Courtesy photo

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Meaty newcomer downtown makes this Dallas restaurant news muy macho. This roundup of Dallas dining news has a surprising number of openings, either in the works or already here. There's also a slew of new menu items coming online, some of which are pumpkin in theme. There are some exciting new chefs in town. Here's what's happening in Dallas restaurant news.

Fancy prefab homes are on the way. Modular home has a simple, uncluttered design. HiFab

2. West Dallas developer launches new venture building fancy prefab homes. Oaxaca Interests, the Dallas real estate company that developed Sylvan Thirty in West Oak Cliff, is expanding into modular homes, with a manufacturing plant in Grand Prairie and a new product that's already for sale. The manufacturing outfit is called HiFAB, and their first product is Haciendas, featuring homes designed by Lake|Flato, a San Antonio architecture firm.

inchworm The worm is not even an inch long. agrilife.org

3. Tiny green inchworm is devouring its way across Dallas trees. There's a sticky situation developing across Dallas-Fort Worth: It's the invasion of the cankerworm and it's literally hanging around outside your door. Cankerworms AKA inchworms are tiny caterpillars that feed off trees, especially the hackberry which is their favorite, and in fall 2022, they've arrived in North Texas with a vengeance.

Cliff May-designed home House at 11106 Snow White is a sprawling ranch. Hunter Dehn Realty

4. Rare home in Dallas' Disney streets designed by Cliff May is for sale. There's a stunning mid-century modern home for sale in Dallas' famed Disney streets neighborhood by legendary architect Cliff May. Located at 11106 Snow White Dr., the house was built in 1955 and miraculously retains some original features, particularly some delicious wood paneling.

High 5 There'll be bowling, axes, escape rooms, and more. Courtesy rendering

5. Mega entertainment complex from Austin to open at The Farm in Allen. There's a little bit of Austin fun coming to Allen: High 5 Entertainment, an experiential entertainment company, will open a massive gaming venue in the splashy new development The Farm in Allen, where it promises to unleash a copious dose of games and amusements.

Berri Moffett

Downtown Dallas buildings dim lights to sortof help migrating birds

Bird news

An initiative to help birds returns to downtown Dallas, although it's kind of a halfway measure. Called Lights Out Texas, it's an effort undertaken to protect birds during their twice-a-year migration.

Every spring and fall, nearly two billion birds travel through Texas at night, one of the largest migrations on the planet, and one that cuts right through Dallas-Fort Worth.

Lights attract these migrating birds, and disorients them on their journey, causing them to collide into building windows and walls and die. It's the second biggest cause of death for migratory birds.

According to figures from Lights Out Texas, approximately one billion birds die in collisions with buildings in the U.S.

Texas is suspected to be particularly hazardous, due to the high illumination in big cities.

The intiative was founded by Houston Audubon after a big bird wipeout in 2017 when hundreds of birds died in Galveston. The movement got a major push after Texan By Nature, a conservation group founded by former First Lady Laura Bush, got involved.

“The light emanating from cities like Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston attracts and disorients birds, leaving them confused and vulnerable," Bush said in a statement. "Large numbers of light-related collisions have been documented in cities across the country for decades, including here in Texas.”

Residents and businesses are also encouraged to turn off nonessential lights at night.

Downtown buildings started observing Lights Out Texas in 2020, and a release says they are doing so again this year, beginning September 20 and continuing through October 10, between 11 pm-5 am.

According to the release, Reunion Tower and other buildings will dim their lights to 50 percent. Is the initiative called "Lights Dimmed"? No, it's called Lights Out.

Since light attracts these migrating birds, why dim? Why not out?

Tiny green inchworm is devouring its way across Dallas trees

Worm News

There's a sticky situation developing across Dallas-Fort Worth: It's the invasion of the cankerworm and it's literally hanging around outside your door.

Cankerworms AKA inchworms are tiny caterpillars that feed off trees, especially the hackberry which is their favorite, and in fall 2022, they've arrived in North Texas with a vengeance.

Residents from Mesquite to Oak Cliff to Flower Mound to Arlington to West Fort Worth are spotting the skinny bright green worms, less than an inch long, swaying from silken strings, hanging from door eaves, yard furniture, open porches, anyplace they can catch a breeze.

Cankerworms are a regular part of Texas' fauna, but DFW is definitely experiencing the rare widespread outbreak, says Amy Heath, a Board Certified Master Arborist and the owner of Texas Tree Surgeons, a tree trimming company based in Garland.

