Johnson City: Texas Markets

This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!

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Nestled in the Hill Country, Johnson City Market Days is one of my favorites. It’s in downtown Johnson City, Texas, home of President Lyndon B. Johnson (whose boyhood home you can visit, if you’re a history buff), and falls every fourth weekend from March to October, with special dates during the holidays.

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The entire market is situated on one block, so it is pretty small. Despite its small size, the quality, diversity, and talent of the vendors more than make up for it.

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I sampled raw honey from a kind old man. There was a booth that sold unique stylish woodwork. There was jewelry, handmade knives, salsas… So many things that were handcrafted. I think that’s why I loved it so much: almost everything there was crafted by someone local. It wasn’t stocked with folks selling retail.

I ended up getting a hand-poured candle by Rustic Swank out of Marion, Texas. Their candles are made with “soy, dehydrated fruits, spices, an fragrance oils,” and all coloring, if used, is organic. I got the Lavender Fields scent, because I’m obsessed with lavender. It was $10, and they’ll refill it for half price.

 

The Texas Hill Country

A broad look at the gorgeous Hill Country.

CANVA Texas Hill Country

The Hill Country is the part of Texas I think everyone comes to see. The rolling hills, the breathtaking rock, blue skies, clear rivers, and blanketing bluebonnets are enough to make anyone want to drop everything and move here. Hell, I did. I moved here to go to college, but when I would question my choice of university and start looking somewhere else, the Hill Country kept me from leaving. In today’s post, I’m going to highlight just a few of my favorite places in the Texas Hill Country, but it is not, by any means, an exhaustive list.

 

Austin

Austin is known for so many things: the Capitol, Sixth Street, UT, Austin City Limits, South by Southwest, Circuit of the Americas, and more that I’m probably forgetting. So many people come here, too, because of how “weird” it is by reputation.

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Me at Jo’s Coffee on SoCo.

There’s more to Austin, though, than Sixth and Keepin’ it Weird. In fact, those are personally my least favorite things about it.

If you were to come to Austin, here’s where I’d send you:

Nutty Brown Cafe

I love the Nut so much. It’s easily my favorite music venue, and I’m sure they have great food, too (disclosure: I haven’t actually eaten there). I have been a couple of times for musical performances, once for the We Are Blood charity concert featuring Wade Bowen, Stoney Larue, and others and again for the Randy Rogers Band. It’s located west of Austin on Highway 290 going towards Dripping Springs. You can’t miss the neon cowboy out front! The amphitheater is located behind the restaurant. It has a large standing area that faces the stage and surrounding all of that is a lovely (and welcome in the summer time) grove of trees, tables and chairs of a wooden deck, a gorgeous bar, and sometimes a food truck or two. It’s so intimate, comfortable, welcoming, and fun. They usually feature country artists, both higher profile (like Jake Owen) and beloved Texas Country artists.

 

Pictures I took from the We Are Blood benefit concert, featuring Wade Bowen and Stoney Larue.

Lick Ice Creams

For most people, it’s all about Amy’s. I like Amy’s a lot, but I love Lick. Lick is located on Lamar Boulevard in downtown, and it features a rather unique variety of ice creams. Their ice creams are made mostly with products grown or raised here in Texas and is all natural. In addition (this is my favorite part), the flavors are… different. They’re a little weird, but they are damn good. Some flavors I have gotten have been Pink Peppercorn Lemon Twist, Grapefruit with Champagne Marshmallow, Goat’s Milk with Honey and Thyme, Fromage and Fig, and one with dewberries (I can’t remember the name…). They have their year-round, standard (which aren’t so “standard”) flavors and another set of seasonal flavors, which of course incorporate seasonal ingredients, like the dewberries in the spring. If this doesn’t quite sound your speed, I suggest Holla! Mode which is Thai Style ice cream. If you aren’t familiar with Thai style, then you better get there. It’s so cool. The ice cream makers (usually in a food truck) will mix up your liquidy ingredients and right before you, pour the mixture onto a cold table and start chopping, scraping, and mixing your ice cream until it’s frozen. Then they roll it on up into swirls and stack the swirls up in your bowl.

 

Lick Ice Creams

 

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Holla! Mode ice cream on Barton Springs Road with some pictures from the Greenbelt and Mount Bonnell.

