Sunday, July 27, 2008

Texas Hill Country Trip

I made a whirlwind trip to Austin, TX this weekend and thought I'd post a few pictures and comments on my trip.

I flew into Austin Friday and arrived around 11:15. My friend was already there that week for conference for her job and picked me up. We drove around a little bit and decided to check into our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Town Lake (Town Lake has been renamed Lady Bird Lake after the late first Lady Bird Johnson). We went up and got settled in our rooms. I had a beautiful room -- with the worst view I think I've ever seen being level with the roof and looking out at the satellite dishes and electrical and air conditioning stuff. I got a great rate and wasn't going to be in the room all that much, so no big deal.

After freshening up and getting settled, we decided to meet downstairs and have some lunch. There was a nice buffet in the hotel so we just decided to eat there.

So we headed out to the surrounding area. We started driving through the hills and came across this cute little bakery which had the most clever name, I thought. It wasn't open, but I grabbed a quick picture of the sign.

The next stop was the Salt Lick -- a barbecue place. We got a few ribs and some coleslaw and potato salad and sat outside and had a little picnic. I took this picture to prove that this restaurant was 'Food Network' approved, as they had a picture of Bobby Flay in the case. The barbecue was not too bad. The sauce was a mustard-based sauce which I do not care for. Also their coleslaw and potato salad are more German and use a lot of vinegar -- a taste I would have to get used to.

Next, we were heading to a little town named Wimberly. We stopped at the Wimberly Pie Company and bought a slice of pie. They had some beautiful pies there. It was a small little place, but I'll just bet they do a great business.

We found ourselves along the Blanco River on a road aptly named River Road. This was such a beautiful road. The river was so low that people were out in the middle having a picnic right in the water! One guy even had his whole tent set up out there. I could have spent a long time here as it was so beautiful and peaceful.

This was one of the prettiest parts of the trip. I could have stayed right there, but we had to make our way back to Austin and to the hotel as we have a concert to attend this evening.

After getting cleaned up we headed out to One World Theater to attend a performance by Ottmar Liebert. This theater was absolutely beautiful. It was up on a hill and was very Spanish looking with lots of wrought iron and stone. There was a 'piazza' where you could sit and have wine or something to eat before climbing the stairs to get into the theater. Just gorgeous. Ottmar Liebert is a German-born Flamenco/Spanish guitar player -- some call his music New Age also. His music is just beautiful and it was my first time to see him perform live, although I've listened to his music for a long time. The performance was just wonderful.

By this time it was almost midnight and we decided to go to Katz Deli as we knew it was open 24 hours. So we we headed downtown. Although it was almost midnight, there were so many people and we couldn't even find a parking spot. It was nice to see the Capital Building all lit up though (thank you to the Austin City website for the photograph), so the trip downtown wasn't a total waste. (I think we have a beautiful Capital Building). We settled on I-Hop for a bite to eat before we headed back to the hotel (not a great experience).

Saturday morning we checked out of the hotel. We did not want breakfast, so we hit the road and headed to Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg is well known for its peaches. We saw many peach stands along the way and stopped at one and bought some things. I had some peach cider which was cold and so refreshing. I had only had apple cider before -- this was so good. I bought some peach butter and some pecans and we headed out once again.

This isn't a peach tree, but it was a nice copse of post oak trees that I thought was so pretty. The post oaks are such pretty trees and there are lots of them along the way.

Back in the car and on to Fredericksburg. Along the way we came upon Wildseed Farms. This is a place that grows wildflowers for seeds that they sell. There are acres and acres of fields. I can only imagine when they are in bloom that it is beautiful. I'll have to go back to see that. There is a market to shop where they sell the seeds and all kinds of food items. It's really a beautiful place. There was a Salsa Festival going on, but we decided to carry on and besides, it was so darn hot, I don't think we could have managed walking around in the sun -- near 100 degrees -- UGH.

