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 MesaGrapevine.com, 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, www.houstonfolkfestival.com

Wings Over Surfside
April 1, Surfside Beach, www.visitsurfsidebeachtx.org

Texas Select Custom Cutlery Event
April 1-2, Bellville, www.texasselectevent.com

Steampunk Festival
April 1-2, Galveston, www.galvestonsteampunk.com

Texas Vintage Motorcycle Fandango
April 1-2, Fredericksburg, www.thetexasfandango.com

Fiddle Fest Contest and Concert
April 1-2, Llano, www.llanofiddlefest.com

Independence Historical Society Open House
April 1-2, 8, Independence, www.ihstexas1836.com

Sherwood Forest Faire
April 1-23, McDade, www.sherwoodforestfaire.com

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, sweetberryfarm.com

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

The Gonzo Compadres in Concert
April 2, Buda, www.meridianbuda.com/events

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

Wildflower Celebration
April 2-17, Fredericksburg, www.wildseedfarms.com

Bamberger Ranch Public Tour
April 6, Johnson City, www.bambergerranch.org

Bluebonnet Festival
April 7-9, Burnet, www.bluebonnetfestival.org

Work Weekends at Quiet Valley Ranch
April 7-9, May 5-7, 12-14, Kerrville, www.kerrvillefolkfestival.org/volunteering

Easter at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm
April 8, Fredericksburg, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lyndon-b-johnson

Blooms and Barrels Plant Sale
April 8, Kerrville, www.hillcountrymastergardeners.org

Easter Extravaganza
April 8, Kerrville, www.kerrvillekroc.org

Heritage Hike
April 8, Sugar Land, slheritage.org/about/tours

Scarborough Renaissance Festival
April 8-May 29, Waxahachie, www.srfestival.com

Open Day at the Garden
April 8, 22, Hempstead, jfgarden.org

Big Easter Egg Hunt
April 9, Luckenbach, www.luckenbachtexas.com

Art Car Parade Weekend
April 10-16, Houston, www.thehoustonartcarparade.com

Live Thoroughbred Racing
April 13-July 4, Grand Prairie, www.lonestarpark.com

Caddo Homecoming
April 14, Karnack, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/caddo-lake

See majestic ships in Galveston April 13-16.

Tall Ships Galveston
April 13-16, Galveston, www.galvestonhistory.org

Texas Sandfest
April 14-16, Port Aransas, www.texassandfest.org

Strawberry Festival
April 14-16, Poteet, www.strawberryfestival.com

Jazz Wine Trains
April 14, 21, 28, Grapevine, www.gvrr.com

Cotton Gin Festival
April 15, Burton, www.texascottonginmuseum.org

100 Years at South Llano River
April 15, Junction, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/south-llano-river

Spring Native Plant Sale
April 15, Kerrville, www.riversidenaturecenter.org

Bird Banding
April 15, Lake Jackson, www.gcbo.org

San Antonio Book Fair
April 15, San Antonio, sabookfestival.org

Eastside Market
April 15, Waco, www.eastsidemarketwtx.com

Official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas
April 15-16, Chappell Hill, www.chappellhillhistoricalsociety.com

Old Gruene Market Days
April 15-16, Gruene, www.gruenemarketdays.com

Lubbock Arts Festival
April 15-16, Lubbock, lubbockartsfestival.org

Folk Fest
April 15-16, New Braunfels, texashandmadefurniture.com/livinghistory

Texas State Surfing Championship
April 15-16, South Padre Island, www.surftgsa.org

Lavender Festival
April 15-16, Stonewall, www.beckervineyards.com

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

Flora Fest
April 16, Dallas, txdg.org/flora-fest

Alamo Metro Choir
April 16, Fredericksburg, www.fredericksburgmusicclub.com

Sausage Making Class
April 16, Fredericksburg, www.roamranch.com

Big Bend Open Road Race
April 19-22, Fort Stockton, www.bborr.com

Come and Taste It
April 20, Gruene, www.grapevineingruene.com

Regional Cavalry Competition
April 20, San Angelo, www.fortconcho.com

Old Settler’s Music Festival
April 20-23, Dale, www.oldsettlersmusicfest.org

Featherfest and Nature Photo Festival
April 20-23, Galveston, www.galvestonfeatherfest.com

Main Street Arts Festival
April 20-23, Fort Worth, www.mainstreetartsfest.org

Fiesta
April 20-30, San Antonio, fiestasanantonio.org

Crawfish Open
April 21-22, Llano, www.llanocrawfishopen.com

Texas State Championship Fiddlers Frolics
April 21-23, Hallettsville, fiddlersfrolics.com

Chuckwagon Races
April 21-23, Palestine, www.1836chuckwagonrace.com

Folk Festival
April 22, Grapeland, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/mission-tejas

The Story of the Lone Star State
April 22, Houston, www.cypresscreekface.org/iact-lone-star-state-2023

San Jacinto Celebration
April 22, La Porte, www.thc.texas.gov/news-events/events/2023-san-jacinto-celebration

Luckenbach Bluegrass Festival
April 22, Luckenbach, www.luckenbachtexas.com

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

Mission Reach Flotilla Fiesta
April 22, San Antonio, www.sariverfound.org/flotilla

Wild, Wild West Fest
April 22-23, Andrews, www.wildwildwestfest.com

National Park Week
April 22-30, 400+ locations, www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/national-park-week.htm

Visions of Aztlán screening
April 26, San Marcos, www.thewittliffcollections.txst.edu

Birdiest Festival in America
April 26-30, Corpus Christi, www.birdiestfestival.org

Derrick Days Festival
April 27-30, Corsicana, www.derrickdays.com

MerleFest
April 27-30, Wilkesboro, N.C., merlefest.org

Goose Island Extravaganza
April 28, Rockport, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/goose-island

HTX Whiskey Weekend
April 28-29, Houston, www.htxwhiskeyweekend.com

Red Poppy Festival
April 28-30, Georgetown, poppy.georgetown.org

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

The Grand Kids Festival
April 29, Galveston, www.grandkidsfestival.com

Stonehenge II Celtic Festival and Highland Games
April 29, Ingram, www.hcaf.com

Sylvan Beach Festival
April 29, La Porte, www.sylvanbeachfestival.com

Tablerock Poetry Festival
April 29, Salado, www.tablerock.org

Migration Celebration
April 29-30, Brazoria, www.migrationcelebration.org

Prairie Wildlife & Wildflower Adventure
April 30, Waxahachie, ruralheritagefarm.org


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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

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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