Cave Dwellings: Visit to Gruene…and “On the Road Again”.
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Monday, December 30, 2013

Visit to Gruene…and “On the Road Again”.

  We had a few sunny days here and then last night we fell back into the “ice tray” again.  I hate it when we have to keep our day/night shades closed during the day.  Claustrophobia seeps into  my pores very quickly.  It was a beautiful campfire night last night….until about 7PM.  Then, the wind switched to the North and even my warm and snuggy “ensemble” wasn’t working for me…We came inside.  As I blog, we still have most of our day/night shades closed and it is only 48 degrees and windy…It seems like we always freeze a good share of the first 6 weeks of any Texas trip.  Guess we should just make a beeline for the “Valley” when we cross the state line here!

We have a couple neat furry neighbors next door…

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Left, is Winston.  Winston’s people are from Illinois. When we asked what kind of dog Winston was they said “A great dog…not sure exactly what kind breeds he is”..And on the right is Willy.  Willy’s people are from Texas and they drive a  huge motorhome (for good reason)..Willy is a 9 year old Great Dane. Both these furry neighbors are good barking at all, and very friendly.

This last Saturday, Dennis and I decided to drive into Gruene, TX…”Arriving in Texas in the mid 1840s, German farmers became the first settlers of what is now known as Gruene, Texas. Ernst Gruene, a German immigrant, and his bride Antoinette, had reached the newly established city of New Braunfels in 1845, but acreage was scarce. Thus, Ernst and his two sons purchased land just down river, and Ernst built the first home in Gruene. Henry D. built houses in various styles -- a Victorian cottage (now Lone Star), a large brick home, and a frame house (now Gruene Haus) for the foreman of his farm. The first mercantile store (now Gruene General Store) was built in 1878 and a cotton gin (now Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar) powered by the Guadalupe River was added soon after. Further construction during this profitable time included a dance hall and saloon (Gruene Hall), which became the center of the community's social life. the death of Henry D. in 1920 marked the downfall of Gruene's development and good fortune. In 1922, the original cotton gin burned and was replaced by a modern electric model down the road (now Adobe Verde). Yet, the economic disasters of the boll weevil and the Depression were too much for the family businesses and they went under, except for Gruene Hall, which never closed.

Today, Gruene is once again a thriving community, but for decades it was little more than a ghost town. This changed the day that Pat Molak, frustrated with big-city life, wandered into town and began to breathe life back into this piece of Texas history. 

Gruene itself has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the buildings that were rescued by Molak and Nalley have been awarded a Texas medallion from the Texas Historical Commission. It has also been recognized by the Texas travel industry as a premiere attraction for visitors, which is no surprise to its merchants and guests.
Even with the remarkable growth of this once sleepy little town, the main focus of Gruene is, and continues to be, bona fide Texas.”

(You might have known that I would use this opportunity to teach a little history of Gruene, TX. ) We have been in Gruene many times and love it..We did, however, find out that the Saturday after Christmas is NOT a good time to visit…That town was PACKED with people!!

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H.D. Gruene built his first home in Gruene, which is now an Inn (below)….

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..Above is the home, now the Gruene Mansion Inn. There was some kind of re-enactment that had been going on inside…which we apparently had missed!

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We always have to visit the old Gruene Hall. Middle photo is the back of the old original building.  The Gruene Hall is host to many great country singers, and George Strait got his start singing with his band in this very building.  After a grueling day fighting the crowds at historic Gruene, Dennis and I headed out the back roads from town.  It is a lovely drive through the Hill Country, and we intended on picking up some supper to take home…


We had never tried Redbird's Fried Chicken and Fish, and it is across the lake in a town called Startzville.  I had done my research (I love to research food joints) and this one got fabulous reviews…It is basically a carry-out place which is right up our alley!  I called ahead from the GMC, and when we arrived, we had 8 pieces of fried chicken and 4  homemade biscuits for $11.99 to take back to the Hiker!…(FYI, I highly recommend this place !!)

Of course, no carry-outs would be the same unless we stopped by the Sattler VFW for a quick wine and beer on our way home!!

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We will be leaving Potter’s Creek on Wednesday this week. We are heading to some warmer (hopefully) climate in Falcon State Park, on the Rio Grande. This is another place we have stayed before and if  you want “out in the boonies”, with an Hispanic flair, this is the place. We actually have our whole trip in Texas planned..and I will get into that at a later date…(I say we have plans, with my tongue in my cheek…Usually our plans turn into Jello!) Oh, and I want to say a great big “climb into the truck” to a couple new stalkers!  Hey, Y’all to Wendy, from upstate New York. Dennis was stationed at Saratoga Springs NY in the covered wagon days, Wendy!…Also howdy to Mike and Susan Taylor, who I think live in Texas somewhere…I see they are camping North of us …and Susan has been sick with the crud lately..(Please don’t breathe while riding with us..JUST KIDDING, SUSAN!)…Oh, and one other couple is tagging along with us..…a giant “comeawn along!) to Cindy and her hubby. Cindy says she and her husband have been through the “fire” the last few years..Her blog is called “clear skies after the storm”, and I can certainly identify.  Now all of  you “newbies” haul ass into our GMC and buckle up.  Put all your stuff on the floor.  You might have to climb over Kenny and Angela.  Kenny’s the one strapped over his beer supply, protecting it with his life…(’AND STAY OUTTA MY WINE, KENNY!)

Again, thanks for reading my drivel…and I’ll see y’all down in Falcon State Park….Buenos Tiempos!!!!!


  1. Nice header! It was obviously taken on a day with some sunshine. The weather today stinks!! I hope it's warmer at Falcon SP.

    1. Yep, Judy...Much nicer than today!! How wonderful it was to watch these 2 bucks sparring right out in front of us!

  2. Really hope you find some warmer weather around Falcon SP. We have plans for Big Bend country in the works. Sure hope it's favorable weather there. As Judy said, nice header photo.

    1. Jerry, we loved Big Bend, but we were there with just our car and it was in the summer...Be careful in them thar mountains!

  3. Here in Alabama we have two or three days of great weather then are slapped with cold and rain...that is today. I sure hope that you are able to find better weather.

    1. Nan, its colder than...well, it's COLD here too! Looks like the weather at Falcon will be better...and am hoping for some great "birding".

  4. I don't do wine Angela?? Can you say Arizona?? Hope I spelled that right.. Cold in
    the AM nice in the PM love it here..

    1. Totally agree...We are still too afraid to get that far West...Getting called back is a key issue...and ...Dennis would share his Busch Lite, Kenny..and I would share my wine with Angela...enjoy the great Southwest

  5. Nice and warm out here in Palm Springs, Donna Heard today they've only had 2.5 inches of rain during all of 2013.

    Great header photo - awesome even,

    Thanks for the great history of Gruene, TX. I always like hearing a bit of the history of all of these small towns. Looks like Mr. Gruene built himself a nice little shack to live in.

    1. Rick, thanks for the advice on my comments on Google +..I did sign in, but it didn't acknowledge me ( I get that a lot! ;-) Not sure what kind of reception we will get in Falcon Lake..could be a bit sketchy. As for the header pic..I remember taking that photo and thinking "WOW!!"..TWO BUCKS SPARRING RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR CAMPER!! (Now, THAT I DON'T get a lot of!)

  6. Sorry we missed you at Canyon room at the inn. That'll teach us not to make reservations. We spent a couple nights at a Passport America place and then high tailed it to Rockport. Sounds like you mapped out your stay much better than we did. Hope you found some warm weather. Happy New Year!