There is a whole lot to see and do in South Texas. Those of you who want to know all about this area just need to go exploring and you can become a walking historian. History can be fun, entertaining, and educational. Why not set yourself a goal to visit every attraction in this area. This should keep you entertained for the whole year. Or maybe even more.
So where do you start? A small booklet called The Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide has a short paragraph of most every attraction in the Rio Grande Valley. Call your chamber and see if they have copies of this little booklet. Or pick up one from the Texas Tourist Information Center in Harlingen. (You can also find it online at www.wintertexantimes.com under the Digital Editions heading.)
Your computer will also have a wealth of knowledge. Just search for "Attractions in (name of city)". To learn even more just search the name of the attraction that interests you.
You could start in Roma and just continue down to South Padre Island. Drive these routes on your own or you may want to join a tour group. Roma has a World Birding Center to please the avid birders. For the history buffs and the photographers, the beautiful older brick buildings should delight you. Next comes Rio Grande City and the Fort where Robert E. Lee was once stationed. The house where he lived and the map sketches on the walls are especially interesting.
Mission, home of Coach Landry and the La Lomita Mission with its charming little chapel and outdoor oven where bread was baked is certainly worth a visit. Mission also has an interesting museum that tells of the Orphan Trains that once operated across the United States.
Two of my favorite things will not be listed. If you want to really appreciate the vegetable farmers, why not drive the Memorial Highway - that's Highway 281 - that parallels the river. During mid to late January through mid-March you will see the many Winter Vegetables that are grown in South Texas. The leafy vegetable Kale is one of our newest crops. Water hungry sugar cane fields are in abundance.
Take time to stop in La Paloma at their cemetery and note how all the graves are facing South - not to the East as is customary in most cemeteries. Most of the graves belong to those who had their roots in Mexico. Could it be that on the day of judgement they hope to rise up and go back to their homeland? The Oblate Fathers in their desire to bring their faith to the early settlers established little chapels at all the ranch headquarters along this highway. These simple little chapels are charming and touching in their simplicity especially the one at El Ranchito.
A hidden jewel is in the Lutheran Church in Lyford. Wooden sculpted faces of the twelve disciples line the inside walls. The artist was so skilled that you can see the disbelief on the face of doubting Thomas.
Explore! And learn! South Texas is really interesting. Some might say we are the best of two worlds!