 

The Capitol

This is for the history buffs out there. Lucky for you, if you go anywhere in Texas, you’ll be surrounded by decades of history. After all, we had our own Revolution and were our own country once. Anyway, the Texas State Capitol, is one of the most beautiful buildings in Texas, from the grounds to the Goddess of Liberty on top. They do free tours every half hour or you can do a self-guided tour. Keep an eye out for blond squirrels, as well!

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Greenbelt

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and Lady Bird Lake just doesn’t cut it, take a hike through the Greenbelt. The two entrances I recommend are at Zilker Park (if you’re facing the entrance to Barton Springs, walk to the right-or westward- until you hit the entrance of the trail) or at Loop 360 and Mopac (it’s at the southbound feeder road onto Mopac from 360, where it crosses over Mopac. Instead of going on the ramp to get on southbound Mopac, stay right and go straight. You’ll see cars parked on the side of the road right there.) The Greenbelt’s trails range from easy meandering trails to more difficult ones with rocks and slippery dirt. There’s rock climbing and of course, Barton Creek, with plenty of places to cool off or splash around. Beware the slippery rocks, however.

 

 

Salt Lick (Driftwood)

When it comes to supper time, go big or go home. One of my favorite places that I don’t go to enough is The Salt Lick Barbecue in Driftwood, southwest of Austin. Totally worth the drive. The place is usually hoppin’- a sign of its deliciousness- and has its own vineyard as well as live music outside on the lighted deck. The best part- the food comes out right away. That’s because in the middle of this joint is a massive pit that cooks the barbecue all day long, so as soon as you order, all someone has to do is go cut it and pull it off the pit. And you get so much food.

 

Fredericksburg

This town was my first taste of the Hill Country as a kid. We used to go here when we took my sister to camp. There is so much to do, and it never gets old. You could go back again and again and still have just as much fun.

Enchanted Rock

You can’t go to Fredericksburg and not climb up Enchanted Rock. Basically, it’s a big ass “mountain” of limestone. It’s truly awesome. As you drive closer to it and see it start to rise above the horizon, you really get to develop this appreciation and awe for nature. You won’t feel the same when you’re climbing up its steep sides! Not really. Even when you’re sweating and out of breath, you will still (hopefully) be mesmerized.

 

 

Luckenbach

Ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain out here. Luckenbach is a little bitty town outside of Fredericksburg, and it’s a must. They have the general store, which features weird stuff from the past, t-shirts, and of course, Waylon Jennings’ music. Of course, there’s the dance hall. It isn’t very big, but the hardwood floor and lack of air conditioning put a smile on my face and take me back to what it must have been like decades ago before people lost their minds. There’s live music played in Luckenbach almost every day of the week, too, and they’ve got good food out there to go with it.

 

 

Market Days and Downtown Shopping

I won’t go into the market as much, since I have another post about it.

Downtown, though, is so damn cute. There are shops that go on forever on both sides of the road: boutiques, B&B’s, restaurants, antique shops, and my favorite, Rustlin’ Robs- endless honey butters, jellies, salsas, pickled things, peanut butters, and more, all with free samples. It’s heaven.

German restaurants: Der Lindenbaum and Auslander

Fredericksburg and the surrounding area were heavily settled by German immigrants, and they embrace the culture. Even the street (strasse) names in downtown are in German. The first restaurant listed, Der Lindenbaum on Main Street, is my favorite of the two because it is much more authentic, quaint, quiet, and, well, German. I’m no German expert, but I have been to Germany and ate its food for days, so I like to think I have a little bit of credibility here. Plus, the last time I ate there, my waitress was from Munich. The other restaurant, the Auslander, also on Main Street, is more tourist-y, but I enjoy it all the same. They oftentimes have a live band performing in the bar, and they feature less traditional (but altogether tasty) German cuisine.

 

Frio River

The Frio River is certainly one of my happy places. It runs through southwest/ southwest central Texas (this state is so big I don’t even know how to categorize places), west of San Antonio. It’s a huge vacation place for Gulf-Coasters like myself. I go every year. We get a big house in Concan, Utopia, or somewhere else close to the river and just set out everyday and float. One year we were actually on the Sabinal river, and we got to kayak there as well as float the Frio. The water’s cold, the sun is hot, the grass green, the rocks are big, and the hills are tall. It’s heavenly.

