We met some dear friends from Chicago and their local family, in Gruene, TX (pronounced "Green") for a little gentle sight-seeing while visiting. You could describe Gruene as a suburb of New Braunfels. It's a tiny town with a rich history, originally cotton farming, and then great music, and now tourism on top of the great music. We met on the corner at Gruene Antiques, then wandered in and out of the various shops.
Buck Pottery gets honorable mention for quality goods above and beyond the typical touristy kitsch.
Not counting our great companions, first prize today went to Gruene Hall, the oldest dance hall in Texas.
Behind the white clapboard Western "false front" there is a saloon, and behind the saloon is the very large music/dance hall. Here you see the back side of the saloon, with a walk up bar for the dancers and music enthusiasts.
The hall is just a perfect slice of authentic living history. It hosts live music every day, some smaller local talent and some infamous, like Willie Nelson and Shawn Colvin, who were both here this week. Check out the long tables and the stage with the painted backdrop. I sure wish we had discovered it earlier. We definitely would have come for both the music and the dancing. We'll just have to come back next time we're in Texas.
On our way home we drove quickly through New Braunfels, another fun town. As luck would have it, we happened upon Naegelin's, the ideal German/Texas bakery. Despite not needing anything, I picked up some Springerle cookies, a pumpernickel loaf, a cinnamon breakfast bread and two cream puffs for dessert. Total indulgence.
As George Strait says about Texas cooking, "We're gonna need some brand new jeans."
That almost does it for Texas, but I am actually going to squeeze in one more, about our stay in Cut and Shoot. Can't resist now that I can do these fast, fast, fast.