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.

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Christmas in Georgetown, TX

NB, Georgetown and house 086

Here is Georgetown, TX – our new home town.

This is the Courthouse on the Square that was refurbished in the early 2000’s.  I don’t have any history on the courthouse at this time, but later in the month we will be going on a tour, and I will hopefully will be able to share more details with you.  The Courthouse is surrounded by a lovely square that has a nice variety of shops and restaurants.  The library is nearby and there are some nice parks and walking trails also nearby.  It is Christmas time in Georgetown.  The next few photos will show it getting darker than there will be the Christmas lights.

On the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend we visited downtown to listen to the Carolers and wait for the lighting of the town, it was all very nice and quaint.  The town is lit up very nice and it’s a nice Square to take a walk around, even if you don’t shop.  Last Friday the shops were open late and most shops offered some tasty treat to savor while you looked at their merchandise.  Next weekend they are having some type of Christmas Fair on the Square and looking forward to that.  As I mentioned in one of my earliest blogs we love small Texas towns with the old courthouses.  Texas has done a great job investing in these wonderful structures to preserve them.  Although Georgetown has all the “new stuff” – strip malls, shopping, etc… it’s the core of the historic old town that keeps attracting me.  Please enjoy the remaining photos.

NB, Georgetown and house 088

NB, Georgetown and house 089

As all good small Texas towns have, yes there is a winery on the Square.  We considered part of the Hill Country and we are surrounded by small Texas award-winning wineries.

NB, Georgetown and house 094

This is on our list of “to do’s”.  This is an old movie house converted to a theater.  New Braunfels has one also and it was always on our “to do” list.  This time we will be going there to see a play in 2013, one more of those small items that need to be accomplished.

NB, Georgetown and house 119

NB, Georgetown and house 120

One of the local stores on the Square – their windows were done up so nice, it was like a Vintage Toy Store, only available in small towns!

NB, Georgetown and house 123

Courthouse once the sun goes down and the lights go on.  All 4 sides are decorated.

NB, Georgetown and house 126

One of the streets on the Square all done up with the lights and the stores open for business.

NB, Georgetown and house 118

The Courthouse has a real cool dome that is lit up green for the Holidays.  You don’t realize until you’re driving around Georgetown but this area, the downtown historic district, sits on quite a high hill, you can see this for miles around.

Well, that concludes today’s tour of Christmas in Georgetown.  Promise I’ll have more for you soon.  Hope you’re having fun traveling down your Christmas roads and making your wonderful memories.  Until next time, drive carefully on your road you are traveling……………..

Packing, Patio Party and WURSTFEST – Does it get any better!

It’s been a few days since posted anything new, because how exciting can packing be?  I have been a busy bee this week packing up the house and getting ready for our move, which is now fast approaching.  But after working on it most of the week, I’m happy to say that I’m actually much farther than I expected.  We took yesterday and today off for fun things we had planned, but we’re back on track to packing again tomorrow.  Every move prior to this one, I have worked right up to the moving day, so it was very tiring.  Worked all week, and every evening and the weekends I would spend packing, and after a few weeks of that you get really tired.  This is the first time I am not working and it’s really not so bad.  I’m probably in the minority when I say I really like packing.  It’s like putting a puzzle together.  You pack this and that, then you have a certain size spot in the box that you need to find something to fit, so you walk thru the house and then you see it and it fits just perfect and fills out the box perfectly.  So each box is like a mini-challenge and you feel such an accomplishment with each one you tape up.

Now onto the fun things, really how much can you talk about packing.  Yesterday we drove to our new community in Georgetown to attend our first neighborhood party, although not moved in yet.  We were introduced to most of the people in our neighborhood, and I’m lucky if I remember 5 names.  Certainly have no idea who belongs to who as the wifes were not sitting next to their husbands so that one is going to take some time to figure out.  I have to say that I can pretty well hold my own when meeting new people, and joining in discussions but it was a little overwhelming.  The best example I can give you is like you’re walking into the middle of a movie where all the characters know what’s going on and you don’t.  So we have a lot of catching up but from our first meeting with our new neighbors they seem very friendly and open and I’m sure in no time we won’t be the new kids on the block, but feel like we have been there for years, I’m looking forward to it.  So we attended the afternoon patio party and unloaded an SUV load of stuff in our future garage, so we accomplished a moving task while having a very pleasant afternoon.

Then there’s today – it’s WURSTFEST time!  Only in New Braunfels, TX is it WURSTFEST time.  Every time about this year Wurstfest is held, it is a 10 day music, eating and beer drinking event.  It’s a place you can go with your family, spouse, old or young, if you like polka music you’re going to love Wurstfest.  The weather this time of year is fantastic, there’s plenty of sausage and sauerkraut, and an unlimited amount of both domestic and import beers.  They have bands from all over the Country and World that come to this event.  Some bands come from Germany and I can almost guarantee that every band will have at least one accordion player.  I thought accordions were dead, went by the way side in the 1960’s, but not here in New Braunfels, they are here to stay.

