Texas in the springtime

Is there anything more magnificent than Texas in the springtime? Each day, there’s something new to see as the state awakens and begins to bloom.

Like many homesick Texans, I don’t get home in the spring nearly often enough. This year, however, I was fortunate to be there for a conference. While my intent was to work, it was hard to stay focused when there was so much natural beauty all around.

My trip began with a break in Belton for this:

Then I headed to my grandma’s farm and saw this:

Along the way, I stopped in West for this:

And when I arrived at the farm, I was greeted by this:

There was a heavy storm that night, but afterwards my grandma and I saw this:

The next day I drove to Central Texas for the conference. While there, one morning I woke up early and saw this:

And then a few minutes later, there was this:

Eventually, I had to fly back to NYC. But first, I had this:

As always, it was good to visit home.

  1. Just beautiful. I will never, ever get tired of seeing bluebonnet fields.

  2. Aarti S.

    I love bluebonnets in TX in the springtime! Something we don't get out here in LA 🙁

    I went to TX last week for a business trip as well and I think I had tex mex everynight that I was there… and gained 5 pounds. Ha

  3. Mmm…love the kolaches in West. We stop every time we drive through there!

  4. Yes, this is a good year for bluebonnets, almost as good as 2002. As for Tex Mex, I'm still getting use to it (transplanted midwesterner here).

  5. Yes, yes yes. TEEXXXAASSS!

  6. Anonymous

    Which restuarant is that in Belton?

  7. I'm curious about where you were in Belton too. My parents live there and I go often. We usually pick up BBQ from Schoepf's but it would be nice to go somewhere else!

  8. Anonymous

    …ohhh how I miss home!

  9. looloolooweez–I agree, you can never get tired of seeing bluebonnets.

    Aarti–While they don't have bluebonnets in LA, a friend tells me she saw something similar up near Sacramento.

    Jenn–Yep, they're the best!

    Shrie–YES indeed!

    Anon and Carol–The place in Belton is Miller's Smokehouse. They make a fine brisket. This dish is called Fire in the Bowl, and it's a brisket, sausage, pulled pork, beans, jalapeños and Fritos. A barbecue Frito pie!

    Anon–So do I!

    Janet–It's indeed a fine year. One man told me he hadn't seen so many in 25 years!

  10. Soooo homesick, being here in the Pacific Northwest now. Thanks for the Spring Trip!

  11. Kay–You're welcome!

  12. Oh my goodness what is pic #4? It looks SO tasty!

  13. Annie–Those are cheese kolaches.

  14. Oh my goodness you just made me miss Texas so much! Bluebonnets and Kolaches, pure Heaven!!

  15. Connie–Bluebonnets and heaven are indeed pure heaven!

  16. I love this post! My Mom just sent me photos of bluebonnets by the house! So lovely. I adore West! Went to college in Baylor, and we made the 15 minute drive for kolaches almost any chance we got. They are fine food with which to study for final exams.

  17. DessertForTwo–Isn't West wonderful? And I bet kolaches make fine study food!

  18. I have to admit, I've never thought of the geography of Texas as much more than cities with skyscrapers and oil refineries and desert, having never had the opportunity to visit there. Thanks for the eye-opening pics!

  19. BriarleyRose–The cities are just a small part of Texas. It's definitely worth a visit!

  20. Kristen

    I was in Texas for a conference myself last week. It was a thrilling surprise to see the lovely bluebonnets!

    It looks like you have a great trip with family and delicious food. What more does one need in life?

  21. The bluebonnets are killer this year. (So is the tree pollen, yikes.) Maybe all the rain we've had lately has helped. I'm glad you were able to visit & see them!

  22. Love the pictures Lisa . We usually go up to Brenham for the flowers..and the mandatory stop at Blue Bell..and then over to Chappel Hill for sausasge…My husband and I are addicted to their jap. sausage, especially in red beans and rice.

    Waving from Houston.

  23. Kristen–I was there last year and there were hardly any so it was great to see so many in bloom this year.

    Kristy–Yep, I came back to NYC with my allergies in full bloom as well!

  24. Ah! That last queso shot is unreal! In fact, for lunch I'm going to go on over to Las Palapas and insist that they plop all that stuff onto some queso for me. Yum! We have a field in our front yard, and it is solid Indian Paintbrushes. The sunsets of late have been particularly pink-ish/purple, and the contrast is stunning.