 

There are so many places I could point you, too. Here’s a brief list of some towns I suggest looking into…

 

Bandera

Bandera is not too far east of Utopia, mentioned above. I love Bandera for its cowboy style and cute shops. The Hill Country State Natural Area is one of the best hiking spots (I think) in Texas, and the O.S.T. Restaurant is delicious and hardy, especially for breakfast. It’s not only got great food, but everyone is super nice and friendly and John Wayne is everywhere.

 

 

Boerne

Boerne is another cute little town north of San Antonio. It has a gorgeous, old-fashioned downtown with plenty of shops, including an awesome frozen yogurt place. If you do go to the area, see if you can check into the Ye Kendall Inn– it’s supposedly haunted. I stayed once and didn’t sleep a wink because I was so afraid I’d see someone staring back at me in the mirror that was not me. Nothing happened, but I was not comfortable! If you’re in Boerne, venture to some other nearby towns just to really embrace the Hill Country spirit: Sisterdale, Kendalia, Blanco, Bergheim… there are several dance halls around here, so check those out too!

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My very colorful and delicious frozen yogurt bowl.

 

Wimberly

Wimberly is southwest of Austin, directly west of San Marcos. It, like all the others, is great for shopping and dining. What the others don’t have is one of Texas’ best kept secrets: Jacob’s Well. Jacob’s Well is a natural swimming hole in Cypress Creek. It’s wonderful to see, just to imagine how nature can do such cool things. If you want to take a dip, though, you have to make a reservation. If not, head over to San Marcos and float the San Marcos River.

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Hell, drive down Interstate-35 aways to New Braunfels and you can float the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers. While you’re in New Braunfels, I suggest eating at Clear Springs Restaurant, doing some shopping and dancing in Gruene (home of Texas’ oldest dance hall), and going swimming at Canyon Lake.

 

Llano

I say this for one reason- Cooper’s Barbecue. I drove an hour on my birthday and five and a half hours on my boyfriend’s birthday just for this barbecue because it is that good.

 

 

San Antonio

Okay.. Alamo, Riverwalk… San Antonio has endless things to do. I have not been enough (or at least not that recently) to really give an honest “report” of things in San Antonio, but I love the city all the same. My favorite things are the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and the wax museum (because I’m a nerd).

 

Oh yes, and of course… the endless wineries and distilleries all over the state. Drive down any highway up there long enough and you will come across a vineyard.

I feel like there is something I’m forgetting here… maybe because Texas is just so pretty and fun and big that I can’t possibly capture everything about the Hill Country in one post, but I certainly tried. I hope this can act as a decent guide for someone wanting to get a little adventure in!

Stay adventuring, my friends. Appreciate the little things, eat all the barbecue, buy the junk you don’t need, and smell the bluebonnets. Many blessings!

 

~Hannah ❤

Beaches

This is “Making With Texas,” so I am going to talk more about Texas. Think of this as a travel piece, if you will, because by the end, you’ll want to hit the beach.

 

 

 

I grew up on the Gulf Coast, but not literally on the coast, with beaches in my backyard, which is essentially what this post is about. Take a minute, though, and pray for these places. In 2017, they were hit very, very hard by Hurricane Harvey. I was lucky enough to have been further inland, but these beautiful places were not so lucky. But hey, they’re in Texas, so of course they will bounce back!

Texas Beaches

Port Aransas

Port Aransas is my favorite beach. Not because it’s breathtakingly picturesque or the ultimate paradise, but it’s where we’d go when I was a kid when we went to the beach for real.

Port A is just north of Corpus Christi- right across the water, actually. It’s accessible by ferry-which I think is always fun- and is such a lovely beach. The sand isn’t full of shells or seaweed (though they are present). It’s clean and, well, sandy. Not like clay. The water is fresh and salty, not too murky or dirty. They even have an ice cream truck (or they did the last time I was there). An ice cream truck!

