Under the starry skies of Texas

What could be better than a beautiful evening outdoors featuring friends and great music? The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion which is in the Woodlands Texas is a place for just that!  When I saw that one of my favorite 80s groups was coming to town almost six months ago I thought, yes!  I’m going to that!  I was never allowed to go to concerts because of perceived drugs or alcohol that surrounded bands like Pink Floyd.  But 80s bands were different.  I just have to mention this because now is so different from then. Now a days teens listen to music that glorifies drugs.  At the concert they played “White Lines” referring to cocaine, the message in the song is not to glorify but describe the reality of it.  I didn’t think much about the 80s area growing up, however, looking back it was awesome!  There was a sweetness to it at least for me.

So not being a concert goer extraordinaire, I will say that an outdoor concert is now my favorite!   It took a long time for be to be allowed to go see the band I wanted to!   I selected lawns seats which wouldn’t give you a close up view, but figured who cares?  It’s so laid back and knowing almost everyone of their songs you are free to sing and dance with a little more freedom!  And the other concert goers were very nice and seemed to just enjoy!

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Some concerts have a lot of theatrics, this one was all about the music which is great when you know almost every word.  You are in the zone just singing and listening to songs that you may have heard thousands of times!  Tributes were paid to David Bowie and Prince who recently passed.  The Prince tribute was nice, they turned the lights purple and played their song, “Save a Prayer”.  Another big difference between now and then is that people would holdup lighters for songs they enjoyed, now a days it’s the flash light on your cell phone !

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I also got my first concert t-shirt 🙂

Duran Duran released a new album last year called Paper Gods.  I don’t know any of the songs, however clued into the fact that the songs seem cynical…ugh!  What I liked most about Duran Duran’s 80s songs are their positive lyrics.  One of my favorites…”Ordinary World”…

But I won’t cry for yesterday
There’s an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find
And as I try to make my way
To the ordinary world
I will learn to survive

I don’t like to admit it, music is very impactful.  Is it that I grew up with these words that influenced my life today and the way that I think?  Or is it that I was going there anyway and these words validated that?

One last thing, Cynthia Woods is next to an outdoor shopping area that is filled with really nice restaurants and shops.   You can eat outside in a little cozy cafe town environment.  This is a really nice alternative to the old mall setting.  We had a great dinner before the concert and walked over afterwards.  Super nice!!!

Under the starry skies of Texas

Girls Weekend Salado TX

This weekend was girls weekend!!  Guys and girls alike need to plan for a weekend together!    It feeds the soul!   After a few changes we made plans to visit Salado Texas.  I had never even heard of it.  It’s a secret treat!    One of our friends lives close to Salado and we piled in a couple of cars and made the trip to stay with her.  The town she lives in is called Round Rock just outside of Austin.  One friend and I always wanted to visit the actual round rock the town was named after.  It is really cool.  It is in Brushy Creek. The round rock marked an important water crossing for Indians and early settlers.  The water is clear and the bottom is rocky.  The settlers used the stone in and around the creek to build pioneer homes.  The Brushy Creek Post office was established in 1851 and the town that grew up around it was renamed Round Rock after the stone in 1854.

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The area around here is part of the Chisholm Trail.  It was a freight route that went onto Kansas and Oklahoma.   The trail  in this area was for transporting longhorn cattle.  In heavy rains this area floods.  On this day the water was up to the bottom of my shorts in the middle of the creek.  The water was cool and I absolutely love the fact that you can see clear to the bottom.  It’s a pretty green.

We got up early in the morning and visited Waco which is further than Salado.  The girls wanted to see Magnolia Farms because of the TV show Fixer Upper (mentioned in another post) and we visited a farm market and had lunch at a local bar and grill.  We also visited the suspension bridge.  It was originally a toll bridge in 1870.  One of the coolest things is that the Baylor students throw tortillas onto a platform off the bridge.  If your tortilla lands on the platform you will be engaged within a year.  That is so neat!  I would have never known this without my friend!  She is such a cool person…love her!!!

 

In front of the entrance is a sculpture of many longhorns guided by a vaquero and a cowboy and it’s called Branding the Brazos.   The suspension bridge crosses the Brazos River.

Onto Salado…Salado is off of Interstate 35.  It is the cutest little town with unique shops. The shops are in these really old buildings.  They sell decor, clothing , art, specialty foods, etc.  There are so many cute little Texas things.  We browsed the shops and picked up a few treasures.  A friend got a painting from an artist that was actually one of her teachers.  I got a pendant that was created by the teacher of the local glass sculpture artist. There was a great coffee shop and we took a break and had so much fun chatting.

There is a glass works shop where you can actually blow your own glass.

