A Great Family Day in Small Town Texas

Last weekend we had a really great day. We attended the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnett, TX.
As I have stated in previous posts there are many great small Texas towns that have some really nice festivals during the year, and Spring in Texas is the perfect time to attend these.
The weather is usually great this time of year and although the activities certainly can’t compare to a large city like Dallas or Houston, for small towns they put on a really good show.

We went to the Bluebonnet Airsho on Saturday and it was a really good afternoon. The stunt planes were very good, they had a B17 on display, they did a small reenactment, and some good displays of flying. There were no Blue Angels and no fancy military jets, but just good old fashion fun. We brought our chairs and for 3 hours we were entertained. The activity was continuous and it kept you interested.

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Once we finished the air show we drove about a mile down the road back to the historic square for a great arts and crafts fair, food and 2 stages for entertainment. It was our frist time to this festival and I would reccomend anyone who is looking for something to do mid-April next year, make sure you watch for this festival and plan on attending. They had a nice carnival section for the kids. Again, keep in mind this is a small town, but I would give this festival a solid 9 on the rating scale measuring this against other towns simliar in size. I hope if you plan to attend next year, sure hope you have a fun day.  Hope one of the roads you travel down takes you this direction…….

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You Think you have Seen it All!

Sometimes you think you have seen and done it all, but in reality we aren’t even close to seeing and doing it all.  But today I do have to say we did something that was a first for me.  About 20 years ago if you would have said that I would take time to watch something like this I probably would have laughed and said are you kidding.  This morning we woke up to a cloudy and rather cold morning.  The wind was quite strong so after having some absolutely beautiful winter days here in Central Texas, today was not so nice.  But we got in the car and drove to one of the other neighborhoods in our community, actually lucky Neighborhood 13 and we watched a Golf Car Mardi Gras parade.  Don’t laugh, it was actually quite cute.  I was surprised by the large number of golf cars that were decorated and the people (and dogs) that participated.

Of course, as with any Mardi Gras parade, there was candy being thrown, and the numerous different types of beads.  I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of 42 different types of beads.  Actually I think that is quite a lot considering this was a small neighborhood parade.  But like with anything we have seen here at Sun City, whatever people choose to do, they do it with zest and zeal.  They give 100% to the decorating and although we had fun standing and watching the parade, the people in the parade were having an equal amount of fun.

I’m glad we went, another one of those firsts for us, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year waiting to see what each new month will bring us.  One thing living in a community of this type is that it gives you an opportunity to try everything, whether you’re a beginner or advanced, all activities are open for everyone to try to see if they like it, of course, withe the hope that you will like it enough to want to become a full-time member and become fully involved in their activity.  I’ve only found one thing myself, so far, that I find I want to get fully involved and that is Line Dancing.  I have so much more to try, but feel I have to give the things I am trying now my full effort before I move onto the next.

The worst part of today is that I forgot my camera!  Sometimes I think if my head wasn’t attached I would forget that too.  I had no phone and no camera so I will not be able to share any of the photos, but I think imagining what a parade of this type looks like could be even more fun.  I hope your day was fun and you also had a chance to experience “a first”.  That can’t happen every day so when it does, it’s a day you don’t want to forget.  Hope the road you’re traveling is free of bumps and pot holes and you have smooth traveling in the week ahead.  Until next time “happy travels”…………

Where Does Time Go?

It’s been awhile since I last posted, and as I look back over last month, January, I wonder where the time has gone.  We moved to our home in November, we are now in our 3rd month and I can say that there hasn’t been one day that I have sat here and said I have nothing to do.  I had expectations before we moved here, just like when  you start anything new.  Whether it’s a new job, starting a new excercise program, taking a class, you go into your project expecting something from it.  Sometimes you are disappointed and other times surprised because the outcome surpassed what you thought would happen.   Before we moved here I remember telling friends that if only half of my expectations are met, I will be happy.  I can honestly say that this is a time in my life that my expectations have been met 100%.

I have been retired since September, and I can say living in our previous home, if it wasn’t for the packing and preparing to move out of our home, I was on the road to boredom.  I found myself very aware of the time of day, and found I had more down time then I really was happy with.  Since moving to Sun City, it has been the opposite and we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the things we want to do.  We certainly did jump right in, but because of that we feel very much like we belong, and not an outsider looking in.  We are involved in multiple neighborhood game nights and asked to sub on more.  We have attended dances and have started taking yoga classes.  I really do enjoy the Line Dancing Club and look forward to our monthly ladies luncheons.  Our neighbors have included us with open arms, they couldn’t be nicer.  This has helped achieve my expectations.

