Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Gruene Getaway

Last weekend Jeff and I had ourselves a mini vacation, and it was so nice!  I know, I know - we just fixed up our house and then we leave it.  Last December, at a work holiday party, Jeff won a two-night stay at a Fairfield Inn in New Braunfels, which is about about 150 miles southwest from where we live, and it worked out to use the prize now - and as it turned out, it ended up being a nice forced break from constantly doing stuff at the house.

We took Paco in for boarding on Friday morning and then hit the road.  Anytime we are headed to a bigger city, we make sure to take care of anything we can't do in Hooterville.  We took the long way there and went to Ikea, which is north of Austin - we had some returns plus we needed a few more drawer inserts for the kitchen.  Along the way, we hit an area that was inundated by lovebugs, and all we heard was SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT - check out our windshield:
Shelley's blog - where the lead picture of a weekend getaway is dead bugs.

It was so bad that Jeff had to scrub the windshield at a gas station once we were at our destination.  Anyway, when we hit Ikea, it was lunchtime, so we went to Mimi's Cafe, where we discovered that we were the youngest patrons by about 30 years.  Between a room full of snazzily-dressed Red Hat ladies, and the other tables of *ahem* much visibly older people, we felt like teenagers.  Also, when did Mimi's become the hot spot for the silver generation?  It was funny.

We finished up with Ikea and hit the road again, and made decent time getting through Austin traffic.  The hotel was pretty new and our room was nice, and best of all, it was just a few miles from downtown.  We looked online for a restaurant and ended up going to Huisache Grill for dinner:
Blogger fail - this was the only picture I thought to take.

The food was really good - I had a basil chicken dish that came with three slabs of sweet potato that were soft on the inside but perhaps were flash-fried on the outside...they tasted amazing.  My meal also came with a nice amount of steamed kale, which tasted like, you guessed it, steamed kale.  I can only be so healthy, so I left that on the plate, LOL.

On Saturday, we woke up and watched the royal wedding - yes, even Jeff watched it.  Then we got dressed and headed over to Gruene (pronounced "green"), which is an old town that is fun to walk around in - we used to go there fairly often when we lived in San Antonio and it was an easy 30 minute drive to get there.  Gruene is home to Gruene Hall, which is the oldest dance hall in Texas:
They still have live music at the hall, mostly country, although Three Dog Night played the previous night and if tickets had been available, I would have bought them for us.
It's not a Texas picture without a water tower.  We lucked out with the weather - it was very hot, but overcast and a bit breezy, so I survived being outside thanks to my SPF 50 sunscreen.  I might live in a hot state, but I don't venture outside in the sun much when it's hot!

We had breakfast at the Gruene Coffee Haus:
A corrugated metal building; it looked tiny from the outside but there is a bakery and a coffee roaster inside.

Jeff had an apple fritter while I had a cinnamon roll, which was really good.  I appreciated that their pastries were normal-sized instead of the standard ginormous size that Texas seems to love.  We happened to be in Gruene during their monthly market day, which meant a lot of vendors had set up shop near the coffee haus:
The market officially opened at 10:00 am, but we were there early and they were already set up and selling, so it was nice to walk through before the crowds descended - and it did get crowded later on!

We bought a couple items - an orange bougainvillea (I was feeling emboldened after my recent success with the pink one) and some homemade granola from Chef Tim, which has been a nice treat to have with my yogurt this week.  Then we walked around the rest of the town, looking at the shops and old buildings:
We cruised through this building full of antiques...
WHAT. THE. HECK.  The phone we had in our kitchen when I was growing up is an antique??  Sigh.

The landscape was pretty:
I should have taken a picture with Jeff standing beside this cactus - it was taller than him!  The flowers were really pretty, too.
Some sort of pods that were growing on a tree intrigued me.
I had to take this picture for Diane, because we'd just had a conversation about bathtubs and toilets being used for planters.  This one was done nicely, but it was in front of a store; pretty sure it wouldn't fit into my landscaping...

For lunch, we went to the Grist Mill, which is right on the river - well, it's above the river - the Guadalupe, and it's a popular area for tubing.  Back when we used to go to Gruene, there was always a wait at this restaurant, so we were surprised when we got right in - and got a seat outside, in the shade:
My face is a little pink, but the sunscreen is holding!

They've expanded the restaurant both inside and outside greatly, which was awesome.  Our waiter said that they do still have times when there's a wait for a table (he said on Mother's Day people waited THREE HOURS, no thank you), but most of the time seating is available - proof right here:
The river is just below the trees.
A plate of onion rings went by our table and we had to order some.  They were so yummy, coated in a peppery batter that I bet they use for their chicken fried steaks, too.  We laughed at the description of the turkey sandwich, and it sounded good so we ordered it, plus a chicken Cesar salad; we split everything and just about rolled out of there, we were so full.  Hey, it's vacation!