This is Wursthalle

Wurstfest has been going on for a very long time, from about the 1960’s, not sure of the exact history, so as always, the Internet will answer that question.  We went this afternoon because after 4 years of attending this festival we do have a favorite entertainer the Alex Meixner Band.  I have to say, in my opinion, he is the best entertainer of the event.  This year he had a special guest, the Canadian National accordion Champ, he was amazing!  Now I’m not an accordion aficionado, but it is an amazing instrument and fun to listen to.  Every year we get our annual dose of the Chicken Dance and the Beer Barrel Polka, two traditions that I enjoy maintaining.    Some of the entertainment are local to New Braunfels and are very good also.

Alex Meixner with Canadian Champion

Alex Meixner Band with Canadian Champion

Typically this festival is held near November 1st each year and the start date only changes by a day or two.  The event runs over 2 weekends, and although they are open during the week, it is only open in the evenings starting at 5PM on weekdays, of course the weekends are the biggest days and evenings and based on the crowds we saw today, it was amazing.  I have never seen it this crowded in the 4 years we have gone.  If you like to hear some good German music, enjoy good food, drink some good cold beer, and enjoy the beautiful Texas Fall weather, then you need to make New Braunfels your destination for a long weekend or a stop over on your vacation in this area, I don’t think you will be disappointed.   As I have stated before you don’t always have to travel far to have a good time, make some great memories and enjoy something different and new.    If coming to attend Wurstfest make sure you have time to stop and see Gruene, and enjoy some good music and there is also historic downtown New Braunfels that is worth the stroll.  It would certainly be a weekend that you will get plenty of good food and some great music, there is not a shortage of either one in this area.  This is a road well worth traveling down….. enjoy!

Mark Halata and Texavia

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………

The Quiet before the Storm

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Texas for the end of October.  Temperatures will be in the upper 80’s, can’t complain about that.  It’s Fall, but it doesn’t yet feel like that down here.  Coming from the Midwest, by this time of year the trees have changed color and most have bare branches.  The corn fields are getting cut down, and there are Halloween and scarecrow festivals everywhere.  The days were cool and nights were brisk.  For me it was my absolute favorite time of year.  September and October in the Midwest are just beautiful and I truly miss that season.

This weekend we are going to get some cool weather here, high in the 60’s and low in the 40’s, so that is rather cool for this area for this time of year, but I understand that it takes one of these cold fronts for the few trees that do change color, to change.  There is a State Park west of San Antonio called Los Maples.  We have never been there, because we were only able to go on the weekends previously, and because our season change is so short and limited that at most you have 1 or 2 weekends to check out the Fall color and it’s gone.  The problem with that is that they limit the number of cars in the Park and we have heard that the weekends are extremely busy.

This year, we can go any day.  So we’re going to faithfully watch the local weatherman awaiting updates on the tree color changing status and when we hear it’s at peak we’re going to get into the car and drive out there that day.  Somewhere between now and mid-November we have to figure out when we’re going to pack!

Yesterday was my first day to start the packing extravaganza!  We have a closet that’s rather large and I use it as storage so that was my first task.  I was able to stash a lot of stuff into dresser drawers and packed up some stuff on the shelves.  It actually wasn’t too bad.  Of course I only worked a few hours, but I did feel a sense of accomplishment.  I actually felt like I did something worthwhile.  I was busy, I was active, I had to think and I had to apply myself, and on top of that I did get some excercise.  I find being home every day that you actually have to think very little compared to when I was working.  It seemed before that I was always making decisions, planning and organizing, but the last 2 months that really hasn’t been necessary as I typically have more time in a day than what I have planned, so not a lot of planning to get the things done.  And what has to be done, really doesn’t have to be done, it’s something to do.  So for me packing is actually something I’m looking forward to.  It will give me a goal, something that I need to achieve and get completed by a certain time.

This is me, whether I like it or not.  I’m goal oriented and being that way all my life, just because I take a few months off, this is not going to change.  I’m still driven, but I have slowed down.  No need to drive hard, where there’s no place in particular you’re going.  But it’s these things that come up such as packing, scheduling movers, coordinating closing dates and coming up with a plan, that I still enjoy.  I am actually surprised how quickly I have adapted to my new schedule of sleeping later, reading the paper while enjoy 2 cups of coffee, watching a talk show once in a while, going for a long walk, but I know it’s there, bubbling under the surface, waiting to come out.

