Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg has been on my radar for quite some time and with a curiosity gnawing at me, I put a trip to this quaint Hill Country town high on my must see list before bidding Texas farewell.

Sauer-Beckmann Living History FarmFredericksburg is a small town in the heart of the Texas Hill Country with a population just under 11,000 and sporting a strong German heritage. The native German language, which was brought to the Texas Hill Country in the mid 1800’s, can still be heard and seen around town to this day.

As Al and I explore Fredericksburg, we notice how unusually wide the roads are including Main Street and many side streets.  From an RVer’s point of view this is pretty awesome as there’s no such thing as too much room or a road that’s too wide.  Turns out, the streets were designed to be wide enough to accommodate oxen carts that needed to be turned around.  So looks like there’s plenty of room for oxen or F250’s to haul their carts around town.

There’s lots to see and do in Fredericksburg….. more than Al and I imagined.  We barely scratched the surface during our one day excursion.

Living History FarmIt’s mid-afternoon with lunch behind us and a morning that flew by, we decide to head in the direction of the LBJ National Historical Park.   This was a stop hubby would have been quite content passing up.  Al, a former Naval Officer during the Vietnam War era, isn’t exactly a Lyndon B. Johnson fan.  That said, I insist we stop, and guess what…. of course we stop 🙂LBJ Ranch

There’s no charge for a self-guided auto tour but stopping at the visitor center is required.  We’re given a tour route map and suggestions as to the various stops along the way.  The ranger recommends we start at the Sauer-Beckmann farm.

LBJ Ranch
Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

Next to the LBJ Ranch is the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm; our first stop.  This farm serves as an example of day-to-day life as it was in 1918.  The Sauer’s settled this land in 1869 and eventually had 10 children, one of whom served as midwife at the birth of President Johnson.LBJ State Park

Today the Sauer-Beckmann Farm continues on as an active farm by the help of volunteers and employees.  Inside the home were 3 ladies who help work the farm.  The cows need to be milked every morning, chicken’s fed, eggs retrieved, garden grown, and hogs slaughtered.  Yep, one of these handsome hog’s days were numbered as he was on the schedule to provide everyone with some bacon.  And we were invited by the ladies to come back for the event…. no thanks!Hogs BaconBye little fellow.  Hope you had a good life…..

LBJ RanchThe ladies are dressed in similar attire to that of the early 1900’s and are cooking stew, making cheese, and knitting.  They also tend to the garden, help care for the animals, and assist in the curing of meats.

FYI…. they use workampers around here and no you won’t see me volunteering.  This gal likes her conveniences!

LBJ state park ranchchicken coopBut that didn’t stop me from hanging around a couple of turkey’s or checking the chicken coop for eggs….well, Al did the checking – something he used to do when he was a little boy growing up in Illinois farm country.

I was fascinated by the barn structure, but the tools inside the barn and shed grabbed Al’s attention.  Do I hear a Tim Allen grunt?

Al and I literally had to tear ourselves away from the Sauer-Beckmann Farm. We literally felt like we stepped back in time.  We could’ve spent another hour just wandering around, but alas, we moved on to tour the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch.

The drive took a lot longer than Al and I anticipated but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  The variety of animals on the ranch as well as the overall size of the ranch surprised both of us.

Here’s an excerpt from the brochure;
President Johnson drew strength and solace from his ranch.  His desire to leave a legacy of his accomplishments and to demonstrate the cultural conservation practices associated with ranching prompted President and Mrs. Johnson to donate a portion of the LBJ Ranch to the National Park Service in 1972.  Johnson stipulated that the LBJ Ranch remain a working ranch.LBJ State ParkLBJ State Park Ranch

The National Park Service maintains a herd of Hereford cattle descended from the President’s registered herd and manages the ranch lands as a living demonstration of ranching the LBJ way.

We would definitely recommend a visit to the LBJ State Park and Al is glad I insisted we stop.  The ranch is huge with a lot of things to see.  With the day getting late we weren’t able to stop at the various sites such as the school house, cemetery, or  Texas White House. We know we’ll return on a future visit and plan to spend a lot more time; possibly an entire day exploring at our leisure. Our tour was rushed as we had one more stop for the day planned and we were already running late.

Our last stop of the day;  Garrison Brothers Distillery.  Al and I aren’t bourbon drinkers, but a blog reader said it’s a must see.  After checking out their website and detecting the humorous undertone, I was really looking forward to the experience.  So off we headed into the back country in search of the distillery.  We were hoping to catch their last tour of the day.Texas BourbonUnfortunately, we were a tad too late for the distillery tour, but vowed to return another day.  Such is life… much to see, so little time.  Our stay in Texas has come to an end….a temporary end!

