Thursday, March 12, 2015

Return to The Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country
J. Dawg on a hill in the Texas Hill Country
Last year, we did a brief one day stop over while passing through the Texas Hill Country.  This is a pretty area about 70 miles west of Austin.  In my opinion, it one of Texas's nicest areas.  Its a rural area of rolling hills, sparse trees, small towns, cattle ranches, and wineries.  You can read my blog post about last years visit here - Texas Hill Country.  Last year, we agreed that one day was not enough and planned for a return visit.  This year we did a three day stop over so we could explore and see all the things we missed.

J. Dawg's rig at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park
The base for our stay over was the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal RV park in the town of Fredericksburg.  This is a reasonably priced RV park.  It's 3 miles out from the town center, but for $30 per day, you get nicely spaced paved sites with full hookups, cable TV, and free wifi.  Its not fancy, but does a good job providing the basics for a place to park an RV.

Fredericksburg is a nice small town with lots of trendy shops, art galleries, restaurants, and historic buildings lining its Main Street. Its a popular destination stop for vacationers and weekend getaways.  There's also a lot of unique culture and history in Fredericksburg.  The area was settled by German immigrants in the mid 1800's.  German people emigrated to this area seeking land and political / religious freedom.  In the early 1840's, a group of Germans acquired land grants in the area when Texas was The Republic of Texas and it was promoting colonization.  Their purpose was to establish a new Germany in central Texas.  The land was smack in the middle of Comanche land, but Baron von Muesebach secured a formal treaty with the Penateka Comanche.  It gave the Germans an advantage for settling the area, because much of central Texas wasn't settled until 1870 when the remaining Comanches were finally defeated.  Muesebach established settlements in New Braunfels and Fredericksburg.

Happy wife at the Auslander

One the things that makes Fredericksburg special is that it retains a lot of its German heritage.  There are several German restaurants serving authentic food.  We ate a meal at the Auslander  Its a popular tourist place in the middle of town with lots of German decor.  We had German potato skins (potato skins stuffed with sausage, sauerkraut, red cabbage, and cheese) and reuben rolls (think small reuben sand which egg rolls).  It was all delicious as was the local beer.

Last year, I had spent a couple hours at the Museum of the Pacific War, which is a major attraction on Main Street.  This is a huge museum focused on the WWII pacific war.  Last year, I had only made it half way thru so this year I spent two more hours and finished touring the exhibits.  It is an extensive museum and does a great job explaining the events leading up to the war and then has numerous exhibits of each battle.  If you're into history, its a must see stop while in Fredericksburg.  The admission is $14 and good for 48 hours.

Freshman Mtn from Summit Trail

Another must see stop is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.  This is a popular state park which has large pink granite rock outcroppings.  Its 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on a twisty turny road.  You get to see where the hill country got its name from driving on this road.  The park is very popular and gets a lot of visitors.  It offers hiking, camping, rock climbing, and picnicing.  On the weekday we visited, the parking lot was just about full.  The key draw is hiking up to the top on Enchanted Rock, which got its name from the Apache and Comanche who felt the rock had magical and spiritual powers. The climb up is short, relatively easy, and offers good views of the surrounding area.  My 60 yr old legs, lungs, and knees made it up with ease.  Admission to the park is $7 per person.

View towards Fredericksburg from Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock
While there, I got to meet another blogger who I follow.  Becky Schade from Interstellar Orchard and her friend Julie were working at the park this spring.  They happened to be helping with traffic so I got a chance to introduce myself as we parked the RV.  Both are super nice people.  Becky is a full time RVer living, blogging, and traveling in her Casita travel trailer.  She is by far the best writer of all the bloggers I follow.  I wish I could write half as good as she does.  It was a treat to meet her in person.
Becky Schade and J. Dawg

While is Fredericksburg, we visited the Wildseed Farm. Its a huge farm and retail operation dedicated to growing and selling wild flowers.  With all the cold weather, the flowers had yet to bloom so we didn't get to see a lot of color.  But its a nice place to visit.  It has a retail store, wine shop, gourmet food shop, and food concession.  Its just the type of place the wife likes to visit.  Admission is free, but beware, you'll probably end up buying something.

The last place we visited was the Pioneer Museum.  Its a small living history museum dedicate to the early settlers of the region.  There are several historical buildings showing how the early settlers lived.  There are also volunteers in period attire who will anxiously tell you stories about the history of the area.  For $5, its a worthwhile visit.

Last year, we visited the LBJ Ranch, which is just a few miles east of town.  It is a very worthwhile stop to see LBJ's Ranch and "Texas White House".

Other than eating more German food and the "retail therapy" my wife undertook on Main Street, that's pretty much what we did while in Fredericksburg.  It was all the popular tourist stops, but it  was all the stuff that makes Fredericksburg appealing and it was fun.  There are hundreds of Fredericksburg type towns in this country that have their own unique appealing attractions.  And that's why I'm out in my RV, seeing and experiencing as many as I can.

On our last day, we got resupplied for our next destination - Big Bend National Park.

2 comments:

  1. We have relatives that live in Hill country, we always enjoying a day in Banderas, the so call cowboy capital.

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  2. Thanks for the mention J. Dawg. Glad we got the chance to meet!

    ReplyDelete