A reason to visit Boerne: The Farmers Market at the Cibolo

Sometime back we visited Boerne, TX and found that it did not live up to it’s hype. This weekend we found a reason to visit Boerne, and will actually go back more often. We ventured to The Farmers Market at the Cibolo https://www.cibolo.org/herfffarm/farmersmarket.html. It is located at the Cibolo Nature Center and Farm (Herff Farm). The farmers market is less than a mile off the main road in Boerne outside the Historic District. Be sure to visit the website to learn more about the Cibolo Nature Center and Herff Farm. You will find out about the history and and plans for the farm and nature center.

The farm is located at 33 Herff Road, Boerne. It is open every Saturday from March to December from 9-1. Admission is free (love when I find a free place 😀❤️). While it is not a large market, it does have some great products to choose from at reasonable prices and live music.

We ended up walking out with a couple jars of homemade pickles, a couple jars of homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam, cake pops for the kids, coffee, homemade granola, and some delicious Mediterranean-style desserts.

Zoozoo’s Sweet Treats (and more) had some delicious homemade baklava and lemon tarts. I would definitely recommend that you visit their tent when you go to the farmers market. They are there every Saturday. But if you get a hankering to try some of their goodies before a Saturday, you can contact the owner, Azza Mohamed at zoozoos.sweet.treats@gmail.com. She does live in San Antonio so you would not have to worry about the Boerne traffic to get some homemade Mediterranean desserts.

Other vendors included fresh eggs, produce, meats, homemade salsas, plants, and baked goods.

The historic home on the farm has been restored and information about the well and rain harvesting system can be found near the watershed and rainwater tank.

We also found some trails to walk through. To my delight the trails had wildflowers to enjoy and photograph. We were not able to spend too much time walking through the trails, so we will definitely be making another trip out there.

I would love to see how this place looks in the spring with all the amazing colors that Texas wildflowers provide. While the actual historic district of Boerne is not my cup of tea, there are definitely some hidden places in Boerne to check out, the farmers market is one of those places!

Summer changes

So the kids and I will be spending the summer in Tin Cup, CO. An absolutely beautiful, breathtaking place to spend time. Since I will be out of state soon the blog will focus on our summer travels and adventures in Colorado. And if anyone wants to head that way this summer, let me know!

But first, this weekend will be a girls’ trip to Corpus Christi/Port Aransas/Mustang Island.

Here are a couple of pictures I took last year just to give you a little tease. Be ready to be transported to Colorado for the summer.

Luckenbach, Texas: a small town with country charm

We woke up this Saturday thinking we were going to visit some local caverns, but all the rain we have had lately had us re-thinking that plan. So while we were brainstorming places to visit today that our crazy, bipolar weather we have had lately wouldn’t be an issue, Chuck threw out the idea of visiting Luckenbach, TX. At first I thought he was a little nuts. For some odd reason I thought Luckenbach was somewhere in North Texas. Google proved me wrong. So we headed out.

At the entrance to the tiny town of Luckenbach, TX

Luckenbach is just a little over an hour from San Antonio. After getting off of I10, the rest of the drive is great. Once again we were surrounded by flowers on the side of the road as we drove (if you have read my previous entries, you would know that I love taking pictures of flowers). The drive is along a two lane road through the Hill Country. As you get close to the “town”, be careful to pay attention to where to turn. Once you get to the Luckenbach Town Loop, you will drive along a dirt road for just a minute or two. Parts of the road are bumpy, so be careful with your car.

So as most of you know, there is a song called “Luckenbach, Texas” by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. The fact that this teeny, tiny town became the subject of a hit song amazes me. While I enjoyed visiting Luckenbach (and would go back), it is definitely NOT what I had imagined (I had something more like Bandera in my mind). If you are expecting to visit a town that has multiple shops and restaurants, you will be surprised to know that this tourist attraction has just a couple little buildings. There is a dancehall, post office/general store/saloon, Feed Lot, and outdoor stage.

There is also a cute little Kissing Booth right when you walk through the property. We took advantage of this booth to make Matthew take a picture of us (if anyone knows Matthew, you know just how DISGUSTED he gets when he sees anyone kissing; typical 9 year-old).

Kissing booth in Luckenbach, TX

The general store has all sorts of items to browse though and buy. You will find tee shirts, hats, candles, mugs, magnets, CD’s, wine, and much more. Definitely items for the “tourist” to purchase. We did wind up getting a couple of small things. I couldn’t pass up the magnet photo frame.

Just out the back of the store is the saloon. The walls of the saloon are covered in pictures of different people ranging from Waylon and Willie, to the previous owners of the town, and lots of other people I couldn’t even name.

Outside the store/saloon is the outdoor stage and seating area. Live music is scheduled for every day of the week (sometimes in the dancehall, sometimes at the outdoor stage). There is a charge for some of the shows (like when Aaron Watson plays on June 1), but most days the visit is free for the whole family. Be sure to check the website at http://www.luckenbachtexas.com to verify that there are no private parties booked or to check on shows that might require a paid ticket.