Heath says that her staff of arborists has been seeing the little critters — which she identifies as the sciota celtidella moth also known as the hackberry leafroller — all over North Texas.

"We've just started getting calls because the defoliation has become so dramatic over the last week," Heath says. "People become concerned when they see their trees losing all of their leaves."

While it's weird to see hackberry trees basically stripped of their leaves, it's not a real issue to the health of the tree — it's more of a nuisance, she says.

"You'll find clusters when you go outside, they're dropping out of trees, and the silken string is a little like a spider web," she says.

If they're in your doorway, odds are good that once you're inside, you'll find one or two in your hair.

Cankerworm outbreaks only come every few years, says Wizzie Brown, an Extension Program Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

"They don't follow a calendar year," she says. "Outbreaks usually occur every 3-5 years and it’s not widespread — it's usually in geographic pockets. We had one in Central Texas last year."

Their occurrence is based on environmental conditions.

"Is the temperature right? Is there moisture? Even the daylight cycle," Brown says.

The weird 2022 summer in North Texas — where there was no rain for 100 days, then massive flooding storms — definitely looms as a factor.

"That rain prompted vegetation to come out, with new growth," Brown says. "Insects are going to say, 'There’s food available, we need to get cranking'."

The last outbreak that hit DFW was in 2015, Heath says. This 2022 outbreak began surfacing the week of August 15, and their lifespan is about 4-6 weeks, so they're in their final days.

"The bigger problem is the underlying stresses we have on our trees right now," she says. "This year has been hard on trees. We had the huge freeze in 2021, then this summer of drought, with higher temperatures that came early so the ground around the roots was hotter than it usually is."

"Hackberries get get a root fungus when they get stressed which makes them a risk for total failure," Heath says. "Most people look at the canopy, but the arborist looks at the bottom of the tree first."

Spraying pesticide isn't considered effective since the inchworms are so widespread and floaty in the air that they're impossible to capture.

"Maybe just get out the water hose and spray your doorway," Brown says.

Photo courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

6 perfect weekend getaways to plan in Texas this fall

Post-Summer Plans

With the end of this brutal summer finally (hopefully?!) in sight, it is time to start planning for fall. Call it second summer, as in still plenty warm for enjoying the outdoors but no longer hot enough to melt pavement. Here are six places perfect for a much-needed autumn getaway. Take a few extra days off for a long weekend, then head to one (or more) as your just reward for surviving another scorching Texas summer.

Lake Bastrop North Shore Park
This LCRA park in Bastrop hugs the shore of a constant temperature lake for swimming, paddling (canoe, kayak, SUP, and Corcl rentals available), or fishing (with a boat ramp and pier). The park features almost 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, including one connecting to Lake Bastrop South Shore Park, and a sand volleyball court, too. Stay in one of five Airstream campers, two cabins, or six safari-style tents. All have grills for cooking and decks for enjoying views of the lake and the stars while sipping a cold one. Other dining and entertainment options in nearby Bastrop include a distillery and several breweries and taprooms. Neighbor's Kitchen & Yard and Iron Bridge Icehouse, both on the banks of the Colorado River, serve food, craft beer and cocktails, and live music.

Lake Georgetown
At this Corps of Engineers reservoir, choose from four campgrounds with RV and tent camping options. Enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking (rentals available at Russell Park), and hiking. The crown jewel is the Good Water Trail, a 26-mile loop around the entire lake through a variety of terrain, with multiple trailheads offering the opportunity for shorter hikes. Dining options, wine bars, breweries, and other lodging options are nearby in Georgetown. Check out Barking Armadillo Brewing and, on the courthouse square, three wine tasting rooms, and multiple dining options.

Matagorda Bay Nature Park
Located where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico, Matagorda Bay offers miles of uncrowded beaches for combing and wetlands for paddling. Rent beach chairs, wagons, and kayaks (guided tours available), play miniature golf, fish on the beach or pier, or birdwatch. In addition to Airstream rentals and camping and RV sites, visitors now can rent one of 10 new bungalows that sleep from six to eight people, with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor decks, gas grills, and fantastic views.

Port Aransas
Miles of beach, without summer crowds: What else do you need? Well, perhaps a place to stay, and you’ll find every option from fancy condos to kitschy cottages in this seaside town. Plenty of dining and entertainment options, too. Try the local seafood at places like La Playa Mexican Grill, Fins Grill & Icehouse, and Seafood and Spaghetti Works. Have a cold one at Bernie’s Beach House, the Port A Beer Hut, or Moby Dick’s. Rent bicycles, golf carts, surfboards, and kayaks at Island Surf Rentals (check out the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail). Or just sit on the beach.

