Photo courtesy of Campspot

March's sunny, warm weather is here, and if you're looking for an outdoorsy spring break experience, one of these four Texas sites should be on your itinerary. They've just been named among Campspot's Best Campgrounds in America.

Campspot is an online marketplace and booking website for private campsites; they used 70,000 data points across 12 categories, including community reviews and family-friendly amenities, to determine their rankings.

In the category for Best Campgrounds for National Park Lovers, two Port Aransas resorts came in at the top: Aloha Beach RV Resort was ranked No. 1 and Tropic Island Resortcame in at No. 3. Both were ranked highly thanks to their proximity to local beaches and opportunities for outdoor activities, such as world-class fishing, birding, boating, golf, and more.

Champions Riverside Resort in Gainesville, Wisconsin split the Texas resorts in the ranking at No. 2, while Pokegama Lake RV Park & Golf Course in Pine City, Minnesota (No. 4) and New Jersey’s Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: South Jersey rounded out the top five.

In the Best Campgrounds for Weekenders category, Hidden Falls Adventure Parkin Marble Falls and Lazy L&L Campgroundin New Braunfels ranked No. 4 and No. 5. Hidden Falls is the perfect place for some off-road fun on its sprawling 2,000-acre property, while Lazy L&L is more along the scenic side with a beautiful river frontage across 25 acres.

Ranking above the two Texas sites are three California grounds: Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort in Mt. Shasta City (No. 3), Casini Ranch Family Campground in Duncans Mills (No. 2), and Sun Outdoors Paso Robles (No. 1).

Campspot’s 10 best overall campgrounds in America don’t include any Texas destinations, but are still worth a gander for any out-of-state adventures:

  • No. 1 – Indian River RV Resort in Indian River, Minnesota
  • No. 2 – On the Saco Family Campground in Brownfield, Maine
  • No. 3 – The Nugget RV Resort in Saint Regis, Montana
  • No. 4 – Otahki Lake Cabins & Campground in Patterson, Missouri
  • No. 5 – Stonebridge RV Resort in Maggie Valley, North Carolina
  • No. 6 – Dark Sky RV Campground in Kanab, Utah
  • No. 7 – Pecan Park in Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 8 – Kootenai River Campground in Troy, Montana
  • No. 9 – Okefenokee Pastimes Cabins & Campground in Folkston, Georgia
  • No. 10 – Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Memphis in Horn Lake, Mississippi

The full report can be found on campspot.com.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes begins prison sentence just 90 minutes from her hometown of  Houston

holmes sentenced

A longtime Houstonian is coming home — to jail.

Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, reported to F.P.C. Bryan, on Tuesday, May 30, per multiple news outlets. She is set to serve 11 years and three months in the women's minimum-security prison located some 90 minutes from Houston hometown.

According to the the New York Times, the onetime Tanglewood resident arrived at the prison in a Ford Expedition that appeared to be driven by her mother, Noel Holmes. Her father, Christian Holmes, appeared to be inside.

The Times adds that after some shuffling around, out of the view of the cameras gathered nearby, Holmes entered the facility wearing jeans, glasses and a sweater, and carrying some papers.

Prior to her arrival in Bryan, Holmes, 39, spent Memorial Day weekend with her family on the beach near her oceanfront San Diego home with her partner Billy Evans and their two children, according to the Daily Mail.

As CultureMap previously reported, Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on November 18, 2002 in San Jose, California following her conviction in January that year for defrauding Theranos investors.

Actress Amanda Seyfried, who played Holmes in the Hulu series The Dropout, shared her thoughts on the woman she portrayed to great acclaim. “Life’s not fair,” Seyfried noted on Good Morning Americaon Tuesday, “but in a lot of ways, it’s fair. For her, in particular.”

Thrust into the spotlight as the new face of white-collar, Silicon Valley fraud, Holmes now serves as a warning to those who might consider a similar path, her sentencing judge made clear.

“I suppose we step back and ask what is the pathology of fraud? Is it the refusal to accept responsibility or express contrition in any way?" Judge Edward Davila said during the ruling, according to Yahoo! Finance. "Perhaps that is the cautionary tale that will go forward from this case."

Davila ordered Holmes to turn herself into custody on April 27, 2023.

Specifically, Holmes' sentence is 11 years and three months in prison, with another three years of supervision after release. Additionally, Holmes and her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani have been ordered to pay $452 million to their fraud victims.

Once compared to disruptors and innovators Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Holmes rose to fame by enticing investors with the promise that her Theranos could run hundreds of blood tests via a simple pin prick. Buzz for Theranos grew to the point that Theranos was valued at $9 billion, which made Holmes the world’s first self-made female billionaire.

Yet, after securing more than $900 million in funding, Theranos was proven to be essentially bogus by the Wall Street Journal in 2015.

Facing up to 20 years in prison, a tearful Holmes, who is pregnant, addressed the court. "I stand before you taking responsibility for Theranos," she said, per Yahoo. "I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work. My team meant the world to me. They wanted to make a difference in the world. I am devastated by my failings," she said. "Every day for the past years, I have felt deep pain for the people…those people who believe in us and those patients. I worked so hard to serve. I gave everything I had to try to to build...Theranos. Looking back, there are so many things I would do differently. I tried to realize my dream too quickly."

