Day Trips

A look back at the first 1,000 'Day Trips'

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

The best of "Day Trips" 1-1,000: The first "Day Trips" column appeared on April 12, 1991. That's 19 years and 4½ months of day trips. I hope I can do another 1,000.

A few years ago, I heard a story about a couple whose marriage counselor suggested that they spend more time together. He suggested they use this column as an inspiration of things to do. I was flattered. They got a divorce.

Lest I get too big an ego about my usefulness to society, a friend sent me a copy of Ed Svers' travel column, "Off the Beaten Trail," published in the July 14, 1968, Austin Statesman. Ever heard of him? God bless Ed wherever he is, because he is one of many reminders of my own mortality.

You, the faithful readers of this column, on the other hand, make me feel pretty great. I get reports of an army of day trippers following my advice to farms, shops, and inns around the state. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

After nearly 20 years, these are some of the best day trips that I have experienced:

Best Nature Day Trip: Watching hundreds of fist-sized baby turtles dash for the surf and their lives at Padre Island National Seashore outside of Corpus Christi is one of the greatest events I have witnessed. Call the Hatchling Hotline at 361/949-7163 between mid-June and early October for information on the next release.

Best Small Town: I moan about how Port Aransas has changed, but I still love visiting, especially between September and May.

Best Art Galleries: The Painted Churches of Fayette County are as inspiring as they are lovely. Weekdays and Saturdays are usually good times to visit. Contact the Schulenburg Chamber for details.

Best National Memorial: The Oklahoma City National Memorial remembers those who died in the senseless bombing on April 19, 1995, in a dignified and moving manner.

Best Peek Into the Past: The American Indian pictographs at Paint Rock are some of the most interesting and best preserved in the country. To schedule a tour, call 915/732-4376.

Best Swimming Holes With the Same Name: Blue Holes in Wimberley and Georgetown beat the summer heat.

Best Artist Tours: Georgia O'Keefe loved the New Mexican desert north of Santa Fe. In Abiquiu you can tour Ghost Ranch and see the sites she painted, or tour her home (505/685-4539) just as she left it.

Best Bone Yard: Actually the fossils littering the ground at Mineral Wells Fossil Park are the remains of plants, not bones. There is something exciting about picking up a pocket-full of them.

Best Swinging Bridge: I never get tired of visiting the Regency Bridge north of San Saba. The view is so spectacular, and the rumble of the wooden planks under my tires sends shivers up my spine.

Happy day-tripping.

999th in a series. Day Trips, Vol. 2 , a book of "Day Trips" 101-200, is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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