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Planning for what is now known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly called the Interstate System, began in the late 1930s.

The first time I took someone golfing with me who wasn’t actually a golfer, I loaded my daughter Jaime, then around 4 years old, into a golf cart with me as I headed out for a round. My birthday is in May, and I’d gotten the round as a gift.

If you haven’t been to Palestine, Texas, then surely you’ve heard of it. It’s home to one of two train depots that welcome travelers on the Texas State Railroad. It’s the setting in several of Whiskey Myers’ songs. The town houses one of a handful of national balloon facilities around the world. And don’t even get me started on Oxbow Pies, which was featured in Charm in November 2021.

Like those in many East Texas towns, Livingston’s downtown buildings are being renovated and restored to provide a chic shopping and dining experience for visitors. Driving down North Washington Avenue, one shop is sure to catch your eye: Petalz by Annie. From the colorful floral mural that flanks the side of the building to the extraordinary and innovative window displays to the large roll-up garage door that invites guests to come and enjoy a cup of coffee, the boutique oozes sophistication.

When Steve Reece first took on his daughter’s pet pig, Popcorn, he had no idea just what he was starting. The place where she lived didn’t allow pigs, and five years later, Steve is the proud owner of Triple P Sanctuary and Rescue — home to 80 potbelly pigs.

While much of the rest of the business world is struggling to find workers, cattle producers are returning to some traditional methods to help them get things done. Sonya and Terry Blomberg of the Sweet Iron Ranch near Frankston breed and train border collies to help reduce the number of human cowhands needed.

This is one “block” party you don’t want to miss. The Quilt Guild of the Pineywoods is hosting its Needle in the Pines Quilt Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 18-19 at the Lufkin High School cafeteria.

The Ruby Cattle Company Market opened its doors in downtown Livingston in August 2021. The market is in a historic building with many lives. It once served as a drug store and soda shop, as well as a doctor’s office. Upstairs from the market, the doctor’s nameplates are still displayed on their former office doors.

County fairs bring up thoughts of carnivals, livestock, pies, kids, canned goods and so many other Norman Rockwell images. I have been a part of a county fair since I was a young member of 4-H in Johnson County, Texas. Following college, I have been a part of three county fairs. These were in Van Zandt County (Canton, Texas), Tyler County (Woodville, Texas) and in Angelina County (Lufkin, Texas) for the past 22 years.

Moon Swanson loves all things Texas. He is an eighth-generation Texan and his passion for the Lone Star State runs deep. Moon is the great-great-great-grandson of William Physick Zuber, who was the last survivor of The Battle of San Jacinto, and a descendant of Martin Palmer, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

When making my obligatory Texan pilgrimage to the Spoetzl Brewery, we decided to stay a few days to see what else Shiner had to offer, other than the daily dose of polka music on the area radio station. The town is small, with a population of 2,069, but busting at the seams with the generous helping of hospitality on display at every place we visited.

Exploring the work of Huntsville-based artist Lee Jamison provides viewers with a much-needed opportunity to explore the interconnectedness that runs deep in East Texas life — and something most denizens of the Pineywoods have deeply missed during the pandemic.

Janie and her daughter, Patricia “Patty” Huggins, always knew they wanted to run a tea house/cafe. But they never expected to run a restaurant/bed-and-breakfast in the most famous historical mansion in the heart of Texas’ oldest town.

After a short trip down the Jonesville Cutoff Road, just north of Interstate 20, you’ll find a rundown cotton gin, a former railroad depot and the T.C. Lindsey & Co. General Store — the only one of the three structures still operating. It has continually been in business since 1847, serving the small community of Jonesville and the many pilgrims who make this trek just to visit this historical gem.

East Texas residents can now enjoy a unique experience when shopping for beauty products. The Orange Blossom & Fig Apothecary is in downtown Lufkin, nestled between the Angelina Brewing Company and Becker Art Studio on First Street. The apothecary offers a variety of goods to cater to just about any customer.

While most folks in Angelina County are well-acquainted with the Lufkin treasure known as Renfro’s Smoked Sausage, few know much about who runs it or the company’s history. Paul Clifton, owner of the business with a low profile and a cult following, said they’re just a “good ol’ hometown company.”