UPDATE:  We are currently sitting in Phoenix AZ.  I unfortunately contracted that nasty flu virus and have been incredibly ill.  I’m finally on the mends but it’ll take me a while to regain my strength.  This thing knocked the wind out of my sails pretty darn bad.  Please note, I’m keeping up with all your blog posts even though I may not be commenting.  Once I’m feeling better, I’ll bring y’all up to date.
hanks for stopping by 🙂

The Hill Country

My how plans can change!  I guess that’s one of the beauties of having one’s home in tow, the freedom to wonder on a whim; the freedom to change plans and directions as needed or rather as wanted; the freedom to move when you don’t like the weather.Fredericksburg

A.D.D.There are days I feel I have about as much attention span as the dog featured on the cartoon movie Up….. “squirrel”.  However, instead of returning to the conversation, I’m off and running.  I’ll admit, it’s kind of fun being distracted and so noncommittal.

After the month of January in Rockport, we thought we’d spend the month of February exploring parts of San Antonio, Austin, and Fredericksburg. We settled into a gorgeous campsite at the Cranes Mill Park campground at Canyon Lake allowing us to easily explore San Antonio and the surrounding area, but weather and an appointment had us rearranging our February schedule.Canyon Lake

We had a wonderful time exploring San Antonio’s downtown: The Alamo and River Walk are sights not to be missed.  We would’ve loved to have experienced even more of this great city but weather and time were not on our side.

Projected inclement weather and an appointment in Phoenix had us on the road sooner than planned.  We had to prioritize our must see list and seeing the town of Fredericksburg was high on that list. We originally had the intention of spending several days in Fredericksburg, but since Mother Nature was not in a kind mood we’ll settle for a day trip.

LuckenbachThank you to all who commented or sent emails to me on things to see and do in the area.  Your recommendations were wonderful and we tried to take in as many sights as possible. What we didn’t have time for on this trip, we will definitely make time for on a future visit.

It’s a Wednesday morning and we get an early morning start for our 65 mile (105 Km) trek through the Texas hill country.  We take a series of country roads with a side stop at the small town of Luckenback, Texas.

Fredericksburg TexasLuckenbach is an out-of-the-way hill country place preserving a small piece of Texas history.  We pull up to the post office / general store / saloon (talk about multi-tasking) and are greeted by free roaming chickens.  We step inside the building and it’s like stepping back in hall

10 acres of rolling hill country surrounded by large oak trees, a couple of creeks, a dance hall, store, and beer joint is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a festival; chili cook offs, a mud dauber festival, music fests, the annual Hug-in around Valentine’s Day are just a sampling of fun things to experience here in Luckenbach.

Waylan Jennings even wrote a song about going to Luckenbach to escape the rat race of city life and Willie Nelson has held a couple of 4th of July picnics here.  Since it’s a blustery winter morning, nothing much was happening except for a nice warm fire in the pot belly stove for Al, me and the 2 ladies working to stand near and chat while warming our hands.

Fun stop indeed, but Al and I were getting hungry.  We didn’t have any breakfast before heading out that morning and thus continued the trek to Fredricksburg.  It doesn’t take us long before we find the highly recommended “Old German Bakery” and indulge in some yummy pastries and coffee.  It did not disappoint and we left with a box filled with more delectable treats to take home and enjoy.Fredericksburg

We explore Main Street before heading over to the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park checking out RV Parks along the way.  The municipal park offers RV parking as well as the Fredericksburg RV Resort and the Oakwood RV Resort.  All three look like they would work nicely for a future visit.  There is also a KOA Campground on the outskirts of town that I’m sure would also work.Fredericksburg

And then of course we have a little shopping to take in.  I’m always on the lookout for unique gifts for loved ones.  “Honey, do we have room……. ”

With that tidbit of business out of the way, we head on over to the Admiral Nimitz Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific War.  The museum honors the eight million Americans who served in World War II’s Pacific Rim against Japan.  Among those who served was a Fredericksburg native; Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz.museums in FredericksburgWar museum

Der LindenbaumUnfortunately time was not our friend that day and our museum tour was somewhat abbreviated and cut short by our growling stomachs and a quest to take in as many sights as possible.

We make note that the museum admittance is good for 48 hours, allowing guests to take their time visiting this special tribute.  We contemplate returning after lunch.

Fredericksburg has a strong German heritage and therefore German food is usually the popular choice with visitors.  Al and I consider lunch at Der Lindenbaum, another highly recommended restaurant, but for some reason we just weren’t in the mood for German food.

That morning while driving up and down Main Street getting a feel for this quaint hill country town, Al noticed a place at the far west end of Fredericksburg called Catfish Haven.FredericksburgIt appears Catfish Haven is a restaurant frequented by locals.  As patrons entered, the staff would routinely welcome guests by name as well as most of the diners all knew each other…..typical small town joint that we always get a kick out of.  And the food was delicious.  Yes, we had good ole fashioned fried catfish with a side of tater totes and hush puppies…..yum-mee!  We’ll start that cleanse next week….LOL.

Next up, we visit the LBJ Ranch…..Fredericksburg