We have a big Open House planned in February, and am looking forward to it.  People I didn’t think would come are coming, so definitely more than expected, so I guess some will just have to stand, or we’ll take turns sitting.  Either way I’m sure we’ll have fun.  We have parties planned out to June, that’s one thing I can say is that you certainly do get enough notice about attending a party.  Now put all these activities together and consider we just moved into a house that we are painting, putting knobs and handles on all the cabinets, shopping for some furniture and general house fixing up, every day is active and we’re busy.  What’s nice to know is that the house activity, such as the painting, etc… is coming to a close so we’re going to have more free time.  I am not worried about this extra time, but actually glad it finally has arrived as we are looking forward to even more activities to get involved in.

We are going to join the Country Dance club, learn how to play Pickle Ball, play a little Shuffleboard, and even get back into the swing of things by pulling our golf clubs out of storage and seeing if we can still hit that little white ball.  We will be joining the ranks of other Sun Citiers and will have our Golf Car very soon.  There will be days now that I won’t even have to pull the car out of the garage, we’ll be able to attend all of our activities using the golf car.  The day has arrived!  The next level will be joining these additional clubs, but then we need to go further and consider some day trips, and outside activities, that will be the final stage to total involvement.

I consider us lucky.  Our neighbors have been welcoming, they have given us direction and helped us become absorbed in this lifestyle very quickly.  I know all don’t experience this type of immersion.  Sometimes it might take a while, but if you’re willing to put in the effort it’s there for the taking.  What I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to continually meet new people.  We enjoy our neighborhood and all the activities it brings, but what also we’re looking forward to, is having a chance to meet the 5000 other people who live here.  Of course that’s silly, we’ll never meet them all, but I’m certainly going to give it my best shot.

We’re off on a new month, the weather is getting better, the sun is shining bright and I’m looking forward to each new adventure that is around each and every corner.  Keep your travels safe, we’ll be traveling close to home for a while, but whether near or far, it’s not the destination, but the time it takes you to get there.  Enjoy your travels………..

Texas Courthouses

Today was relaxing!
My first activity of the day, after a nice relaxing breakfast, was a massage. I am a true believer in massage therapy and have given myself a gift once per month by having a massage with a licensed therapist. If you have never had a massage, I highly suggest it. It is great for your body and is relaxing and therapeutic. I figure I’m worth this one treat each month. I had a great therapist in New Braunfels and finding a new therapist is as hard as finding new doctors and a place to get your hair cut. I have been enjoying massages for about 15 years now so I guess you can say I’m picky and know what I expect and want and if I don’t get it I look elsewhere. Another benefit of living in Sun City is that they have 2 therapists right on sight. I had my first appointment today and I was rather impressed. I usually don’t find the right one the first time and I’m not quite sure if I won’t experiment a little with trying others, but I was satisfied enough that I made an appointment in January. So as you can see, my day started off very good.

This afternoon we did a little adventure learning more about our town we now live in. As mentioned in previous posts Georgetown has a quaint square and a very nice Courthouse right in the center. Today we participated in the Williamson County Courthouse tours. Every Friday and Saturday, all year-long they provide free tours of the courthouse. The tours start at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 and start in the Williamson Museum across from the Courthouse on Austin Street. The tour guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed her tales of some of the famous people and activities that occurred within the courthouse. I’m sure if you go on more than one tour you might even hear some different stories.

One surprising thing we learned is that the Courthouse can be rented for weddings and parties. There are two chambers and a meeting room and a balcony. And you can rent the entire second floor for under $400.00 an hour. Of course you must add catering, music etc… but how cool is that. They remove the benches and setup tables, but the judge’s bench and some items remain, it sounds like an interesting place to have a party and I think it’s nice that the public have an opportunity to use the building. The Courthouse was completed in 1911 and is the 5th courthouse for the County. The first two were basically log cabins, the 3rd courthouse they do not have photos of, and the 4th Courthouse lasted from about 1877 – 1920 and it was explained that it was basically falling apart, so much so that it could not be salvaged. So in 1911 the Courthouse was completed and with many changes over the years, it was not refurbished to it’s 1911 glory until 2006. On the Tour they point out what is not original due to new safety laws and some changes that just could not be put back to the original format.

