April 17, 2013

A Love Affair: Fredericksburg and Texas Hill Country RV Vacation





Our home at the Oakwood RV Resort


Tomorrow morning Betty, Bailey, and I leave Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill Country after six fabulous days. If the area wasn't 1,000 miles from family we might consider a move here for at least part of the year. The town and area have captured our affections  and fit our satisfying retirement lifestyle very well.

Founded in 1846 by German immigrants, Fredericksburg is charming, welcoming, and pretty. While I imagine summer weekends are swarming with tourists, this time of year is quiet and unhurried. The main street is lined with almost 4 miles of restaurants, historic buildings, museums, art galleries, antiques stores, public gardens, and an unhurried lifestyle. The Chamber of Commerce folks claim there 350 places to stay, 70 restaurants, and hundreds of stores are here to keep you entertained. Literally dozens of wineries and wine testing rooms call the area home, too.


Pioneer Museum grounds
We spent a very pleasant 90 minutes touring the 10 buildings that make up the Pioneer Museum in the heart of town. They are filled with period artifacts and beautifully restored.

The town library, churches, and most important buildings are beautiful stone structures, many made from white granite. 



Quite surprisingly, the National Museum of the Pacific War, a huge block long structure is located just steps north of Main Street. Why a Pacific War museum in the middle of Texas? Admiral Chester Nimitz, one of the major players in the Pacific Theater during World War ll,  is a Fredericksburg native.


Just 10 minutes down the road is the town of Luckenbach, if you can call a general store, barn, and out buildings a town. Made famous by the 1977 hit song by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, something is always happening in Luckenbach. 

Concerts by known country artists happened almost every weekend, while every day of the week finds a local musician performing for free inside the eclectic general store.


LBJ's Texas White House
Since it is only 30 minutes east of town we also took the opportunity to go through the LBJ Texas White House grounds, the place our 36th president was born and is buried. 

A free, CD-guided tour around the stunning grounds made it quite obvious why President Johnson loved his ranch and hill country so much. He actually spent 25% of his presidency at the ranch.

A tiny corner of Wildseed Farm


On the way back into town we stumbled on an absolute gem: Wildseed Farms. Hundreds of acres of wild flowers, buildings and grounds with every conceivable yard and garden ornaments, waterfalls, and lily pads bask in the sun. 

Even on a weekday afternoon hundreds of folks wandered around, snapping photos and dreaming of backyard improvements. As you might imagine Betty felt like she had died and gone to heaven. After an hour I think I saw smoke coming from the back of her camera. We bought a few unique pieces for our back yard that will travel home somewhere underneath R.T.

An hour or so north of town are lakes and state parks galore. Betty, Bailey, and I spent an afternoon at the beautiful Inks Lake State Park. Tent sites, RV spots nestled in the woods overlooking the water, and a section of mini cabins were mostly full of families enjoying themselves. Swimming, kayaking, fishing, miles of hiking trails, and photo opportunities galore made for a perfect time for us.



I could go on for several hundred more words about this fascinating part of Texas, but instead here are a few more of Betty's photos. Within the next week or so, look for more photos of our Texas adventure at the top of the blog under the Betty's Photos heading.



Part of the display outside the Pacific War Museum

Typical Fredericksburg storefront






More of the Pioneer Museum




More of Inks Lake State Park

Two old chairs destined for our back yard
Entrance to fascinating store
Inside The Luckenbach General Store



How many towns  still have a working 5 and dime?

Fredericksburg Library

Kayaking at Inks Lake

Fields of wildflowers all in full bloom

Where should be go next?

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for keeping us up to date on your adventures. Loved reading about them! Cindy

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    1. We're having a blast. We'll be on our way to Big Spring, Texas tomorrow.

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  2. Awesome trip and awesome pictures. It is like we are sharing along with you and Betty....how generous and fun. I also really enjoyed seeing that Wildseed Picture as we plant large areas in wildflowers randomly here on the farm. We enjoy and others that pass by have shared how much they enjoy. It was time to re-do the seeding this year and just sent an order off about two weeks ago. So glad you are kicking back and doing such pleasant things.

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    1. If you like wildflowers check out Wildseed Farm on the Internet. They ship all over the world.

