Day Trips & Beyond: December Events Roundup

Happy holidays to everyone and happy daytrippin’ to all!

2016 still holds lots to see and lots to do.

The Landmark Inn in Castroville (Photo Courtesy of Texas Historical Commission)

The Landmark Inn’s open-hearth historic cooking classes explore how common dishes were prepared over an open fire 150 years ago. Students go behind the recipes to discover the history and science of why certain foods taste the way they do and the methodology of cooking before modern conveniences. Space in the monthly classes is limited and reservations are required. The classes happen through May 2017, so call for a list of upcoming offerings. The Landmark Inn State Historic Site in Castroville began as a roadside tavern in 1849. After extensive restoration it reopened as a museum and bed & breakfast lodging.

Dec. 17, Landmark Inn State Historic Site, Castroville, 830/931-2133, www.thc.texas.gov/historic-sites/events/5534

Blankets, chairs, and wagons provide seating at the Old Settlers Music Festival, April 20-23, 2017. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Early-bird packages are on sale for the popular music festival in Driftwood. This year the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary with the return of some old favorites and the arrival of soon-to-be favorites to the four outdoor stages. Packages cover four days, three days, and single-day tickets. Buying early assures access to camping at Camp Ben McCulloch and the late-night jams.

April 20-23, 2017, Salt Lick Pavilion, Driftwood, www.oldsettlersmusicfest.org

Travel Notes:

Dance across Texas on a unique tour that goes to five historic dance halls in as many nights. The Texas Dance Hall Tour, March 20-26, 2017, backed by Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, offers participants as much or as little fun as they want. The premium package includes tours of the dance halls, concerts, dance lessons, dinner, transportation, accommodations, and more. Nothing quite like this has ever been tried before, and much of the proceeds go to Texas Dance Hall Preservation. For more information and to make reservations, go to www.texasdancehalltour.com.

Pablo Picasso fans have two opportunities in the state to see different sides of the master’s works. “Picasso: The Line” explores the dazzling variety of styles he used to make line drawings, through Jan. 8, 2017, at the Menil Collection in Houston (www.menil.org). At the Arlington Museum of Art in Arlington, “Pablo Picasso: Ceramics” delves into the Spanish artist’s lifelong experimentation with ceramic pieces, through Feb. 12, 2017 (www.arlingtonmuseum.org).

After years of waiting, Balcones Distilling in Waco is finally ready to welcome fans to its new home for tours. Begun in 2006, the craft whiskey distiller quickly garnered acclaim and outgrew its plant. The new location has four times the spirit still capacity as the old. Tours are restricted to those over 19 years of age. Reservations are required for visitors at the 5:15pm tours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sign up at www.balconesdistilling.com/visit.

Do you have an old favorite T-shirt? Or two? Or several? Have you collected souvenir T-shirts or sweatshirts from all the places you visited, but they don’t fit anymore? Turn those memories into a unique quilt or pillow. It’s time to clean out your T-shirt drawer and contact Project Repat at www.projectrepat.com.

The Texas Historical Commission was recognized for its public education initiative by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in November. The prestigious John H. Chafee Award of Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy honored the state agency for the dozens of projects it manages and was one of 11 awards given in 2016.

Other December Events:

A Dickens Christmas
Dec. 2-3, Lockhart, www.clark-library-lockhart.org

Dickens on the Strand
Dec. 2-4, Galveston, www.dickensonthestrand.org

Curious Exhibit
Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23, Palestine, www.exhibitcurious.org

Christmas in the Park
Dec. 3, 10, 17, 20-23, 31, George Ranch Historical Park, Richmond, www.georgeranch.org

Country Christmas
Dec. 9-10, Seguin, www.texagedu.org

Christmas on the Brazos
Dec. 10, Washington, www.tpwd.texas.gov

Ingleside Renaissance Faire
Dec. 10-11, Ingleside, www.inglesidetxchamber.com

Winter Solstice at the Throne Room
Dec. 17, Cave Without a Name, Boerne, www.cavewithoutaname.com

Christmas Ball
Dec. 17, Luckenbach, www.luckenbachtexas.com

WW II Tank Experience
Through Dec. 17, College Station, www.americangimuseum.org

Loretta Lynn in Concert
Dec. 18-19, the Grand 1894 Opera House, Galveston, www.thegrand.com

You Are Here: Maps of Texas
Through Jan. 7, The Heritage Society, Houston, www.heritagesociety.org

Light Displays:

Holiday Lights on the River
Through Dec. 31, Bandera, www.banderatexasbusiness.com

Comanche Trail Festival of Lights
Dec. 15-31, Big Spring, www.visitbigspring.com

San Antonio Christmas Lights Fest
Through Dec. 31, Boerne, www.sanantoniochristmaslightsfest.com

Buda Trail of Lights
Dec. 8-10, 15-18, Buda, www.ci.buda.tx.us/trailoflights

Christmas Trail of Lights
Through Dec. 31, Burnet, www.cityofburnet.com

Whistle Stop Christmas Lights in the Park
Through Dec. 31, Cleburne, www.whistlestopchristmas.org

The 12 Days of Christmas
Through Jan. 3, Dallas, www.dallasarboretum.org

Nature in Lights
Through Jan. 9, Fort Hood, www.hoodmwr.com

Festival of Lights
Through Jan. 8, Moody Gardens, Galveston, www.moodygardens.com

Lights of Tejas
Through Dec. 31, Giddings, www.camptejas.org/lot

Bayou Bend Christmas Village
Dec. 10-Jan. 1, Houston, www.mfah.org

Lights Spectacular
Through Jan. 1, Johnson City, www.lbjcountry.com

Walkway of Lights
Through Jan. 1, Marble Falls, www.walkwayoflightstx.com

Santa’s Ranch
Through Jan. 1, New Braunfels, www.santasranch.net

Concho Christmas Celebration
Through Dec. 31, San Angelo, www.conchochristmascelebration.com

LBJ Tree Lighting
Dec. 18, Stonewall, www.tpwd.texas.gov

Sugar Land Holiday Lights
Through Jan. 8, Constellation Field, Sugar Land, www.sugarlandholidaylights.com

Trail of Lights
Through Dec. 29, Wimberley, www.emilyann.org

Christmas Displays:

A Walk in Bethlehem
Dec. 6-7, Boerne, www.visitboerne.org

Main Street Bethlehem
Dec. 2-4, 9-11, Burnet, www.fbcburnet.org

A Walk Through Bethlehem
Dec. 9-11, Montalba, www.visitpalestine.com

Concho Christmas Celebration
Dec. 3-4, 9-10, 16-22, San Angelo, www.conchochristmascelebration.com

New Year’s Eve Parties:

New Year’s Dance
Dec. 31, Twin Sisters Dance Hall, Blanco, www.twinsistersdancehall.com/calendar

Gary P. Nunn
Dec. 31, Kendalia Hall, Kendalia, www.kendaliahalle.com

Billy Mata & The Texas Tradition
Dec. 31, Leon Springs, www.billy-mata.com

New Year’s Eve Celebration
Dec. 31, Luckenbach, www.luckenbachtexas.com

Pettit Brothers
Dec. 31, Sengelmann Hall, Schulenburg, www.pettitbrothers.com

New Year’s Eve on the Square
Dec. 31, Sugar Land, www.sugarlandtx.gov


Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his "Day Trips" column for the past 24 years. Keep up to date with his journeys on his archive page. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 40312, South Austin, TX 78704.

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