For more information on the Pioneer Museum, Vereins Kirche, and the White Oak School, visit the Pioneer Museum website.
Category Archives: Hill Country
As we drove through downtown Austin, we didn’t have a specific lunch destination in mind. I saw the Austin Java sign and was surprised to see that they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in addition to coffee.
I liked that their kids menu went beyond the “basics” like chicken nuggets and hamburgers. E. enjoyed her generous serving of penne in alfredo sauce, while I was slightly disappointed with my pasta primavera, which contained lots of yummy veggies but was a little bland for my taste. Nick ordered a veggie sandwich and a bowl of Spicy African Peanut soup. I tried some of the soup, and it was wonderful! Next time, I’ll order that instead.
After our meal, E. and I ordered two cupcakes, which were delicious. Even though it was ridiculously hot and we were eating outside, you just can’t enjoy dessert without a cup of coffee.
For more food-themed adventures, stop by WanderFood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.
When we arrived in Austin, and the dome of the State Capitol Building came into view, I felt a sense of relief. I hadn’t brought our camera, and I was glad to see that I wasn’t missing a perfect photo-op. Scaffolding covered the dome. However, a wonderful surprise waited for us inside.
We went through security and then into the building’s rotunda. E. was very proud that she had received a “junior trooper” sticker on her way into the building. What happened next was pretty amazing…
E. had an AWESOME time exploring the capitol building.
She marched happily up the steps and looked down into the rotunda. She looked up into the interior of the dome. She marveled at the senate chamber and wondered if all of the wooden desks were for kids to use for drawing, and she begged me to please get her a brown desk instead of the white one she already has at home. E. checked out the courtrooms and raced down the building’s long corridors. When it was time to leave, she didn’t want to go.
Who would have thought a three year old would fall in love with a state capitol building?
Parenthood is full of surprises. Sometimes they’re of the unpleasant variety: you plan a fun day, but things don’t work out liked you’d hoped. Other times, it’s the exact opposite. You’re not entirely sure where you’re going or what you’ll do when you get there, but everyone has a blast anyway!
Our day at the Frontier Times Museum in Bandera was a pleasant surprise. To be honest, I thought E. would be bored. However, she loved it.
The Frontier Times Museum may appear small, but it contains 40,000 artifacts from the old west. As you can imagine, there isn’t a lot of room to run around in the museum, so watch those little ones closely!
You’ll find everything from old pianos and typewriters to elaborately-decorated saddles. One of my favorite items was an old dentist’s chair and equipment from the 1800′s.
E. particularly enjoyed looking at some seashells which were brought back to Texas from the Phillipines during the 19th century. We had fun looking at the old household items and comparing them to the kinds of things we use today. I was truly surprised that E. found the museum so fascinating, since she’s only 3 years old. Just goes to show you: it doesn’t hurt to try something new once in awhile.
The museum is located in the small town of Bandera, which is a very easy drive from San Antonio. Once you get into town, you’ll see signs for the Frontier Times Museum. If you lose your way, just look for the county courthouse; the museum is located a block behind it. Admission is reasonable: $5 for adults and free for children under 6. Kids over 6 pay $2, Seniors $3.
An easy drive from San Antonio (and I would imagine, Austin), the resort is located just minutes from US 281 and the small Hill Country town of Marble Falls.
The grounds at the resort reminded me a little bit of Scottsdale, Arizona–lots of palm trees, ferns, and carefully manicured landscapes. Also, the resort features the Japanese-inspired Palm Trail, a walking path that runs past lily ponds, fountains, and sculptures.
Our standard room reminded me of those found at other Marriott hotels and featured two comfortable queen-size beds and a nice bathroom. I’ve always had good experiences at Marriott hotels in terms of cleanliness and peace-and-quiet, and this was my experience again at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. One particularly nice feature in our room was the empty (in other words, non-mini-bar) refrigerator. This is especially helpful for those travelling with babies and young children.
Our room overlooked the main pool and a zero-entry (beach-entry) kids’ pool. E. loved the kids’ pool’s fountains and the waterfall-like feature in the main pool.
Speaking of water, we also enjoyed the resort’s beach along Lake LBJ. The resort provided beach toys to guests, and E. had a great time wading in the shallow water and playing in the sand. Snacks and drinks were available for purchase nearby, and there is yet another pool and hot tub overlooking the beach.
Overall, we had a great time at the resort, and I definitely consider it to be family-friendly.
Disclaimer: I received a discounted rate at this hotel and I follow the resort on Twitter and have therefore communicated with them prior to my visit. However, the resort did not ask me to write this post. All opinions are my own.
Recently, E. and I went on a two-day trip to Horseshoe Bay and Marble Falls. One highlight of the trip was our breakfast at Blue Bonnet Cafe located along US 281. Here are four reasons why we loved it:
1. They’re old school: The Blue Bonnet Cafe has been pleasing customers since 1929. I love places with that kind of track record. Part of the fun is wondering how many other people have enjoyed breakfast there.
2. They serve breakfast all day: And what a breakfast it is! I ordered a scrambled egg (which was cooked perfectly), bacon, hashbrowns, and biscuits. It was all wonderful. I have a feeling I’ll be daydreaming about this breakfast for awhile.
3. Friendly folks: The service is fast and friendly. And it’s clear from looking around that this is a place enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
4. The customers are gorgeous: Well, maybe I’m a little biased. But this gal was awfully cute. I happen to know that she’s a big fan of pancakes and bacon.
Stay tuned! Later this week I’ll be writing about our stay at the lovely Horseshoe Bay Resort.
