Here we go cowboys and cowgirls, south-central Texas, take 2 heading into the Hill Country... An adventure through caverns, a gristmill, Enchanted Rock, Texas' Oldest Dance Hall, a National Historic Park that is a working ranch, and more!
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Natural Bridge Caverns
Time to head north out of San Antonio on our Hill Country adventure to honestly find something cool to do (mind you this was an August adventure in the heat of summer and I'm from the Pacific Northwest, haha). I drove by the Natural Bridge Caverns, excited to check it out, and thought surely the temperature is cooler inside of the earth, right?
I got to go on the Discovery Tour and it was amazing! The natural bridge stands guard over the cavern entrance. It was for sure cooler underground at about 70 degrees Farenheight but was also 99% humidity...
I have enjoyed amateur spelunking from Oregon to Virginia and have seen some amazing caverns in my day. This one did not disappoint with its water pools, stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, chandeliers, and soda straws!
The Natural Bridge Caverns has a whole adventure park for kids, gold-panning, history exhibits, and more. While on the drive out, I found Unicorn Territory! New Braunfels Independent School District, I salute you.
After discovering unicorn territory did I even need to continue on or just pick up a change of address form to move to Texas? My husband James said no, so let the adventuring continue!
Gruene and New Braunfels
Let's jump right in and start exploring this quaint historic tourist destination!
The historic district of Gruene in New Braunfels, once a significant cotton-producing community, did not disappoint! The Gruene Mansion Inn, a street lined with fantastic shops, historic sites, smells, and sounds.
Gruene Hall is Texas' oldest dance hall with a rich history of music. The General Store (ranked one of the top 40 places to visit in Texas) had the original wooden plank board floor complete with license plate patches. Plus, of course, the skyline water tower.
Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar on the Guadalupe River was actually a water-wheel cotton gin back in 1878. Stop in for a bite, a cold drink, and you might just make friends with the locals!
Before you leave Gruene, check out The Barn pottery and gallery, or take a stroll behind the mansion for a relaxed Texas view. As I headed out toward Boerne, I enjoyed old stone churches and was thrilled at what I found in the new Bevy Hotel.
I rested up and prepared to head north to Fredricksburg and beyond!
The Greater Fredricksburg Area
I didn't spend much time in Fredricksburg proper, but it could easily be a full day to take in the shopping, eating, while exploring the history and beauty. I was quickly drawn to all of the vast numbers of things to do in the larger surrounding area including on 290 East towards Austin!
Rolling north on 87, be sure to stop in the summertime at Das Peach Haus or other roadside produce stands for fresh peaches, sweet cherry tomatoes, or other farm-fresh snacks for the adventure.
Take in the antique stores and so much great German dining all throughout "The Magic Mile" that is main street Fredricksburg! I was most inspired by the beauty in the old buildings such as Vaudeville and learning about the German Immigrant Trail (my maiden name is Schneider after all).
Before you head out, stop by the National Museum of the Pacific War. Outside of town, you will find Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, then when you are back on the road heading east you will find the Texas Rangers Heritage Center.
There are libations for all palettes in the wine country, from wines, beers, to champagne! First up Altstadt Brewery ranked 4th Top Brewery in America. Then on to Grape Creek Winery featuring the newly built Heath Sparkling Wines.
If you have followed my adventures in the past, you know what a big fan I am of our American National Parks. Time for the next one!
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
This national park was incredible while also being nestled right beside an additional state park and visitors center. Be sure to take the full driving informative ranch tour to soak it all in and learn about this still active working farm. I also saw so much wildlife, flowers, farm animals, and American presidential history in one afternoon!
My adventure mobile and I actually got some rain as we arrived at the entrance to Junction School.
Beautiful old trees lined the drive past the family cemetery and birth-home. A scissor-tailed flycatcher or Texas bird-of-paradise danced along the fence line with me as I stopped to watch. Twin baby dear explored the road as I drove past.
The 'Texas White House' complete with 'Air Force One Half' flight hangar.
James and I are big fans of bison and hope to raise a herd someday. So of course after the show-cow barns, I had to head over to check out the living herd that they had there!
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Okay, time for a feast!
Supper, Texas Style
It seems perfectly fitting to end this episode of Texas Hill Country adventures with a supper fit for a Queen! Sitting in the shade as the sun began to set, I feasted on brisket from Salt Lick. I ordered the smallest portion and was still stuffed, so much tasty food. Washed down with an icy cold Topo Chico with that hint of lime; I was ready to call it a night! If you can't make it there, I guess you can just load up your own grill and hit the road in these parts ;)
Did you enjoy this info? If you missed Part 1 Adventures in San Antonio, check it out right HERE. Never miss out on an Adventures for #RealLife blog post, subscribe now. Okay, on to Part 3 Out of Hill Country and on to Austin!
Information courtesy of Echo Alexzander