Painted Sky Inn
Located on a tranquil inlet of Lake Buchanan, this waterfront property offers rooms for two to ten people with kitchens and lake views, as well as a tiny home and a vintage Airstream. Amenities include fire pits, barbecue grills, a fishing pier, and canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park (day pass reservations recommended), or tour several nearby wineries (Torr Na Lochs and Fall Creek, to name two) and breweries (Save the World Brewing and Double Horn Brewing), plus dining options in Burnet and Marble Falls.

Frio River
The aptly named Frio River is famous for swimming and tubing in the summer. The most popular way to enjoy the river is Garner State Park, but getting weekend reservations can be tough. Another option is Neal’s Lodges, a sprawling family-owned complex that includes 81 cabins, 10 lodges, 17 condos, 45 RV hook-ups, and 16 tent sites, plus a country store and dining room. See a bat emergence at nearby Frio Cave or a bit farther away in Kickapoo Cavern State Park. Saturdays are for fine dining at The Laurel Tree and diner fare at Lost Maples Café, both in Utopia, and Concan has several eateries, as well (some close after the summer season, so check websites).

Photo courtesy of Explore Jacksonville

Explore your wild side in Jacksonville, a nature lover's dream getaway

On the Road

From the woods to the water — and even a safari-inspired adventure — Jacksonville has all your outdoor adventures handled.

Here are some ways to use your outside voice in this small-town East Texas gem.

Get on lake time
The crystal-clear waters of Lake Jacksonville make it an East Texas treasure — and a prime spot for splashing around. There are two public swimming areas, one of which is adjacent to covered campsites with picnic tables, a pier, and a sand beach.

And there’s plenty more to do across the 1,325 acres of liquid playground, including boating and fishing. It’s also where the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks light up the sky.

Go on a safari
When you venture 12 miles east of Jacksonville, you’ll get up close and personal with a world of wildlife that’s anything but common to the area.

Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari is home to exotic and endangered species that thrive in open habitats that are similar to their native lands. When you take a self-guided drive through the hills and savannas of the 300-acre preserve, you’ll spy animals at every turn: at watering holes, lazing under the canopy of a native tree, or striding across an open field. And, yes, some of the creatures will come say "hi."

Embrace the view
About four miles from downtown, Love’s Lookout is just the place to pack a picnic and soak in the scenery. Rising 240 feet above the surrounding terrain, the vaulted ridge boasts a panoramic view of the eastern horizon.

And although this place is lovely, the historic park was actually named after Wesley Love, who purchased the surrounding 600 acres at the turn of the 20th century.

Hug a tree
The Neches River National Wildlife Refuge features 7,000 acres and 25 miles of trail, ranging from a quarter-mile to seven miles each, where you’ll journey through beautiful native hardwood forests and the pine uplands while seeing and hearing lots of birds.

Hop a train
If you want to see outside, but not be outside, the Texas State Railroad takes you through the best views of the Piney Woods from the passenger car of an authentic steam or diesel locomotive.

No matter the season, the 50-mile roundtrip trek features rolling hills, 24 bridges, and unique railroad structures along the way. Also, while there may not be snow at Christmas, the Polar Express trip is still a holiday fave. All aboard!

Find more things to do — indoors and out — at Explore Jacksonville.

Photo courtesy of Crosbyton Chamber of Commerce

Stop along the Texas Plains Trail Region for stunning vistas and fascinating history

On the Road

Covering nearly 50,000 square miles, the 52-county region of the Texas Plains Trail features acres of prairie mixed with the spectacular canyon vistas of the Panhandle.

The rugged beauty and shimmering sunsets of the area make it prime road-trip territory, with plenty of scenic spots to stop for a picnic and a bit of local history, as documented by the Texas Historical Commission.

Hamblen Drive Roadside Park Picnic Area
This scenic park in Claude — about 30 miles east of Amarillo — boasts incredible, 360-degree views of Palo Duro Canyon.

The park gets its name from Will H. Hamblen, who pioneered a crude road into the canyon along old Native American trails in the 1890s. It shortened settlers’ trips by 120 miles but was steep and dangerous. In 1928, a graded road was built.

While you’re in Claude, swing by the Armstrong County Museum, which has an impressive collection of artistic, cultural, and historical objects that recount the arrival of cowboys and trains, along with the establishment of the legendary JA Ranch. The items also document the time of the native people who once lived and hunted on the land.

