Sunday House

Sunday House

Although everywhere in Central Texas remains hot and dry, late July was a good time to take a staycation in Fredericksburg, one of our favorite Hill Country towns.

I went with Linda to this very German place for a miniature family reunion and to conduct tour research. My 89-year-old Uncle Elmore resides in Fbg in an assisted-living center, so it was easier to go to him than vice-versa. My mom came north from Corpus with sister Rose, who otherwise lives in Munich. Sister Carol drove from Houston with her husband, Salty the photographer, and 10-year-old son, Aidan.

Queen-Sized Dietzel Motel room

queen-sized Dietzel Motel room

For lodging, we chose the locally owned and operated Dietzel Motel, located on Fbg’s west end where US 87 and 290 split. The rooms are clean and recently remodeled, and windows look out on a large, open green space behind the building. The lack of wifi was a plus to me, as easily distracted as I am. From the parking lot, we could see the transmitting tower of radio station KNAF, where I’d done my first broadcasting in 1974.

We all arrived by late afternoon and, after a swim, brief nap, and short visit with our uncle, we went together downtown for supper. Our feast was had in the ever-popular Fbg Brewing Company front room in sight of their fermentation tanks behind the bar. The ales and lagers are named for the area’s heritage, and the German food was true to form. I enjoyed the Pioneer Porter and Uberbachen Schweinsnitzel. Almost everyone enjoyed the meal, but I recommend against the fish tacos.

suds for every taste

suds for every taste

While there, I was keen to show sister Rose the fanciful murals that adorn the back room biergarten, which resembles a village street scene in  southern Germany, replete with lederhosen-clad herren and stein-toting frauen. Upstairs is the Bed and Brew for accommodations close to this elbow-bending spot, and this same proprietor also owns the whimsical Hangar Hotel out by the airport.

That evening after our repast, we did a bit of window shopping along Hauptstrasse, then returned to the Dietzel. A program on the History Channel, Life After People, ran late into the night. It’s based on the book The World Without Us, postulating what would happen if humans suddenly vanished. It made me muse on our transience.

Stone, Timber, Sands of Time

Stone, Timber, Sands of Time

Wednesday morning was the time set aside to visit Elmore again. It was a fun time talking about days gone by, current events, and future plans. Then, we headed back to the heart of town and strolled shops, galleries, and eateries. I rekindled an interest in Fachwerk, the German version of half-timbering. Fine examples stand here and in other Teutonic Texas settlements, such as Comfort. I also love the ubiquitous Sunday Houses. Linda and I spend a few quiet moments in the Japanese Garden of Peace back of the National Museum of the Pacific War on the old Nimitz Hotel property.

Berkman Books

Berkman Books

Wandering alone, I happened upon Berkman Books. Even though I’m running out of shelves, bound volumes always lure me. With an assuredly homey atmosphere, the store also features two shop cats, Emily and Waldo. Combing the Texana section, I gleaned a biography of Jean Lafitte, a picture book called Austin Then and Now, and a hardcover by Boyce House, an almost-forgotten humor columnist from San Antonio in the mid-40s.

Since I live near Berkman Drive in Austin, I asked the store staff about any coincidence. Sure enough, the book-selling Berkmans had come from the Capital City and are distantly related to the dairy farmer whose land became my neighborhood. Only in Texas!

Hilly Henge 'n' Head

Hilly Henge 'n' Head

More people are discovering that a second Stonehenge exists right here in the Lone Star State. On our way south towards San Antonio from Fbg, sister Carol’s family, Linda, and I traced the Guadalupe River upstream to Hunt, then followed the North Fork a short way to this amazing replica. About two-thirds scale, the monumental circle was built over several years beginning in the late 80s in a broad pasture just off Ranch Road 1340. The exhibit’s newest additions are two Easter Island heads, standing 13 feet tall a respectable distance from the Druidic piece.

We had just enough time to make a quick circle through Comfort before entering IH 10 and continuing to the Alamo Café in San Antonio. Here we met cousins Johnny and Helen. With the abundant portions, no one left hungry.

This trip proved that you don’t need to drive far to get away, and that something new awaits around the next bend.

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