Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekend Get-Away - New Braunfels, Texas

With little or no planning, we decided, late last week, to escape the routine and go out of town for the weekend. We tossed around several ideas, and finally decided to visit the New Braunfels area, since we had never been there. We found a reasonably-priced hotel in Schertz, just down the road from New Braunfels, so hopped in the car Friday morning for the just-over-two-hour drive to Schertz.

New Braunfels is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, and was founded in 1845 by German settlers. The German heritage is apparent everywhere you look. We wanted to enjoy a German style dinner, so I called a highly-rated little restaurant named Alpine Haus to make a reservation. I was told that they were full for the entire evening. Dan and I talked it over and decided to try for Saturday evening, so I called back. The fellow was so sorry to tell me that they were also full for that evening. But he took pity on me, I guess, and said, "Since there are only two of you, I'll make room for you tonight!"

We got to New Braunfels a little bit earlier than our reservation, so we strolled down the street and went into a couple of the interesting shops. One was a quilting shop, and the other a leather shop. Both of them gave us free "gifts" - some fabric squares at the quilting place, and two leather key fobs in the shape of the state of Texas at the leather store.

We had a little trouble finding Alpine Haus. It is located in a little old "haus" that sits behind some of the shops. It turned out to be worth the hunt, though . . . friendly folks, a great atmosphere, and delicious German food. I had schweinebraten (roast of pork) served with spaetzle and red cabbage.  Dan had rider roulade (stuffed beef steak) with German potato salad and red cabbage. Both meals
were superb. And, despite our full tummies, we couldn't resist apple strudel for dessert. Yum!

The next morning we went back to New Braunfels to explore more of the shops along the quaint main street. We especially enjoyed the old-timey hardware store and a large antique mall. A lot of the shops said they were from 1860 or thereabouts. The buildings are all historic and the original horse-rings are still embedded in the sidewalks.

Street scene
The hardware store

Barber shop

Most of the shops had original tin ceilings and decorative pillars like this


Horse rings

Many of the houses were historic, grand and beautiful, but this little tiny house with the log shed caught my eye
 We went back to our hotel for a while after lunch, and before dinner we went out for a drive to do a little exploring. The drive was jaw-dropping beautiful, with rolling hills, vibrant green fields with trees, and wild flowers of various colors carpeting the fields and sides of the roads. A few miles north of Shertz we stumbled upon the Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch. Sadly, things were closing down for the day. Now we have a good reason to return to this area. I SO wanted to explore both of these. They are located right next to each other, in the midst of some of the lushest, most beautiful countryside. Sadly I didn't have my camera with me on this outing, and my iPhone just couldn't capture pictures worthy of posting.

On Sunday morning we started home, driving up I-35 through Austin, and to the Round Rock area, where we stopped for church at the Westside Church of Christ. Our friends, Robert and Susan worship there, and it was fun seating ourselves behind them and surprising them.

All in all it was a very relaxing and enjoyable little weekend get-away. We knew we had to take advantage of this weekend or lose our chance, since I will be having my second (left) knee replacement surgery on Thursday. That will lay me up for awhile, so it was our last opportunity to do something for a few weeks.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend with my Grandkids

The last time the grandkids were here, they had to be on their best behavior. Everyone was focused on the loss of their Nanny, and emotional tension ruled the day. Throughout it all, they were very well-behaved. So when we learned that they would be here for Easter weekend, I determined to make this visit focused on FUN.

Chris and Kelsey are smack-dab in the middle of a move, from one house to the other, so Chris wasn't able to come this weekend. But Kelsey, despite this being her third trip to our house in less than a month, packed up the kids and all of their paraphernalia, and drove to Temple so Grandma and Grandpa could enjoy them for the holiday weekend. And enjoy them we did! Here are some  pictorial highlights of our time together.


A SOAPBALL MAKING KIT (But the kids got creative and used cookie cutters instead.)

BLUEBONNET PICTURES (An annual MUST-DO for kids in Texas)

KIDDOKINGDOM - THE BOUNCY HOUSE PLACE (Tuckered out, at the end)






DRESSED UP FOR CHURCH (And showing off the stuffed animals they got from two sweet, elderly ladies from church, Miss Doe and Miss Wanda.)



No pictures for this one, but we also went to the theater to see the new Cinderella movie. I wasn't sure that Robert would want to go, and offered to let him opt out, but he didn't want to miss out on anything, so we all went. An hour or so into the movie (about the time his popcorn ran out), however, Robert was thinking he might not have made such a good decision -- too much romance and "girly" stuff for him! But the rest of us gave this sweet re-do of the classic Disney movie two thumbs up. The take-away theme of the movie is, "Have courage and be kind." You can't go wrong with that!