Part of the museum includes the 1915 Gem Theatre, where you can see movie memorabilia as well as live performances by local and touring drama and musical troupes.

Silver Falls Park
With status as the largest roadside park in Texas, this Crosbyton destination features a backdrop of mesas and mesquites — and its namesake falls — that make it a great spot for hiking, backpacking, and picnicking.

Located 30 minutes east of Lubbock, the park been a stopping point for travelers since the 1800s. In 1935, the National Youth Association, which was part of President Roosevelt’s Work Project Administration, built the park’s stone facilities, the remains of which you can still see today.

Also in Crosbyton, history comes alive at the Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum, which includes an expansive collection of 45,000 artifacts including 23,000 pieces from Native Americans, a Plains Indian teepee, a dugout recreation, and a furnished replica of an 1877 rock house of the county’s first permanent settlers.

Dickens County Springs Park
Off the beaten path is this little oasis of a park, located at the head of a ravine near the edge of the Llano Estacado.

About two hours shy of Palo Duro Canyon, it's a great place to take a break on your way to the canyon and beyond. There's also plenty to explore across its 72 acres of diverse terrain, with a few dedicated picnic zones enclosed by a teepee and the shell of a chuckwagon replica, too.

The ancient cold-water springs have been a favored place since the earliest human occupation in the region, with many nomadic tribes having used the site and leaving an abundance of archeological evidence in their wake.

Dickens is also home to one of the 22-foot-tall steel arrows by artist Charles A. Smith that form the Quanah Parker Trail. This network of more than 70 arrows commemorate the sites where the Comanches, and their last chief Quanah Parker, hunted, traded, lived, traveled, and fought.

Discover more picnic-ready and history-laden spots in the fascinating Texas Plains Trail region here.

Silver Falls Park in Crosbyton is the largest roadside park in Texas — and a great spot for hiking, backpacking, and picnicking.

Photo courtesy of Crosbyton Chamber of Commerce
Silver Falls Park in Crosbyton is the largest roadside park in Texas — and a great spot for hiking, backpacking, and picnicking.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Gala led by Dallas' most VIP couple scores top spot in this week's 5 hottest headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Dallas' most VIP couple leads all-star gala for Perot Museum 10th anniversary. The 10th anniversary of a Dallas landmark deserves a star-studded party and a few fireworks, too — and that's exactly what the Perot Museum of Nature and Science did to celebrate its milestone birthday. Dallas' most VIP couple led the festivities. Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki co-chaired the 10th anniversary Night at the Museum Gala on Saturday, November 12.

2. Dallas hires Martine Elyse Philippe as new director of arts and culture. The city of Dallas has a new Arts boss: Martine Elyse Philippe, who has worked in arts administration and the nonprofit world, has been appointed Director of the Office of Arts & Culture, a division of the City Manager's Office that fosters partnerships and support with arts and cultural organizations.

3. Record store in Dallas' Oak Cliff to spin off hip new restaurant-lounge. There's a hip new lounge bar restaurant opening in Dallas' Bishop Arts: Called Ladylove, it's going into the favorably located space previously occupied by Dallas Grilled Cheese Co., and is forecast to open in early 2023. Ladylove, whose subhead is "Lounge & Sound," is from David Grover and Kate Siamro, the same amazing team who own Spinster Records, the vinyl record store in Bishop Arts.

4. New Uptown Dallas movie theater sets opening date in time for the holidays. A little over a year after it was first announced, Violet Crown Cinema will open its first Dallas theater in West Village in early December. The theater is located in the former Magnolia Theater, which closed when the pandemic hit in March 2020 and never reopened.

5. Dallas university among best in U.S. for entrepreneurship programs, says Princeton Review. Dallas entrepreneurs, take note. The University of Texas at Dallas is near the top of its class among the country's best entrepreneurship programs. UTD's Naveen Jindal School of Management appears at No. 12 for best graduate entrepreneurship program and No. 25 for best undergraduate entrepreneurship program on new lists from The Princeton Review.

Longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closes, breastaurant on the way

Deep Ellum News

A longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum is closing: Maracas Cocina Mexicana, which has been in business at 2914 Main St. in one form or another since 1992, will close this weekend, to be replaced with another concept whose identity is still to be (officially) announced.

The restaurant is going out with a goodbye party on November 25, at 5 pm, with a DJ and its signature cheap drinks.