There are picnic tables to sit on and enjoy the music while grabbing a bite to eat. While we were there we had the opportunity to hear The Strayhearts (https://www.facebook.com/thestrayheartsband/). They were a great band to listen to while having our lunch. The Feed Lot has a selection of food that includes Frito pie, corn dogs, sausage wraps, hamburgers, fries, funnel cake, and more. Trees surround the area that provide shade on a hot day (though today was definitely not a hot day, crazy that our weather actually required us to have sweaters/long sleeves).

I would love to go back to Luckenbach in the evening/night to take in a show, sit around the fire pit, and do some dancing in the dancehall (which we didn’t check out while we were there).

So while Luckenbach, Texas is not quite what I had expected, and is MUCH smaller than one would think about a town that inspired a song, it is still a trip that is family friendly/budget friendly. Be sure to add Luckenbach to your list of places to visit in Texas, even if it’s just to say that you were there.

What’s poppin’ in Castroville: the Poppy House

Poppies outside the last original free standing one room cabin in Castroville.

At the end of a dead end road in the small town of Castroville, TX is this historic home that has a yard full of poppies. If you want to see “fields” of poppies, the Castroville Poppy House is the place to go. It is located at 602 Florence in Castroville. When you pull up to the house, you see poppies all along the fence line and of course a yard covered in poppies. The owners, Sally Coyle and Lloyd Ross, began planting poppies several years back to help control the dust. The grass had died during a drought and they found that the poppies could still survive.

Poppies surround the cistern and windmill at the Castroville Poppy House.
Lloyd, Sally, and Jaimie

The land has several structures on it. The actual residence was built in the 1850’s and has been recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior and has also received the Pioneer Castroville Home marker. The land also has the last remaining original free standing one room log cabin in Castroville. Lloyd would like to restore the cabin to protect it from deteriorating more. Due to the extensive nature of the work, Lloyd has been trying, unsuccessfully, to find assistance from various government agencies to help with the expensive process.

In addition to the home and cabin, there is also a barn that was built several years ago that Lloyd gave a distressed look to take on the “historic” look in order to make it look more authentic on the land. Lloyd shares this information as he gives a little history lesson of the buildings as you prepare to walk through the property.

But of course, the main reason we were out there today was to see the poppies. One of the awesome things about living in San Antonio is the opportunities we have to see different wildflowers (you can read my blog entry on the wildflowers in Poteet). We had not yet ventured out to see the poppies before, but I am so glad we did, and that we made it in time to see them before the Texas heat arrives and kills them off.

I enjoyed strolling through the huge yard admiring the different poppies at their different stages of growth. The wind made it difficult at times to get some close up pictures of the poppies, but my patience paid off.

This 25-30 minute drive west of San Antonio was well worth the trip. I was able to take all the time I wanted to photograph these beautiful flowers. Even though there were several other families present, the area is plenty large enough to feel like you are alone. Lloyd and Sally charge $5 a person (using just a phone or small camera to take pictures) to spend time on the land. The money they raise this year will go towards purchasing a new cistern with a spigot to make well water available to anyone who wants it while visiting. There are additional charges for professional photography or videography to be done. Be sure to contact them at 210-627-1298 about those fees. Check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CastrovillePoppyHouse/ for updates. The end of March and beginning of April is the best time to see them in full bloom.

Poteet Strawberry Festival

This weekend we took another drive out to Poteet, but this time it was to attend the annual Strawberry Festival. It started out as a drizzly, grey day, but it slowly began to dry up and with it, the humidity arrived. But we made the best of the it with the bipolar weather South Texas has. Besides, I was on another mission to purchase more strawberries from Anachey Strawberries, which was one of the first things we did.

So glad Anachey Strawberries were at the festival. Stocked up on strawberries for the next week.

Anyways, back to the festival….. This annual festival is held in the heart of Poteet, a small town outside of San Antonio. This year it was held from April 5-7. If you purchase tickets online, they are $15 per person, $20 at the gate. Children under 13, military (active, reserve, national guard, and retired with a valid I.D.) are free. Carnival wristbands are available for $35. Grounds parking is free (though there are some off grounds places that do charge for parking, but trust me, there is plenty of grounds parking).

Besides the carnival, and of course being able to purchase some delicious strawberries (we purchased some from Anachey Strawberries a couple of weeks ago, check out the blog on that trip) there are many other fun things to do and see during your time at the festival.

Since we spent the day out there with Matthew, we did spend most our time at the carnival. Most carnival rides were between 4 and 6 tickets. Tickets are $1 a piece. We just bought a couple of sheets of 20. All food and rides require tickets.

Speaking of food, you will find the typical carnival foods. And while they are not at all good for you, they sure are good to eat. Throughout the day we had strawberry nachos (cinnamon chips with strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, and almonds), funnel cakes, fajita tacos, and of course Chuck had a corn dog. Sure hope walking around the grounds today helped with burning off some of the calories.

