75 things to do or see in the Crossroads before you die
June 16, 2011 at 1:16 a.m.
Updated June 29, 2011 at 1:29 a.m.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This Victoria eatery was established in 1882 and touts itself as the state's oldest deli.
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.
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.
The baseball complex, nestled inside Victoria's Riverside Park, offers up Victoria Generals and University of Houston-Victoria Jaguars baseball games.
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.
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.
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.
Rockport recognizes the oyster industry each year in a festival with crafts, music and food.
The Refugio winery offers a variety of wines, mimosas and gifts, and its tasting room is open to the public.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sheridan water park is a way for those in the Crossroads to get that much-needed escape from scorching summer heat.
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.
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.
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.
Goliad, Victoria and Refugio offer chances each month for residents to gather, shop and eat at outdoor markets.
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.
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.
Farming has a deep history in the Crossroads and residents can purchase the farmers' fresh produce as the seasons allow.
In a region as old as the Crossroads, it's no surprise that tourists and residents alike enjoy hunting for hidden treasures in stores.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Shiner attraction offers tours and, several times a year, dinner theater performances.
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.
From doves to deer to boars and more, a wide array of hunting options - and guide services - are available for those interested.
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