TEXAS HOLIDAYS

9 spirited Texas hotels to check into for a fantastic holiday getaway

Stagecoach Inn. Photo courtesy of Stagecoach Inn

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Texans may prefer a pickup to a one-horse open sleigh, but that won't stop any of us from dashing around the state this season. But instead of going to grandmother's house, consider checking into a fabulous hotel to make spirits bright. Not just any hotel, though. Here are places that stage Texas-worthy celebrations perfect for a holiday getaway.

Boardwalk Inn — Kemah

The Kemah Boardwalk provides a great spot to catch the area's Christmas Boat Parade, held Saturday, December 14, starting at 6:30 pm. Hundreds of brightly decorated power and sailboats float down the Clear Lake channel from South Shore Harbour Marina and Nassau Bay Lagoon to Galveston Bay. Stay at the Boardwalk Inn and also take in Jingle on the Boardwalk, December 7, 8, 14, 15, and 22. It includes shopping, a variety of live entertainment, activities, pictures with Santa, and more.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa — San Antonio

At the ritzy JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, new activities for this year's holidays include Santa's Workshop with children's activities such as writing letters to Santa, making snow globes, and painting clay ornaments. Kids also can search for toy elves on the Elfie Selfie Scavenger Hunt. Other festivities include JW Elf tuck-ins, JW Elf Express train car making, certified JW Elf classes, a polar bear plunge challenge, a Sandy Snowman Building Contest every Saturday morning, and Sunday Brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus at 18 Oaks restaurant.

Hilton Americas — Houston

The Hilton Americas lobby transforms into a lighted wonderland, complete with gingerbread walls spanning the lobby and a holiday chocolate display made from more than 2.5 tons and 6.5 million calories of chocolate. Have Breakfast with Santa on Saturday and Sunday mornings December 7 through 22 — photos and cookie decorating included. Just steps away, Discovery Green offers ice skating every day through February 2, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Saturdays now through Christmas, Santa Claus hits the ice from 5 to 6 pm. Also nearby in Hermann Square is the setting for a Gingerbread Build-Off competition on Saturday, December 7, from 10 am to 5 pm.


Continue on CultureMap to see the rest of the list.

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ASTROS FREE AGENCY

Astros set to bring back a familiar face

Castro is back! Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

MLB.com's Brian McTaggart is reporting that Jason Castro will rejoin the Astros after agreeing to a two-year deal with Houston for $7 million which also includes 2 million in incentives. Martín Maldonado and Castro will split the catching duties, which gives the Astros lineup flexibility by having a right-handed and left-handed hitting option at catcher.

Castro was drafted by the Astros 10th overall in 2008 and left in free agency after the 2016 season. Last year, Castro hit .188 and is a career .230 hitter. Keep in mind, Maldonado's contract will be up after this season and Castro could be the main catching option for the Astros in 2022 if they don't bring him back. Plus, the Astros drafted catcher Korey Lee with the 32nd overall pick in 2019 and Castro is a nice safety net if Lee is not ready for the majors next season, which seems likely.

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