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.
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.
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.
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.