Friday, February 15, 2019

#LeapFrogs: From the Old West to the German Influence

I had work waiting for me after all our play time in Stonewall, Blanco, and Wimberly, so when we got to Fredricksburg, our first stop was the public library.

The minute I walked in the door, I wanted to move in there! When we asked the librarian the best place for us to work for a few hours, she told us to head upstairs where it was quiet. Upstairs, we found large work tables with charging stations and a quiet nook with two armchairs, two ottomans, and electrical outlets - just want we needed. I set up shop in one of the chairs while Tim napped in the other. He said at one point all we needed was a fireplace, but I was perfectly content.



Fredericksburg turned out to be a touristy town, but it took us a couple of days to discover that fact. The town held a lot of contrasts - young and old (people and culture), new and old (architecture and attractions), Old West and German, past and present. 

We are still car camping, so one night, we decided to go hang out at the local Whataburger and discovered that this particular location served as the town's diner. Locals of many generations hung out there, and apparently, our presence created quite a stir.

First, the woman who brought us coffee asked where we were from. (Tim's Bama hat still giving us away.) When she learned we were from Georgia and Alabama, she told us about her relatives who lived back east. She went back to work, but soon, we heard her tell someone else that we were from Alabama. Another employee came over and said her brother was from Huntsville. She talked for a while, then brought us a really great map of Fredericksburg that we hadn't found elsewhere. We sat studying the map after she went back to work, but soon, a couple came up and asked where we were from. They said they'd noticed we were looking at the map and wanted to give us a few pointers about town. We invited them to sit down with us, and the wife perched beside me, but the husband remained standing.

We learned all about the National Museum of the Pacific War and about LBJ's power and influence in the area (and how he got it). The conversation was lively, although a bit one-sided, but we learned a lot. His wife was precious (although she never uttered a word.)

The downtown area is lively on Saturdays, with shops and many restaurants. Our Whataburger friend told us to try the ice cream shop downtown, so that's how we ended up there the next night. 

My favorite part of Fredericksburg was the Lady Bird Johnson city park. We spent a few hours there (over a couple of days) because it was peaceful and spacious - and greeted us with this fun surprise on our first visit.








Fredericksburg is a nice town that proved much more interesting than I expected.

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#LeapFrogs: History Comes Alive#LeapFrogs: Johnson City and the LBJ Ranch
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San Marcos and Lonesome Dove
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

#LeapFrogs: History Comes Alive

The first stop after we left the LBJ State Park facility was at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, and what a delight it was!

From the minute we walked through the gate, we knew we were on some very special property. Volunteers and employees are dressed in period costumes, and the farm is in full operation - an operation set in 1915, said one of the docents.

Animals roam freely around the property - some are in pens, others not. This day, the sheep were roaming, and the ram caught my eye - and apparently, I caught his, too.



As we walked around, we smelled food cooking, and soon found a lovely lady cooking onions on a wood stove. She told us about the three houses sitting side by side on the property - one the original, then an add-on (the one we were in), and then the new one, built in 1915 from materials bought through the Sears catalog. It was fun to compare the differences.

We asked about the milk sitting around in bowls, and she explained the cheese making process - all of it quite fascinating. 





Ranch hands popped in and out for coffee and invited us to come watch the butchering of a steer that would take place shortly. 



The garden was beautiful too - the cabbages were near perfection, along with broccoli, carrots, turnips, and more.


This was a great stop, and one I was reluctant to leave. As sappy as this sounds, all felt right in the world as we stepped back in time. 

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#LeapFrogs on the Move: Austin, Texas
#LeapFrogs on the Move: San Antonio!
#LeapFrogs on the Move: On the Way to San Antonio
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#LeapFrogs on the Road: Fort Anahuac Texas
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From Alabama through Mississippi
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Get your #LeapFrogs Merchandise here:












Tuesday, February 12, 2019

#LeapFrogs: Johnson City and the LBJ Ranch

I was never much of a history student in my early school years. Then I began homeschooling my kids, and I determined to make history come alive for them, and then, when I took history as I sought my bachelor's degree, my professor made history come alive for us, too. But through it all, we never studied Lyndon Baines Johnson or Lady Bird Johnson, except in passing. When I saw we were going to be near their ranch, I knew I wanted to visit and get acquainted with their legacy.

