For one day a year, pitmasters from Houston and Austin go pork butt to shoulder clod for bragging rights and the audience gets to sample each entry. Held this year on the grounds of Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston, the Third Annual HOU-ATX BBQ Throwdown pits such heavy barbecue hitters as Micklethwait Craft Meats and Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue from Austin against Reveille Barbecue Company and Tejas Chocolate + BBQ from Houston, with a couple of joints from outside of the regions as control participants. In all, there will be more than a dozen top barbecue joints competing for bragging rights. The Houston and Austin chefs will be looking to get back the trophy from last year’s winner Bodacious BBQ of Longview. A limited number of tickets are still available for $70.
Nov. 17, HOU-ATX BBQ Throwdown, Houston,

Built in 1897, the limestone Williams Creek School has a metal room added in 1922. It was consolidated with the Stonewall school district and closed in 1950. LBJ studied here for a year. The school will hold an open house on Nov. 16. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Once a month the Friends of the Gillespie County Country Schools opens one of the county’s surviving historic schools. It’s a chance to take a peek into the past of rural education. The German community around Fredericksburg strongly supported the schools and the classes were often taught in their native tongue. Usually one or two rooms, the schools frequently had one teacher to teach all grades. State-mandated consolidation of the school districts closed the rural institutions beginning in 1949. Of the 44 rural schools once in the area, only a dozen buildings survive. This month’s open house is at the Williams Creek School in Albert where President Lyndon B. Johnson attended classes in the 1920s. The distinctive two-room schoolhouse has the advantage of being next door to the very cool and historic Albert Dance Hall and Icehouse on FM 1623 south of Stonewall.
Nov. 16, 11am-4pm, Williams Creek School Open House, Albert, 830/685-3321,

Travel Notes:

San Antonio has a new art museum and this one makes innovative strides in presenting contemporary works of local and international artists. Ruby City, opened Oct. 13, was the vision of the collector, philanthropist, artist, and hot sauce heiress Linda Pace before she passed away. Part of the museum campus includes Chris Park, a large green space. The inaugural exhibition is presented in three parts: “Walking Dream,” “Isaac Julien: Playtime,” and “Jewels in the Concrete.” All exhibitions are free to the public.

Speaking of San Antonio, Sebastián, the sculptor who created La Antorcha de la Amistad/Torch of Friendship in downtown at Losoya and Commerce streets, has placed 100 art pieces at 20 locations around town. “Sebastián in San Antonio: 50+ Years/20+ Sites/100+ Works” will be on public display through the end of May 2020.

Fans of Downton Abbey will want to make their way to Ashville, N.C., to see the “Downton Abbey Exhibition” at the Biltmore Estates, Nov. 8 through April 7, 2020. The show features costumes and sets from the original television series. Cora Crawley’s story was not unlike that of Consuelo Vanderbilt, the American heiress who married the Duke of Marlborough in order to help save the family’s English estate.

For the daytrippin’ gardeners, here’s a note from the Lady Bird Wildflower Center: Mid-November is the best time to sow your wildflower seeds. Bluebonnet seeds can be planted between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.