BCS CVB’s (Informal) Guide To Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets Campus

They’re in full bloom across central Texas, and social media is full of new profile images of Texans posing with them.

So the traveler lucky enough to make a trip through parts of Texas near Bryan-College Station between April and May might wonder: what’s so special about the bluebonnet? And why do some locals say can’t you pick them?

Bluebonnets are up there as one of the most recognizable and iconic pieces of what defines Texas, right along side the cowboy hat and the Alamo. And rightly so – bluebonnets only grow naturally in central and southern parts of Texas.

Texans are so infatuated with the bluebonnet that hybrids have even been created, such as the maroon-bonnet seen here on Texas A&M’s campus.

Maroon Bonnet

So for those wanting to snap a few pictures, here are a few tips and facts we gathered on bluebonnets:

1) It’s not illegal to pick bluebonnets. That’s right – if you’re a Texan reading that sentence, you may be confused. But despite old Texas lore, it is perfectly legal to pick bluebonnets, with a few exceptions. First, don’t pick them if they are on private property. It can be considered trespassing or destruction of private property if the owner isn’t so pleased about you trampling through their yard. Second, you can’t pick them if the state planted them. Usually the state will put out signs if they are off limits (ex: the State Capitol grounds), but for bluebonnets growing naturally on the side of the road, there is no law against gathering a few and taking them home.

2) The state of Texas highly advises against taking pictures in the bluebonnets on the side of major highways. In fact, this is where you can earn yourself a ticket trying to take pictures; offenses could include not signaling to pull to a shoulder, not parking fully on a shoulder and out of lanes of traffic, or running across lanes of major traffic, along with the mentioned trespassing if it is private property. “There are not any laws prohibiting people from stopping on a shoulder to take pictures,” said Bob Colwell, Public Information Officer for TxDOT. “But safety is our top priority, and that’s why we discourage people from pulling over and getting out of their cars. A few recommendations include only stopping on a shoulder in a safe location. Drivers should park in locations where they can fully pull off the roadway and where approaching cars have good sight distance of the parked vehicle. Additionally, if passengers get out of the vehicle, they must be in a location where they can stay well away from the edge of the roadway.” In other words, if you don’t think it’s safe, it’s probably not!

Private Bluebonnets

(This patch of bluebonnets may look pretty, but the homeowner may not want strangers on their property…)

3) Did you know the state flower title was almost given to cotton or cactus before bluebonnets were selected in 1901? There would assuredly be significantly fewer Facebook pictures sitting among the cactus patches if that had passed legislature. (In 1971, Texas legislature also passed a resolution to cover all species of bluebonnets as the state flower – so even the maroon ones are still the state flower!)

4) If you want bluebonnets to pop up in your yard, you need to plant seeds in September or October. This is because heat is needed to germinate the seed, but cool weather is needed to develop the root system for the flower. Bluebonnets also prefer sunny elements – so if you seed under a giant oak tree, your chances of a massive patch growing are small.

5) For safest picture taking and admiring, we recommend places like Texas A&M’s campus that has many designated viewing places, near Veteran’s Park in College Station, or even spots around Messina Hof Winery in Bryan. Or take a trip to Independence, Texas which is only about a 30-minute drive from Bryan-College Station. In Independence you’ll find Old Baylor Park (the site of the first Baylor University), a public park where the bluebonnets typically take over entire stretches of the fields. A further drive to Washington on the Brazos near Brenham (about an hour drive) also is a great and safe public viewing area where you can also see where “Texas began” (the Texas declaration of Independence was signed here).

Viewing Area

(A safe place on A&M’s campus near Reed Arena to take pictures with the bluebonnets)

6) Other quick picture tips: Bringing a small blanket or towel is useful, especially if you want the kiddos to sit down among the bluebonnets. Wearing closed toe shoes or long pants is advised as typically you’ll have to walk through high grass to get to a good patch (and if it just rained, expect muddy conditions). Try to only walk on trampled parts where others have walked, and try not to pick giant patches of the bluebonnets so others can take great pictures.