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This was quite a show.  Although I was too late to blow the glass.  We got to see how it’s done. It took about 5 people to work on this piece which turned out to be a platter/bowl.  It was neat how they transferred it from the stick to the table to roll it around and into the oven and then blast it with the torch.  It was quite a process.  The pieces ranged anywhere from $25 and up.  They had bowls, orbs, jewelry, platters, vases and flowers.  Really nice stuff.

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Our last stop was the winery.  It was nice, not as nice as Fredericksburg, but nice!

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An interesting fact about this winery is that they name all of their wines after Texas animals. We got the Diamond Back.  A wine tasting was 5 pours for $5!  They only had reds opened. You could sit on the porch and enjoy a glass.  We opted to purchase and go back to Round Rock where we completed our weekend with dinner at a local Mexican restaurant that actually had karaoke!  Fun times!!!!

 

Girls Weekend Salado TX

Haunting or a Piece of History?

Who would have guessed that in suburbia we would have any kind of history?  My family teases me that I use them for blog material.  This story was intriguing because it turned out to fit the story line of my blog.  My son has a filming project that is due this six weeks. He is doing a broadcast and the subject is open.  There is an urban legend that Patterson Road is haunted.  The story goes that a woman had a baby and was walking in the woods, she set her baby down, presumably in a basket, and got caught in a flood.  The baby died and she now haunts the area.  If you go to the bridge where the baby was caught in the flood the mother will knock on your car and you might see apparitions.

Ok, sound creepy enough?  Sure, we can throw in that there is a cemetery nearby.  Now, we do live in a heavily populated area, however this area is oddly secluded.  You take the turn onto Patterson road off a busy highway and suddenly, you are on a desolate two lane road surrounded by forest.  My son asked that I go with him to check it out and of course we had to wait until night.  I forgot to add that the haunting begins at midnight, however I was hoping to be sawing logs by then so I got him to go early.

The first stop was the cemetery.  It is fenced and on the corner of the busy highway and the dark creepy road.  There is no church there.  Nearby is a community center and park. We noted some of the names on the head stones and proceeded to explore the legend.  The road is in bad condition and there are flood gauges on the road so you can definitely tell the area floods.  We made it to the first bridge and stopped.  We didn’t see but maybe 3 cars on the road the entire time we explored, so stopping on the bridge was no problem.  I suggested that we not get out only because there is no shoulder on the road and there are absolutely no lights.  The moon was a waxing crescent and didn’t provide much lighting either.  We rolled the windows up and waited for knocking.  Nothing.  There are two bridges, so we proceeded to the next one.  We didn’t wait long and didn’t hear knocking.  I will say that it appeared there was a car coming behind us from a distance so I told him we would have to go.  But it disappeared.  And there are no roads to turn off on…HMMMM.  The other weird thing is that I saw a white light in my rear view mirror.  I didn’t have the reverse lights on so that was strange.  I turned around to view it out of the back window, however I could only see it through the mirror.  Spooky enough!   You know what that means?  Time for DQ for some ice cream!

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addicks cemetery

When we arrived home we did some research on the area and learned that German immigrants had settled the area in 1840 and held church out of their homes.  In 1902 they built a sanctuary, but in 1915 it was destroyed by flooding and a new church had been built. Continued issues with flooding resulted in the 1935 construction of the Addicks Reservoir. In 1940 the church was moved to it’s current location and renamed in 1968 to Addicks United Methodist church.  This explains why the church is not next to the cemetery.

I absolutely love old Texas churches.  So much so that we planned our wedding in one. They are so unique.  Small, quaint with architectural characteristics that include an exterior of white wood trim, and a mast with a pointy roof (resembling a steeple). They have small arched stain glass windows and mahogany long wooden pews and creaky wood floors.  There are lots of Lutheran and Methodist churches in Texas.

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We are so fortunate to be able to go inside this church on a Sunday.  As you can see it’s really small and the people were in Sunday school in the adjacent building.  The gentleman here is the musician of the church.  I was hoping to get a little more of the history of the church, however John is new to the church and the pastor is as well.  The church is sustained by other surrounding churches in the Memorial area.  It’s nice that the bigger churches support the tiny church to keep the history…awesome!

We went back to Patterson road.  In the day time, it’s quite beautiful.  As far as the story about the woman with the child, who knows if it’s true?  It’s believable that tragedy could have struck with flooding in the area.  What is true is that we couldn’t seem to find anyone around that could corroborate the story.

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Haunting or a Piece of History?

Crawfish

What comes to mind when you hear the word Crawfish?  I think party! Usually crawfish is a feature of a crawfish boil. For me images of coolers with “bugs” as they are called and a big propane boiler comes to mind.  Beer apparently goes really well with it .

