In order to understand my love for Texas, you’d first have to understand how I came to this amazing state. In 2005 I moved from my home state of Florida after more than 20 years. I grew up in Florida and am a huge fan of this wild and untamable state surrounded on three sides by water. But my time there was unfortunately done and I was headed for a new destination: Indiana. I would quickly learn, snow and ice aren’t for me and after five freezing winters and a miserable economy, I began to hunt for the state that had the biggest combination of good weather, a solid economy with plenty of opportunities, and a thriving culture. It didn’t take long for Texas to be at the top of the list. So, in late January 2010, I hopped on a plane for my first visit to Texas.
I arrived in Dallas-Fort Worth airport and was stunned by its size. And the warmth. Oh, the wonderful warmth, in January compared to where I had come from was a blessing. There was no snow, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful 46 degrees. So much better than the negative temperature I’d come from. But most of all, no snow! I never knew how sick I would become of seeing snow after living most of my life in Florida. And within a week, I’d rented an apartment, ordered furniture, returned to Indiana to pack my things and my daughter and we made the 18 hour drive south – at the tail end of a blizzard which caused icy conditions throughout the northeast no less! While the beginning of our time in Texas was rough – I was constantly getting lost on the myriad of highways in Dallas even with GPS – within a few months it began to feel like we belonged here.
Everything is Bigger
It’s no joke when people say, “Texas does it bigger”. We honestly do! Our state icons are bigger, our demolitions are bigger, our buildings are huge, and the highways are vast (and can be very confusing).There’s so much to do and see, it’s overwhelming if you’re not a native. Here are some of my favorite moments and places since I’ve relocated here.
April 2010: Cowboy Stadium Demolition A beloved icon for the area, some people wept as the stadium imploded and the demolition, both before and after, was talked about for weeks. It’s quite an impressive video and a number of camera crews caught the action live.
Dallas, TX: Driving into Dallas, TX you can’t help but notice the traffic increase. Millions converge in and out of Dallas every day and while the traffic shows it, the next thing you’ll notice is the immense skyscrapers throughout the area. The only other area in Texas with skyscrapers this tall is Houston. The tallest building is JP Morgan Chase tower at an impressive 1,002 feet, built in 1982. It’s the 3rd most populated city in Texas. Since the 1900’s Texas has been known for building enormous buildings and that’s a tradition that will never change. DFW Airport is a major hub and allows you to reach almost any major city within 4 hours or less.
In addition to big buildings, there’s a thriving downtown area, including the Dallas Farmers Market, the Dallas Heritage Village and the JFK Memorial Plaza. The farmer’s market is the largest of its kind in the state, with farmers from as much as 150 miles away coming to sell or buy fresh produce. The Dallas Heritage Village is a collection of 19th century Victorian homes and frequently features special events to commemorate the time period. And of course, the JFK Memorial Plaza and Dealey Plaza are dedicated to JFK’s assassination. All are important areas not to miss. And you can’t forget the Texas State Fair every September, which features a 55-foot-tall icon that greets visitors, Big Tex (he waves, he talks, he even turns his head!).
But there’s more to Texas than Dallas.
San Antonio: Another key area to visit is San Antonio. Renowned for its famous River walk, San Antonio also houses on of the most beautiful botanical gardens I’ve ever seen, the Japanese Tea Gardens.
Fort Worth, TX
Home to beautiful botanical gardens on over 100 acres, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden should be first on your visit list. Next, is the top-rated Fort Worth Zoo, which in 2014 saw the births of two Asian elephants, Belle and Bowie, which made major headlines. Fort Worth is fifth most populous in the state of Texas. It’s also a major corporate hub for companies like Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin.
NASA’s Johnson Space Center is a part of the thriving city and is the lead center for the International Space Station, which involves 16 nations collaborating together.
Many corporations look to Irving for their headquarters thanks to Irving’s financial initiatives, transportation options and lack of a state income tax. Irving is home to more than a dozen major Fortune 500 corporation headquarters, and these businesses employ over 22,000 residents from throughout the area. Irving is also well known for the majestic Mustangs of Las Colinas, a beautiful, full size sculpture of nine mustangs racing across a stream. A beautiful exhibit no matter what time of year, it was created in 1981 and is free to the public.
Home to a sprawling Six Flags theme park as well as the new AT & T Stadium (home of the Cowboys) and Rangers baseball stadium, this is a thriving sports-loving city. Not to be missed is the annual Christmas program held at Six Flags every year. This five week long celebration features local school children performing, dancing reindeer, and so much more. It’s an annual tradition not to miss if you’re in the area and sure to bring plenty of Christmas cheer.
So, I guess you could say, my love for Texas is, well, huge. Texas-sized even! Because in this state, there is something for everyone whether you enjoy the beautiful outdoors, sports, art, history, or are just looking to be in the thick of everything. One thing’s for sure, you’ll never run out of new adventures and experiences to explore in Texas!
About Charity Kountz
A Texas transplant, she is an award-winning children’s book author who freelances on the side for Coldwell Banker, Strategy Magazine, Moxie Lady, WOW Magazine, and more. She also owns a marketing firm, and has three children. Connect with her on her website, CharityKountz.com or via LinkedIn and Twitter.