Most importantly, enjoy them while they’re here!  Depending on weather conditions, the bluebonnets will start to disappear as early as the first week of May.  And if you’re contemplating a trip to Bryan-College Station in April or May, be sure to bring your camera and tripod – you won’t be disappointed by the beautiful display that you can only see in Texas.

Blog by Jordan Meserole, who works for the CVB and still is terrified to pick bluebonnets for fear of imprisonment. (The BCS CVB publishes blogs from time to time. The content is considered original, and is not paid advertising. While posted by the BCS CVB, the writer’s views or opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the BCS CVB as an organization.)

Aggieland’s Tips To The Best Valentine’s Day 2015


2015 is well under way, and what does that mean?  Time to think about the next holiday! If you’ve been to some stores, you can most likely guess what’s around the corner – a day of love, chocolates, and flowers. That’s right folks, Valentine’s Day 2015 is already a couple of weeks away. With the heart-filled day landing on Saturday this year, it’s wise to start planning now! Here’s some ideas either for those looking for a romantic getaway to Aggieland or the townies that are sticking around to help make that someone special feel extra loved with something besides a gift certificate.

Sure Bryan-College Station features more than 30 hotels, but have you checked out our numerous bed and breakfasts?  Some are nestled away into houses built before the 1900’s, while others are newer models with all the amenities (and then some) you’d find in a hotel.  For example, tuck away in the woods at the 7F Lodge, where there are eight cabins but separated by beautiful trees and Texas land making it feel like you’re out on the ranch.  Wherever you choose, you’ll find the hosts at all these bed and breakfasts are some of the most hospitable around!

What’s the best way to cap a nice dinner?  With a stage show of course!  And all three stages will be full on Feb 13 or 14 with various shows.  Catch a musical at The Theater Company, or a romantic comedy at Stage Center, or a traveling show at Rudder Theater and MSC Opas.  Buy your tickets early – most typically sell out!  Not into the live version of shows?  Check out the IMAX theater in Bryan for a 72 foot wide display of the hottest movie out.

Everyone of any gender loves a good box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.  But why not give them something with a little more flare?  Truman Chocolates and the Chocolate Gallery have candies so pretty that many often say they feel bad eating them because it’s like eating art.  Decorations aside, the chocolates don’t last long once one is tasted – with unique flavors like mango and even bacon chocolate, there’s a reason both are popular across the state.  Order early though! Both regularly sale out the day of!

For some, romantic can mean less of getting flowers and more of going on an adventure.  Try sliding on the skates at Spirit Ice Arena in College Station or go a little higher at the Lone Star Trapeze Academy in Bryan.  Both are sure to be memorable for those that are more athletic (and both most assuredly allow flowers to be brought in too). These are just a few ideas – of course, there are many great flower shops, wine tasting rooms, boutique shops, and high-end restaurants around town.  Whatever you pick, you can be assured that it’ll be a romantic time in n Aggieland!

Blog by Jordan Meserole, who works for the CVB and accepts all chocolates or flowers even if it’s not Valentine’s Day. (The BCS CVB publishes blogs from time to time. The content is considered original, and is not paid advertising. While posted by the BCS CVB, the writer’s views or opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the BCS CVB as an organization.)

Christmas/New Year’s Restaurants – 2014


The holidays can be a stressful time, especially for those that may not have time to cook or are on the road during the final two weeks of the year.

To help relieve a little worry, we here at the CVB randomly picked 35 restaurants (of our more than 300) to see who was open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day for 2014 and the first day of 2015.

(Disclaimer: the list was complied on December 10, so some may have switched their schedules since we created the list – we recommend you call to double check their hours)

Christmas Restaurants 2014 PDF

New Years 2014-15 Restaurants List PDF

Christmas Restaurants 2014

New Years 2014-15 Restaurants

These are just a small sample of the restaurants in Bryan-College Station though! We encourage you to check out the VisitAggieland website to look up your favorite restaurant to see if they’re open.

