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Trade Days-Fredericksburg

March 31, 2010

Have you seen the new show “American Pickers?” It’s a show about two guys who roam the American countryside, stopping at old barns and warehouses and rummaging through junk till they find what they consider a treasure. The show is entertaining and when Joe and I saw this was the weekend for Fredericksburg Trade Days (weekend of third Saturday of every month) we hit the road to do a little ‘picking’ for ourselves.

Fredericksburg Trade Days

Fredericksburg Trade Days

Upon entering Trade Days, the first things you see are several large barns (at least 6) and smaller buildings strewn across several acres. We strolled up to the first barn, not sure what to expect. Inside I was surprised to find such a wide array of items! They carried everything from furniture (new and antique), to clothing (new and vintage), to home décor items and plants. There was something here for everyone! Several vendors sold homemade treats such as candy, pastries, hot sauces and spice blends. Of course Joe and Tyler couldn’t resist the smell of smoked BBQ, so they made their way over to the outdoor food area and found a nice picnic table in which to enjoy their lunch. In the mean time, I walked over to the quaint little herb farm and picked out some nice plants.

One of the Vendors at Fredericksburg Trade Days

One of the Vendors at Fredericksburg Trade Days

Joe portraying an “American Picker” and me a “Junk Gypsy,” we spent several hours rummaging through the outdoor shops in hopes of uncovering that special something. The outdoor shops contain more of your home improvement items such as old doors, bathroom fixtures, yard items, and the like.

Hill Country Yard Art!

Hill Country Yard Art

It was a beautiful day to be outdoors; the weather was perfect. We had a relaxed day strolling through all the barns and talking with several of the vendors (there are more than 300). I was told they were having an auction later that evening, so if auctions are your thing then you should check their website for details. If you like shopping for unique items, or antiques, or recycling old items (a.k.a junk gypsy) you will love Fredericksburg Trade Days.

Happy Picking!

~Karin~

Checking out the large assortment of hats

Deciding on a hat

See Flickr for more pictures!

Colorado Bend State Park

March 24, 2010

On a bright and crisp spring day Joe and I, along with my sister and her husband, headed out to Colorado Bend State Park. Joe and I have been here with the kids many times over the past years; it is one of our favorite parks. Each season lends its own beauty to the area, and this trip we decided to do some hiking.

Exploring along the Colorado River

Exploring along the Colorado River

Our first hike was to Spicewood Spring, located of course on Spicewood Trail. We hiked .5 miles to where the spring was located. Along the river we watched as hawks soared high overhead. The spring was absolutely lovely! Being mid March (it just so happened to be the first day of spring) the foliage was not as thick, allowing us the opportunity to venture off the beaten path. We explored along the south side of the spring where we jumped from pool to pool, eventually ending up on the bank of the spring’s creek, where we rested and took in the tranquil surroundings. All four of us enjoyed the quiet solitude, the only sound being birds singing and the water cascading over boulders and down into other pools further down the trail.

After some time of relaxation and small talk, we reluctantly rose from our restful positions. Since none of us had seen Gorman Falls before, we returned to the trailhead to explore another area. Driving back up the never ending gravel road, we parked at the trailhead to Gorman Falls Trail.

Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park

Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park

The trail was a little over 2 miles round trip. Taking our time and enjoying each other’s company, we walked along the well marked path. The terrain was not too difficult and fairly level for most of the hike. As we came closer to the falls we could hear the loud roaring of water in the distance. Coming down a rocky incline to a viewing area, the magnificent sight of the falls was unexpected. I never would have imagined falls of this grandeur and beauty being located among the surrounding cactus and cedar. Lush fern-like vegetation grew among the falls, and a little rainbow could be seen in the spraying mist. At the base of the 60 foot waterfall, the water formed clear, sparkling pools before running into the Colorado River. What an amazing sight!

Since it was early spring, there was little vegetation in our viewing path. We were able to see the falls from many angles without tree limbs obstructing the view.

Be prepared-the unimproved gravel road seems to go on forreevvver, but it is only 1.5 miles.

There are many campsites scattered along the Colorado River which have picnic tables, a fire ring with cooking grill, and composting toilets nearby. The park can get full, and if you are camping, reservations must be made well in advance. We had the place practically to ourselves. One reason might have been because it was the last day of spring break, and many campers had left to go home early. Another reason could have been the large amount of rain we had received the previous day.

We did observe some young parents trying to push a stroller-I wouldn’t advise this! Also, once you get to the falls, the terrain is somewhat steep, making it a little dangerous for small ones. Check with the Ranger if you have any questions about the trail.

There are also caves to tour; check their website for times and fees.

I suggest bringing a blanket and picnic with you. There are many splendid places along the trails to enjoy a meal (carry water in the hot summer).

