Discover Texas’ Magical Holiday Lights Displays

This morning, I was reading fellow RV traveler Vickie Medley’s funny Bah Humbug post about her latest trip to Walmart. The holidays often turn into a full-contact sport, and it made me wonder, “Is there still a place where it still possible to skip the chaos and soak in the magic of the holidays?”

Photo credit: Johnson City Chamber of Commerce

I didn’t have to think long before I realized that for me, the magic is still there in the colorful lights that transform our everyday yards, courthouses, and parks into wonderlands. So yes, there are lots of places to enjoy in Texas!

I looked up three of my favorite lights displays and included them below. And I’m also including some links to other festivals and light displays from our friends at Texas Co-op Power Magazine and Texas Highways.

 

Snowman in lights

Photo credit: Marshall Wonderland of Lights

Marshall’s Wonderland of Lights

This was the courthouse that came to mind. I’ve spent many memorable evenings at Marshall’s Wonderland of Lights, and I know there’s a full schedule of festival activities planned through the end of December. Maybe you’d want to try taking the travel trailer to Caddo Lake State Park on this trip?

Hill Country Regional Christmas Trail

If you’re traveling the Hill Country this month, you’re in luck. Several communities have collaborated to create the Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail.

I haven’t done the whole trail, but I’ve spent time in Johnson City. I think it’d be great to take the camper to Pedernales State Park or Blanco State Park and venture out from there!

 

Kemah Boat Parade

Photo Credit: Claire Kemah.net

Kemah Boat Parade

When I lived in Houston, one thing that added excitement to my holiday was the Kemah Boat Parade. There’s just something weird and wonderful about seeing a boat decorated with holiday lights. I haven’t camped there, but just looked online and found Marina Bay Resort and it looks wonderful!

And there’s so much more going on across Texas this month! The events posted on the Texas Highways and the Texas Co-op Power sites list lights and festivals from Galveston to The Colony, so there’s plenty of holiday spirit to go around.

Try to relax and re-discover the magic! Have you decorated your RV for the holidays? Send us a photo! And, feel free to send us your favorite events and lighting displays to add to our list!

~ G. Elaine Acker

How to Thank a Veteran on Memorial Day

American Flag and Ferris Wheel

Enjoy summer, but remember the veterans whose sacrifices made our classic American Summer possible.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but more important, it honors the people who have made it possible for us to enjoy our American summer to the fullest.

My family and I recently camped in Branson, MO, and we went to three excellent shows that had one thing in common: American patriotism that literally brought us to our feet. We stood, clapped, put our hands over our hearts, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and sang America the Beautiful with one voice. For a few special moments, we were united as Americans, and remembered the veterans who gave us the freedoms we enjoy today.

National Cemetery

National Cemeteries across the country are decorated with flags in a special Memorial Day tribute.

So, on Memorial Day, I want to salute every veteran who has served this country.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to drive around the country towing my shiny new Airstream.Thank you for giving me leisure time to hang out with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for the chance to whine about religion and politics, because no matter what side of which aisle you sit on, the freedom to whine is a gift in and of itself.

The Knudsen brothers, who perform the show SIX (an amazing show – if you’re going to Branson, don’t miss it) asked each generation’s active and retired military to stand, in turn, and be recognized. Freedom was no longer a vague patriotic concept. Freedom had a face, and a heart, and a proud family.

If you’d like to hear the Knudsen’s beautiful harmonies,  listen to them singing the Star Spangled Banner.

My family’s most famous veteran is my mother in law, Josephine. And I thought of her that night in the theater as the World War II veterans in the audience stood.Josephine was recently interviewed by the Admiral Nimitz museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, which is preserving the history of the World War II generation, and honoring all veterans, past and present.

The Nimitz staff was especially interested in Josephine’s stories, because as an Army nurse, she was one of very few women working close to the front lines. She waited in the channel on D-Day, then six days later, helped set up the evac hospital on Omaha Beach. In fact, she helped move and re-establish the evac hospital 20 times as the war came to and end.

After talking with Josephine again after the trip to Branson, I tried to think of a few good ways to say Thank You to our military heroes, past and present. Here are three suggestions:

1. Acknowledge them. When you see someone in uniform, make it a point to stop and shake their hand.  A smile and the words, “thank you for your service,” go a long way.

2. Send a care package. Here’s a blog post from a military wife with some helpful hints about what to include.

3. Welcome them home. Every soldier returning home deserves a hero’s welcome. Join with your community and meet them at the airport. Wear the red, white, and blue, and show them they’re not forgotten.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Solder in Washington, DC ensures that we never forget the sacrifices that keep Americans free.

Who are the veterans in your life? We invite you to share their names and their stories here, and be sure to tell them how much we appreciate their service!

To all our Veterans, from everyone at Camper Clinic II, we’re thinking of you this Memorial Day.

~ Elaine Acker