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Corpus Christi

Let’s keep it in the area and talk about Corpus Christi. Not just the beaches, but the city as well. The beach is nice, but the last time I was there I was swimming with a bull shark. I suppose that can happen anywhere, though! I like Corpus for more than its beach, frankly. I love the U.S.S. Lexington. It’s a carrier docked in the bay that you can go tour. If you’re into history like me, especially World War II (I am obsessed with learning about WWII), then the Lexington is where you need to visit. The Texas State Aquarium is in Corpus, too, which is fun every single time. Everything from sharks to itty bitty seahorses are there to see. You can even pet the stingrays! Not to be forgotten among all of this is Harbor Bridge- it’s gorgeous at night, with its lights reflecting in the water. For food, head to Snoopy’s Pier. It survived Harvey!

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Rockport

Memories. My dad used to work in Rockport, so in the summer, we would sometimes drive down to see him and hang out on the beach. It’s my second-favorite beach, I’d say. Like Port A, in my opinion, it’s clean and pretty. Also, head down to Copano Bay for some fishing! Note, by the way, that Rockport, as well as these others, were hit hard by Harvey. We are Texas Strong for sure, but the love and prayers are always welcome.

 

Galveston

I haven’t been to Galveston, but I hear great things! I want to go. Not just to the beach either. There’s Kemah Boardwalk, for one. Galveston also is known for having some haunted locales, mostly because of the hurricane of 1900 that killed 8,000 people. So if you’re into fun in the sun, carnival rides, and ghosts, Galveston is the place to be.

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Those above are some of the bigger beaches. Those are the ones that a tourism pamphlet would point you to, but I’m going to take a minute to look at the beaches I frequent more often, even if they aren’t the prettiest.

 

Magnolia & Indianola

Magnolia Beach is not too far from Port Lavaca, if you know where that is. It isn’t great, but it’s free, not very crowded, and still fun. The sand has a lot of shells, but it’s not too bad. I’d go there before Rockport or something, if I just want to get out for the day.

About a minute down the road is Indianola, which has such a fascinating history. It was founded not long after Texas became a state, but in 1886, a major hurricane completely wiped out the city, killing nearly 100 people and levelling buildings. All that’s there now are a few bay houses and the towering monument of La Salle, who landed at Matagorda Bay in the 1600s.

Indianola has been good to me as far as crabbing and fishing are concerned! Might not be the best place to sunbathe, but certainly a nice spot for outdoorsy folks and history buffs.

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This is one crab (out of about a dozen) I caught one year during spring break.

 

Matagorda Beach

On the complete other side of this bay is Matagorda beach. It’s not a bad beach either, though sometimes it can be a little dirty, since the young folks like to party there sometimes. It isn’t free, but it isn’t much and worth it if you want to just get to the water!

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These last few places are like home to me. Places like Magnolia, Indianola, Matagorda, Port Alto, Olivia… it’s home. So you decide: go local or go tourist, or hell, do both!

 

Hope to see y’all there!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

 

 

***Images/logos are not mine. I don’t own them or have any part in them whatsoever, nor did I in anyway edit or change them. I just wanted some visuals for readers , visuals that I myself could not just “get.” I found them from the following sites via Google Image search:

PORT ARANSAS:
http://www.portaransas-texas.com/vacation-rentals/port-aransas-beachfront-condos

U.S.S. LEXINGTON:
https://usslexington.com/about-the-uss-lexington/12/

ROCKPORT:
http://www.texasescapes.com/Museums/Rockport-Texas-Maritime-Museum.htm

http://www.rockport-fulton.org/51-Things-To-Do

 

GALVESTON:
https://www.hotels.com/de1436079-st4/four-star-hotels-galveston-texas/

 

LA SALLE:
http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasGhostTowns/IndianolaTexas/IndianolaTx.htm

 

MATAGORDA:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g56243-d4302648-i178830830-Matagorda_Bay_Nature_Park-Matagorda_Texas.html

 

HEADER:
http://matagordabaytexas.com/

Top 5 Texas Hill Country State Parks & Natural Areas

My favorite  outdoors-y spots in the Hill Country, just in time for summer.

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The family and I love being outside, whether it be fishing at the river, sitting by the fire in our backyard, or hiking in New Mexico.

Since I go to school in Austin, I take advantage of the nearby Hill Country to go hiking and sightseeing at the numerous state parks and natural areas. I never get bored looking at the limestone, little critters running around, and clear waters. I think Texas is beautiful, and I’m glad we have so many preserved natural areas.

