Lubbock

Overview

Introduction

"Hub City," as Lubbock is known, gets different reactions from different people. Some find a strange beauty there, but some see it as the epitome of a drab town in a very flat place. One thing's for sure: It has produced an extraordinary number of rock and country musicians, and that's probably the best reason to visit.

Influential 1950s rocker Buddy Holly is at the top of the list. The Buddy Holly Center has a large exhibit about the singer that includes such artifacts as his trademark black glasses and his Stratocaster guitar (http://www.buddyhollycenter.org). The center also includes the Texas Musicians Hall of Fame, which presents temporary exhibits on the state's singers and players, and a fine-arts gallery. Lubbock's Walk of Fame is another tribute to Holly and other Lubbock-area greats, including Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. (The reason this not-so-big town has produced so many big stars is a subject of much study: Some—including a few of the performers themselves—claim it has something to do with all the UFOs that visit Lubbock.) Two more sights that shouldn't be missed by music buffs: A statue of Holly and his gravesite in Lubbock Cemetery. (Leave a guitar pick at his headstone—for some reason there's a shortage of them in the afterlife.)

Ranching is the basis of the community 285 mi/460 km west of Dallas, so take a look at Texas Tech University's National Ranching Heritage Center, an outdoor museum that encompasses more than 30 restored ranch buildings from all over Texas, including a train depot, rustic log cabins, windmills and a Victorian home—it's impressive. http://www.depts.ttu.edu/ranchhc.

The Lubbock Lake Landmark State Historic Park preserves what's turned out to be a rich archaeological site: Tools used by early humans have been found there, as well as the remains of early camels, horses and the late, lamented giant armadillo. The Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge (70 mi/115 km northwest of Lubbock) is a good bet for sighting sandhill cranes. If you prefer four-legged creatures, go to Mackenzie State Park to see the hundreds of adorable, Disney-like prairie dogs hard at work on one of the last prairie dog towns in Texas.

Lubbock is also earning acclaim as a wine-producing area. Several wineries operate in the area. Both Llano Estacado (http://www.llanowine.com) and Cap Rock (http://www.caprockwinery.com) are open for tours and tastings.

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