Are you aware there are 10 places where you can go bat-shit crazy in the Lone Star State? Particularly in the Hill Country! Yep, the state of Texas is batty about bats! Texans love watching bats emerge in the evenings and they will travel to do it. Most particularly, Texas is crazy about the Mexican Free-tailed Bat who migrates to many parts of the state beginning in March every year. These cool bats spend their winters in Mexico and summers in Texas. Sounds kind of nice, don’t you think? So, why does Texas, or anyone for that matter, care about bat populations, you want to know? Well, the answer is quite simple: bats are a very necessary part of our ecosystem. Throughout history people have viewed bats in a negative fashion, but the fact is that they are a positive force in nature and in farming, for many reasons. They eat a lot of our most detested and bothersome insects such as mosquitoes, they pollinate many plant and tree species, and even their guano (waste) can be mined and used as a very valuable fertilizer. Farmers, especially those in Texas, encourage bats to forage on their lands nightly. Mexican Free-Tailed Bats love eating moths, and moths love to eat corn, cotton, pecans and sorghum from the fields. Did you know that moths can lay 1,000 eggs? Imagine the tons of moths eaten by bats, lowering the number of these pests eating crops. Studies have found that bats save millions of dollars in pesticide costs for farmers all over the United States, and that is good for humans and the economy as well. Texas Hill Country is a bat mecca! [Read more…] about 10 Places You Can Go Bat-Shit Crazy in Texas Hill Country!
A visit to the Gruene Historic District is an absolute MUST when visiting New Braunfels. It is a quaint area with entertainment, shopping, and eating, and what’s better than that? On my visit to New Braunfels I so enjoyed my visit to Gruene with Judy from In New Braunfels. Here is how I heard the story: in the 1840s a German named Ernst Gruene (pronounced Green) decided to immigrate to start a new life. His fiance was not too crazy about the idea and refused to go. Ernst saw a young woman hanging laundry while walking through his village in Germany, and asked her to marry him and move to America. She said yes. And so they came to New Braunfels in 1845, bought land downriver from the settlement, and ended up building a family, a town, a prosperous cotton business, and his wife, Antoinette, undoubtedly ruled the roost.
While visiting the town I really enjoyed seeing photos of the family. Gruene’s history and historic buildings are a lovely place to wander. There is the Gruene Mansion (now an Inn), the Gruene Dance Hall where music is still played every night and Texans can dance to their heart’s content, a general store, more homes, inns, etc. The district is on the national historic register, and everything is kept up beautifully. Right on the river, one can eat, do wine tasting, shop, and dance. Gruene is a very German, but also very Texan, town. I loved it and can’t wait to go back when I have plenty of leisure time to spend the entire day there. Definitely weekend worthy, folks!
Stroll through Downtown New Braunfels! On a recent visit to New Braunfels, Texas, between San Antonio and Austin, I took a Saturday morning stroll with Jan Kingsbury of SPASS Walking Tours. Jan has lived in New Braunfels for most of her life, and knows the city very well indeed! I was fascinated by the history and color of the town. Let’s start our walk at the Farmers Market, open every Saturday!
I hope you will visit New Braunfels soon and discover its German, and Texan, charm for yourself!
Thank you to IN NEW BRAUNFELS FOR HOSTING ME!
I recently had a Beautiful Morning on the Guadelupe River, near the quaint town of New Braunfels. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a water girl. Whether I am diving in it, snorkeling in it, swimming in it, looking at it, kayaking in it, or rafting in it, I am happy. That’s not to say I haven’t had a mishap here and there, and my beautiful trip on the Guadelupe had some exciting moments, but hey, that is par for the course!
My gracious hosts at In New Braunfels set me up with Rockin’ R, and I was so lucky to have Woody Welch as my guide. Woody is an expert on the Guadelupe, and is writing a book about it. He is a professional photographer, conservationist and fellow water enthusiast, so I was very excited to be with someone so experienced. The Guadelupe is low, but there are still some rapids and waterfalls to navigate. The second waterfall we went through was the one I fell out of the boat on, Clutter Falls. I was cluttered all right! But after a few moments I was able to steady myself against a rock, work my raft/kayak free, and float down to where I could get back on. A few colorful bruises and scrapes, but happy to be back paddling the river.
We were paddling for 3 and 1/2 hours, and we did not see another human being the entire time. We saw blue heron, red hawks, peregrine falcons, geese, ducks, cormerants, and deer on our journey. It was absolutely peaceful and spectacular at the same time. I had no idea it was so beautiful! The water was teal! New Braunfels is a beautiful place, and one you should make time to visit! I hope you enjoy my photographic journey on the Guadelupe!
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I’ve always wanted to have an adventure in New Braunfels, Texas, but I had no idea just how fun and exciting it would be! I’ll be posting several blogs on this amazing Texas town, so consider this PART ONE. Thank you to In New Braunfels for hosting me!
Last year I made myself a promise that I would be exploring more and more of Texas during 2018. My husband and I drove through Gruene (pronounced Green) Historic District several years ago, but didn’t explore the area other than a quick walk and meal in Gruene. Gruene Hall is where the country dance scenes for the John Travolta film, “Michael” were shot. Fortunately, I recently spent a memorable weekend in New Braunfels, and had an amazing time. There is so much to do in the area! Two rivers to raft and kayak in, Schlitterbahn (a family owned park that has been the #1 Waterpark in the World for the last 20 Years. Located on the banks of the spring-fed Comal River in New Braunfels, Schlitterbahn’s flagship waterpark has 51 attractions on over 70 acres!), Landa Park, the cutest downtown filled with one of a kind shops and restaurants, a Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, and of course, Gruene. The offerings were more than I could do in one weekend, so you can be sure I will be going back!
New Braunfels is famous in Texas for its festivals, especially Wurstfest, a 10 day German festival in November. The town was named and founded by Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels from Braunfels, Hesse, Germany, and the German flavor is deeply embedded in the town and its people. During 1844, German settlers came with Prince Carl to the place where the Comal River and the Guadelupe River meet. New settlers in 1846 from Germany founded Fredericksburg, Texas, another place I want to visit!
I visited restaurants, bakeries, the Farmer’s Market, Krause’s Biergarten, and enjoyed the various historical murals of the town. I spent an afternoon with Judy, VP of the Chamber of New Braunfels, and a morning with Jan Kingsbury of Spass Walking Tours. When you go to New Braunfels, you should absolutely contact Jan! The walking tour was so much fun, which is what Spass means in German. I had such an interesting time with her. Check out my fabulous walking tour!
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