Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lunching, Luckenbach, and Leaving

I've decided to cram all these last bits on Texas (lunching, Luckenbach, and leaving) into one post because, hello alliteration! It always makes for a good post, alliteration does. 
The Peach Tree
If one should ever find oneself in Fredericksburg, Texas, one should most definitely go to The Peach Tree for lunch. 
Dining at The Peach Tree
What a cute restaurant and gift shop! I guess the owner has a few cookbooks out and it's quite the popular little eatery. 
Pimento & cheese sandwich with avacado soup
I had a pimento cheese half sandwich with a cup of cold avocado soup. It was pretty wonderful, check out more food (and wonderful food pictures) from our lunch at The Peach Tree here on Jan's blog. Seriously, go look. Now.
NOW! Her photos are gorgeous, even of crossaint sandwiches. 
Hondo's in Fredericksburg 
One day we also hit up Hondo's, which we could smell from down the street, and so how could we not? 
Hondo's for lunch 
I did something really weird for me, I ordered vegetarian. In Texas. On vacation.
{Cue Twilight Zone music.}
I ordered vegetarian. Ask the other girls if you don't believe me. 
In hindsight, I should have gone for one of the burgers or BBQ meals the other girls had, but for some reason my mouth opened and I requested the portobello mushroom burger--which was good, but vegetarian. In. Texas. 
Portabello mushroom burger 
With our trip coming to a close we had one last outing, we were headed to the famous Luckenbach dance hall. But first, Jan, Edie, and I did a little boot photoshoot. To boot!
Cowgirl boot photoshoot
As well as a photo shoot of ourselves... this shot took a lot of planning, people. Three DSLR cameras, propped up on a staircase. One with a remote shutter that went haywire, two with timers so we all had to run and pose.
Texas Lutheran Ladies 
Of course, we also did the required "circle of shoes" (or in this case, boots) shot. 

Cowgirl Boots! 
Finally, our last night in Texas, it was time to head off to Luckenbach (Pop. 3) which is about 13 miles from Fredericksburg. This place is famous, you know. Movies have been filmed here. Seriously.
Luckenbach at night 
Luckenbach is more of a ghost town, but the dance hall is still quite the attraction. I think some of us were expecting a packed room of line dancing young folk like they have here at the Grizzly Rose or Toby Keith's. Instead, we found classic Texas...
Singer who looks like Molly Shannon 
The cutest older couples and a few younger couples drifted skillfully around the dance floor. They were really good at their country-style waltzing and fox-trotting, let me tell you. 
Dancers at Luckenbach 
We didn't dance!
It was still fun, though, we all ordered Lime-a-Rita's and hung out watching the dancers while a singer who resembled Molly Shannon crooned on stage. 
What can I say? It was all over way too quickly!
All of a sudden it was Saturday morning and Edie & Gretchen left at the crack of dawn (or maybe even earlier?), then Lauren and Adriane headed out back to Illinois and Missouri. Lastly, it was our turn to leave, Jan, Kellee and I packed up the mini {van not cooper} and headed to San Antoinio. 
A Texas Downpour
There was a downpour on our way to the airport, but we had plenty of time for that sort of business. In fact, we even had enough time to stop by the Alamo when we got to San Antonio. 
So now I can say I've done that. The Alamo. 
THE Alamo 
It was pretty, despite the rain. 
Alamo Tree 
I sort of teased Jan & Kellee for how silly they looked with shopping bags over their heads...
Jan & Kellee at the Alamo 
But then when we got back to the car they both looked great and my hair was a flattened, wet mess. Sorry girls, joke was on me, I guess.
Looking ridiculous at the Alamo 
Back to sunny Colorado!
Magnificent clouds 

At Denver International Airport I was greeted by my favorite people in the entire world. It was wonderful to be home and see my Pies again {although I won't lie, there were tantrums later that night that made me wish I was back in Texas for just one more day}.
Coming home! 
I was prepared to give my husband a break for the messy, chaotic home I was sure to come home to. But it turns out that I might just have to take off more often! I came home to a perfectly clean house, and Justin cooked a wonderful dinner. 
Roasted brussel sprouts 
Roasted brussel sprouts with aioli and chicken paprikash. 
It was so sweet and such a wonderful homecoming dinner!
It's true what they say, a little distance makes the heart grow fonder.
We don't spend much time apart, but when we do, it seems it can be good for a marriage. 
My cute vintage luggage!

So thankful to these girls for including me in such an amazing, memorable trip.