Next stop was into Fredericksburg and we stopped for lunch at the Peach Tree Tea Room. This is a beautiful, quaint little tea room that has a beautiful gift shop in it. The owner has several cookbooks she has published. While waiting for our table we shopped and I got a set of heart-shaped measuring spoons (I love hearts). For lunch I ordered a sandwich that was made on home made bread that was full of sunflower seeds and grains. The sandwich was made with herbed mayonnaise, Gruyere cheese, avocado, purple onion, and spinach. It was served with a beautiful house salad. My friend had a spinach quiche with Italian sausage in it and a cup Calabacita soup (which is a cheese soup with green chiles and summer squash). I got a taste and it was very good -- kind of spicy. For dessert we shared a peach crepe. Oh my goodness, this was the best thing we ate on the trip. I tell you, Georgia has nothing on Texas peaches. This crepe was filled with sweetened cream cheese and covered with peaches that had been sugared and a hint of almond extract. Those peaches were the freshest I had ever eaten. A definite five star dessert.

After eating those peaches we definitely had to stop at a peach stand and buy some. I hope I can make something good with them.

Now it was time to begin heading home, but we still had a few stops along the way to make. First up, the ever famous Luckenbach, Texas. Waylon, Willie, and the boys were not there, but I did take an opportunity to take a picture of 'Uptown Luckenbach'. We tried to go to 'Downtown' but it was too crowded and we just drove by.....

Next stop -- San Antonio, Texas. I wanted to go into the Mercado and buy some Mexican vanilla. My friend is the absolute Queen of shopping in the market and knew exactly where I could find it, so she dropped me off while she parked the car. I went right to it and bought it and by the time she came in we made quick go around to a few shops but decided to head home. The market would take several hours, even for the veteran shopper.

My friend does what she has labeled the 'South Texas Barbecue Tour' so along the way we had stop and get barbecue at one more place (this was better than the one at Salt Lick). Luling, Texas. This place -- Central Market -- is a no frills place. You walk in and go to the back and walk in a screen door where the actual pit is -- talk about SMOKE. You order there and they place your meat on freezer paper -- slap a few pieces of white bread on there -- your choice of pickles, jalapenos, and onions and out the door you go to a table to dine. These ribs were amazing. The best I've had.

One final stop across the street from here was a vegetable stand to buy home grown tomatoes, canteloupe, and purple hull peas.

Straight to Houston then to stop and get my car at the airport, unloaded all my treasures, and headed home.

This was a quick trip, but I don't think I could have seen or done more in such a short time. It helps to have a friend who is in the 'transportation business' who is a Road Warrior and has no boundaries when it comes to taking the 'path not taken' and going down any little road you can just to see where it takes you.


Falon said...

Wow, your trip sounds fantastic.

Emiline said...

Wow, I did enjoy it.

It sounds like you were constantly on the go. That's probably the way to do it. You got to experience a lot, in the time that you were there.

This makes me want to visit Texas again.
The peach crepe sounds amazing. I just ate a peach, and it was so-so. I believe you when you say that Texas peaches are the best!

Carla said...

I have never been to Texas, so I'm jealous! Looks like a lot of fun :)

Anj said...

Em: It was a fast, jam-packed trip. I froze my peaches so far. They were just the best ever.

Carla: We did have a great time. You need to come to Texas!

Anonymous said...

Wish I could have gone with ya. Did you stop at LBJ's ranch on the Pedernales River? Its a woonderful peaceful place where he grew up , went to school , became President and died and buried under a Huge Oak on the banks of the river . Talk about Roots..
ps Peaches are better in Southern Ilinois(wink)

Linda said...

What a fun post to read! I think central Texas is the reason God made Texas. :-)

I saw your comment about weaving gum wrappers over on Sugar Plum & had to scoot over to read your blog. I did the longest chain in my freshman class, but I got bawled out by my home ec teacher over the "waste of my potential". ;-)

We moved to the Houston area in 1983, just in time for Alicia, and moved back to Oklahoma in 2005, but not before being escorted out by Rita. I'm glad your damage wasn't worse. I'll take tornadoes over hurricanes any day.