Holmes is the subject of the aforementioned series, The Dropout, which centers on her early life in Houston, where she grew up in Tanglewood and attended St. John's School. Her father's layoff from Enron is presented as clearly an inciting incident in her life. As The Dropout depicts, Holmes would meet boyfriend/partner Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, drop out of Stanford, and launch Theranos.

One of the most memorable lines in the miniseries comes when a young Holmes plainly states her goals at a family gathering. "I wanna be a billionaire," she said plainly — a memorable and clearly prophetic statement.

Magnificent Museum District mansion designed by MFAH and Miller Outdoor Theatre architect lists for $11.8 million

stately in shadyside

Tucked inside the private gates of Shadyside, one of the Museum District's most exclusive enclaves, is a home that has stood for nearly a century. Sitting graciously on more than two lush, green acres, 1 Longfellow Lane is a Mediterranean Revival manse with historic connections to the city surrounding it.

This four-bedroom home is listed for $11.8 million and is represented by Victoria Minton of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty.

From hallowed halls and historic Houston

The 1926 home originally belonged to hardware magnate F.A. Heitman. It was designed by William Ward Watkin, who founded and led the architecture department at what is now Rice University. Watkins oversaw and built several properties associated with the university, including the president's house, Keck Hall, and the Cohen House, which now hosts the faculty club.

Houston history buffs will also know his name as the designer of both the original structure of Miller Outdoor Theatre, celebrating its centennial this year; the Houston Public Library's Julia Ideson Building in downtown; and the original structure of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, now known as the Caroline Wiess Law Building.

Good bones and a Good Brick

The current owners of 1 Longfellow Lane restored and expanded the home, enlisting architect Rudy Colby of Colby Design for the renovation and design and the Office of James Burnett (OJB) for the landscape design.

In 2021, the home received a "Good Brick Award" from Preservation Houston, which has given the accolade since 1979 to recognize outstanding contributions to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of Houston's architectural and cultural heritage.

The home and its new 1,200-square-foot addition boast a combination of historic charm and modern living. Among its charms are impressive landscaped grounds, a sunken pool with fountains and a sunbathing deck, tennis and motor court, and a two-car porte-cochere. A three-car carriage house offers apartments above and below.

All in the details

Impressive details abound. A gorgeous, elaborately designed frieze at the roof line highlights the home's ceremonious façade. A triple arched entry beckons guests through the iron work-laden front door. The rear entry features an ornate metal and glass canopy that's been fully restored. A stunning, carved wood mantel is a focal point for 1 Longfellow Lane's formal living room. The sun parlor's vaulted ceiling and carved stonework showcase exquisite craftmanship and invite gracious living.

The updated kitchen has a custom designed brass vent hood over the stovetop, quartz countertops, mirrored glass tiles, and cabinets boasting fine details. The wall of windows overlooks the side yard and grill area. State-of-the-art appliances include a Wolf 6 burner range with 48-inch grill , gas stove, Sub Zero Pro 48 Refrigerator/Freezer, and a Wolf Warming draw.

Echoes of the past, whispers of the future

One Longfellow Lane's reception hall has rich hardwood floors and an eye-catching curving staircase. Natural light floods through the triple-arched windows. The spacious primary suite offers a sitting area overlooking the grounds, creating a cozy oasis. Separate dressing rooms and closets provide ample closet and drawer space off the two primary bathrooms.

An upstairs library provides a space for book lovers to relax or can serve as a home office. A new upstairs sitting area connects hall of the original house to new wide hall with newly added laundry room and new bedroom and bath.

This manse's astonishing attention to detail will certainly be appreciated by those who love architecture and architecture history. But living in this home won't feel like like living in a museum. It's a lovingly crafted space that effortlessly blends the echoes of the past with the whispers of future.

1 Longfellow Lane Houston

Photo by TK Images

Whataburger weighs in as healthiest cheeseburger in the nation


With its love of greasy enchiladas, gluttonous fried steaks, and fat-speckled brisket, Texas isn’t always known as a healthy eating mecca. But it turns out that one locally beloved dish isn’t as unhealthy as one might think.

Inspired by February’s American Heart Month (albeit belatedly), Gambling.com decided to dig deep into which fast-food burger was best for the ticker and the body overall. What that has to do with online slots is anyone’s guess, but perhaps open-heart surgeries are not conducive to risk-taking.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Local favorite/ food cult Whataburger took the top slot, earning honors with its standby cheeseburger. Assumably, the gambling site considered the mustard-slathered original, eschewing calorie bombs like bacon slices and creamy pepper sauce.

Where’s the fun of Whataburger if you can’t get it just like you like it?

To arrive at the rankings, Gambling.com analyzed each burger for sugar, fat, salt, and calorie content per ounce. Each metric was given a one to ten score that factored into the final report card shared with content-hungry food journalists everywhere.

Coming in a close second was In-N-Out’s cheeseburger, a comforting fact for Texans who enjoy complaining about Californians. Rounding out the top five were Checker’s Checkerburger with Cheese, Culver’s ButterBurger Cheese, and Del Taco’s del Cheese Burger.

For those trying to make better eating choices, that list should give some pause. Yes, Whataburger beats out other fast-food faves, but it was competing against a chain that literally toasts all their buns in churned cream. Health is a relative concept.

Elsewhere on the list was another Texas darling, the No. 6 ranked Dairy Queen. Apparently, all that “hungr” is being busted by a hefty dose of sodium. Yes, we will take fries with that.