On our first full day in Texas, Sam and I went to Gruene with my Daddy. I grew up going to a lot of these surrounding hill country towns on weekends, like Gruene and New Braunfels and Fredericksburg. The family would pack in the van and take a day trip, sometimes loaded with a little cooler of orange soda and sandwiches. If we were lucky, we got to have lunch at a german restaurant or a pit bar-b-q joint. We would spend the day browsing antique stores, and we might even leave with a little "penny" candy.

If you ever find yourself in Gruene (or in the area):

1) Gruene Hall- is Texas' oldest dance hall. We stopped in for a root beer (yeah, we totally looked like zoobies). You will see everything from young girls in cowboy boots all ready for the band to start playing, to old couples who stand in the exact same spot by the bar and won't even move over when you try to walk by. The floors are so completely worn down, that there are ridges where the harder parts of the wood have taken longer to smooth out. The thick slab tables have no spare inch of carvings, and the windows are covered in chicken wire. The stage has big, aluminum industrial lights, and a hand-painted backdrop of a hill country landscape. It is just so completely Texas.

2) Antique store- I can't remember the name of the store, but you won't miss it. It's right on the corner next to the Hall, and it's BIG. I ran my hand over every little thing, and calculated in my head how much of a hassle it would be to pack all of this pretty Pyrex into my luggage for the flight home. (I had to pass). Sam almost bought a great pair of cufflinks that had working compasses on them.

3) Cooper's or Rudy's- Both places are great, although I prefer Rudy's. But, we wanted to try something new this time we took a chance with Cooper's. They are both pit bar-b-q joints, where they cut you a slab of meat and throw it onto a piece of wax paper, which serves as a plate. Grab a bowl of pinto beans, and cobbler for dessert. It's about the same at any pit bar-b-q, until you get to the sauce. That's where the test is.

I can't take a trip to Texas without seeing a little of the hill country.
If you ever want suggestions for other towns in that area, let me know!


  1. We need to go to the Salt Lick next time. I've never been but everyone says it's the best.

  2. BB King and Lyle Lovett are playing there next month.