  25. Thanks for the info on the Belton pic – it's on my list b/c BBQ Snob mentioned it.
    Is that Bob Armstrong queso? Which restaurant?
    Glad you got to see the bluebonnets.

  26. Aarti S.

    Can I make a request for a BBQ frito pie recipe? Sounds like a party in my mouth…

    I'm guessing a hybrid of frito pie recipe but using your oven coffee brisket recipe instead of one hour chili? Mmmmmmmm

  27. Celeste

    I'm planning a girls' weekend with my bestie in Houston in July, so I've got Texas on my mind right now! We have no idea what to do but hopefully we'll find something good (including chow).

  28. Every year I thank Lady Bird Johnson when the bluebonnets and other wildflowers come up.

  29. Wow! Thanks for the bluebonnet pics! My mom has been sending me photos of her Indian Paintbrush, but no bonnets, yet. Beautiful.

    And the Czech Stop? I dream of that place.

    Way. Too. Often.

  30. You hit my favorite hot spots, even if Belton was one of our high school rivals. I miss Central Texas, too; the sights, the food, the people.

  31. Stacey–Your yard must be stunning! I didn't see too many Indian paintrbrushes where I was.

    Sue–This is a queso compuesto from El Mercado in Austin. It's very similar to Bob Armstrong dip, which I also had at Matt. Good stuff!

    Aarti–It's already on the list!

    Celeste–There's always plenty to eat in Houston!

    Esmeralda–I thank her, too! Such a wonderful legacy she left us.

    Sarah–Ha! I know just how you feel!

    Cindy–Rivalry aside, Belton is still a beautiful town. Are you from Temple?

  32. Love it! I am so going to go out for Tex-Mex tonight! That last pic really really got to me…

  33. Glad you had a good trip! Yes, spring in Texas is a special, almost magical, time. 🙂

  34. TEXAS! Thank you for sharing the pictures. I wake up every morning to gray here in Seattle and then I talk to my mom who reminds me that the bluebonnets are out and it's 70 degrees back home. (this obviously helps stave my homesickness… except not at all.)
    As always, I love having a moment parusing your blog. Thank you 🙂

  35. I can't believe you were in Belton and I didn't get a chance to meet you, I'm crushed! I'll have to go to Miller's, have a fire in a bowl and dream what if.

    By the way, a car ran into the front of the Little Czech bakery this morning (when were you here?). No one was hurt and it's still open for business.

  36. Misplaced Tex

    Thank you for bringing home to me…I miss it so!

  37. Were you in Waco? Welcome (belatedly!) to Central Texas. I'll have to stop at Miller's on the next drive to Austin. Thanks for the pics!

  38. Your trip home was pretty much exactly like mine. Flew from Amsterdam to SXSW and tried to be productive but mostly admired the wild flowers and shoved my face with tacos. Everything was so green!

  39. I'm moving from Texas to Indiana soon and when my fiancé asked me what I'd miss most from Texas, I quickly told him Springtime Wildflowers and good Mexican Food. Yummmm.

  40. Rocky Mountain Woman–Tex-Mex is always a must!

    Kelly–It's my favorite time of the year!

    t.turney–You're very welcome.

    Cheryl–I'm so glad no one was hurt!

    Misplaced Tex–I miss it too. Glad you're enjoying the photos.

    Meredith–I was not in Waco, though I did think about stopping and getting a burger at Health Camp.–It's hard to be productive when you're a homesick Texan visiting in the spring!

    Kelsi–Yep, those are two things at the top of my list, too. Best wishes for your move!

  41. Where oh where is that queso from? I hope you haven't answered that question yet. I read the comments but might have missed it. I've only had queso like that in Cuero, TX. A little far from my home in DFW.

  42. My parents have bluebonnets sprouting up behind their house, I'm quite excited to get home in May and see them there and along i10!

  43. We love West! I live in Oklahoma and whenever I drive to Houston to visit my family, we stop there for the same reason!