(This blog is from December 2014.  If you are pulling up an archived version in 2015 or later, the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau does not guarantee the accuracy of this list.)

Thanksgiving 2014 – We’re Open For Business!


Three years is a lot of time for things to change.  Just think, three years ago Texas A&M fans were sitting in an “old” Kyle Field.  (How did we survive?)

For the first time since 2011, the Texas A&M football team will play at home on Thanksgiving Day, with kick happening at 6:30 pm.  And for some, that three year break has people wondering what exactly they did for food on the turkey gameday.

To help ease the mystery, we’ve looked into a few local restaurants and asked what their gameday hours were.  Here’s the results (disclaimer: this list was compiled on November 10, and some may have changed their schedule. We recommend calling to confirm ahead of time):

Applebees (2pm-2am)

Bell Ranch Steakhouse at the Hilton (6am – 10pm)

Blackwater Draw (11am – 2am)

Buffalo Wild Wings (3pm – 2am)

C&J BBQ (10am – 5pm)

Cafe Eccel (11am – 6pm)

Chicken Oil Company (11am – 6pm)

Cracker Barrel (6am – 10pm)

Dennys (11am – 2am)

Dixie Chicken (11am – 2am)

Fox & Hound (11am – 2am)

Golden Corral (10am – 9pm)

La Bodega (11am – 9pm)

Ozona Bar & Grill (11am – 11pm)

Messina Hof (1pm – 6pm *by reservation only)

Proudest Monkey (11am – 10pm)

Veritas (12pm – 4pm)


The following restaurants we contacted have indicated they are closed on Thanksgiving Day:

Blue Baker




The Republic


Napa Flats

On the Border


Village Cafe

These are just a small sample of the restaurants in Bryan-College Station though! We encourage you to check out the VisitAggieland website to look up your favorite restaurant to see if they’re open.

And if push comes to shove and your tummy is really rumbling, head up to the Kyle Field tailgates – there’s bound to be someone frying up a turkey that would be more than happy to share a slice with you.  After all, we don’t get called the friendliest tailgaters in the SEC for nothing!

(This blog is from November 2014.  If you are pulling up an archived version in 2015 or later, the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau does not guarantee the accuracy of this list.)

Hundreds Of Cultures – One Community

BV Worldfest

Bryan/College Station is a unique community with people from more than 120 different countries living here. They have either made the Brazos Valley their home or they work or study here. Brazos Valley Worldfest is just as unique. Hosting more than 50 culture displays and performances from around the world on 3 stages, this annual festival is a way to “Celebrate with the World” without leaving the Brazos Valley.

The eighth-annual festival will take place on Friday and Saturday, November 21-22, 2014 at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater in College Station. Free parking is available at Post Oak Mall.

Friday night festivities include a FREE Salsa and Meringue concert and dance under the stars. Texas A&M University Salsa Fusion will be in attendance teaching lessons starting at 6 p.m. and the La Orquesta Salmerum goes on to perform from 7-10 p.m. Food vendors will be on site and you can even sample Beers From Around the World while you listen and dance. The beer booth is new for 2014 and will highlight more than 10 different beers.

Saturday offers the full world-tour including culture displays, performances on 3 stages, arts and crafts, petting zoo, inflatables, storytelling, the 4th annual Salsa Tasting Challenge, fashion show and the chance to continue to sample the Beers From Around the World, and last, but not least, international and festival cuisine! Admittance on Saturday is also free, but be aware there are nominal charges for the inflatables and petting zoo.


