Day Trips & Beyond: April Events Roundup

Catch up on Texas travel news and plan some spring sightseeing

It’s April and the start of a festival season celebrating music, food, history, sandcastles, and bluebonnets.

The flower festival at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden through mid-April has been touted as one of the most beautiful spring explosions of color by the national press. (Photo courtesy Dallas Arboretum)

Cherry delight. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is often mentioned on lists of the best places in America to see cherry blossoms, and the 150 cherry trees will be in full bloom through mid-April. It is all a part of the explosion of color at the Dallas tree museum. The Dallas Blooms festival celebrates the arrival of spring, with this year’s floral extravaganza including sculptures of Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, and Joan of Arc. Discounts include buy one, get one free admission on Wednesdays and Young Senior Living Thursdays (those who are 65 years and older receive discounted admission and 20% off in the Hoffman Family Gift Store).

The Luther Hotel in Palacios doesn’t look good as it holds on to hope of a brighter future. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Luther update. The 120-year-old Luther Hotel in Palacios holds on to existence by a thread as the windows of the former bayside resort are boarded up and the insides are mostly removed. The estate of Jack Findley, the former owner of the two-story wooden structure, wants to sell the land to the Ed Rachal Foundation. The Corpus Christi charitable foundation needs the old building removed so it can build a modern resort on the waterfront property. In the meantime, the Palacios Preservation Association hopes to find an alternative buyer who will restore the once-famous family resort instead of demolishing it. According to an update posted on March 17 by association co-Chair Margaret Doughty, a probate judge in San Antonio has extended the April 4 restraining order until a hearing in Bay City on June 22. Besides statewide publicity, the legal wrangling has garnered support for saving the old hotel from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Society of Architectural Historians Archipedia.

The new Rosario’s ComidaMex & Bar in San Antonio is open, and it’s a beauty with a spacious dining room and a rooftop bar to come. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Holy mole. My favorite Mexican food restaurant in San Antonio has reopened in its new location a couple of blocks from its former location. The Alamo City has hundreds of great Tex-Mex restaurants, but Rosario's ComidaMex & Bar located just south of Cesar Chavez Boulevard on the dividing line between downtown, Southtown, and King William Historic District has long been a favorite of mine. Their chicken mole enchiladas are the ones that I compare to all other mole sauces.

After being closed for three months, the three-decades-old Rosario’s reopened at 722 S. St. Mary’s St. at the former location of El Mirador, another San Antonio dining legend that closed in 2018. The new two-story building has a large, open dining room that is not as loud during peak periods as the old location. Other features include an outdoor patio, more parking behind the restaurant, and a rooftop bar that opens later this spring. The historic King William Garden House next door will serve as a private party room renamed Casa Isabel in honor of owner Lisa Wong’s mother.

Soon after the new location opened, Wong announced that she was closing the restaurant’s Northside location.

Rosario's hours at the new spot are 11am to 10pm Tuesday through Thursday, 11am to 11pm Friday and Saturday, and 11am to 10pm Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays for the time being.

Travel Notes:

It’s about Time. Congratulations to Time magazine on reaching their 100th anniversary. Founded in 1923 by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, the newsmagazine spawned numerous other enterprises that keep us informed and entertained. In the March 13 issue, the magazine published an interview with Time Inc. archivist Bill Hooper. In the article Hooper claimed that the magazine coined the term “Tex-Mex,” among other popular terms, but according to, Time was referring to border language, not enchiladas. The New York Times (Get a rope!) referred to Mexican food in Texas as "Tex-Mex" in 1963, possibly the first time the hyphenated term was used to describe our hybrid cuisine. Credit is generally given to Mexican cookbook author Diana Kennedy for popularizing the term as it relates to food, when in 1972 she called Tex-Mex food unauthentic. She meant it negatively, but it soon became an authentic American legend that gave the world frozen margaritas, yellow queso, fajitas, nachos, puffy tacos, chili con carne, and other dining delights.

It’s a good year for bluebonnets and other wildflowers. Discover where they’re blooming with the Texas Wildflower Watch. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Fields of dreams. Find out where wildflowers are blooming at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Texas Wildflower Watch. The center’s Instagram account provides real-time updates of where the best blooms are showing, and in the website's Hit the Road section, experts recommend scenic drives around the state. (Hint: U.S. Highway 71 west to Llano is exploding with roadside color.) And of course, the center helps you identify what the plant is that you’re admiring. Get the most out of your wildflower searches with the Wildflower Center’s help.

Goodbye to a park. This may be your last chance to visit Fairfield Lake State Park. On Feb. 13, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was given 120 days to vacate the property they had leased from the power company that owned the lake since the park opened in 1976. As TPWD officials and state legislators try to find a way to save the park, it will be open to day use only at least through mid-June. Visitation is on a first-come, first-served basis until the park reaches daily capacity, and no reservations will be accepted.

This date in history. On April 5, 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6101, which established the Civilian Conservation Corps. The work of 3 million Americans around the country and more than 50,000 in Texas can still be seen in our national and state parks and many other public works projects 90 years later.

