Now living in Scottsdale, it’s time for us to learn about the Southwest, so we hopped in the car and drove to West Texas to watch the Lone Star State celebrate Christmas.

After passing through the pass at El Paso, our first stop was Fredericksburg, a small city founded by German immigrants, where we found authentic German food and ambience, along with some great shopping.

Fredericksburg, Texas

“Texclectic”! On this trip we learned that the word, Texas, and be combined with any adjective.

Clever Lodging

Novelty Stores
Unique furniture shopping

LBJ Sites

On the way to Austin, we stopped by the Texas White House in Stonewall and by Johnson City, where LBJ grew up.

Childhood living room in Johnson City

Childhood home
LBJ Burial Site on Pedernas River
LBJ Library. Really worth a morning.


Everyone has heard about the Austin music scene. We stayed at a Hilton property near Sixth Street and strolled down the street at night listening to all the live music.

Sixth Street

We dropped into Esther’s Follies, named in honor of Esther Williams—don’t know why. The Political Christmas show was quite entertaining with actors, singers, and a magician, all funny and talented.

The unique–Austin-original—thing about the show is that the stage opens to the street, and sometimes passers-by get roped into one of the acts. Boy, those pedestrians sure know how to flip the state bird.


San Antonio

The buildings, the Alamo, and the River Walk Boats celebrate in Christmas colors.

Big Bend National Park

Outside Big Bend, we went tipi glamping (glamour camping) in Terlingua, a small town known for its Ghost town (more hype than it’s worth). We found the town deeper into Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) than into Christmas.

I dare you to sit on this stool.

Circling Back North

Driving north along the Rio Grande we entered Langtry and passed what I thought was a tourist trap. “Judge Roy Bean,” I said. “He wasn’t real.” But then I saw the sign “Free Entrance.” So we stopped. Yes, Judge Roy Bean was real and so was his admiration for Lilly Langtry. But the most real thing was the Texas hospitality by the site attendants who invited us to their Christmas party.

Judge Roy Bean’s courthouse.


Breakfast in Marfa, an artsy little town that prides itself on an international reputation.

Hotel Paisano, Marfa

Fort Davis

I was surprised to learn that in 1854 Jefferson Davis was the Secretary of War. He helped establish Fort Davis to protect Texans from the Apache.

Well equipped and important hospital.
Officer’s Quarters

A very comfortable Fort Davis hotel with a great restaurant—best trout ever

Limpia Hotel

Silver City, New Mexico

While visiting the Gila Cliffs National Park, stay in Silver City, especially on an Art Walk night.

Palace Hotel, circa 1882

Lots of outdoor art
More yard art

This was our first trip to Texas. What a pleasant surprise to find so much creativity and diversity in landscapes and people.