Walk over from Post Oak Mall parking to the amphitheater and hear the lively music representing a variety of cultures while you start visiting the culture displays and food vendors. This year you can also sample Beers From Around the World while you enjoy your funnel cake or corn dog. Continue from the amphitheater area to the festival field and do some shopping from the professional vendors selling their handmade or international products. This mile-plus loop takes you on a trip around the world through the culture displays and international cuisine tasting. Don’t forget to taste and vote on the best salsa in the Brazos Valley (or enter your own personal recipe in the amateur category for cash prizes) and visit the inflatables, petting zoo and arts and craft activities. While making your way through the festival site, make sure to pick up the festival program listing the stage schedules and all the activities so you won’t miss a thing. Also, a favorite for all attendees is the souvenir festival passport. Get your passport stamped at each culture display as you make your travels.

Worldfest Dancers

For details on the festival including stage schedules, please visit www.brazosvalleyworldfest.org. You can also find the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Kim Fox is a guest blogger for the CVB who works in the Office of the Provost for a little university named Texas A&M and is a salsa connoisseur.

(The BCS CVB accepts guest blogs from time to time. The content is considered original, and is not paid advertising. While posted by the BCS CVB, the writer’s views do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the BCS CVB.)

BV Bombers Bring a Boisterous Blast at the Ballpark in B/CS



By Kim Fox

Every season we make it a priority to attend at least one Bombers baseball game.  Neither my husband nor I are what I would call baseball fans, but we are sports fans and love the experience of watching sporting events live.  The summer lull of A&M sports is easily filled with a trip to Cellucor Field to watch the hot bats of the Bombers.  The Bombers play in the summer Texas Collegiate League (TCL) and were the 2013 champions.  The facility and the atmosphere are stuff of movie stereotypes and we love it!  High energy announcers, music pumping from the speakers and of course a mascot with just enough taunting of the visiting team. 

In addition to the baseball fun, there are between-inning antics.  Kids and adults are selected to play on-field games to keep the excitement up.  Kaboom, the mascot, may also get involved and regularly walks through the stands to make sure the fans are “in the game”.    Don’t be surprised to see Kaboom around town either.  He and other Bomber players make appearances at community events and regularly give their time to visit local schools, and camps through the summer.

Make sure to come hungry because while you and your family are at Cellucor Field, you can enjoy a full menu snack bar.  Of course they have the regular ball park food, but have a new item on their menu this year.  Although I didn’t see anyone take on the challenge of the Great Bombino, what diehard baseball fan wouldn’t want to take on a hamburger bun and patty topped with a hot dog, chopped BBQ beef and nacho cheese??

The Bombers know how to be great hosts as well.  Their staff are all very friendly and work hard to make sure guests of all ages have an enjoyable experience.  In addition to baseball fun, the little ones can take advantage of free inflatables before and during the games.  On Fridays in June a free fireworks display followed every game as well.  These are always top-notch productions.

Ticket prices start at only $5, but you can regularly find discount ticket packages online.  I think what I like best is the community connections.  We meet friends at the game, hang out and have a good time as a family.  The Bombers have worked hard to be a part of the Brazos Valley and it has really paid off for them.    The rest of their schedule can be found at http://www.bvbombers.com/schedule/ and make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.


Kim Fox is a guest blogger for the CVB who works in the Office of the Provost for a little university named Texas A&M and fully participates in the wave and 7th inning stretch.

(The BCS CVB accepts guest blogs from time to time. The content is considered original, and is not paid advertising. While posted by the BCS CVB, the writer’s views do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the BCS CVB.)

First Friday Offers Family Fun


By Kim Fox

Howdy! And welcome to my inaugural blog for the CVB. I was born and raised in Caldwell and have lived in the B/CS area my whole life. I went to school at Blinn College in Brenham and then came to Texas A&M University. Needless to say, I have stayed close to home and not strayed too far! Now I have been married for just over 20 years and have a teenage daughter who I love with all my heart and who challenges me daily (as all parents with teenagers know).

I am really excited to write a blog for the CVB as I have worked with them for years on events I organize through my work at Texas A&M University. There tends to be a lack of information out there on activities for families, especially if the kids are over the age of 10. There is family fun out there; you just have to track it down.