Other April Events:

Houston Folk, Blues, and Gospel Festival
April 1, Houston,

Wings Over Surfside
April 1, Surfside Beach,

Texas Select Custom Cutlery Event
April 1-2, Bellville,

Steampunk Festival
April 1-2, Galveston,

Texas Vintage Motorcycle Fandango
April 1-2, Fredericksburg,

Fiddle Fest Contest and Concert
April 1-2, Llano,

Independence Historical Society Open House
April 1-2, 8, Independence,

Sherwood Forest Faire
April 1-23, McDade,

Pick your own berries and flowers at Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls this spring.

Pick Your Own Strawberries and Tulips
April 1-mid-May, Marble Falls,

"Diego Rivera’s America"
April 1-July 31, Bentonville, Ark.,

The Gonzo Compadres in Concert
April 2, Buda,

"Behind the Lines: The Art of Texas Monthly"
April 2-Dec. 8, San Marcos,

Wildflower Celebration
April 2-17, Fredericksburg,

Bamberger Ranch Public Tour
April 6, Johnson City,

Bluebonnet Festival
April 7-9, Burnet,

Work Weekends at Quiet Valley Ranch
April 7-9, May 5-7, 12-14, Kerrville,

Easter at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm
April 8, Fredericksburg,

Blooms and Barrels Plant Sale
April 8, Kerrville,

Easter Extravaganza
April 8, Kerrville,

Heritage Hike
April 8, Sugar Land,

Scarborough Renaissance Festival
April 8-May 29, Waxahachie,

Open Day at the Garden
April 8, 22, Hempstead,

Big Easter Egg Hunt
April 9, Luckenbach,

Art Car Parade Weekend
April 10-16, Houston,

Live Thoroughbred Racing
April 13-July 4, Grand Prairie,

Caddo Homecoming
April 14, Karnack,

See majestic ships in Galveston April 13-16.

Tall Ships Galveston
April 13-16, Galveston,

Texas Sandfest
April 14-16, Port Aransas,

Strawberry Festival
April 14-16, Poteet,

Jazz Wine Trains
April 14, 21, 28, Grapevine,

Cotton Gin Festival
April 15, Burton,

100 Years at South Llano River
April 15, Junction,

Spring Native Plant Sale
April 15, Kerrville,

Bird Banding
April 15, Lake Jackson,

San Antonio Book Fair
April 15, San Antonio,

Eastside Market
April 15, Waco,

Official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas
April 15-16, Chappell Hill,

Old Gruene Market Days
April 15-16, Gruene,

Lubbock Arts Festival
April 15-16, Lubbock,

Folk Fest
April 15-16, New Braunfels,

Texas State Surfing Championship
April 15-16, South Padre Island,

Lavender Festival
April 15-16, Stonewall,

Japan, Form & Function: The Montgomery Collection
April 15-April 14, 2024, Dallas,

Flora Fest
April 16, Dallas,

Alamo Metro Choir
April 16, Fredericksburg,

Sausage Making Class
April 16, Fredericksburg,

Big Bend Open Road Race
April 19-22, Fort Stockton,

Come and Taste It
April 20, Gruene,

Regional Cavalry Competition
April 20, San Angelo,

Old Settler’s Music Festival
April 20-23, Dale,

Featherfest and Nature Photo Festival
April 20-23, Galveston,

Main Street Arts Festival
April 20-23, Fort Worth,

April 20-30, San Antonio,

Crawfish Open
April 21-22, Llano,

Texas State Championship Fiddlers Frolics
April 21-23, Hallettsville,

Chuckwagon Races
April 21-23, Palestine,

Folk Festival
April 22, Grapeland,

The Story of the Lone Star State
April 22, Houston,

San Jacinto Celebration
April 22, La Porte,

Luckenbach Bluegrass Festival
April 22, Luckenbach,

Celebrate Earth Day (April 22) with a kayak trip at San Antonio's Flotilla Fiesta.

Mission Reach Flotilla Fiesta
April 22, San Antonio,

Wild, Wild West Fest
April 22-23, Andrews,

National Park Week
April 22-30, 400+ locations,

Visions of Aztlán screening
April 26, San Marcos,

Birdiest Festival in America
April 26-30, Corpus Christi,

Derrick Days Festival
April 27-30, Corsicana,

April 27-30, Wilkesboro, N.C.,

Goose Island Extravaganza
April 28, Rockport,

HTX Whiskey Weekend
April 28-29, Houston,

Red Poppy Festival
April 28-30, Georgetown,

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
April 28-May7, New Orleans, La.,

The Grand Kids Festival
April 29, Galveston,

Stonehenge II Celtic Festival and Highland Games
April 29, Ingram,

Sylvan Beach Festival
April 29, La Porte,

Tablerock Poetry Festival
April 29, Salado,

Migration Celebration
April 29-30, Brazoria,

Prairie Wildlife & Wildflower Adventure
April 30, Waxahachie,

Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his "Day Trips" column for more than 25 years. Keep up to date with his journeys on his archive page and follow him on Facebook.

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Day Trips, Dallas Arboretum, Luther Hotel, Palacios, San Antonio, Rosarios ComidaMex, Tex-Mex, Time magazine, wildflowers, bluebonnets, Fairfield Lake State Park, Civilian Conservation Corps

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