It’s a beautiful Courthouse and since it Christmastime they had the biggest tree in the center that exceeded 2 floors with ornaments hanging from the ceiling. It was a pleasant afternoon and glad we were able to take time to learn more about what Georgetown and Williamson County has to offer. Our next stop is to see old town Round Rock. We have learned there is more to Round Rock than Dell, I35 and shopping and we’re going to find it. I hope you’re having fun traveling down your road. I know it’s a hectic time of year, pace yourself and enjoy your travels. The season will be over before we know it and we’ll be waiting another 11 months for all the activities to start again. Happy Travels and Happy Holidays.

Community Activities

I finally did it! It only took at least 5 years of saying I needed to do something and I finally did – I attended a Yoga class.
One of the great benefits of living in Sun City is the convenience of working out and staying fit or getting back in shape, whatever you need to do.
There are no excuses any longer. You can’t say it’s too far, can’t say it’s too expensive and you can’t say it’s not the right time. For anyone who wants to participate in a group class like yoga, zumba or even types of water aerobics the first classes usually starts at 7:00AM and the last class is 7:00PM.  Now if you can’t find a time between those hours to attend at least one class two or three times a week, then you really don’t want to get into shape.

There are 2 beautiful fitness centers in the community. They have 2 outdoor pools and 3 indoor pools. They have a wide variety of state-of-the-art aerobic machines along with all kinds of weight machines. You can have a personal trainer or you can go on your own. So if you’re not a class person, or you’re not a water person, but you just want to do your own thing than these machines were made for you. These are open even longer hours so again there should be no excuses to get off your butt and start moving. For years I sat behind a desk, was always too tired or didn’t have enough time so the best I did was go for a walk in the neighborhood, and that wasn’t on a regular basis. It is now attainable and I am looking forward to setting up a schedule that will allow me to excercise on a regular basis. Remember we’re not getting any younger and it’s for our own good, so I’m going to make the time.  Of course seeing one self in the  mirrored  classroom should be enough motivation to keep my butt moving.

In addition to starting my first class, we attended our first neighborhood game night. We played Cribbage. With very little lessons we joined our neighbors who have been playing this game for quite some time. They have an opening and we joined in. It’s not a hard game but it is fast and you better know how to add cards quickly to either 15 or 31. What’s nice is that it seems most game nights are setup with couples so there is a total of 3 other couples and us and we will rotate to each of our homes once a month. You really have to watch your calendars because everything seems to be scheduled by “the first Tuesday of the Month”, the “second Wednesday of the month”, etc….. So you need to make sure that you don’t double book yourself. Not all groups meet in December so in January we are scheduled to sub for Mexican Train night, setup with another group for game night where the host picks the game and a possible 4th night to play 31, which I have no idea what that is. These are all couples based and all right in walking distance, can’t get any better than that.

So not here yet a month, and we have attended a neighborhood party, the neighborhood Christmas party, cribbage night, a Sun City music presentation, book club meeting, attended the New resident orientation, attended the fitness orientation and have taken 2 yoga classes. In addition has been all the unpacking, decorating and cleaning activities. January will get even busier because adding to this will be the 3 additional game nights, the street block party (which will be our house), the Ladies luncheon, Men’s luncheons for my husband, more exercising and hopefully a dinner or two out. Once it warms up were back in the yard to keep attacking the weeds and pulling out plants, and we’re getting close to finalizing our color choice which means my husband will be adding painting to his list.

We moved here for the activities and I’m glad we are starting out as I had hoped it would be. I am happy that we have made this move, it is as good as I had hoped and I am hoping it will only get better once we get to know people better and start meeting even more people the more activities we participate in. Our road is widening and I’m happy we have chosen this road to travel down.

Closing Day and More!

It has arrived.  Months have gone by since we first started discussing whether we should move or not.  I know it goes back to about the Spring time frame.  You know, the conversations that starts out “what if…” and you make a comment or two, then nothing, then a short while later something happens and it comes up again.  Then the moment comes when you start talking seriously about, weighing the pros and cons, and then saying we should wait a year or two.  Then a little more time goes by and something comes up and now it seems maybe this is the right time.  So we talked and talked, thought and thought, and finally about May we decided that were going to move forward with selling this house and traveling down our road to our next chapter.

