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