (and a Gansito popsicle, if we're lucky). That's followed by a trip to Kilgore where Stephanie is a featured speaker at Kilgore Geekend! Later in May, we will travel to the Houston area, with a mostly new-to-us itinerary which so far includes Huntsville, Spring and Navasota.

 

Field Notes is a weekly post from K.Co Press that highlights some of the places, views and experiences from our travels that have been on our minds lately. Published and posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each Sunday or add your name to our email list for future subscription delivery.


Please visit us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, where we share day-to-day inspiration, destination highlights and more, and see the art on our radar on our K.CoArts Instagram.


K.Co Press publishes guides and books that celebrate the places in-between. Our debut release "Ten Texas Towns and Places In-Between, Field Notes from the Back Roads," publishes this spring. Get in touch at hello@kcoarts.com.