On Friday, May 2, my family went to First Friday in Downtown Bryan. It has been a very long time since we have been and I have wanted to get back for months. Although it is a great date night locale, the many activities offered offer a very diverse range of choices for just about any age demographic.


We arrived a little after 6 p.m. and the area was already bustling. We were able to find street parking near the Children’s Museum, but would have parked in the garage if we didn’t find this space so easily. Make sure to keep a hand on the little ones as the traffic through Downtown at this time can be bumper to bumper and I saw a few little ones try to dart in and out of parked cars and made my heart stop a few times!

If you haven’t been to Downtown recently, the restaurant options are similar to taking a trip around the World Showcase at EPCOT in Disneyworld! From block to block you have offerings of Italian, Tex-mex, Indian, German, and even home-style. Now thanks to the food truck trend we have rolling restaurants all over the community and they have seen the benefit of parking at First Fridays. They add to the cultural mix with Filipino, gourmet, waffle-style, sliders and even some good old fashioned snow cones. Wouldn’t it be awesome to grab food from a truck and sit on the sidewalk people watching and listening to the street performers? Basically, if you leave Downtown Bryan hungry, you did something wrong! 


Obviously food is a big draw for my family and we had too many options for one night, so we’ll be back to sample the others. But, there is so much more to First Friday than just food. You can’t walk a block without enjoying some type of street performance. Multiple groups play, folk, tejano, country and more.


The Village Café also is one venue with live music in the alley next to their restaurant. While we were there an impromptu dance party broke out – of course, most of the free spirits were under the age of 7, but I would have been motivated to join in if my family wouldn’t have threatened to disown me. We also saw pottery demonstrations and a great performance from the Order of Aggie Illusionists. The one theme we kept seeing was families. Kids of all ages, and kids at heart, were mesmerized by the music and sights.

Sometimes kids need a little hands-on activity to keep them engaged and those opportunities were at First Friday as well. And the best thing Mom and Dad – most, if not all, were FREE! In addition to the pottery demonstration outside of The Frame Gallery, The Purple Turtle Art Studio has craft tables set up inside. Kids can explore their creativity while parents can tour the art and listen to live jazz (or just sit on the comfy couch).


Also, don’t forget to pop into Daniel-Stark Law offices. They have more craft tables set up in their lobby. Again, live music and food trucks are right outside the door.

These are great activities for the younger set, but not too many tween or teenagers might be interested in creating a bead necklace. Just the atmosphere of First Friday with the music, food and excitement is enough to keep my teenager engaged. Not to mention some great shopping opportunities at the boutiques – just about any teenage girl would be able to find something they can’t live without!

Did someone say chocolate? The Chocolate Gallery is an experience in and of itself. After all that walking, you might want to satisfy that sweet tooth with the multitude of indulgents they offer. Not only can you find something yummy to eat, but you also watch as a chef creates their edible art.

And, what’s better than a FREE movie under the stars? Sale Park is set up for family-friendly movies every First Friday. Of course, food trucks are nearby for snackage, but all you can bring your own picnic, blanket and/or chair and enjoy a movie usually starting a little after 8 pm.

Before you leave, try to take a ride on the Hidden Oasis horse-drawn carriage that leaves from the plaza by the La Salle Hotel. Although we saw a lot of couples enjoying the romantic ride (even one very special proposal!), families can still enjoy the experience as well.


Overall, I would best describe it as a PG rated version of the French Quarter with something for all ages, but even more fun to enjoy as a family. For the monthly list of activities and other events in Downtown Bryan, visit http://www.downtownbryan.com/. I hope to see you and your family in Downtown Bryan on Friday, June 6th, because I’m sure we’ll be there again.

Kim Fox is a guest blogger for the CVB who works in the Office of the Provost for a little university named Texas A&M and enjoys sharing her “townie” knowledge to those that ask.

(The BCS CVB accepts guest blogs from time to time. The content is considered original, and is not paid advertising. While posted by the BCS CVB, the writer’s views do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the BCS CVB.)