Offbeat Travel In Brady, Texas

Music and Texas have a long and storied romance. Blues, rap and pop music icons have originated from this state and when they make their mark, they pay homage to it with words and song.

Austin has established itself as a power player in music with the annual South by Southwest Festival. The bustling year-round, live music scene is something every music lover should take in, but before you head back home, detour two hours northwest of Austin to a little bitty town called Brady.

Where to go
Brady is an unassuming place, but once you walk through the doors of the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum you are no longer in a small Texas town, you are in the dressing room of some of the biggest country stars in the world.

Dolly Parton's dress, Barbara Mandrell's jukebox, Elvis Presley's bumper car and Pat Green's boots, have all found a home in this amazing little slice of American country music.

There are too many stars to name and the memorabilia spans the mundane to the fabulous. The museum is only open on Fridays from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. There is no charge to get in, but they do accept donations.

Where to drink
Wine lovers should make time to stop at the tasting room for Dotson-Cervantes wine. It is just outside of Brady in an even smaller town--Pontotoc. This locally grown and made wine is as delightful as the owners of the vineyard, former NFL player Alphonse Dotson and his wife Martha Dotson. In the small tasting room, you'll be flanked by giant barrels of wine and regaled with tales of the love and heartbreak of wine making. The wine tasting starts at $8. Bottles of Dotson-Cervantes wine are also available for sale in the tasting room.

Where to eat
You have to eat Bar-B-Que. It is a Texas staple and wholly fitting after visiting the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum. There are a couple of spots in Brady, but give Mac's Bar-B-Q a try. It is on Bridge Street, the same street the museum is located on--and pretty much anything else. Order the ribs.

There is more to the city if you are into exploring. It is the geographical center of Texas, hence many things named "Heart of Texas". There is a historical museum for Texas history buffs and a lake for outdoorsy people.

If you find yourself in Brady on Labor Day weekend, it is pretty well-known for a goat cook-off (ranching was and is the livelihood for many folks in the area).

Brady is an interesting mix of old-school glamour, courtesy of its connection to country music royalty, and old fashion Texas living. Let yourself be surprised by what this gem of a town has to offer.

LaDawn Fletcher is a freelance writer in Fort Bend county and a lover of all things Texas.