While I became familiar with how big the state of Texas was during my twenties, I did not get a chance to explore a part of Texas until I visited with some friends in Austin. Not only is Austin proud of being weird, there’s tons of things to do in and outside of Austin.
In a span of roughly four days with two good friends who share the same passion for adventure, we crammed in as much adventure as we could. As it turned out, we enjoyed quite a few surprises.
Get your Texas two-step on in Gruene.
While discussing our plans for a day trip to San Antonio, my friend mentioned many people told her Gruene was a terrific place to visit.
After checking the map and doing a quick online check, we realized Gruene which happens to be a historic designation was on the way to San Antonio.
As it turned out, Gruene was a fantastic stop.
Gruene started out as a homestead for a family that prospered in the 1800s. Over the years, the family began to add more buildings as people started moving to work for the Gruene family business.
Eventually, Gruene became incorporated into New Braughfield.
Gruene Hall is the oldest continually operating dance hall in the great state of Texas. The list of famous musicians who have performed here is nothing to sneeze at. Heck, it was even used in a John Travolta movie.
I highly recommend stopping in the Gruene General Store. It is rare to find such a terrific general store like this one. I have to warn you that you will end up spending more time than you might expect.
If you like to shop for souviners, this is the place to go. Filled with the right mix of stuff to entertain you for at least an hour, you will never forget this place.
Grab a bite to eat and relax by the River Walk.
To be honest with you, San Antonio surprised me in more ways than one. Despite a downpour that drenched us at the end of our Gruene adventure, by the time we arrived in San Antonio, we were relatively dried up Texas-style.
It was good timing because we were ready to sit down and eat at one of the many restaurants that lined up the world-famous River Walk.
Afterwards, we did the customary walk around the loop. In hindsight, I would allow for more time to capture pictures because there’s a lot of terrific features to work with.
Remember the Alamo.
That is the famous rallying cry used to remind people of those who fought at the Alamo. Every time I see that rallying cry, I remember learning about it in my youth. Mostly because that is where the famous Davy Crocket died.
I finally had the chance to see what the Alamo is all about. It was not until after we returned to Austin and discussing our experience with Deaf friends that I discovered one surprising fact.
I admit it was difficult to envision the surrounding landscape of the Alamo as it was during the famous battle with all the modern buildings blocking the view of the landscape. However, there’s a terrific diorama inside the gift shop that was really impressive.
What was surprising to discover was while he did not participate in the battle, Erastus “Deaf” Smith, was part of the bigger picture during the Texas Revolution. To realize a deaf man playing a role in the first half of the 1800s including the events surrounding the Alamo was uplifting to me.
Get your Texas BBQ on.
My Austin friends told me that “You haven’t visted Austin until you eat at Salt Lick BBQ” and I can see why. Not only did they cook the biggest set of ribs I have ever eaten on this side of the Mississippi, they also made delicious brisket.
When I asked our terrific server what exactly a brisket was, she went the extra mile to grab one of the cook staff who knew ASL to answer our question. This was the biggest surprise of the experience to top off our day full of surprises.
He explained in ASL the different kinds of briskets they cooked, as well as provided us with samples hot off the pit. Right away, after trying the samples, we knew what we wanted to order.
I encourage you to eat there. Do bring your cash as they do not accept other methods. Other than that, just bring company with you and have a good time.
Tell us what you think of Austin.
Have you been to Austin? What was your favorite part about Austin that you would recommend to us? Is there a place I should check out should I return to Austin again?