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Hill Country Highlights

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I’m trying to pull together a theme for Ringing in the New Year in Texas post. We shared the holiday with long time friends  the Hill Country of Texas near Austin.   What a fun part of the world to see, even if we weren’t there in March when the Blue Bonnets  are in bloom.  I hear that is the best and I do want to go back to see the acres of gorgeous blue flowers some time.

But there’s plenty to see and enjoy mid winter when it is cold and snowy in many parts of the world, including the one I’m from.

Fredericksburg which I have written about before (Fredericksburg, Texas, Surprisingly Fun) was a definitely a go-to spot on my list.  While the husbands visited the National Museum of the Pacific War  my friend and I had a leisurely lunch in a hip eatery and browsed  the many cute stores.   I found these holiday decorations particularly eye catching.

For my Michigan friends, Fredericksburg reminded me a bit of Saugatuck, Michigan with both cool and touristy shopping and a few yummy places to eat.

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Fredericksburg, Texas
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Fredericksburg, Texas

I also absolutely loved visiting the LBJ Ranch, seeing the small plane that the Texas President flew from Austin to his ranch in the Hill Country and touring the modest house and the burial spot for the family nearby. Yikes, experiencing cattle, so close that I could reach my hand out the car window to touch was a novelty for a northerner like me.    The small gray building below is the one room school house that President Johnson attended.

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LBJ Ranch
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LBJ’s plane.
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Close enough to touch.

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Johnson family cemetery
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Johnson Family Cemetery
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LBJ One Room school house

The Texans in this part of state love their holiday lights.  For more images of their fascination with lights, click on this blog post from a few years back.  Magical Lighting in Johnson City, Texas.  Pretty amazing, actually.

 

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We took at day trip to San Antonio.  I’ve been there before but amazed again with how small the Alamo is.  Somehow the legend implies a much bigger structure.   Now that I look at the picture I took of the fellow below, I’m wondering why he isn’t wearing a cowboy hat.  Will have to go back to ask.

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Living History of the Alamo
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The Alamo

This horse and carriage caught my eye.  It appeared to me like it belonged more in Disneyland by the big castle in the Magic Kingdom  rather than across the street from the Alamo.  Would feel like a princess riding in this carriage no matter what city.

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San Antonio, Texas carriage ride

We visited the McNay Art Museum, a gift of a very generous art patron.  Marion McNay left her Texas mansion with Moorish style courtyard and extensive contemporary art collection to become the first modern art museum in Texas.  I particularly enjoyed a couple of recent acquisitions: a replica of an Artist Studio created totally out of cardboard and a cocktail party created out of what looks like oversized Cheetos.  Every so often one of the characters would move.    Amusing.

The large sculpture on the lawn speaks to the Texan love of anything “big.”

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In San Antonio, we spotted this on top of a building near the River Walk and wondered about it.  Seems rather far from home.

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Grand Rapids Furniture Company sign in San Antonio, Texas

One can’t go to San Antonio without enjoying a leisure ride and tour of the river.  It’s a “must-do” for every tourist–at least once.

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River Walk Tour Boat Selfie
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River Walk San Antonio, Texas
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San Antonio River Walk

I can’t talk about Texas without mentioning the Star.  Texans plaster their Stars everywhere–sides of houses, cars, umbrellas, bridges, holiday decor, bars and buildings.  Lots of Texas loyalty coming out.  Sure must make decorating easy:-)

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Texas Stars
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Texans love their Stars

For more blog posts about this part of the world, click on these links.

Keeping Austin Weird

Keep Austin Weird  

Austin: Creative to the Core 

Let’s Talk about Austin, Texas 

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

6 Comments
  1. posted by
    Peggy DePersia
    Jan 19, 2016 Reply

    Like most states in our ‘Union’, Texas has a unique history. It is the history that is interesting to unravel over time. The symbolism is powerful as well. All of the stars……makes me want to investigate the meaning behind ‘the Lone Star’.
    I could tell you why Indiana, my original home, is called the Hoosier state but, for me, the Lone Star state is another matter. As the saying goes, “there is no place like home”.

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Jan 19, 2016 Reply

      You inspired me to look it up. This is what I found.

      Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent republic, and as a reminder of the state’s struggle for independence from Mexico. The “Lone Star” can be found on the Texan state flag and on the Texan state seal.

  2. posted by
    Kay Herring
    Jan 19, 2016 Reply

    Susan … So sorry our schedules didn’t mesh! NEXT TIME!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Jan 20, 2016 Reply

      I’d love that.

  3. posted by
    Bill Stevenson
    Jan 26, 2016 Reply

    Thanks Sue, nice piece on Hill Country.
    A couple of items: The airplane at the LBJ Ranch, a Lockheed Jetstar, was the plane Johnson used as vice-president and would have been referred to as Air Force 2 when he was aboard. When President, he would have been aboard a much larger Boeing 707 (which were replaced in early 90’s by much larger 747’s) and would have been called Air Force 1. Any plane the US President is aboard is always called Air Force 1, even if he were riding with me in my little Rans S7.
    Two, the “Lone Star” thing is taken to absurdity by some here such as when former Gov. Rick Perry called several times for Texas secession from the union or when current Gov. Abbott (another right wing-nut) had the Texas National Guard mobilize and go “keep an eye” the US Army Rangers & Navy Seals on maneuvers in West Texas last Sept. in case they might try and take over the state.
    Sorry we didn’t show you a milder winter. That started the day after you left, high 60’s to 70’s – working in a t-shirt in my hangar – and forecast 81 this Sunday.
    Best, Bill

  4. posted by
    Bill Stevenson
    Jan 26, 2016 Reply

    Thanks Sue, nice piece on Hill Country.
    A couple of items: The airplane at the LBJ Ranch, a Lockheed Jetstar, was the plane Johnson used as vice-president and would have been referred to as Air Force 2 when he was aboard. When President, he would have been aboard a much larger Boeing 707 (which were replaced in early 90’s by much larger 747’s) and would have been called Air Force 1. Any plane the US President is aboard is always called Air Force 1, even if he were riding with me in my little Rans S7.
    Two, the “Lone Star” thing is taken to absurdity by some here such as when former Gov. Rick Perry called several times for Texas secession from the union or when current Gov. Abbott (another right wing-nut) had the Texas National Guard mobilize and go “keep an eye” the US Army Rangers & Navy Seals on maneuvers in West Texas last Sept. in case they might try and take over the state.
    Sorry we didn’t show you a milder winter. That started the day after you left, high 60’s to 70’s – working in a t-shirt in my hangar – and forecast 81 this Sunday.
    Best, Bill

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