Joe and Me at Gorman Falls

Joe and me at Gorman Falls

Happy Hiking!

~Karin~

View more photos at flickr.com

Becker Vineyards/Grape Creek Vineyards-Fredericksburg

March 19, 2010
Becker Vineyards

Becker Vineyards

When my sisters and I get together in the hill country, one of our favorite things to do is visit the local wineries. One recent Monday during spring break we headed toward Fredericksburg. We like to stop at local markets and purchase a variety of cheeses, olives, crusty French bread, assorted crackers, and of course some good chocolate. We stopped in Johnson City to shop, since it was on the way, and then we headed west on highway 290 toward Fredericksburg.  We had a late start, about 1 o’clock, so we planned two stops for the day.

Our first winery was Becker Vineyards. They have a large, elegant tasting room along with a covered verandah which looks out over their fragrant lavender fields and onto a stately limestone reception hall. The reception hall and outer buildings were not open, but I have been there during the Christmas season when they were open and beautifully adorned with decorations and a warm fire glowing in the enormous fireplace. This grand hall is used primarily for special occasions and weddings. The lavender is in bloom during the month of May and June, so I will definitely be returning! We enjoyed our late afternoon lunch along with our wine as we sat on the lovely veranda.

Our next stop was Grape Creek Vineyards. This was my first time to Grape Creek, and I was very impressed with the lovely patio covered with large oak trees. They have a small deli area where you can purchase food items such as cheese and crackers, just in case you didn’t bring your own. The Tuscan-style tasting area is very grand and beautiful. We had a wonderful time as we sat on the patio and enjoyed good conversation, munched on what was left of our delicious picnic, and sipped our glass of wine.

Grape Creek Vineyards

Grape Creek Vineyards

Personal notes: The surrounding fields of lavender at Becker Vineyards are extremely beautiful and fragrant when in bloom.

But I was disappointed when we bought a bottle of wine and were given plastic cups to use on the veranda– a poor compliment for our fine wine. If you decide to do the tasting (I think 6 wines) you receive a glass with your purchase, but we skipped the tasting because we already knew which bottle we were purchasing.

As for Grape Creek Vineyards, they served us in wine glasses and had complimentary plates, napkins, and utensils setting out. We were very thankful for the paper ware since we forgot ours, and drinking from wine glasses was more to my liking, as well as complimentary to the wine.

I would have to say Becker Vineyards wines are my favorite. I won’t go into which ones, since that is a personal preference. My sister, on the other hand, preferred the wine at Grape Creek. So, goes to show each has his or her favorite, thus the Wine Trail!

Happy Trails!

Kristin and me in the tasting room

Kristin and me at Grape Creek Vineyards

Karin

View more photos at Flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/meggiemae/sets/72157623526405147/

Becker Vineyards

Becker Vineyards

Grape Creek Vineyards
Grape Creek Vineyards

Blue Bonnet Cafe-Marble Falls

March 18, 2010

It never fails. When I tell people I’m from Marble Falls, they inevitably ask “Oh! Do you know The Blue Bonnet?” Of course they are referring to The Blue Bonnet Café which serves up the most down-home breakfasts, the most mouthwatering Texas size cinnamon rolls and of course their specialty- pies with meringue piled high to the Texas sky. If you’re just passing through on Highway 281 between Burnet and Johnson City, stop for the pie and coffee (pie happy hour is from 3 to 5 Monday through Friday). Their pies are made daily and there are too many choices to list. Suffice it to say, you’ll have a hard time deciding!

On my last birthday my husband treated me to a Blue Bonnet breakfast. The place is so welcoming. There are few places left that are reminiscent of a true diner. You can sit at the bar or slide into a booth with vinyl covered seats; The Blue Bonnet Café brings back childhood memories, when fast food didn’t exist and good service was priority. It is also one of the few places round that still serves up thick, soft ‘Texas Toast.’ They also serve up grits. How often do you make grits? Slathered with a little butter and a dash of salt they are a true Texan’s delight.

Opening in 1929 on Main Street, the Café has been at its present location since 1946. They accept checks, or there is an ATM located within the café. For a look at their menu and hours, check out their website at http://www.bluebonnetcafe.net.

Stop by The Blue Bonnet next time you’re in Marble Falls or just traveling through. You’ll enjoy the down-home food and you’ll be one of the many who can say “Yeah! I’ve been to The Blue Bonnet.”

Copyright and Licensing Terms

March 17, 2010

All images and content are copyright of Roaming The Hills and cannot be used without permission.

If you would like to feature some of my images in your blog or site, please contact me first. For commercial use, publication and general distribution, please inquire about licensing rates at karinc121@yahoo.com.