I like to think I’ve been to enough parks now that I am somewhat credible when it comes to recommendations, so just in time for summer, I made a short list of my favorite places. I ranked them based on how unique their attractions are, the abundance of activities in the park, and things to do outside the park in surrounding cities.

5. Jacob’s Well

Wimberly, Texas

Fees: free to look, $9 to swim

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Jacob’s Well is a fully submerged cave in Cypress Creek, which flows through the quaint town of Wimberly, just west of San Marcos, and feeds into the Blanco River. It serves as a spring, pumping out thousands of gallons of water every day at 68 degrees. As far as we’re concerned, it serves as a swimming hole!

It’s a truly fascinating place. It’s crazy to imagine that this pit (an over 1,000 foot cavern!) just formed naturally and so beautifully.

Besides swimming and sunbathing, there isn’t anything else to do at Jacob’s Well, which is why I put it at number five, but as I said, it is in Wimberly. In the little town is the cutest, most bustling town square with shops, restaurants, activities, and not far from downtown, a replica pioneer town. If Wimberly ins’t your thing, not far is San Marcos, with the San Marcos River, a huge outlet mall, and more. Up the interstate from San Marcos is Austin, which is a world of fun in its own right.

Also not far from Jacob’s Well is Hamilton Pool. It’s also another natural swimming hole- quite breathtaking. I kept it off the list for a couple reasons. One, it’s almost twice as much per person than Jacob’s Well. It’s also farther away from towns; Bee Cave (a town incorporated as a part of way, way west Austin) is about twenty minutes, Austin itself is another twenty or thirty, Dripping Springs is twenty or thirty, and the next closest town is probably Johnson City, unless you want to count Round Mountain, which is more of a community than a city. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to Hamilton Pool though!!!

 

4. Hill Country State Natural Area

Bandera, Texas

Fees: $6/person, children 12 and under- free

This is my favorite, despite it being at number four. It’s my favorite because it’s so big, so free and rugged, and is in Bandera, which is one of my favorite towns in the world. It has forty miles of trails for hiking, biking, and even equestrian use. The trails are of various difficulties, from easy walks to challenging climbs. Camping is also available.

These are the pretty much the only activities, but for me, that’s enough. Forty miles of hiking and sightseeing. That’s enough to make me happy. Throw in how open it is and how relatively few people (in my experience) are there, it’s the perfect getaway.

As mentioned, it’s located near Bandera. Bandera is a very western town, embracing the cowboy culture. I love it. There are so many shops, events, and restaurants (my favorite is O.S.T.) to keep you busy. Also not far (okay, it’s a little bit of a drive but not really) is the Frio River. It is a Texas favorite. I go float it every year!

 

3. Enchanted Rock

Fredericksburg, Texas

Fees: $7/person, children 12 and under- free

My pictures don’t do it justice. Enchanted Rock is a massive limestone rock north of Fredericksburg and south of Llano. It’s a truly majestic sight. Majestic. Seeing such a huge, natural structure is astounding and even humbling.

Warning- it’s a climb. I’m pretty in shape and workout frequently, and I even had to take a second to catch my breath. Once you get to the top though, it makes it all worth it. Seeing Texas unfold before you for miles and miles is awe-inspiring.

Nearby is Fredericksburg with its unlimited entertainment and experiences. The shops downtown offer a wide variety of goods, from jellies to clothes to quilts to jewelry to bath bombs to books. There’s of course the prominent German culture there, so you have your choice of German cuisine. If you’re there at the right time, you could head out on 290 to the Market Days- three days of antiquing, junking, and shopping. Even if there is no market, head out on 290 anyway and hang a right to spend time in Luckenbach. No matter which direction you head in, you’ll for sure stumble across a winery.

If you go the other way towards Llano, you’ll be pleased. The drive is lovely and Llano has something to offer as well. They have a cute downtown, with a multitude of shops, and it is home to one of my favorite restaurants- Cooper’s Barbecue.