We knew where we wanted to move so that wasn’t the issue, but we again went back to make sure we still felt strongly about the community and we certainly did.  When we left the Chicago area nearly 10 years ago we thought we would like to retire in an Adult/Senior community.  Prior to moving to Florida we traveled through many of the Adult/Senior communities throughout Florida and we decided we weren’t ready for that type of community yet.  I had many working years ahead of me, and although my husband was gong to retire I felt I was too young to move into this type of community.  So we purchased a home in an all age community and there we stayed for the time we were in Florida.

When we decided that Florida regrettably was not going to be our final destination, and we started looking at Texas, again we went down the road should we consider an Adult/Senior community.  Again we looked, and once again we decided not to.  Instead we had the opportunity to allow my husband to build his home that he designed and he lovingly was involved with from beginning to end.  It’s a beautiful home on an acre lot and is bigger than 2 people need, but we enjoyed the home and the area.

When we were making the decision about moving, the factor that was different this time is that I was quitting my job and not going to work.  With that new to the scene that changed our opinion and we did decide that now 10 years after our initial discussion it is time to move into the Adult/Senior community that we had been considering for the last 2 moves.

So today was our closing on our home in New Braunfels, and on Tuesday we will be moving into our home in Georgetown, TX.  We will be joining the other Seniors already residing in Del Webb’s Sun City in Georgetown.  It is a beautiful community; 3 golf courses, 2 indoor and 2 outdoor pools, tennis courts, and a wide variety of activities both within your neighborhood and through out the community.  We knew we would one day move to this type of community we just didn’t know when.  We both feel this is the time.

I will miss this home as my husband put his heart and soul into this home and he loved the building process and the results of all his hard work.  We put all the good we have found in previous homes and tried to come up with a home that met all of our needs and in some cases exceeded them.  It has upgrades that we never had before and probably will never have again.  Although we will be giving this up, we will always have the wonderful memories of our times here and also the memories of having been in a position to build this home and enjoy it.  We are lucky and blessed because I know many have this dream and it is never achieved, so I am leaving with no regrets and I am glad that life allowed us to enjoy the time we have had here.  If only we could take this house and move it to our new community, but of course that is not an option; hence the sale.

I know that Tuesday will be a difficult day for my husband, but I am hoping that as we get involved with our new home and community that although he won’t forget the home, but will start enjoying our new community.   I am calm about this move as I feel this is the right time.  It’s not like this decision came out of the blue, it has been thought about for 10 years and we did say that ultimately we wanted to purchase our last home in one of these Adult/Senior communities so to me it’s just turning onto the next street in our life and I’m looking forward to it.

Del Webb and Sun City are two words that have been around since the 1960’s.  The original communities were started in Arizona and now there are many communities throughout the U.S.  Not just in the warm climates any longer, but throughout the U.S.  It’s an active adult lifestyle.  It’s like going on a cruise.  You can take a cruise and lay on the deck all day and read a book and don’t get involved in any of the daily or nightly activities, and for some that’s great, but why go on a cruise.  Sun City is like a big adult playground and unless you want to go out and play, don’t waste your time.

Like with anything in life, you make of it what you want.  If I’m going to be by myself all day, take a walk and sit on my back porch and read a book,  we should have just stayed in our current home.  We can go a week without seeing anyone, and for a social person like me this is just depressing and boring.  But that’s not we want.  We want to golf, and socialize and be involved in activities.  Have a day that by the evening your exhausted but happy, not bored and lazy.  I am hoping that if our life in our new home is 1/2 as exciting as I hope it will be, then I will be 100% happy, and couldn’t ask for more.  Anything more than that will be a special surprise.

So we won’t be traveling down any new roads on vacations or long weekends over the next month or two as we have a lot of unpacking and settling in.  But what I will be bringing to you is our initiation into our new community and lifestyle.  Welcome to a new day and a new road, you’re never too old to start a new adventure.  Happy travels.

Halloween brings out all kinds of Soul Searching

The town we reside in is New Braunfels, TX.  It’s a wonderful small town that is north of San Antonio.  I’m sure years ago there was open land for farming and grazing, but since we have lived here it’s built from San Antonio all they way up the I35 corridor, and basically now all the way to Austin.  If you can’t find it along I-35, it’s probably not here.  I don’t think they can cram another business or sign along the frontage road, in Texas these frontage roads along the Interstates are prime real estate.  This is the New Braunfels that most people will see as they speed along I-35 going somewhere.  But this is not the New Braunfels that we saw and certainly was not the reason for picking this cute town to move to.