  44. Yeah, the bluebonnets were ok, but it was the food shots that really made me homesick!

  45. Melanie

    That's making me sooooo excited!! I get to go home next week!!! And at one point I will be driving through West…

  46. H Kenyon

    Love this, Lisa!! Is that Tacodeli queso?? 🙂

  47. I miss bluebonnets! When I was transplanted to Sacramento for 10 years, I had to make do with regular light blue or purple 'Lupines'. In Germany, I've found them in pink, lavender and white varieties. BUT: nothing compares to those native Texan deep blue blossoms.

  48. Anonymous

    I was just there last week (native Texan, but I live in Nashville now)! I could not believe my trip to help family was perfectly timed by the Lord so that I could see the bluebonnets. And I was there for the storm, too. Amazing beauty. Yeah, God!

  49. I truely miss Texas at Bluebonnet time! But now retired in E.Tennessee we have the dogwoods and redbuds everywhere. 🙂

  50. ummmm love those Kolaches in West! But I always have to stop for pizza in Waco at Poppa Rolla's! yummy:))

  51. Aunty Pol–That's a beautiful drive from Houston!

    Autum–That queso is from El Mercado in Austin.

    Alyssa–Have a good trip home!

    K. Marie Jesch–Yep, it's a great place to stop!

    Maisouiparis–They sure don't have food like that in Paris!

    Melanie–It should be beautiful!

    H Kenyon–No, it's from El Mercado.

    Johnna–I have a friend in Sacramento who swears she has seen bluebonnets, but it was probably just the regular lupines. And nope, nothing compares!

    Anon–I missed the early-week storm, but I heard it was incredible.

  52. dibear–Dogwoods and redbuds are also beautiful.

    grace grits and gardening–I haven't been there but I'll have to stop next time I'm on I-35.

  53. My husband grew up in West! His parents owned a grocery store there for eons 🙂

  54. What wonderful pictures and what a wonderful season for the bluebonnets! Thank you for sharing them! I took my fair share when my husband and I flew back home to Houston in mid-March from Missouri. We traveled out 290 and stayed in Fredricksburg, then Austin (so much fun!). Your website has helped my sanity during my Midwestern stay…

  55. I wish I could have gone! This will be my first year to miss the bluebonnets (I've gone back both years since I moved) and I'm sooo sad.

  56. Thank you for sharing, Lisa! I'm living vicariously through this post. Really missing Texas this spring. Thanks again!

  57. I think Central Texas is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

  58. I love how the food gets in there too! 😉

  59. Arrrrrgh! I was already hungry but now I'm homesick! My mom has been emailing me and mentioning the bluebonnets in every phone call lately. Brides have their portraits taken in my parents front yard. I'm in NC and the dogwoods are pretty but I miss bluebonnets. My next trip home (Austin/Marble Falls) isn't until May so I'm going to miss out.

  60. Wow..Lovely pictures of the field of flowers. (You plate of food looks great too..).. Tried your quick chili this weekend and it was delicious…I never used dried peppers before, so it was great learning the use of them. Your book is soooo pretty too..Hubby covered it so it will stay nice….I think my next recipe will be the Dr. Pepper ribs!

  61. Lori Rys Moore

    Thanks…now I'm really homesick! This is the most beautiful time of year in TX. Cool nights, warm days and the beautiful blue bonnets…

  62. It really is an incredible year for wildflowers. Here in the Brenham/Washington County area we are just puffed up with pride, especially after suffering through the horrible 2011 drought. The weather is perfect – right now – hope it stays "springy" for our Golden Roos weekend in May! – Go Hoppers!!

  63. Anonymous

    I was in south central Texas as well the past week. Loved seeing all the wildflowers and the morning dew that dropped every morning. I enjoyed eating fried catfish from Clear Springs Restaurant in Clear Springs near New Braunfels. Sweet Dreams bakery found me eating a blueberry/cream cheese kolache. A visit to Granzin's Meat Market and a purchase of rings of dried sausage and Naegelin's Bakery – apricot kolaches. Oh My!!

  64. I was home last week (Marble Falls/Kingsland. Went Hiking at Enchanted Rock near Fredricksburg and the wildflowers were out in force. As for eat's: ah Cooper's BBQ in Llano.

    I really DID NOT want to get on the plane and return to CT. Enchanted Rock 2012 Pics –>

  65. Love those bluebonnets! Just looking at that food made me hungry. Someone mentioned apricot kolaches…they really are "Oh my" and then some.