 

2. Colorado Bend State Park

Bend, Texas

Fees: $5/person, children 12 and under- free

Colorado Bend State Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Located south of Lampasas and San Saba, west of Cherokee, and north of Llano, this over-5,000 acre park is home to Gorman Falls. It’s a sixty-foot, natural, “living” waterfall. It took centuries to form. The groundwater underground is dissolving the limestone. The dissolved limestone comes up to the surface where the calcite gets deposited. This is called Travertine. Because it’s so rich in nutrients and good stuff, that green cascading vegetation is able to grow.

Gorman Falls transported me to a fairy land. It’s gorgeous! It’s so hard to believe such a thing is even real. It’s pretty treacherous to get to, too.

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You’ve got to scale down these rocks to get to the falls. It’s worth it, but also quite intimidating!

Besides Gorman Falls, Colorado Bend State Park has plenty to do, including camping, fishing, paddling, cave exploration, swimming, biking, and hiking. The park has 35 miles of hike and bike trails. I only managed to hike 6 when I was there.

In terms of things to do beyond the park, there isn’t a great deal. At least nothing in close proximity. Llano is nearby. Cherokee is a small community close by as well, with a tempting barbecue joint in a barn. You could also drive up to Lampasas or San Saba, both twenty-thirty miles from Bend. If you’re feeling adventurous, Austin is about two hours. In my opinion, however, I think the park offers plenty to do that you could spend at least a weekend seeing new things and doing numerous activities.

 

  1. Pedernales Falls State Park

Johnson City, Texas

Fees: $6/person, children 12 and under- free

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I love this park so much. It was one of the first parks I visited up here. It’s only about 30 miles west of Austin, and a hop, skip, and a jump from Dripping Springs and Johnson City.

The park is centered around the Pedernales River and displays the breath-taking Pedernales Falls. No, it’s not a sixty-foot waterfall, but it’s a vast landscape of limestone pits and crevices, where the cold clear water rushes, flows, and makes its way downstream. It’s one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen, natural or otherwise. I’ve been to Europe, so that’s saying something.

The park has so much to do. They have around 20 miles of hike, bike, and equestrian trails. There’s even a trail where you have to cross the river, without a bridge. You’ve actually got to take off your shoes (or not, I guess) and wade across. It was fun! They also have places for swimming, paddling, and camping.

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Get out there! Happy hiking, biking, riding, swimming, kayaking, or camping. May you revel in the beauty of the Texas Hill Country!

Be safe and have a great summer!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

Sources:

http://www.co.hays.tx.us/jwna.aspx

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/hill-country

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/enchanted-rock

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/colorado-bend

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/pedernales-falls

 

All photos in this post are mine. If used, I and/or this site must be given credit.

My Coast

This is “Making With Texas,” so I am going to talk more about my Texas. Think of this as a travel piece, if you will, because by the end, you’ll want to come to the Coastal Bend of South Texas.

 

I say in the intro there that this is a travel piece, and in a sense I suppose it is. Mostly, though, I just want to talk about where I grew up. I talk about it a lot in a similar post to this, one that talks about beaches. I didn’t grow up with a beach for a backyard, but I grew up around Matagorda, Port Alto, Magnolia and Indianola, and Olivia. Those weren’t home, either, though. I grew up in Ganado, which is about half an hour from Olivia.

Ganado is small. I graduated with 45 people, which for many people is very tiny, but I wouldn’t want anything else. Our town is so special, too, and I talk about it a lot in another post about the Ganado market.

Ganado was settled in the 1800s along the new railroad. All it had at the time was a bunch of cows, hence its name Ganado, which means “cattle” in Spanish. That said, it does have a large Hispanic population, but a lot of us are Czech or German. It isn’t unusual to hear someone call a beer pivo which is Czech for beer.

In Ganado, we have a bit to do, especially for someone who’s into small town Texas. We have a an old theater that opened in the 1940s, the first in the U.S. to have digital fiber optic sound, and is one of the last to be privately owned.

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We have a monthly market, as well as a few shops, like a western wear store and a fabulous quilt shop. There’s a good Mexican restaurant, barbecue joint, burger place, and a little place that sells Blue Bell. Throughout the year we have festivals, like the Chili Spill and Crawfish Festival, complete with a dance and games. There’s Lake Texana, too, if you’re a fisherman or kayaker. If freshwater isn’t your thing, half an hour or so away is bay. You can to Olivia, Port Alto, Port O’Connor, or Port Lavaca, among other places.

