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75 things to do or see in the Crossroads before you die

By ALLISON MILES
June 16, 2011 at 1:16 a.m.
Updated June 29, 2011 at 1:29 a.m.


Looking for other things to do while visiting the Crossroads? Contact the Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-926-5774.

You might have read it. Or flipped through it. Or seen it on a shelf and thought, "I should pick that up."

It's the national bestseller, "1,000 Places to See Before You Die."

The list, which includes everything from Asian sailing excursions to African horseback riding sites, might be mouthwatering to the wannabe world traveler. For most, however, the financial ability to travel the world simply isn't there.

But have no fear. Sometimes the best adventures are those in your own backyard.

Here, in no particular order, are 75 things to do or see in the Crossroads before you die:

Shiner's Spoetzl Brewery.

Tours offer a chance to see where and how Shiner beer is made and provide a sample of the stuff.

Ganado Cinema

This modern-day cinema boasts old-school charm and first opened its doors in 1941.

Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum

The Shiner site offers visitors a glimpse at the way life was back in the day, from an old-time country store to an implement shed and even an old home complete with furnishings.

Howard's gas station

This Shiner station serves up more than your typical convenience store fare. The outdoor patio boasts music, Shiner beer on tap and a place to visit with friends.

The Wharton County Courthouse.

Built in 1889, the building was virtually destroyed by various architectural changes. A $7.2 million renovation brought it back to its original glory.

Refugio County Museum

The museum offers a variety of historical tidbits, from old-time automobiles to the hat Carol Channing wore in "Hello Dolly" and a sign recognizing Refugio as Nolan Ryan's birthplace.

Shiner's Half Moon holidays

The annual event takes place the first weekend in July with a barbecue cook-off, car show, music and more.

Historic homes tours

Victoria offers multiple tours throughout the year that not only show off the city's older buildings, but give a glimpse at the people who used to call them home.

Cole Theater

This old-time Hallettsville site got its start as a silent movie theater in 1926 and moved to its current location, 207 E. Second St., in 1929.

Lavaca County Courthouse

The historical Hallettsville building was dedicated in 1899 and is open to the public on weekdays. In the winter, the courthouse is decked out with Christmas lights.

Guadalupe River

The river offers Crossroads residents a chance to fish, kayak or just take in nature.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Austwell's refuge allows visitors a chance to view wildlife, including whooping cranes when in season, in their natural habitat.

Battle of Coleto Creek Reenactment

The battle grounds outside Goliad's Presidio La Bahia heat up each year as actors representing Texian and Mexican soldiers theatrically fight to the death.

Wildflowers

Cuero and other communities welcome brightly-colored blooms during spring.

Long country drives

Hop in the car and drive with no particular place in mind. You might find new attractions on your own.

Weesatche Dance Hall

This out-of-the-way destination is a great place to grab a burger.

Saxet Lake Park

Located just outside Victoria city limits, this park offers people a chance to picnic, fish or just enjoy the great outdoors.

Goliad Christmas Parade

This event brings families, businesses, volunteer groups and more together in the cold - or as cold as South Texas ever gets - to welcome the holiday season.

Fossati's Delicatessen

This Victoria eatery was established in 1882 and touts itself as the state's oldest deli.

Turkey races

The highlight of Cuero's annual Turkeyfest, each year Ruby Begonia and Paycheck - two valiant turkeys - battle it out to see who has the faster strut.

One O'Connor Plaza

Victoria's tallest building boasts a high-class restaurant, Olde Victoria at the Oak Room, on its top floor, as well as a bird's-eye view of the Crossroads.

Poco Bueno

In Port O'Connor's annual water tournament, area fishermen compete to see who can reel in the largest blue marlin. The winner gets bragging rights and a hefty cash prize.

Riverside Stadium

The baseball complex, nestled inside Victoria's Riverside Park, offers up Victoria Generals and University of Houston-Victoria Jaguars baseball games.

Ghost hunts

Several paranormal investigation groups call the Crossroads home and investigate potentially-spooked locales, such as the Yorktown Memorial Hospital, featured in a recent episode of the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures."

Victoria Christmas Parade

The annual event, which snakes its way through town in early December, draws thousands of spectators and ushers in the Christmas season.

Museum of the Coastal Bend

This Victoria museum offers glimpses into the region's past and up-close-and-personal looks at old canons and the like.

Yorktown Western Days-Ziegfest

The annual festival is a chance to get outside and enjoy some music along with a few thousand of your closest friends.

Cemetery Tour

Hosted each year by Victoria Preservation Inc., visitors take a candlelight walk through Victoria cemeteries and stop at various graves to listen to actors portraying the deceased discuss what life was like back in their day.

Victoria Symphony

The symphony hosts a variety of events each year, from kid-friendly performances to those geared more toward grown-ups. It's a fun way to soak up some culture.

Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church

The church, located in Shiner, is one of the painted churches of Texas, but didn't make the list because it was too far from Schulenberg.

One-dollar fishing hole

This Port Lavaca getaway, on Schlebach Road, is a good way to get out and enjoy some fishing without breaking the bank.

The Texas Zoo

Tigers, goats, lemurs and more all call this kid-friendly Victoria attraction home.

Oysterfest

Rockport recognizes the oyster industry each year in a festival with crafts, music and food.

Braman Winery

The Refugio winery offers a variety of wines, mimosas and gifts, and its tasting room is open to the public.

Rose Garden

Located inside Victoria's Riverside Park, the garden allows visitors a chance to stop and smell the roses - in a variety of colors and sizes.

