Friday, February 28, 2014

An Evening in Gruene!

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The locals call it “GREEN” just like the color --

Arriving in Texas in the mid 1840s, German farmers became the first settlers of what is now known as Gruene, Texas. Ernst Gruene, a German immigrant, and his bride Antoinette, had reached the newly established city of New Braunfels in 1845, but acreage was scarce. So Ernst and his two sons purchased land just down river and settled in!

What is left now is a charming little town full of shops, eateries and a perfect place to wander on a pleasantly warm evening in late February... while back home in North Carolina, folks were freezing and fighting winter storms. 

How did I luck out to have missed the worst winter that the Southeast had seen in years?  Something must be right somewhere because Irene and I had a great time in Gruene!

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Historical markers…I have to stop and read these!

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Homes along the street are turned into shops for browsing!

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One antique place, full of English antiques – yes--- from England, no less ((In GRUENE, Texas?!)) had a large collection of old old family bibles, and I was quite surprised when I opened up this one to find the family history still inside:

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It’s all my maiden name: WILKINSON!

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Were these long distant relatives many times removed?

Who knows.  It didn’t list a town ---and it’s not an uncommon name in England, but it still tickles me when I come across someone with the same surname as me.  This bible was selling for $295.  But the photos were free!

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As evening fell, we walked up the street past a popular biker destination.

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And the Gruene General Store!

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Old time counters full of candy, jams and fudge!

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Hahahaha!  We found the sign for next year’s mystery!

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BACON Mustache anyone? LOL

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Blue Bell ice cream is THE BEST EVER!

We were making a beeline for our dinner destination –the Gristmill on the river.  On our way we passed the Gruene Dance Hall – the first dance hall built in Texas!

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Gruene Hall, built in 1878, is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. By design, not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built. 

The 6,000 square foot dance hall with a high pitched tin roof still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden. Advertisement signs from the 1930s and 40s still hang in the old hall and around the stage.  Big name artists have played and continue to play here –it’s always a good time in Gruene!

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Yes, I stopped to read another marker sign!

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Dinner at the Gristmill!

Situated on a bluff overlooking the Guadalupe River, this spectacular restaurant nestled under the shade of towering oak trees has been the perfect getaway for a unique casual dining experience for thirty years.

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Situated on the banks of the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio, the Gruene cotton gin processed crops raised by area farmers until the wooden structure burned to the ground in 1922.  All that remains of the water-powered mill today is the three story brick boiler room – now the Gristmill River Restaurant.

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Exposed brick walls and rooms with no ceilings at all provide an interesting setting for a really great meal!  There is more open seating out doors on the many-leveled decks overlooking the beautiful Guadalupe river.

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It was the perfect evening for dining outside!

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This lady was watching me take photos..LOL

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This was our view from our table on the deck!

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By the time we left, it was getting too dark to take photos..and the lights on the famous Gruene water tower were on as darkness began to fall!

Things are open late in Gruene, so there was plenty of time to browse the antique mall ---I’ll get to that in another post, there are too many photos to put down here!

If you have a chance to find yourself in the hill country of Texas, DO make a stop in Gruene – it’s a very unique place and not to be missed!

It’s a chilly morning up at the cabin ---24 out when I took Sadie for her morning walk.  As soon as I get the computer work completed, this girl is spending the day at the sewing machine – I can’t WAIT!

Have a great Friday, everyone!

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  1. As always, thanks for taking us along with you. Maybe the lady watching you take pictures recognized you and is saying "That's Bonnie Hunter!"

    Myrna in KY.

  2. Bonnie- That Bible was fascinating to me too as my married name is Wilkinson. I will have to ask my in-laws if they know of any of these names. So glad you share these things with us. Enjoy your sewing time. We are finally having some rain in California. Every bit helps! K-

  3. Gruene is a great place. Several years ago my sons and I visited Gruene and ate on the deck in your picture. It brought back good memories. You are right Blue Bell is the best! We even have it in Kansas now. Enjoy your time at the cabin. You have certainly earned it.

  4. And the Dance Hall is where the filmed the dance hall scene in the movie Micheal with John Travolta

  5. Hope you had the catfish - it's the best! We live in San Antonio and love to head up to the Grist Mill every couple of months for a wonderful evening out. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  6. Since "gruene" means green in German, you can't fault the natives for going with the Gringo pronunciation!

  7. Love the no whining sign

  8. I LOVE Gruene - my Mom, sister and I go every time I visit Texas (my family lives in Austin). The food at the mill is awesome, isn't it! The artichoke dip is unbelievable. I have seen a couple of "no name" bands play at the dance hall who later became quite famous. Fun stuff! Thanks for the memories, as I haven't been back for a couple of years.

  9. Isn't Texas a marvelous State! I love the almost free-wheeling feeling you get while there. And everything is just plain different than TN! Ok, different from just about anywhere.

    You have added yet another town to our travel list of good places.

    Thanks, and have a WONDERFUL time
    Smiles, JulieinTN

  10. You bet your sweet Bippy about Blue Bell! Blue Bell, the best ice cream in the country - that's what the commercial used to say and they wouldn't lie! It's true that the employees eat all they can, which is why it just would not do for me to work there! Glad I don't live in Brenham TX where it's made!

  11. Bonnie,
    Wonderful photos of Texas trip. I just love Texas. BTW, a few minutes ago, I watched a sneak preview of The Quilt Show's filming in San Antonio ... saw your smiling face and the "big quilt" lol. Waiting anxiously to see your segment when it airs.
    Bev H.

  12. What a neat place! As a genealogy buff, I have to say how sad that the family bible isn't in the hands of family/descendants. Thanks for sharing your pictures. Would love to visit Gruene!

  13. All us Texans gotta have our Blue Bell. Love that place. Will need to go back soon!

  14. All us Texans gotta have our Blue Bell. Love that place. Will need to go back soon!

  15. Oh MAN!! Why didn't you call me? I told you a couple of posts ago that the Gristmill was my FAVORITE!!! My dopey kid even went there without me--was probably there the same night you were!!! :-(( DARN! HA

  16. What a fabulous set of photographs. Makes me want to be there. I so enjoy touring with you! Woul love to visit sometime.

  17. Thanks for sharing Gruene with us. And I hope you actually got to spend the day with your sewing machine.

  18. Anonymous12:19 AM EST

    Thank you for sharing the Bible, I had a quick look as my MIL is a Wilkin, but her grandfather was a Wilkinson, he changed it when he came to America, I have his daughter's school primer, and in it she still records her name as Wilkinson!



  19. What a nice little town.
    Maybe I will get to Texas some day.Thank you.

  20. I hope you bought that "No Whining" sign!
    Perfect for your sewing room. Lol!
    I'll be looking for it during the next Quilt Cam...

  21. Greune is one of my favorite places! And bluebell is the best! The only consolation of living in ohio is that outback serves bluebell homemade vanilla in all of its restaurants. A little taste of home!

  22. Another exciting trip I precariously take with you. I could believe I was there until I look out my window and see that blasted #%&&%$#$ snow. *sigh*


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