Left: Olivia | Right: Lake Texana

There are many other cute towns around, especially if you go farther inland, a little away from the coast: Edna, Victoria (downtown is so old and beautiful), and Cuero, as well as up north into Fayette county. Oh, and you can’t forget Shiner!

 

Okay, so many of those towns are a good hour and a half or so from water, but we’re all close together. In one weekend, you could hit our theater and listening room- the Rear Window, Cuero’s beautiful antique shops and come back for Turkey Fest, Victoria’s downtown (you must drop some cash and eat at the Sendera) and come back for Boot Fest, to Shiner for some beer, then to Flatonia for the Czilispiel and the painted churches.

And all along the way, you’ll see cows and horses, beautiful fields of corn and cotton, green very gently rolling hills or the flat land that leads to the water, old barns, wild flowers, wrap around porches, creeks and rivers, and bails of hay.

It’s not much, but it’s home.

It’s Texas.

It’s who we are.

You’re always welcome!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

***Images/logos are not mine. I don’t own them or have any part in them whatsoever, nor did I in anyway edit or change them. I just wanted some visuals for readers , visuals that I myself could not just “get” at the time of this writing. I found them from the following sites via Google Image search:

LAKE TEXANA:LAKE TEXANA: http://wiseabouttexas.com/texas-towns-texana/lake-texana/
OLIVIA: http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasGulfCoastTowns/OliviaTexas/OliviaTx.htm

THEATER:THEATER: http://www.flickriver.com/places/United+States/Texas/Ganado/

 

It’s Springtime in Texas!

 

The Greenbelt in ATX is the place to be as the temps climb!

 

 

Mother Nature is in full bloom.

 

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And that means bluebonnets!

 

 

Even the beach is an absolute joy in March.

Magnolia Beach

 

 

Happy spring, y’all!

~Hannah

 

 

 

*All photos were taken by and belong to me. Use of them is prohibited without expressed permission. Thanks, y’all. 🙂

White (almost) Christmas in Texas

On December 7-8, inches of snow blanketed almost the entire state of Texas- something that almost never happens!

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I am currently west of Austin, but I have grown up along the coast, where snow is even less likely to happen. I’ve seen snow twice: once in 2004 when we had almost a foot and again in 2010 (maybe 2009?) when we maybe had an inch, if not less.

I knew there was a slight chance of wintery mix  in my area, but that it would mostly be concentrated in West Texas, kind of along the border, and perhaps into the Hill Country. As I was on my way home on Thursday afternoon, it began: sleet. Little bits of ice and rain were falling. Then from little ice pellets we had snow!! At first it wasn’t sticking, but as the sun began to set, it came down in full force, sticking to the ground, to my hair, my clothes, our vehicles, everything.

 

Unfortunately, I had to drive into downtown Austin during all of this snowfall. It was both a blessing and a curse. Driving in Austin is terrible enough, but add some ice to the mix and you better say your prayers.

The blessing, though, was coming back out of my test building (yes, I had to take a test last night) and seeing accumulation. Plants were all covered in little white crystals and flurries danced in the air. It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

The best part came when I got home. The grass was covered in a white blanket. All my furniture was covered in an inch of white frozen powder.

My inner child came out. I danced in the snow like a wild thing! I made a snow angel, and my boyfriend and I had a snowball fight in the dark. Needless to say, it was the perfect night for some chicken and dumplings, hot chocolate, steamy showers, and fuzzy socks!

 

Much to my inner child’s enthusiasm, the temperatures stayed cold enough all through the night and well into the morning that the snow stuck around. The sunrise on the frosted flowers took my breath away. Paired with some hot coffee, it was a perfect morning.

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It’s days like this that mean everything. When these little “miracles” happen, it fills my heart with happiness. Everyone is sending pictures, smiling, laughing, telling their stories, sharing and reliving memories, praying for one another’s safety, loving one another, and thanking God for such beauty and glory, all at the most holy time of the year.

I know I took the time to celebrate. My boyfriend and I played in the snow like children and built a gingerbread house. Today also happens to be the day that we celebrate the Immaculate Conception… such a Christmas-y (Advent-y) Holiday on such a festive looking day.

Merry Christmas, y’all and stay warm!

 

~Hannah ❤