Remember my Monday Dreaming post from last week? I wrote about how our Memorial Day weekend plans were disrupted when E. (and eventually all three of us) got sick. I had envisioned doing several fun things including riding the glass-bottom boats in San Marcos, but it just didn’t work out.
Well, we finally got our glass-bottom boats! Even though it was super hot, we headed north to the Aquarena Center, which is run by Texas State University. The water is pretty clear because the lake is spring-fed. We saw fish, turtles, plants, and the bubbling spring through a glass window that ran down the center of the boat. There was also plenty to see above water as well.
The tour lasted 30 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time for kids to stay focused. Near the dock, you’ll find a small aquarium where you can get a preview of the kinds of wildlife you’ll see on the tour.
One highlight of the trip didn’t have anything to do with boats or wildlife though. We saw an abandoned gondola lift, which operated from 1963 to 1994. I loved the juxtaposition of the rusted metal and the lush plants growing around it. Beautiful!
It was a perfect storm…in a good way. Nick noticed that the Cubs would be playing the Texas Rangers in Arlington, and my friend Andrea sent me an article from the New York Times about sights along U.S. 281. We put the two ideas together and *poof* a Texas road trip was born.
We left Saturday morning, not quite as early as we’d hoped. As soon as we got out of the suburbs, I could tell we’d chosen wisely when we decided to take 281 instead of I-35, the busy interstate that runs north and south through the center of the state. U.S. 281 is definitely the scenic, rural route. We saw lots of old abandoned gas stations, fields filled with wildflowers, and small Hill Country towns.
Our first stop: the Hill Country town of Burnet. We stopped for lunch at Storm’s, a burger joint that I had read about in the New York Times article. The portions were generous, the prices were reasonable, and the food was average. However, it was certainly better than stopping for lunch at some chain restaurant. We got to enjoy our lunch outside on a wooden deck, in the shade of a few large trees. Definitely not the kind of scene you’d find along an exit ramp off the interstate.
We got back in the car and continued north on U.S. 281 until we decided it was time for some caffeine. Luckily, we spotted Kool Beans, a small coffee shop located in Hamilton, Texas. Nick and I enjoyed some coffee–the house blend for Nick and the special vanilla bean coffee for me–while E. had a lemonade. The woman working at the cafe that afternoon was so friendly. We had a nice conversation before it was time to get back on the road.
We reached Arlington just in time to check into our hotel before taking the trolley to Rangers Ballpark. The trolley, which takes fans to and from area hotels to the stadium, was certainly a convenient way to go. However, taking the trolley back after the game is extremely inconvenient, but I’ll get to that later.
The baseball game was great! As I’ve mentioned before, we’re Cubs fans, so Chicago’s 10th-inning win was a thrill to see in-person. E. hung in there for all ten innings, and we were thrilled that she seemed to enjoy the game.
Afterwards, we walked out of the stadium to catch the trolley and noticed that there were no trolleys waiting to transport fans…but plenty of fans waiting for the trolley. After waiting and watching two trolleys come by, barely making a dent in the number of people waiting to return to their hotels, we decided it was time for plan B. We spotted a cab and hopped in. About ten minutes and $12 later, we were back at the hotel.
Sunday morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and hit the road, this time taking I-35 back to San Antonio. We definitely missed the scenery we had enjoyed the day before. However, there were a few advantages to taking I-35. For one thing, it cut about 90 minutes off of the driving time. Also, it allowed us to stop in Waco for lunch. Thanks to Twitter, we were directed to Ninfa’s where we chowed down on some Tex-Mex.
We had a wonderful time, and I’m so glad we were able to explore some new places in addition to seeing the Cubs play. Country roads, good coffee, baseball…what could be better?
I didn’t expect to fall in love with Floore’s Country Store when we drove over to Old Town Helotes today. I expected that E. and I would walk around, take a few pictures, and get back in the car. But sometimes the best adventures are the ones you don’t expect.
As someone who is fascinated by Texas, particularly the small towns of the Hill Country, I knew I had to walk into Floore’s Country Store the minute I saw its large, over-the-top signs.
According to the Texas historical marker, Floore’s has hosted the likes of Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams. A passerby told us that he remembers sitting on the steps with his kids years ago and waiting to get a glimpse of Johnny Cash. This place sure has a history!
E. and I went inside and got drinks (a milk for E. and a Big Red for me), and took our drinks outside and sat on those same steps.
The lesson I learned today? You never know when you’ll stumble onto a place you love. Your next adventure could be right around the corner!
For more travel photos, be sure to stop by the family travel blog Delicious Baby for Photo Friday.
I honestly didn’t have a plan when we left the house yesterday afternoon. Would E. and I drive to Kerrville and seek out a park? Would we stop in Boerne and return to the Cibolo Nature Center, a place we’ve enjoyed in the past? I couldn’t decide. But the weather was beautiful, and I certainly wasn’t going to spend the day sitting around the house.
Finally, I decided we would stop in Boerne. I parked in the historic downtown area and consulted the GPS. That’s how I discovered the Bear Moon Bakery and Cafe.
Although the bakery serves breakfast and lunch, E. and I stopped in for treats on this occasion. E. was thrilled by the selection of adorable cupcakes and finally decided on a yellow cupcake with colorful sprinkles and a big pink heart. I chose a triple chocolate chip cookie, although the Curious George cupcakes looked pretty good too.
E. and I sat outside and enjoyed our treats. E. was thrilled to find out that the heart on her cupcake was actually a plastic ring. She wore it the rest of the day.
After our stop at the Bear Moon Bakery, we walked down the street to the Read All About It Bookstore, where E. enjoyed looking at their selection of puppets! We bought a book and headed back to the car.
Sometimes the best plans aren’t plans at all!