I first visited Texas when I went for my grad school interview, and I was nearly scared off of moving there. After spending less than twenty-four hours in Denton, Texas, a tornado passed through town, trapping my dad in Walmart, while I watched cars drive up to the hotel with their windshields smashed out from baseball sized hail.
But, despite what felt like a very dark omen, I moved south, and I am so glad that I did. It was the adventure of a lifetime. In my last blog, I wrote about how the homesickness I felt in Texas inspired my novel HOME. This time, I thought I would take the time to write about the ten best experiences that I had in Texas.
1 – I took horseback riding lessons.
Horses features prominently in HOME, and so it is probably no surprise that I love horses. I took riding lessons as a kid, but hadn’t found the chance to do so again as an adult. When I moved to Texas, I was looking for things to do, and taking up riding lessons again seemed like the perfect Texas opportunity. I learned so much about horses and had a ton of fun.
2 – Visited Cutting Edge Haunted House and participated in their Zombie Apocalypse Live event
If I ever write a novel outside of the romance genre, it will be a horror novel. I have a not-so-secret passion for all things scary. Horror movies, creepy campfire tales, Halloween, haunted houses… I love all of it!
Fort Worth, Texas happens to be the home of an incredible haunt, Cutting Edge. A few times a year they do an event called “Zombie Apocalypse Live.” You get sent into a zombie-infested compound and have to try to survive, while collecting points as you go through. The zombies wear laser tag vests, and you have to attempt to fight them off, while searching for different colored glow sticks that become your score. It is terrifying and wonderful.
3 – Went skydiving
Okay, so this is not necessarily a Texas thing. I could go skydiving anywhere, but it was a bucket list activity for me and one of the highlights of my time in Texas.
4 – Visited the Cadillac Ranch
Outside of Amarillo, Texas, is the Cadillac Ranch. I could try to describe it, but I will let the photo speak for itself. I visited this Texas gem while driving back to Texas following summer break.
5 – Spent an evening strolling the San Antonio River Walk
If I have any regrets about my time in Texas, it is that I didn’t visit San Antonio sooner. When I finished my program, I went on a Texas road trip before packing up and heading home. San Antonio and its downtown river walk was beautiful!
6 – Visited Austin
I wish I had spent more time in Austin than I did. This city has so much going on. I only spent one evening exploring 6th street in downtown Austin, and it left me wanting to go back.
7 – Visited the Alamo
8 – Ate so much incredible food
I would describe all of the amazing food that I ate while in Texas, but I wrote an entire novel doing just that. In my novel, HOME, Rowan is a chef who moves to Texas to follow her culinary dreams, and as such, she has to try all of the amazing food Texas has to offer.
9 – Visited Schlitterbahn
It’s a water park that has a waterslide rollercoaster. This was easily the coolest water park that I have visited, and one that I hope to go back and visit again.
10 – Explored the caves outside of New Braunfels
Between New Braunfels and San Antonio are the Natural Bridge Caverns. While on my little Texas road trip I stopped to do a tour of the caves. In the tour, they take you deep underground and then turn out the lights so that you can experience total darkness. It was eerie.
HOME takes place entirely in the North Texas area, but Texas is huge and has so much to see and do. I spent three years in Texas, and there were still so many places that I didn’t get a chance to visit before moving home. If I ever go back to Texas, Big Bend National Park is high on my list of places to see.
My new novel, HOME, is currently available exclusively through Bywater Books: https://www.bywaterbooks.com/product/home-by-jenn-alexander/