Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fredericksburg, Texas

Roger here..... Still in the Texas Hill country!
We have driven through Fredericksburg several times during our recent exploits. On Monday we parked the car and spent the afternoon in this scenic town that is full of German Heritage. The town, named after Prince Frederick of Prussia, was founded in 1845. The town is about ten blocks in length and full of restaurants, shops, museums, parks, and music. We parked at one end and walked all the way down one side of the street before crossing and walking back on the other side.

Our first stop was at the Fredericksburg Coffee and Tea shop, where Dianne bought several six-cup packages of coffee. The lady at the counter recommended Texas Pecan coffee (everything here is Texas-something), so we were sure to get some of that. (Dianne here: Because of our new lifestyle in small quarters, our souvineers now tend to be either wearable (T-shirts) or consumable (wine or coffee).

Lunchtime was approaching and we were kind of hungry. We intended to eat at Hondo's (the door with the prickly pear cactus
Christmas tree), but it was closed on Mondays, despite the "open" sign. As we wandered on down the street we passed the public Markplatz (marketplace), a large park that included a twenty-six-foot-tall Christmas pyramid
that was handcrafted in Germany specifically for Fredericksburg. Dianne is standing in front of the tower, to help illustrate the size. In the far background, not visible, a public ice-skating rink was set up for the holidays.

We checked out several crowded German restaurants and finally opted to eat at the less-crowded Rathskeller, a small stone place located below street-level.
The reuben sandwich I had was delicious. The homemade
peach bread pudding with caramel sauce dessert that Dianne and I shared may be the best non-ice-cream dessert I have had in years, if ever. (Dianne here: I assumed the peach dessert would be good, because this area is known for its delicious peaches in the summer. There are peach stands everywhere, but of course they are all closed for the winter.)

On down the street, people were enjoying Texas-style food outside while a cowboy played his guitar and sang - the same cowboy that we heard at the Grape Creek Winery last Saturday! He obviously gets around.

Our longest, and most interesting, stop was at the Admiral Nimitz/National Museum of the Pacific War. Chester Nimitz grew up in Fredericksburg. His grandfather operated the four-story hotel
in the picture that now houses the Nimitz portion of the museum. At the rear exit, a huge propeller
from the Aircraft Carrier Essex dominated an interesting walk through memorial-ladened gardens, including a Peace Garden
donated by Japan. The outside walk led to the extensive Pacific War exhibits that were housed in the recently expanded H.W. Bush Gallery.
We spent a couple of hours wandering through the fascinating displays (many interactive), artifacts, and memorabilia. We could have spent days. Because the exhibits were backlit and in darkened areas, we only took one photo - that of an excerpt regarding the recapture of Guam,
where Dianne's father, a Marine, was awarded a Purple Heart and Silver Star. (My dad was stationed in the Philippines, where he built bridges with the Army Corps of Engineers).

If you want to read the print in the photos, click on them and they will enlarge.

(Dianne again: My dad told some harrowing stories about the Battle of Guam, especially landing on the beach amid machine-gun fire and losing friends who were running right alongside him. He was just a kid when he fought there, 18 years old. Like many other teen-agers, he enlisted right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
He lay outside all night, severely injured, before it was safe for him to be carried out, then spent a year recovering in various hospitals. He came very close to not surviving that battle, which of course would have meant I would not be here right now writing this blog. Whether or not you have a family member who fought in the Pacific Theater during World War II, this museum is very well done and well worth the visit.)

After the museum tour, we crossed the wide, wide, wide street (wide enough for cattle drives) and started our trip back to the car. We hesitated in front of the Auslander restaurant to listen to the country music that escaped onto the sidewalk - too early for dinner, or we would have gone in.
I love architecture, so it was easy for me to enjoy the unique limestone buildings
as we sauntered down the street. The photo of the mansion-like building is actually the town library.

We made a short stop at the Fredericksburg Winery right on Main Street, where we tasted and purchsed two bottles of wine, including a bottle of white "Vintner's Cuvee" to share with our friends Chuck and Cindy when we see them in March. Dianne also bought a Save Texas Water, Drink Texas Wine t-shirt, that features the Texas flag that she likes so much. Then, on to the car and back to the boys in the motor home.

Check back soon, because we are really in the "tourist mode" this week, and have lots to share about this area.


Margie and Roger said...

Beautiful buildings! You deserve being in tourist mode after being in Amazon-mode! Looking forward to reading about your other adventures.

Karen said...

Looks like an interesting place to visit. My husband and I both lived on Guam in the mid 1960's. There was a Japanese soldier that was discovered at that time, that had been there hiding in the boonies since the war. He didn't know the war war over after all those years!

That looks like a place we will have to visit when we become full timers.

RV Marlan said...

Sheri and I love Fredericksburg. We go there quite a bit as we live in Austin and can do it in about 90 minutes. The town has a nice little German festival too - a bit more tame than Wurstfest down in New Braunfels. You made a really nice write-up about the town.