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    2. Wildseed is where we have always purchased from. Sorry I didn't make that clear...it was neat to see pictures from there. We have always been very happy with their service and I am not affiliated with them. We have just loved seeing the wildflowers bloom and watching for all the different varieties. Hope you enjoyed...as we sure do.

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  3. We discovered hill country when our kids went to college in San Antonio> We agree it is marvelous! Good live music, and a break from the usual flat scenery of west Texas. If there were mountains near by, we would live there in a flash.....sweating through the humid summer! Enjoy, and hit the river walk in San Antonio, and dowtown Austin for live music and the famous bridge of bats.

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    1. We have fallen into such a nice pattern that the River Walk and Austin will have wait until some other time. The thought of crowds and big city traffic sounds horrible after quiet, small town life for the past 10 days. Plus, the weather is poor today. There is a major storm blowing through north of here. We are to get 35 mph winds and rain so the weather window has closed for this area.

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  4. Love Betty's photos! I love poking around towns like this. Thanks for sharing.
    b

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    1. We could stay another week and not run out of things to see within an hour of Fredericksburg. But, we have 9 days to get home without rushing so it is time to head out of town.

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  5. Thanks for the great photos! I am a native Texan, living in California for the past 40 years. Your photos reinforce my desire to show Austin and its surrounding area to my husband. He has visited Houston but never liked the humidity there. I lived in Kerrville for a short while, and of all the places in TX I have been, the Hill Country is my favorite. I can't wait to get back there.

    Oh, if you like sausage, check out City Market in Luling. The best ever. :-)

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    1. Betty, Bailey, and I went to Kerrville yesterday and walked along the river. There is a perfect park for dogs and people right downtown. Unfortunately, Kerrville's downtown has too many closed businesses. The recession has not been kind to that town.

      Fredericksburg has virtually no empty store fronts. Were rather surprised how healthy the downtown is.

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  6. Thanks so much for the delightful tour of the Texas Hill Country!

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    1. You are very welcome! More pictures to come next week.

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  7. My parents retired to Marble Falls, just west of Austin. One of our favorite treats was to drive to Fredericksburg. I loved driving the back roads and seeing the wildflowers. You are there at the perfect time. It must be absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. We drove through Marble Falls on the way to Inks Lake State Park. The way back through Llano and the back road into Fredericksburg was so pretty and peaceful.

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  8. Thanks for sharing a great tour! Looking forward to continuing reports.

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    1. Thanks, Dick. We just arrived in Big Spring, Texas. Tomorrow is Amarillo.

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  9. Fredericksburg is one of my favorite places to visit. I've been to many of the places you mention and now I'm getting the urge to go back. Maybe next spring - this time of year it's really beautiful, but much later and it starts getting hot LOL Thanks for sharing your trip with us! I hope you survived this storm that's coming through as I'm writing this (midnight). They're predicting rain and high winds for Dallas, and we need the rain, just not the other stuff.

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    1. It was rainy this morning in Fredericksburg when we left for Big Spring. The wind was gusty all afternoon but by lunch time the sky was clear and sunny.

      It is supposed to be around 32 degrees tonight....burrrr!

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  10. I spent a couple of weeks in Texas hill country last May––lovely. Very different from what one usually thinks of as Texas. And Austin is an especially nice city.

    Boyd Lemon-Author of "Retirement: A Memoir and Guide" and 6 other books.
    http://BoydLemon-Writer.com

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    1. We were an hour from Austin and San Antonio and didn't get to either! The pace of life in Fredericksburg and at the RV park made motivation to go to a big city a problem.

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  11. Great blog about one of my favorite local stops. You missed two highlights: Enchanted Rock just north of Fredericksburg and any one of a number of fine wineries.

    A climb to the top of Enchanted Rock is for the hardy and a trip to a winery is for the mellow.

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    1. We drove past Enchanted Rock on the way back from Llano but the day was overcast and windy so we didn't stop. We did, however, drive through three wineries and saw several more from the road. A few of them equaled anything we have seen in Napa.

      I ended each afternoon with a glass of wine and some cheese while safely off the road and sitting next to the RV.

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  12. I love "traveling" with you from the comfort of my own home!

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