I’ll let it come out some day in the future when I am ready to go back to work, but for now I have an avenue to put some of this energy into and I hope that with our few projects we need to do in the new house and the activities we hope to join that I’ll be able to funnel my energy into these types of things, and not be thinking how soon I will be going back to work.    For now, I’m learning to enjoy the moments I have now, because if I do go back to work, I need to know that I lived these months to the fullest, appreciated the time I had off, and will be comfortable knowing I had an opportunity that most people do not experience until older.  I’ve worked to get here and I’m not going to let it pass my by.

Enjoy your travels this week, hope you’re on the road that you want to be on, and if not it’s never too late to take the next right or left turn and try a new direction.  Have fun and until next time, Happy Travels…….

Hot Rods and More

Yesterday’s blog was about our day that we spent in Boerne, TX.   For all the people who have antique, classic cars, and Hot Rods, I have dedicated today’s blog to a few photos of the many cars that were at this event.

With my husband’s help they are all tagged  with year, and model, as close as we could get.  Some are guesses, but I think we’re really close.  We don’t have a car like these, but we always talk about how much fun it would be to own one, then something else comes up or we go another direction and we still don’t have one.  But we sure do enjoy looking at them and truly appreciate all the hard work and cost that goes into fixing and maintaining these cars.  They are like rolling pieces of artwork.  I’m glad there are so many guys and gals that take the time to restore these cars for future generations.  Imagine traveling down the road you’re on today in one of these, enjoy the sights.

1940 Mercury, very nicely done

Inside of 1940  Mercury

Buick early/mid 1930’s

1932 Ford

1934 Ford Roadster, this one was my favorite

About a 1930 Ford pickup

Ford Pickup

About a 1934 Ford Pickup.  Lots of pickups, we are in Texas!

1937 Ford

1934 Ford, very nice also.

Vacations do not always have to be Far from Home

This restaurant was a popular place.

I have always liked this Building – a little New Orleans in Boerne

We had a very nice day on Saturday.  We went to a town that is about an hour away, called Boerne, TX.  This town is located off Interstate 10 about an hour northwest of San Antonio.  We went on Saturday because they had an Antique Car show, plus Market Days, plus blocks and blocks of stores for shopping.  It’s a quaint small town where you can go to spend a day shopping from jewelry stores, to antique stores, to even a very nice Christmas Store.  There are good restaurants and also a bakery and you can even get pickles, which are fantastic and made locally.  The cars on display were all Pre-1949, so there were some classics that were restored and many Hotrods.  My husband is a car-nut so we have been going to car shows for years.  Coming from the Midwest you can go to a car show most weekends during the summer, but here in Texas they’re not as often or as big.  We try to attend this one every year because it is one of the best in the area.  Check out Boerne, TX website to see what weekend this car show will be.  If you have a pre-1949 car and haven’t attended this show you might be interested.  If my husband was nearby when I was writing this he would have made sure I wrote the year and model of each car next to its photo, but then this is my blog not his.

A hotel in Boerne, right in the heart of all the action.

Cute Pickup Truck

What was nice about the day is that it proves you always don’t have to travel far and wide to enjoy yourself.  There are many hidden gems probably within 1 – 3 hours from your home that would make for a wonderful day get-away.  You always don’t have to incur hotel expenses and drive a great distance, just check out the weekly events and happenings in your area.  As mentioned once before,  almost every State has an Event calendar and you can really plan your weekends.  One can only cut the grass so many times, work in the garden or wash your car.  I find when we go away for the day it’s like a mini-vacation.  Especially when I was working the day away made the weekend seem longer and when I went back to work on Monday, I didn’t feet like I wasted it sitting at home.  Even now, being home every day, it’s fun to go away but for a similar but different reason.  I find myself doing more of the daily house activities and by going away for the day I feel recharged and relaxed.

A photo of part of the Main Street with all the shops.

If your husband doesn’t mind this type of day, going from store to store, then even when there is no car show, Boerne is a wonderful town to go see.  This is also a great Girl’s Day Out or part of a Girl’s weekend.  Forgot, there are also art galleries too.  Not too far away are a few Hill Country Wineries that can add to your day’s adventures.   At Christmas the town is decorated very nicely and they do have different Holiday activities.  No matter what day you choose, I think you will enjoy your visit.

Some of the cars at the show parked on Main Street

A very Nice One!

The nice thing about the Car show is that the Main Street was closed so there was plenty of room for walking and viewing the cars.  You could go from cars to shops and never have to worry about traffic and crossing streets.  The Market Day that Boerne hosts is one of the better ones in the area, and they always have some local music that you can sit and listen to.  Not very much seating so you might want to bring your own chairs with if you plan to sit awhile and listen.  I hope if you go for the day that you enjoy.  These are photos of Boerne and the Car Show hope you enjoyed  traveling down Main Street of Boerne with me.

One of the Buildings in Boerne dated 1908