They've already started clearing out equipment and this will be their final weekend. A staffer speaking for the restaurant said that current owner, who asked not to be named but also owns a number of Mexican sandwich shops around DFW, is doing a rebranding.

"It's re-opening as a breastaurant, and the menu will be more focused on Mexican seafood," the staffer said.

The working title for the new concept is La Toxica Mariscos Y Micheladas.

Maracas' long history began in 1992 when it was was founded as Monica's Aca Y Alla, named for founder and veteran restaurateur Monica Greene, who opened it on what was then the eastern, rather sleepy edge of Deep Ellum. (Actually, it was originally Eduardo's Aca Y Alla, founded prior to Monica's transgender transformation in 1993.)

By 2012, Greene became restless after 20 years with what she perceived as sluggish development in Deep Ellum — a sad irony since the neighborhood started to blow up just a couple of years later.

She handed over the reins to managers Jose Sanchez and Angel Borjas, who kept much of what it had been — cheap and affordable Tex-Mex, a laid-back party atmosphere — and rebranded it as Maracas. The current owner came on board in 2014.

At 30 years, the restaurant is easily one of the longest running in Deep Ellum. When it opened, restaurants were somewhat of a minority in a neighborhood dominated by live music clubs. Now restaurants are the majority, and clubs have become the minority instead.

Some of Maracas' employees have worked there for decades, and are reportedly being given the option to work at the owner's other establishments.

The Friday night party will be $15 at the door, which gets you appetizers. Otherwise, patrons can order off the menu. House margaritas will be $4.50 and beers will be $5.

The restaurant will be be open as Maracas for the remainder of the weekend, including brunch: from 11 am-11 pm Saturday and 11 am-9 pm on Sunday.

"It's been a watering hole for many of us for so many years!" says Kendell Liptrap, a regular.

Where to eat on Christmas 2022 at Dallas restaurants

Holiday News

It seems impossible to fathom but we've reached that point where we are starting to think about Christmas, and restaurants are already cooking up options, whether you're looking to dine out or grab something to take home.

This list has a little bit of everything: places that are open on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, or places doing take-out only. As the holiday draws nearer, the list will surely grow, so check back for updates, which we'll make as they come in.

Here's our list of Christmas dining options:

Dive Coastal Cuisine. To-go items include mini potato latkes, bruschetta ciabatta crostinis, charcuterie, chicken, beef tenderloin, whipped or whole sweet potatoes, holiday everything salad, and whole key lime pie. Order by December 21. 214-891-1700. Closed Christmas Day.

Dolce Riviera. Special edition Feast of the Seven Fishes menu. $85. December 19–December 24. 469-458-6623. Closed Christmas Day.

Mercat Bistro. Christmas Day brunch with festive 3-course menu. $68. Make reservations to sit in the restaurant’s famous Polar Bear section. 10 am–3 pm. 214-953-0917.

Magnolias Sous Le Pont. Open Christmas Day morning with winter themed beverages including Toffee Crunch Affogato, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and frozen peppermint mocha. 469-249-9222.

Postino WineCafe. Family-size to-go menu feeds up to 15, including two starters, bruschetta platter, and salad. Add-ons are available for an additional cost. $285, Order by December 23. 972-210-2102. Closed Christmas Day.

Tacodeli. Chile En Nogada and Spiked Horchata, available for dine-in or to-go.Available through December 23. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. West Dallas – 214-760-1930; The Hill – 214-206-8980; Park & Preston (Plano) – 972-200-5101; Parkwood (Plano) – 214-997-6047.

TJ’s Seafood Market. Holiday to-go menu includes holiday platters, shrimp, smoked salmon, oysters, and gumbo. Order by December 23 for pickup December 24. Preston Royal – 214-691-2369; Oak Lawn – 214-219-3474.

SusieCakes. Christmas desserts include chocolate candy cane cake, holiday cupcakes, cupcakes, frosted sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and decorating kits. Order by December 24. Preston Center – 214-983-2253; Hillside – 945-245-2253. Closed Christmas Day.

Ten50 BBQ. To-go smoked meats, sides, and desserts. Order by December 21. 1-855-QUE-1050 or email catering@ten50bbq.com. Closed Christmas Day.

City Hall Bistro. Restaurant at the Adolphus has a three-course menu featuring squash & kale salad, honey baked ham, cornbread dressing, candied yams, pumpkin pie, and Texas praline crunch brownie. Additional items are available for an extra cost including prime rib and salmon. 12–8 pm. $70. 214-651-3686.