  66. Ah – beautiful pictures, and I REALLY MISS TEXAS!!! And Tex-Mex, and kolaches, and the list is endless!

  67. I always stop in West, too. Love the savory ones! My daughter lives up by New Braunfels and says it is lovely right now at her country place.

  68. Beautiful blue bonnets! We don't get those up here in West Texas unfortunately. Love the spring weather though. It's been like summer for the past week and I enjoyed the heck out of my lunch outside our Chipotle today: fresh tacos.

  69. Anonymous

    I'm not a native Texan, and it's been many MANY years since I lived in Texas, but those bluebonnet pictures made me a bit…dare I say it…homesick.

  70. Anonymous

    The only thing you missed was the Bluebell Ice Cream! I am a native Texan living in China. The only thing I miss more than the Tex-Mex and scenery is the People and riding my motorcycle through the countryside in Spring (too damn hot in the summer!) Ya'll take care now, ya hear!


  71. Wow – I can smell Texas in the Spring time even though I am thousands and thousands of miles away. I miss it immensely.

  72. We went riding on the Harley last weekend near New Braunfels. It was breathtakingly beautiful! Next weekend Fredericksburg!

  73. Yay for bluebonnet season! I get so excited when they pop up in my yard and well…pretty much all over the place here! Glad you got to enjoy them during your visit 🙂

  74. Thanks for the pics – I miss bluebonnets and Tex-Mex and good barbecue. I used to live in Bertram, Texas where the bluebonnets were abundant. Live in East Tennessee now where we have redbuds and dogwood blooming now.

  75. I just came across your site and love it! Thanks for making me feel at home. I was born and raised in Texas, Salado is my hometown, but have been living in Las Vegas NV for 16 years. I don't get back there as much as I would like and miss terribly , so thanks again for putting a big ol' Texas grin on my face this morning. 🙂

  76. Love it! Thanks for the great pics to remind me of home!

  77. Bill from Houston

    My wife gave me your cookbook for Xmas and I love it. I loved it even more when I saw your mention of chicken livers. We took my wife's parents with us and spent the weekend around the Brenham area looking at wildflowers. They were beautiful. Thanks for the great blog and cookbook. I'm also a many generationed Texican as well.

  78. God, I miss the mother land. Army wife, stationed in Kansas, which isn't as horrific as it sounds. Its actually BEAUTIFUL and HILLY here. But still…. I haven't seen bluebonnets in years.

  79. I so enjoy your blog. I'm a true homesick Texan. From Fort Worth living in the Seattle area. How I miss the big blue skies, bluebonnets, and of course the food. Thank you so much for your lovely photos.

  80. Spring is always the time of year I miss Texas the most – the Houston rodeo, the wildflowers, the Azalea trail! Springtime in the Alps is beautiful, too, but nothing beats home. I think my mom sends me pictures of the bluebonnets on their property every year. Sadly, I haven't been back to Texas in the spring for 12 years. Thanks for your post!

  81. My writing is set in a part of Texas that doesn't have all those lovely flowers.

    But it's still beautiful.

  82. I need to get down to Belton. It sounds like a kicked up Vitek's Gut pack.

  83. I moved to the Texas Panhandle (from DFW) 6 years ago, and I haven't seen a single bluebonnet during that entire time. I miss bluebonnets. 🙁 On the bright side, I never saw Indian Paintbrush before I moved here!

  84. Anonymous

    The bluebonnets have been so spectacular this year. And we have wildflowers growing in our new backyard too – larkspur is popping up, along with others. Next year we'll sow some bluebonnet seeds along the road and see what happens.

    Beautiful pics – thanks!

  85. Anonymous

    beautiful pics…I love driving and seeing all the wildflowers each day in spring. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE kolaches. I always stop at the Czech Stop in West when I drive through to get my share of great kolaches and sausage.

  86. You've just made me so homesick, I could cry. Your pictures of the bluebonnets and the food(!)…uggh, tugs at my heart. I'm here in Minnesota and although it's a lovely day here today, it ain't Texas. Hope you had a big ole Dr Pepper with all of those meals and an even bigger scoop of Blue Bell!