It was perfect and I will never forget it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Texas: Wildseed & Wineries

In which we encounter a wine tasting...control freak. 
{I'm trying to be nice here, but remember that one Seinfeld episode about the Soup Nazi?}
Wildseed Farms 
On day 3 we hit up a sweet little place on the outskirts of Fredericksburg called Wildseed Farms. For those of you who are from Colorado, it's basically like Hudson Gardens times a hundred. 
Cactus at Wildseed Farms 
A gardener's dream, a landscaper's dream, they have a plant shop and a seed shop and a gift shop, as well as fields where they grow beautiful plants. 
Wildseed Farms seed shop 
{Sorry, Kellee, another photo of the back of your head ;-) }

Look, if it weren't for TSA's rules I would have tried to sneak much of this greenery on the plane. Next time I visit Fredericksburg it will be on a road trip with a trailer so that I can take some of this home with me. 
Gorgeous plants for sale 
Here is a photo of Jan & I, a self-portrait, at Wildseed Farms. 
Jan & Heather at Wildseed Farms 
I wish I could redo my wedding and have it here, it'd be the perfect location for such an event:
Wildseed Farms - plants for sale 
Through the shop they have lush gardens with paths you can walk through. 
Lush in Texas 
I took a lot of these self-portraits in Texas. I think I might just have to do a collage of all these shots just for fun...
At Wildseed Farms 
If nothing else, Wildseed Farms provided a tranquil, beautiful place for us girls to chat and get to know each other a little more. It was a calm, uneventful outing, but I think it was just what we needed. 
Jan & Edie 
Here we all are, except for Jan, who took this picture...
Lutheran Ladies at Wildseed 
But of course, after a nice relaxing stroll through Wildseed, we all had an urge to wet our whistles. What we needed was a winery. 
Walking around the beautiful Wildseed Farms 
While we were originally planning on hitting up the countryside for good wineries, toward the end of the day we decided that it might be better to stay in Fredericksburg itself and visit a winery located in town...
The Fredericksburg Winery 
So we ended up at the Fredericksburg Winery on the main street...and we had a bit of an interesting experience.
Fredericksburg Winery 
I have to say, this was my first official wine tasting at an actual winery. 
We were traveling with Gretchen, who writes food & wine articles, and most of the other girls had been to a winery, I think. As for me, I had no idea what to expect. Upon first inspection, the winery looked interesting...
The pretty wines at a very strange winery. 
This winery offers tastings for free--you can sample five of their wines, but there is a catch...
You CANNOT go backward! 
Sidetracking, here is a photo of Kellee & me at the winery.
Heather & Kellee 
I have to admit, I hesitated about posting this. But after reading so many reviews on this winery's Yelp page that mirrored our experience {and go read some, they are amusing}, I decided that you know what? It's already out there, so I'm going to tell it like it is. 

Our first wine tasting in Fredericksburg went like this: We walked in, were greeted and encouraged to sample their wines. The employee at the counter informed us that we must taste wines in order from dry to sweet, we cannot deviate, we cannot taste a sweet wine and then go back to dry. We must only progress from DRY to SWEET. There will no jumping around! {Keep in mind, this is my first time at a winery...}
Fredericksburg Winery 
So we started tasting wines... but when one of us asked to taste one that was drier than the one before, we were reprimanded, "This is why I told you you cannot go backward!!!" 
Wow, I thought, this wine tasting business is intense!
As we tasted our first and second wines, we were moved down the counter, left to right, just like the Mad Hatter insisted on in Alice in Wonderland--we had to move down the table, and we were ordered to do so. 

But then, another party walked in behind us, and they made the very grave mistake of heading toward the right end of the counter! Oh no! They were starting at the WRONG END! What were they thinking?!

Obviously, our ever-legalistic winery employee jumped on them right away. "What are you doing down there? You need to start over here! You cannot go backwards! No sweets before dry!!!" Then she snapped at her co-worker while pointing at the group, "Get them away from there!"

It. was. intense. 
Just when I was thinking that I really should have done more research on proper winery etiquette before this trip, Lauren and Gretchen started leading us out. 
"Let's go, this lady is crazy..." they said. 
"You mean this isn't normal?" I asked with relief. 
Apparently not!