It’s in a great location. We’re less than an hour to get to downtown San Antonio, and just over an hour to get to downtown Austin.  If you ever wanted to see 2 different cities so close together, then you need to come to San Antonio and Austin.  The differences are truly amazing.  In addition to the great business corridor to live along for businesses and jobs, New Braunfels is on the eastern edge of infamous Texas “Hill Country”.  You ask, what is the Hill Country?  When most people have only seen Houston or Dallas while visiting or passing thru Texas, you really haven’t seen Texas until you have come to the Hill County, it is the prettiest area of all Texas.  Of course that is my opinion, and I’m sure others feel the Piney Woods, or prairies and Lakes area is the nicest, but that’s OK  because that’s why everyone lives where they do, we each think our area is the nicest.

I’ll leave the Hill County to another time, but for right now let’s get back to New Braunfels.  The area was settled by Germans in the mid-1800’s and I’ll leave the historical data for you to research on the Internet, but although San Antonio is majority Hispanic, New Braunfels is still trying to hold onto its German roots.  One of the events they have is Wurstfest, which by the way, is starting on Friday, 11/2 and I will blog about our day at Wurstfest next week, but this event is a very German event and is basically a 10 day festival saluting sausage and all the German music, and yodeling you can listen to.  As you go west out of New Braunfels, there are ranches  and many homes with acreage, with rolling hills and grazing Longhorns.  In the Spring you have all the Wild flowers  and it’s very lush and green, providing there is no drought, which seems to be occurring more often.  The historic old section of the town of New Braunfels, has a wonderful old courthouse that they are actually refurbishing right now, a pretty round-about with a gazebo in the middle and a nice multi-street downtown that consists of many old buildings.  We have the oldest bakery in Texas, the oldest Texas dance hall in Gruene Hall, nice antique stores, good restaurants, a good supply of bars that typically are hopping on Friday and Saturday night, wine bar, oyster bar, and some nice B&B’s to stay.  The history is plentiful in this small old town.

So you wonder how does this blog title correlate to what I’m writing.  Well, last night we participated in the annual “Soul Searching  – Night Ramblings at the Comal Cemetery”.  Of course this correlates to Halloween, the departed souls were bringing their life stories to us.  The Comal Cemetery was established in 1868 and is the burial ground for some of New Braunfels founders and notable citizens.  These ancestors come to life for the evening and provide storytelling of their lives and chronicles the family history.  Most of the souls lived in New Braunfels from the 1840’s to their death in the early 1900’s.   It is truly amazing that some of the actors are actual descendants of the people that they were talking about, I just find that amazing.  I would have enjoyed another hour or two listening to these stories and learning more about the history of New Braunfels, the actors did a great job bringing the history to life.   I know some people will think that going to a cemetery to view the graves is morbid and depressing, but The Comal Cemetery is so full of history and it so well-kept its like walking thru a Park.  It is amazing to see how the families meshed together thru marriages and the number of family members that are in the family plot.   Although Halloween brings about the scary and spooky stuff I would recommend a day visit to walk thru the cemetery to view the various families and recognize some of the historical names.

I haven’t mentioned this, but what New Braunfels is mainly known for is Schlitterbahn Water Park and toobing on the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers.  These activities are what dominate the summer scene from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  On weekends it seems the town doubles in population.  But once Fall comes the town becomes ours again.  In addition in the downtown area they have a Children’s Museum, a very nice local museum detailing the history of New Braunfels and other local museums that are worth the time, make sure you check out the Visitor Center upon arrival or setup your schedule prior to arrival.  It’s a destination that the next time you are zooming by on I-35 to get to Austin or San Antonio, take the Interstate exitfor New Braunfels and see why small town living has become so popular.  Step back in time and notice the names on the streets and buildings then go to the cemetery and you will see the names of the people who settled and started this town.  I can’t go back to my roots like so many of the local people can, but if I could I would be very proud.  Also, if you’re going to be in the area next October about this time, check New Braunfels Park and Recreation website and sign up for these tours.  They’re fun and educational for the whole family.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween and enjoy your road you’re traveling on this week, until next time………