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This weekend is the crawfish tennis tournament in Lafayette Louisiana ! We have a bunch of fun loving tennis players that were happy to plan this trip out months ago . Of course traveling from Texas is a journey ! However we planned for a lunch stop in Lake Charles …Steamboat Bill’s.  I definitely got a taste of authentic  Cajun cuisine !  They had different size plates/bowls that you could purchase which made it easy for me to sample my two favorites, etouffe and gumbo!  We had some native Cajuns with us so I was introduced to a boudin ball.  It’s a fried ball with stuff inside (seafood , rice , vegetables ) it was interesting! They had seafood behind the counter displayed . I’m a big fish fan however their feature was gar!  Gar is a scary looking fish with a long snout and visible teeth.  It kind of looks like an alligator.  The first time I saw one was frightening in the lake! My father in law told me the fish is not particularly tasty and it has a big spiney bone in it. I’m sure the restaurant made it tasty, however I didn’t try it ! It’s just not something you see on the menu !

They had a really nice social reception at the Oakbourne country club and provided jambalaya and beer!

Tennis began in the morning bright and early.  It was chilly!   We had 4 teams of six people alone from our club.  Since there are so many matches, they coordinated with other clubs in close vicinity and sent players to play at a certain time.  We played on har tru which is clay like.  It makes the ball bounce slower and you actually slide on the surface which I don’t like.  It’s supposed to be better for your joints.  Our women’s team didn’t make it to the championship but the men’s team did and won!    And you can’t go wrong by enjoying a weekend full of tennis and friends!

At night we had the crawfish boil.  They put out long tables and chairs on the courts and we brought the crawfish out to the tables and sat and ate while listening to a band play!

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Crawfish

Round Top

Have you ever watched the show American Pickers?  Well twice a year for a week in the spring and fall there is a show of all shows-antique.  It’s held in Round Top Texas.   It’s between Austin and Houston on Hwy 290.  There are approximately 2000 vendors and the show spans 20 miles long!  From friends who told us about it to the Internet, you don’t get the full picture until you go there.  This is not wall to wall tents/booths, you may have a few pastures in between spots.  You just hop in your car and drive to the next spot.

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The vendors must come from all over because you can see in some of the parking areas around back their travel trailers.  Apparently all of the hotels near this tiny town are booked. (not that I saw any hotels).  I spotted this old school bus that has been converted to a travel trailer.

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They have anything from old antiques to hand crafted furniture.  They have lots of art and jewelry too. We saw groups of ladies traveling together that looked like they were having such a good time looking for home decor.  What a great fun girly thing to do!

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So my daughter was searching for jewelry and lots of it was hand crafted.  There were many bulky pieces and a few smaller pieces that were made of quartz, which I guess is really in right now.  We met a lady who has someone carve pieces from an exotic place (I can’t remember where).  Really unique things, much of it pricey.  I was more on the hunt for decor.  Just something for the fireplace and coffee table, but really more to enjoy the experience.

She ended up finding a vintage sign for a friend!  She felt like she got a good deal.

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And my little treasure… a little pig figurine.  My daughter said I should have haggled and the pig wasn’t worth $35.  However, I am happy with my purchase!  Don’t let anyone try to invade on your happiness…own it!  I couldn’t decide between the blue one and the yellow rust one…however I ended up with the yellow one.  She tried to sell me both…LOL!

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Even though it was 75 degrees which you would think would be perfect weather, it was humid so it made it hot!  There is no air conditioning!  We stopped to get some water in this really cute place (which is open  year round).

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They had tents as well as buildings full of antiques.  Now of course, you are probably not going to find a bargain, because the vendors have been bargain hunting to bring all of this stuff to this market.

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And…there is no way that we could even see half of the stuff in the 3 hours we were there. This town of 90 certainly had way more people there today.  The vendors were very pleasant (not pushy) and invited you to browse and ask questions.  My daughter loved the bargaining element!

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We did stop for lunch in a nearby town, Brenham.  If you take the business loop you can see the old town.  We picked a place called the Funky Art Cafe.  I would never get my husband to go to a place like this, because it was off the beaten path.  My daughter however being a food enthusiast, was happy to try it!  On the menu they had what I call cute food.  We found the restaurant on Yelp while searching for places to eat.  I’ve never been too impressed with the food at restaurants between towns, but if you actually go in the town it’s different.  I was really happy with this place.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside.  The building is obviously really old.  I asked, the restaurant is not original to the structure!  They had a really good chicken salad with fruit and my daughter had this amazing vegetable lasagna (the noodles were flat cut sweet potato).  Soooo good!

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This was a really good half day adventure!  Totally worth the trip!

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