Ah, my first trip to the Texas Hill Country, it was even more perfect than I had imagined......
Susan Wittig Albert began writing her China Bayles Herbal Mysteries in 1992. I was an instant fan and have read most of the books except the very latest ones. And even though she always wrote a disclaimer about her small town setting being fictitious, it didn't stop me from wanting to go there. It was described as being half-way between Austin and San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. Our trip was going to first include time in San Antonio and then a few days in Fredericksburg where my number one must see was Wildseed Farms.
Wildseed Farms first began as a purveyor of wild flowers in the mid-80's. I had read about it in a gardening magazine and was wild to visit there. I am in the picture above - white top standing under the bush by the barn in the middle of the shot - I just wanted to be sure the barn and sign were in the picture to prove I had been there. Seeing all those beautiful plants and fields of flowers was amazing.
An extra bonus was spotting a flea market on the way to the farms - not just any flea market as we learned, but the Fredericksburg Trade Days at Sunday Farms flea market. Their slogan is "If you can't find it at Trade Days......You don't need it!" It was a lot of fun combing through all the antiques and junque. If you've watched Junk Gypsies on HGTV, you can imagine Amie and Jolie at Trade Days.
The famous Texas Bluebonnets grow everywhere. It was so pretty to drive along the hill country by-ways and see them blooming. The funny thing is I've seen lupines (which is what the bluebonnets are) growing wild in such diverse states as Texas and along the North Shore Drive in Minnesota, yet I can't get them to grow. I've tried planting them numerous times, but they just won't grow for me.
Second on my must-see list was a trip to Luckenbach. I was such a big Willie and Waylon fan in the 80's, I could not be that close to the famed site of the Waylon Jennings' hit and not go there. The song is about leaving the successful life and getting Back to the Basics of Love. There really wasn't much to see in Luckenbach and if I'm honest, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. Did I imagine Waylon or Willie would just happen by while I was there? (As once happened to me when Jackie Kennedy visited JFK's grave in Arlington when I was there.)
The absolute, most magical happening of our entire trip was the serendipitous finding of Hamilton Pool in Travis County near Dripping Springs. I had picked up a small brochure in our hotel lobby about side trips nearby which is where I learned about the historic blue grotto swimming hole. It was a good thing precise directions were included, because even with them we thought we had missed the pool.
Maybe it is because I appreciate Mother Nature's handiwork more than anything man made, but Hamilton Pool really was the highlight of that trip. If you ever decide to go to Luckenbach, Texas with or without Waylon and Willie and the boys, I hope you'll experience Hamilton Pool, which you can read more about here.