In Richard Linklater’s new Boyhood—a masterful film documenting twelve years of a boy’s life—little happens but everything seems monumental and emotionally charged. The same could be said for the film’s cinematography by Lee Daniel and Shane F. Kelly. Texas has never looked so good, so colorful, so inviting.
From an Austin dawn seen through the bleary eyes of up-all-night high school kids, to a sparkling swimming hole at Pedernales Falls State Park; from a peyote-enhanced sunset in Big Bend National Park to a family visit to a working ranch, the Lone Star State is observed through a loving and nostalgic lens. There are myriad reasons to see the movie (really), but it almost works as an extended Texas travelogue. The porch of an old stone house, a broad alley running behind small-town shops, the lacquered pine panels of an historic ranch cabin, every frame takes on the kind of atmospheric magic that state tourism boards dream of creating. The kind of magic that makes a person start planning a trip.
Opening shot: a seemingly blissed-out New Yorker drives a lonesome West Texas highway in the cramped cab of a Toyota pickup, the Sir Doug Quintet on the radio…
Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc.
Big Bend National Park photo: Steven Stokan, via the T+L Photo Contest
Tasting the world’s top-rated beer, Westvleteren XII Ale, requires a commitment. First you call to receive instructions about which morning to arrive at the gates of the monastery in western Belgium where it’s brewed. A monk will check your license plate against the reservation, process your credit card, then load two cases of the brew into your car. (Don’t drink and drive.)
One happy park ranger will commemorate today’s 150th anniversary of Yosemite by plunging a shovel into the road running through the park’s Mariposa Grove. The act signals the start of a $24 million project that will remove parking lots, roads, and a gift shop to restore the ancient grove of giant sequoias to its natural state.
If you book a Royal Caribbean cruise in early December, don’t be surprised to see capes, pointed ears, and furry feet on some of your fellow passengers. Trilo3y Voyages, with the blessing of J.R.R. Tolkien’s family, is planning the first in a series of cruises for fans of the author’s works, including The Lord of the Rings. Onboard activities will include a cosplay competition and masquerade gala.
An exhibit at the Boston Public Library compares the modern city with the Boston of a century ago. One surprising revelation: even with a steady influx of immigrants in the past ten years, the city still has not regained its 1910 record-high population of more than 670,000.
Four hundred and nine goats arrived by train to Bozeman, Montana, last week for a summer job. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is using the always-hungry grazers to help reduce brushfires, promote the growth of native plants, and effectively eliminate noxious weeds without herbicide.
In 1951, the government of Portugal fashioned a hotel within the stone towers and turrets of the 13th-century castle at Obldos, creating the first in a network of 35 pousada-hotels. The buildings aren’t all castles—some were convents, monasteries, forts, granaries, or royal estates—nor are many as traditionally outfitted as the Castelo de Obidos.