A randomized round-up of interesting things we've seen, tried, learned and experienced on the way from here to there, in small towns in America, Texas weekend trips and other places beyond the interstate.
To paraphrase from the movie "Jerry Maguire," Cisco "had me at zoo ruins. You had me at zoo ruins." Now, we are not hikers by any stretch of the imagination. There's a reason that most of our photos of small towns in America are in city centers and main streets, likely with some kind of iced-coffee destination just out of frame. But sometimes, we are inspired to lace up our most athletic shoes and explore outside. That was the case when we learned about the Old Zoo Nature Trail in Cisco, Texas. When we arrived there, it didn't disappoint. It's a distinctively northwest Texas landscape. Scrubby trees, brush and weathered stone steps take you through long-abandoned, 1920s' era animal lairs that have been left to weather the elements. As a zoo, it faced a litany of problems, as animal containment often can. The landscape, beautiful as it is for us, wasn't great for the animals kept there. But Cisco has found a way to preserve the zoo's history, and the stories that it holds and artifacts that remain there are a large part of its unique appeal.
If you turn off of Highway 69 in Rusk, and know where to look, you'll find a beautiful patch of green with a long bridge leading through it. The Rusk Footbridge is shady and comfortable, and while it is said to be the longest footbridge in America, it's also just long enough for a quick walk that is bearable even in the stifling Texas heat, when we were there. I'd imagine in the fall or early spring, it can even be downright pleasant. Regardless, The Rusk Footbridge, in Cherokee County is a great stop to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
One Great Shot In Baird, TX
I have never been anywhere more like a movie set than downtown Baird, Texas. Its as if a pristine frontier town appeared through a time portal. And maybe it did! The buildings were architecturally gorgeous and in good shape, the streets were spare and mostly devoid of cars and people. But instead of feeling desolate, it gave Baird a sense of a place where things were just about to happen. We weren't able to stop for too long, so there's no telling what all we barely missed.
Here are a few extra notes, sharing things that stand out for planning and inspiring past, recent and future trips.
This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend, and marks the unofficial start of summer, a great season to take a road trip in and around Texas, and enjoy a small town festival. We can't get to all of them, but we wish we could go to the Texas Blueberry Fest, in Nacogdoches, TX.; Jacksonville's Tomato Fest, the Sunflower Trail & Festival in Gilliam, La., the Chandler Ice Cream Fest, in Chandler, Okla., Watermelon Jubilee in Stockdale, TX.; and Roswell's UFO Festival.
Our Book Birthday was May 24! We are officially taking orders for shipping and delivery, usually within three weeks. (But please keep in mind all the caveats and contingencies that exist in this time of supply chain chaos.) 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.
We are starting to schedule stops for a summer book tour. If you'd like to meet us and say hi; purchase or have us sign a book, or invite us to see what's great about your town, get in touch!
Field Notes is a post series 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.
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," is out now and can be purchased in our shop. Get in touch at email@example.com.