We walked around a little more, bought a couple paintings from a Swedish artist who lives in San Antonio, and headed back to the hotel.  That was about as much sun and heat as I could take.

Much later, we went back to downtown New Braunfels for a light dinner.  We ate at Krause's Biergarten, sitting outside, while listening to an Oompah band play.  The outdoor area was really nice, with fans and misters blowing, plus it was fully covered and there was plenty of shade:
The perimeter was ringed with flags and the aforementioned fans/misters.
We shared a hot pretzel, which I've learned is always the thing to get if you go to a brewery, and a sausage sampler.  It was just enough, because we had plans for dessert...
Scoop Street!  Come for the gelato, but in actuality get mango and raspberry/lemon sorbet.

The next morning, we tried to go to the oldest bakery in Texas, Naegelin's, but it was closed on Sundays!  Luckily there was another option - 2 Tarts:
 
I had a bacon jalapeno cheddar fritatta, which had a nice kick of spice!  I also ordered a cinnamon roll in my quest to try all the cinnamon rolls, but this one, while good, was more of a cinnamon swirl cake instead of a yeasty roll, and it was buttery and very rich.  I had a few bites and passed it off to Jeff and even he couldn't finish it.  But based on this, I bet their actual cakes are amazing!

It started raining when we were ready to leave - crazy Texas weather, going from 100 degrees on Friday to 74 on Sunday:
Rain means it's time to go home.

It was fun to explore an area that is fairly close - well, in Texas terms; in somewhere like Connecticut you'd have crossed three state lines with the distance we drove, haha.  Having a free hotel made it especially affordable, and if we could ever learn to cut down on the amount of food that we order, the dining bill would be reasonable, too...but hey, we were on vacation!

26 comments:

  1. You seem to find the most fun, quirky, and cute places to travel in Texas. I swear, you are changing my view of your state. I'm going to have to visit!

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    1. You totally should visit - and swing by Hooterville so we can meet up!

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  2. Sounds like a nice little getaway for you two after surviving all the renovations!
    I like to sit outdoors when I go on vacation.glad you were able to snag a seat fairly quickly. I would wait to wait 3 hours...not even one hour!

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    1. Same here - it's a very rare circumstance when we wait for a table like that.

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  3. Props to Connecticut! So funny that you said that because as soon as you said how far you were driving I thought I'd be well into New Jersy going south or Vermont going north!

    I am glad you guys got away - a much needed respite from all the chaos lately. And you can say whatever you want about the heat and sun, you and Jeff look cool as cucumbers in those photos!

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    1. Haha, I put in the Connecticut reference for you! Funny that we looked cool, we were sweating like fiends.

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  4. What a fun, quaint little vacation. Hope it washed all the renovation stress away. Now you can enjoy your new house!

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    1. It was a good stress reliever for both of us, thanks!

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  5. Now that sounds like a really fun getaway! Perfect timing to use that free gift certificate. And all your food choices--yumm!!

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    1. We had a lot of fun exploring all the different places to eat - for a small area, they had more variety than we do in our town.

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  6. I love playing the It's Vacation card to do stuff you wouldn't ordinarily do. Sounds like a fun time.

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    1. Lucky for us the vacation card was only a couple of days this go-round.

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  7. What a fun getaway!! I'll bet you needed it after all the upheaval of the renovation. What a fun way to treat yourself without spending a lot of money. :)

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    1. It's funny, Jeff has worked there 19 years and this was the first time he won anything at the party. It did work out nicely with our wild spring of renovations!

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  8. For someone whose blog is about getting fit you sure do post a lot of high calorie sugar laden food.

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    1. Now, now Valerie, if you don't have anything nice to say, why bother? Unless you're trying to be a troll.

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  9. What a fun little getaway! My brother and sister in law just moved to New Braunfels and we will be there to visit them on Father's Day weekend! We might have to make a few of these stops that you mentioned!

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    1. You should - it's a really charming area!

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  10. LOL at the dead bugs for your opening image! That sounds like a fun getaway for you guys! :)

    I've been to New Braunfels to go to Schlitterbahn (in fact that was my final destination on the trip when I met you in 2014!) and I've also heard of it for Wurst Fest (which is on my and T's dream travel list), but I had no idea there were cute towns nearby too!

    Also if it makes you feel better, even my childhood is an antique - we had the yellow wall phone in our basement when I was a kid.

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    1. I see a return trip - to Wurst Fest, of course - in your future! Maybe we can run together again. :)

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  11. What a fun trip! I like your quest to try the cinnamon rolls ;) Will this be recurring as you travel?! I'd appreciate a more normal sized one too. When I am with people who get sweet treats they like to split them to share, so sometimes big is okay but I have seen some GINOURMOS fritters!

    That tub with the flowers does look good. There. Ha!!!

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    1. I feel like checking out cinnamon rolls while traveling would be an excellent quest, right?

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  12. What a fun trip! The town looks really neat!!!!

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