So we did, in fact, drive out to the country after all. 
We ended up at a wonderful little winery called Messina Hof.
Grape vines  
Here am I, at Messina Hof:
Heather at Messina Hof 
It was much classier, and had less of a boot camp feel and more of a yay-we're-on-vacation feel. Perfect. 
Messina Hof Winery 
A charming man with a big personality greeted us from behind one of the bars, and we told him about the experience we'd just had with the...ahem...very uptight winery we'd just been to. 
 He responded with a smile, and told us many a customer had come to Messina Hof after experiencing the craziness at the Fredericksburg winery. Well, shoot...
Messina Hof 
While the tasting wasn't free (only $10) at Messina hof, it was just so worth it and so much better. And you know what? We went from dry to sweet and back again, and no one yelled at us! I am still in shock over how good their sherry tasted, and how impressed I was with their private reserve port. Their wines were SO good. 
I brought a bottle of the port home with me, in fact.
Messina Hof Winery 
Now I can say I've been wine tasting, and I know it's actually not supposed to be scary at all.  
Wine tasting at Messina Hof!
I don't regret the first wine tasting experience at all, it gives us a funny story to tell and something crazy to reminisce about. But, I'm very glad we ended up at Messina Hof, too. 

It was wine-derful. 
Haha. Get it?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Texas: Shopping Fredericksburg

Lovely pillows
Shopping Fredericksburg, Texas, was oh so fun!
I guess I had low expectations? Hey, I've been to pretty much every touristy mountain town of Colorado, I thought I knew what a western/southwestern tourist town shopped like. There are the shops with the carved bear signs, the shops with the fudge, and the shops with the "antiques" {which are not really antiques}.

To my surprise and delight, Fredericksburg had some genuinely unique little shops! Most of them I captured no good photos of. But here's a little post for you anyway...
Hospital turned kitchen shop in Fredericksburg, TX
This was apparently the old hospital in Fredericksburg. These days, it's a shop called Der K├╝chen Laden. Aka, The Kitchen Store. Like most stores in Fredericksburg, you walk in thinking it's tiny, and then it goes back into Narnia. It was HUGE! I bought biscuit cutters, a pie bird, and some gifts.
Building in Fredericksburg
The typical main street Fredericksburg building looked like this. Not what I'm used to as far as old western towns, at all.
Chocolate covered pickles, bacon, and jalapenos
There is fudge, sure, but also chocolate covered pickles, chocolate covered bacon, and chocolate covered jalapenos.
Shop in Fredericksburg
Oh how I wish I'd snapped some photos inside this store. Oh well.
Fredericksburg, TX
Lots of two-storied shops with balconies. Reminded me more of New Orleans than the typical western town. Fredericksburg was settled by Germans, maybe that has something to do with it...
Shopping in Fredericksburg
And by golly, it was just all so pretty.
Antiques in Fredericksburg
Cowgirl boot shot!
One of our favorite shops on the Fredericksburg strip was simply called Red.
The shop, Red, in Fredericksburg, TX
Red had all sorts of good looking home decor and goods.
Lots of inspiration.
Shopping at Red
Okay, there was a little small town touristy junk, too.
Like this underwear joke doormat. Inside joke.
Basically, Jan likes to buy everyone underwear.
Underwear joke
We also hit up more than one antique store. My favorite!!
The Attic
Okay, so I didn't buy any antiques, but the best part is just looking. Edie bought a set of antlers in this antique shop...
Antiquing in Texas
LOTS of hot sauces. Also, this photo reflects only about 1/10 of this shop.
I am proud to say, I sampled a ghost pepper salsa in this shop.
It was HOT.
Hot sauce shopping
This blue truck, technically outside a shop, but worth buying nonetheless, right?
Truck Yeah
Texas state pillows were everywhere. Now I want to make a Colorado pillow, it'd be easy. Our state is already square.
Texas Pillows
Everything is bigger in Texas.
Giant hat & boots
Of course--how could we pass up a Goodwill in Texas? Jan spotted it, we stopped immediately.
There was nothing good. We left immediately.
Texas, "go big or go home" also applies to the prices.
Okay, just kidding, but
I might have bought this mirror, if it were under $500. Or maybe $50.
Cowgirl Mirror
Western gear is in no shortage in Texas!
Again, I wish I had snapped better photos of the shops, but here's what I have. Check out my friend Jan's post on shopping in Fredericksburg.
It was a lot of fun, that little town has some fantastic and unique stores.
FUN shop in Fredericksburg, TX
One last stop, we checked out this cute old house which is a shop called Smitten...
Smitten in Fredericksburg, TX
This photo doesn't do it justice, but I would have bought the entire kitchen if I could have! Smitten is a definite stopping point in Fredericksburg. If nothing else than to see the old, cute house.
{cell phone pic...eeewwww!}
Smitten Kitchen
It was humid and warm down in Texas!
Here I am, on day two, enjoying main street.
Shopping in Fredericksburg

Okay people, what do you want to hear about next?
The wineries?
Wildseed Farms?

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