In 2009, Linda and Greg Racino were reaping the benefits of more than two fast-paced decades in the tech industry. Something was missing, though—creativity. So in February of that year the couple left behind the cold digital world for a brightly colored studio warmed by a blazing kiln. Lining their shelves with finished and unfinished clay and glass pieces, the Racinos today deal solely in creation. They guide customers through pottery painting and glass fusing—from picking out a blank bisque piece to arranging a unique design of glass pieces. Guests can also check out the calendar of events to learn about upcoming discounts and special projects, or to find out what day it is.
For three days in November, the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market brings Olde World Christmas spirit to New Braunfels. Vendors set up cheery red and green booths in the German-style holiday market, where they sell homemade wares such as aromatic roasted nuts, unique toys, vintage cameos, and homemade toffee. Nearby, authors sit ready to discuss their novels or sing their favorite Christmas carols at the on-site book fair and a jolly Santa eats breakfast with kids of all ages. To keep guests warm during the event, Sophie's Cafe serves up warm mugs of soup paired with sandwiches or tempting desserts.
Proceeds from the event benefit The Sophienburg Museum and Archives, which serves as the hub for immigration ship logs, photos, and documents of the first German Americans who found their way to Texas.
Austin Details Art + Photo's solo and collaborative exhibitions display and sell artwork from a host of established artists. Photographer Jann Alexander snaps shots of Vanishing Austin to create a collection that showcases classic landmarks with vivid color and dynamic compositions. The 24"x36" Endangered Species of Austin poster assembles a survey of the show's images, including the Alamo Draft House, land-dwelling whales, and the State Theatre's scarlet sign set against a blue sky. Alexander's John Hancock graces 5"x7" prints of pieces such as Custard v Condos and Night Flight⎯windows into the city's iconic signage⎯as well as Competition, a visual narrative of Austin's architecture in a single frame. Alternatively, Groupon customers may opt to shop from other galleries, although availability of prints varies among artists. Art aficionados may also take advantage of an array of services such as fine-art printing, educational workshops, and spa treatments for overworked canvases.
Back for its second year, the Halloween Spook-trac-ula scares souls and decorates the confines of the Texas Transportation Museum, which chronicles the history of San Antonio's transportation with a 1913 depot, model train layouts, and full-size engines, cars, and cabeese. An eerie Ghost Train will transport passengers to the depths of fear and back, and a haunted hayride totes fright-seekers around the grounds to witness the horrific, tremble-inducing decorations as they sit among possessed hay borrowed from zombie scarecrows. Visit the storyteller in the outdoor garden area to hear ghost stories, or catch a ride on the Train-sylvania Express to seek out the ghost of Dracula during his teenage phase as a train conductor. Although this event is sure to thrill and spook attendees of all ages, it is geared toward younger family members, shying away from typical blood, guts, and property tax displays.