TEXAS! Yes, TEXAS is BIG and we might as well admit it’s true... “Texas is a Whole Other Country.” And why shouldn't it be? Any state that has 367 miles of coastline, desert, dry plains, and swamp land along with canyons and caverns, snow, drought, and floods and covers a total of almost 270,000 square miles is BIG. No doubt those of you who drive down to spend the winter in Texas realize quite well just how big we are.
At one time, Texas was the biggest state, but now we are second to Alaska. The last census showed California had more population than Texas so now we are second in population. These figures may change with our current census as many people and businesses from California are relocating to Texas, the friendly state. The word Texas actually comes from an Indian word meaning... friend.
It is hoped that when we travel across Texas that we take time to explore some of the different parts of this large and interesting state. Recently, I was asked to offer Fredericksburg, the Hill Country, to the list of tours that I program. The beautiful hill country is only five hours driving time from the Rio Grande Valley but all too many drivers are too anxious to reach their destination to take time to enjoy that area.
Settled by Germans, Fredericksburg is proud of their German heritage which they keep alive with Festivals and Museums and the food that they offer. German beer gardens still do a thriving business and restaurants offer wurst sausages for the hungry. You might even learn to polka or at least to do the Texas Two Step if you visit one of the Beer Gardens.
The area boasts the home of a former US President, Lyndon Baines Johnson. We can visit his home and ranch and drive by his boyhood home in Johnson City. Admiral Nimitz grew up in Fredericksburg. His home and grounds now house the War of The Pacific Museum, the only museum in the US dedicated to that War. The town of Stonewall located close to Fredericksburg is the Peach Capitol of Texas. If you are in that area in the summer, stop and grab a big juicy peach. Today many wineries are now establishing vineyards in the area. Not to be missed is Enchanted Rock, a huge granite hill that Indians in the area considered enchanted for as the sun goes down and the cool night air contracts the rocks fissures, strange noises can be heard. The rock seemed to be alive and so was enchanted. The meadows and hillsides are a palate of color in the springtime as blue bonnets, paint brushes, wine cups and wild verbenas burst into bloom.
You will be missing a lot unless you spend some time on a tour of Fredericksburg. If not, then plan to stop and explore this area as you travel across Texas.
Photo of Pioneer Museum Courtesy of visitfredericksburgtx.com