Brackenridge Recreation Complex

This Edna locale offers a place for birding, hiking and other nature-oriented pastimes, as well as a playground, paint ball course, disc golf course and more.

La Tejanita

The Victoria eatery offers a variety of Mexican cuisine, not to mention its signature drink, the enormous 'Frankarita.'

Victoria Bach Festival

The annual event, which spans a week, is a mixture of vocal and instrumental musical performances.

Lake Texana State Park

Boating, birding, camping and more are all available at this Jackson County site.

Theatre Victoria

Plays and musical performances are on the playbill year-round with this organization.

Gonzales' Pioneer Village

This attraction showcases life in the late 1800s. Among the things featured are old-time buildings with period furnishings.

Old Jail Museum

This Gonzales site is another glimpse at life in olden days, but perhaps for those on the wrong side of the law.

Tom Tom Festival

Yoakum's annual event includes cook-offs, games, food and more. It's all in celebration of the tomato - a fruit, not a vegetable.

Riverside Park

The Victoria site includes something for everybody, such as playgrounds, walking trails, a duck pond and disc golf course.

Friends of the Library book sale

The Victoria Public Library offers up books, records, DVDS and more in its sale, which takes place three times a year.

Splashway

The Sheridan water park is a way for those in the Crossroads to get that much-needed escape from scorching summer heat.

Flip-Flop Festival

The somewhat new Port Lavaca festival invites visitors to get out for food and games, all in celebration of the beach-worthy footwear.

Putt-Putt Golf & Games

Let's face it. We can't all claim to be Tiger Woods. But Victoria's Putt-Putt allows visitors to test out their golfing abilities on the smaller scale.

Historical markers

The Crossroads is steeped in history, and markers throughout the region offer insight into the buildings, parks and other links to the past.

20th Century Technology Museum

This museum showcases the technological advances we've made through the years - everything from washing machines, to radios, to aircraft and more.

Hotel Blessing Coffee Shop

This Matagorda County eatery offers a less-than-typical dining experience by allowing diners to serve themselves from a row of stoves across the back of the dining room.

Fiddlers' Frolic

The world's largest fiddlers' contest, which takes place in Hallettsville, got its start in 1971.

The Nave Museum

The Victoria museum plays home to sculptures, paintings and other artwork from a variety of artists, both local and otherwise.

Port O'Connor fireworks

Fireworks are a staple at many Fourth of July celebrations, but the fact that these are launched over the water add something special to the experience.

Market Days

Goliad, Victoria and Refugio offer chances each month for residents to gather, shop and eat at outdoor markets.

Boot Fest

Although the first one won't happen until later this year, the soon-to-be annual festival promises to draw visitors from all over for music, food and more.

Schroeder Hall

The long-time Texas dance hall is a great place to take in a country-western concert or to take a spin around the dance floor.

Farmers markets

Farming has a deep history in the Crossroads and residents can purchase the farmers' fresh produce as the seasons allow.

Antique shops

In a region as old as the Crossroads, it's no surprise that tourists and residents alike enjoy hunting for hidden treasures in stores.

Life-size dinosaur

That's right, a life-size dino statue calls downtown Wharton home.

Victoria Educational Gardens

Planted and maintained by the Victoria County Master Gardeners Association, these gardens provide a look at many colorful plants and flowers.

Jazz Fest

Victoria's annual gives visitors a taste of the smooth and melodious world of jazz.

Presidio La Bahia

This site played home to the legendary Battle of Goliad and, today, includes a museum open to those who want to learn more. A room is also for rent for those who wish to stay the night.

Hike and bike trail

The lighted path, complete with benches for those who need a breather, is a place for Victoria residents to work up a sweat in their exercise regime.

Texas South Wind Vineyard & Winery

The South Texas destination creates and serves wines from the Lone Star State and even hosts events and live music at its tasting room.

Kolache Fest

Hallettsville's annual festival is a tip of the hat to the region's Czech heritage and a chance to indulge in a kolache or two.

Boutiques

From baby items to specialty jewelry, foods and more, these small shops offer something for everybody.

Children's Discovery Museum

This Victoria attraction shows that museums aren't just for big people. It allows kiddos the chance to learn in a hands-on environment.

Gaslight Theatre

The Shiner attraction offers tours and, several times a year, dinner theater performances.

Livestock shows

Whether you're a cowboy or just one at heart, these events offer a chance to learn more about animals, grab up some grub and even bid at the auction.

Sausage and Polka Fest

This two-day Hallettsville event boasts all-day Czech food and polka music.

Hunting

From doves to deer to boars and more, a wide array of hunting options - and guide services - are available for those interested.

Markethouse Museum

This Goliad attraction is home to information about the region's past, from old-time clothing to information on farming and everything in between.

Christmas in the Park

The Seasonal Cuero event gives visitors a chance to drive through Christmas light scenes ranging from elves packing up presents to nativity scenes and even a sea serpent clad in Santa garb.

Coleto Creek Park and Reservoir

The park offers an opportunity for fishing, swimming camping and more. Hiking, biking, a nature trail and more also join the mix.

Sources: Advocate blogger Holein1, Advocate blogger Parkpork, Michael Cloud, Ken Cooke, Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture website, Aggie Hurst, Bernice Jalufka, Eric Jensen, Allison Miles, Ron Sanders, Annie Vahalik, Wharton Chamber of Commerce website, Jonathan Williams, Dianna Wray

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