We arrived in Johnson City late in the day, after our visits at Pioneer Town and The Buggy Barn Museum, so we sought out our overnight stop first - the Gillespie County Rest Stop right in front of the LBJ ranch. It was beautiful, and reminded me of travel during my childhood.



As you can see, our dreary weather continues!

This beautiful church sits behind the welcome center and can be seen across the river from the Johnson family cemetery.



The next morning, we went to the historic site, just a mile down the road. Visitors are sent first to the state park site, where we picked up a free permit to drive the self-guided seven-mile route through the ranch. Before we left the building, we were invited to view a short film (25 minutes) about LBJ. It was a TV special by NBC that aired while Johnson was President - he gave a tour of the ranch. He came across so laid-back and more like a farm hand than leader of the free world. (And nothing like politicians of today, although I learned from a local a few days later that the TV persona did not reflect who he was to the locals. More on that in a later post.)



Unfortunately, the Texas White House (the Johnson's home on their ranch) is closed to the public indefinitely, so we were unable to see it. Building surrounded it, including the hangar that is now the National Park Visitor's Center and gift shop, and the communication buildings that I found interesting.


My favorite part of the LBJ Ranch was another farm within the property. I'll write a separate post about it tomorrow.

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#LeapFrogs on the Move: San Antonio!
#LeapFrogs on the Move: On the Way to San Antonio
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From Alabama through Mississippi
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Get your #LeapFrogs Merchandise here:










Monday, February 11, 2019

From one Pioneer Town to the Next

From Pioneer Town in Wimberly, Texas, we drove to The Buggy Barn Museum in Blanco. I'd read online that they had some wagons used in John Wayne movies, so I knew Tim would love that. But, like so many things on the internet, that wasn't quite true. They did have several wagons and buggies that were used in the new version of True Grit (2010, with Jeff Bridges), but only one of them was marked.

The "barn keeper" was friendly, and turned us loose to look through the buildings on our own, but kept popping up here and there to give us different facts about some of the artifacts. After we'd been all over the barn looking at the wagons, buggies, stage coaches, and more, he told us to keep walking toward the back, where they had their own pioneer town set up.




  






From Pioneer Town and The Buggy Barn Museum of the 1800s, we leaped forward to the 1960s with our next stop.

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Finally Heading West and a Glimpse of the Old West

Yes, we've been going west since we left Georgia on January 8, but it seems we've been more north and south for a while. From San Marcos, we now head west, and I'm excited about what we'll discover.

While hanging out at the San Marcos library, I did some research on RoadsideAmerica, TripAdvisor, and other sites, and discovered a couple of nearby fun spots I decided to surprise Tim with as we got back on the road, heading toward Johnson City, Texas.

Our first stop was in Wimberly, where we found Pioneer Town. Based on what I'd read, I thought it was a small replica of a pioneer town, but was pleasantly surprised to discover it was so much more!




But Pioneer Town isn't just a replica. It's also a laid-back resort. They have cabins for rent, and lodges for big groups, with 10 bedrooms in each lodge. They have a resort-style swimming pool, and in warm weather, the Blanco River is available for play, too. The Boarding House in the pioneer town actually provides hotel-style rooms for rent, too. I've already told my family we should have a gathering at the 7A Resort - such fun!


Tim was sold when he heard the ice cream parlor is actually operational during summer months so that made the place even sweeter. Ha!

I hear there's a rough one on the loose though, so beware!



Pioneer Town was only our first stop that day. Tomorrow, our next adventure!

Recent Posts:

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#LeapFrogs on the Move: On the Way to San Antonio
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#LeapFrogs on the Move: Kemah, Houston, Wharton
#LeapFrogs on the Road: Fort Anahuac Texas
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From Alabama through Mississippi
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Get your #LeapFrogs Merchandise here: