Jun 28, 2008

A Trip to the Hill Country

We spent last week doing a little bit of sight seeing and a whole lot of kicking back and relaxing down in the Hill Country of Central Texas. We stayed in a very cute little place that we found at the last minute...literally - Country Sun B&B Cottages (http://www.country-sun.com/). We checked in on Sunday nite. We met Vera, one of the co-owners, on Monday morning. She did an exceptional job of taking care of us. She brought us a very nice 'European' style Continental breakfast every morning at precisely 8:30 a.m. (our request). It was always very well done w/the pastries warm and in a pretty basket, the OJ was poured into champagne glasses, it also included sliced meat/cheese, little boxes of cereal, assorted jellies and butter - more than enough to fill us up so we were always able to share with Abby of course. On Monday, we went into Wimberly and San Marcos and did a little bit of shopping. On Tuesday, we went into Gruene (http://www.gruenetexas.com/), toured historic Gruene Hall where we made it our job to sit in the bar and drink one of their Texas beers (a Shiner, of course), had lunch at the Gristmill (http://www.gristmillrestaurant.com/) and then more shopping before returning to the B&B. On Wednesday, we went to Shiner and toured the Shiner brewery (http://www.shiner.com/home.php). That was not only fun and very enlightening, but free! They also give out 4 tokens each for free tastings of their various brews. More shopping and free beer - who could ask for more? Our personal favorite was the Shiner Blonde. We weren't done yet though. On our trip back to the B&B, we drove thru Luling (http://www.lulingcc.org/4584868_37583.htm), once known as 'the toughest town in Texas', the home of not only some of the greatest BBQ I've ever eaten, the very best BBQ sauce I've ever eaten (which I plan to order lots of via their website), but also, the home of the big Watermelon Thump (http://www.lulingcc.org/4951471_37583.htm). Yes, you read that right - the Watermelon Thump. Apparently the biggest annual festival in Luling. They have a pageant where all the contestants post signs literally all over the town of Luling - and I do mean ALL OVER! They were setting up for the festival before and during our visit on Wednesday (the festival was to begin on Thursday - it's held the last weekend of June). During this 'big-time', much anticipated (for Luling) festival, this little south Texas town hosts local and not-so-local bigger name bands, beer gardens, a carnival, street dances, cook-offs, a giant parade, craft & food booths, and yes...watermelon eating and seed spitting contests and much, much more. While there, we ate at the previously mentioned BBQ joint, the Luling City Market (http://www.lulingcitymarket.com/) and it was as good as promised and better than anticipated. Very primitive, as their are no plates or utensils so to speak, but between the brown paper, the massive amounts of paper towels, we managed just fine. You get your meat (and pay for it BTW) directly from the smoker room in the back of this fine dining establishment and then move to the front of the restaurant where you can pick up the most awesome BBQ sauce I've ever tasted, any of their other menu items and a drink, directly out of an old cola box! After eating, we walk around town in an attempt to walk off some of the food we'd just eaten and took a few pictures. Before leaving, we discovered another set of unusual items that this 'sweet' town has to offer - their decorated oil well pump jacks, mostly located along and/or near the railroad tracks. You can see a few of these here (http://www.lulingcc.org/4951475_37583.htmcc.org/4951475_37583.htm.htm).

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