Texas Forever

I thought my life was over the day my parents told me we were moving to Texas. I spent the next three months having friends sign the inside of my closet in nail polish and giving my parents no shortage of attitude for this horrible “family” decision.

So, grounded indefinitely, my mom dragged me kicking and screaming across the country.

Well, if I knew then what I know now, I would have packed my bags, bought a pair of cowboy boots and practiced my “y’all”. I was immediately surprised by all the Lone Star state had to offer beyond the Hollywood version of cowboy hats, ranches and Friday night lights. Once here, you see there is so much to fall in love with. The blending of cultures, the boundless terrain, genuine hospitality and the pride of this state make it something enviable. You can’t help but want to be a part of it. So how did Texas woo this New England turned Florida girl? Well, it was a little bit of everything from its beaches and mountains hills, music and sporting events, and every type of food in between.

Well, you can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take Florida out of the girl. I’ve spent my fair share of time at the beaches along the Texas Gold Coast and have grown from “this isn’t as good” to sunscreen, sandals and sandcastle bliss. There have been so many great trips enjoying beachy cottage rentals from South Padre Island, to Corpus Christi, to Matagorda Bay, and up to Galveston. It’s one of the few destinations that has been on repeat since I moved to Texas and while they may not be making any top 10 US beaches countdown, they get the job done.

If saltwater and sunscreen aren’t your thing, Texas will still find a way to win you over with its perfect sunsets over the inland lakes and across the hill country.

Just a quick jaunt away to Fredericksburg and we were sitting outside our cabin, glass of wine in hand, Yes! Texas also has an awesome wine country, watching an amazing sunset wondering if anything could rival this. Then in breathtaking fashion, just a few months later we sat on the deck of our friends LBJ lake house, taking in a totally different Texas sunset calling the day to a poetic end. Both of those evenings, I remember thinking I was so lucky to call this state home.

Now, before moving to Texas, I wasn’t so in tune with “outdoorsy Rachel”. Most people that know me, including my mom, are genuinely surprised that this city girl enjoys the great outdoors. I’ve spent more weekends than I can count at state parks like McKinney Falls, Enchanted Rock & Pedernales. I can’t wait for my girls to see the benefit of taking in the quick break form city life and enjoy a reset. The one that stole my heart was Big Bend, the granddaddy of them all. It just feels like Texas. We ventured there, with a 5 WEEK old, to support my husband completing his first ultra-marathon. I had never been so worried, so exhausted, and yet so at peace, finding an amazing tranquility in the unspoiled nature and unparalleled stargazing.

Texas has a soundtrack to it too. Just sit and listen, then get up and dance! I spent my first years in Texas learning how to two-step and memorize all the words to Pat Green songs. The most nostalgically Texas music to me, though, will always be the great Willie Nelson (and his picnic). But Texas has had a musical influence as vast as it’s acreage for over a century. It’s no shock that it takes pride in some of its home-grown talent across all genres, like country music legend George Strait, the rocker Buddy Holly, the Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughn, the Tejano trailblazer Selena, and the pop Queen Beyonce.

Yes, Texas, you own my playlist, whatever the mood. 

As if I hadn’t already been swept off my feet, I found museums covering an array of topics from presidential libraries, to captivating children’s wonder at The Perot and everything in between. There’s also the support of the Arts across this great state making it a destination from Broadway favorites and Vegas attractions.

If that isn’t enough entertainment let’s not forget the sporting events that draw a small-town crowd on Friday nights, a minor league dream around metropolitan areas and the pro teams that can divide a state. Texas had me hooked with a Spurs team in the late 90s that not only won but were the nicest guys on the court to do it. Then at UT I got to watch Mack Brown and Ricky Williams bring a program back to glory.

Hook ‘Em.

The stadium quest took us to Houston to cheer on the Texans, and a former Patriots coach, and there has been so much post season baseball for Texas in the last few years, my cup runneth over. My husband was a Cowboys season ticket holder when I married him, and he is the best partner in crime for this sports lover. Together we are ever chasing the game trifecta in Dallas (Mavs, Stars, Cowboys) topped off with a coaster or two at Six Flags. Where else can you do that? Texas 1, other states 0.

Taking this trip down memory lane has reinforced why it’s Texas Forever for me and my crew. I have lapped up the culture, the wide-open spaces, the politeness, and let’s be honest… the queso too, over the last 20 years. I’ve convinced my mom to move here and couldn’t imagine a better place to raise my girls.

I think it’s safe to say this Yankee has become a southern girl, y’all.

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