  87. I LOVE, LOVE Texas! I live in Nebraska and get back about twice a year! I was just at the Czech stop last summer – always great fun in Texas! Thanks for sharing the love!

  88. If you're going to stop for a burger in Waco you must venture a little further away from the "circle" and try a burger from Kitok's or Dubl-R Burgers. You will be happy you did!

  89. Anonymous

    Posts like this make me homesick for Texas–and I already live here!

  90. Anonymous

    My Daddy was a Texan. Two of my 3 sons have become Texans by choice. My youngest grandson is a native-born Texan, but I introduced them to Texas and to your (and Robb Walsh's) enchiladas and chili gravy and all our lives are greatly improved. I looked for a chili gravy recipe for 40 years, found yours 2 years ago and Hubs & I are addicted. I bow to the master (mistress, if you prefer) of Tex-Mex and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. He's 71, I'm 69, and we only started to live when I got the recipe. We can die happy now.

  91. Thank you so much for this post! It's Easter and I'm so homesick, so it's nice to see some Texas wildflowers. I moved away last summer, and I miss bluebonnets, Lone Star, dance halls, CLEAN rivers, confetti eggs, and mostly my big family.

  92. Hey Girl, you're making crave Texas. I miss living down there. Love the Blue Bonnets and Indian Brush and of course the Food!!!


  93. Margaret

    Nobody much mentions this, but a field of bluebonnets smells wonderful too, doesn't it?

  94. This, more than any of your other posts, made me miss Texas. I can recreate the food in my Georgia kitchen, but I can't recreate the bluebonnets!

  95. Anonymous

    Another Texpatriate living in the PNW here. Thank you for the spring wildflower trip. I heard the bluebonnets were spectacular this year, and it looks like the Indian paintbrush was just starting up. I warms my heart (and my tummy) to see your pics. Gracias!

  96. Anonymous

    I've moved away from Texas several times, but always come back. My last return landed me in Temple for the last 10 years so I was pleased to see the pic from Belton Miller BBQ, didn't even know it existed. Read your post on Tuesday and went there for lunch on Wednesday, delicious. Thanks for showing me a new place in my own backyard.

  97. Anonymous

    oh gosh, kolaches and then someone mentions a Vitek gut pack! I wish I were there!

  98. sniff* sniff* I miss Texas!

  99. That barbecue you got in Belton looks so similar to the Gut Packs that they serve at Vitek's in Waco! Thanks so much for sharing the pictures–I live in Georgia now where it is very pretty in the Spring, but nothing will ever compare to bluebonnet season in Texas!

  100. I was born and raised in Texas. I miss it so much. thank you for sharing the sites and foods I miss

  101. Anonymous

    oh, lord, how I miss blue bonnets!! DC has cherry blossoms, but my eyes crave the beautiful blue!

  102. This year is a fabulous year for wildflowers – not just bluebonnets but they are all popping up in mass! It's lovely to drive around our great state this time of year. Looks like you got your fill of all the best! While on a girls weekend trip, last weekend, we spent some time perusing your cookbook! Enjoyed it too.

  103. I lived in Texas for over 40 years and recently moved to Albuquerque, NM. I really miss the bluebonnet season so it was great to see your photos (I also love the cheese kolaches photo). If you are ever in ABQ, shoot us an email. We would love to show you around!

  104. You've never had kolaches like the ones from the Kolache Factory in Houston. Their bacon & cheese kolache is the best thing you will put in your mouth. I am from Houston but live in Dallas, I had them over-nighted once for a company breakfast and even the guys who said nothing could compete with West kolaches, were sold.

    Love you Blog!!

  105. Graduated from Belton.. I love your blog!

  106. The Japanese have their cherry trees in spring, and Texas has bluebonnets.

    When I was forced to leave the country and live in this awful place called South Dakota, I had my mother send me calendars of Bluebonnets. When she wasn't shipping me tubs of Blue Bell ice cream.

    I was really surprised when I found dried bluebonnets in San Francisco, of all places, while at a craft store. I bought 8 huge bags of the stuff to take back with me to SD.

    When I was really, really, really homesick, I'd hide somewhere and huff the smell of those flowers. My husband thought I was crazy.

    But he wasn't from Texas, so he didn't get it.

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