After Matthew rode some rides we took in some of the various shows found throughout the grounds. We really enjoyed watching an illusionist/comedian. He did some great slight of hand tricks and kept the audience laughing. He included a lot of the children from the audience in his act. Matthew was given the opportunity to check out the rings to make sure there were no cuts or cracks. He was fascinated with the many tricks. I am sure he will try to attempt some at home.

There are also plenty of vendors to shop at. You can find everything from wooden furniture, to toys, to jewelry, to local honey, and much more. You can find something for just about anyone. In addition to shopping, food, carnivals, and such, there are also several concerts throughout the day. We had hoped to watch Aaron Watson, but we got tired of the humidity and left. But the fact that the concerts are included in the $15 ticket fee is pretty awesome.

Strawberry wine and baked goods can be purchased here. The strawberry nachos are yummy!

Now for your history lesson: According to the StrawberryFestival.com website, the festival began in 1948 when the Poteet Rotary Club organized the event to provide returning World War II veterans a reason to return to the farms. The club also wanted to improve the pack of berries for buyers.

The purpose of the festival has changed over the years. Because strawberries are an endangered crop, the festivals main purpose now is to promote the strawberries grown in Poteet. The festival also awards scholarships to students in Poteet with the festival proceeds. Because the festival is now a tourist attraction, the local Poteet economy is boosted during festival time.

The nice thing about the festival is that you can spend as little or as much money as you want. It can be a tight budget event by just paying the ticket fee and maybe getting some water. Food and carnival rides don’t have to be purchased. There are plenty of shows and places to window shop that money isn’t necessary. If your budget is a little more, getting some tickets to ride some of the rides and get some carnival food can add to your experience.

We enjoyed the day at the Strawberry Festival and would definitely recommend that you attend it next year! Make plans for the first or second weekend in April to spend the day out there.

Country Sweets Bakery: A hidden gem in Bandera

Eclairs, croissants, long johns, oh my! Trying to choose the pastry I wanted was a difficult decision. Fortunately, with four of us buying, we all picked out something different and I could try a bite of everyone’s!

Pastries made fresh in-house.
Great selection of cookies!
For the gluten free customers, they have peanut butter cookies available every day that are gluten free.

As we wandered through Bandera, TX, we came across an amazing little bakery. This veteran owned bakery had so many choices of freshly baked Artisan pastries and cookies. And the prices were super reasonable (for our 1 long john, 1 éclair, 1 apple pie-pocket, 1 blackberry fan and 2 extra large cranberry/white chocolate chip cookies, we spent right around $14.00). Baked goods are not the only things served though. Salads, wraps, and sandwiches are a part of the daily lunch menu. In addition, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, lunch specials of comfort foods, such as meatloaf sandwiches, are available. In the winter, soup is available Monday-Friday.

Since it was close to closing time, we had an opportunity to chat with the owners, Rhonda and April. These sisters opened the bakery about 4 years ago. Country Sweets Bakery is the only bakery in Bandera, and only one of 3 located on Highway 16 between Bandera and Kerrville. They are open Monday-Friday from 7am-3pm and on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. Occasionally, they are closed on Saturdays for weddings.

April and Rhonda, owners of Country Sweets Bakery.
Their mission: “Two sisters who want to bring a little sweetness to your life.”

Speaking of weddings, the cakes they make for weddings look AMAZING and based on the pastries we had, have to taste awesome! Wedding cakes range from $175-$525 (that was for an all gluten free cake).

This particular wedding cake was $385. We actually ordered Grace’s graduation cake from here that was based on this cake.

This family owned shop (they have one employee) does many special orders. Of course wedding cakes keep them busy. In addition to wedding cakes, you can special order cookies and other cakes. For specialty order iced cookies, you can expect to pay $2.50 a cookie (great price for special orders!). Gluten free cakes are available for special order as well. While we were there, we ordered Grace’s graduation cake. The drive to Bandera is worth it for this cake.

Rhonda and April are dedicated to the local community. In fact, they consider the community a part of their family. The sisters enjoy chatting with their customers and getting to know them. In addition, they help with many events in the area by donating cookies, pastries, and cakes. One of the organizations they support is Wounded Warriors. They donate baked goods and other items to them.

Bandera is a neat little town that I enjoy spending time walking through (the post on the whole trip will be coming soon). Finding Country Sweets Bakery is just icing on the cake (pun intended) and we will definitely visit this bakery again!

Boerne, TX: less than we expected

This past weekend, Chuck and I visited Boerne, TX. We had heard about what a great, small town Boerne is and how we would find some cool shops and such. We thought we could kill two birds with one stone: spend time together moseying through the town and get some pictures of Chuck for his music page (www.chuckwimermusic.com). So we ventured out. Of course the trip out we had traffic, lots of traffic, due to the never-ending construction on I-10. However, we were not in any hurry so we just jumped on the frontage road and enjoyed the ride (btw: MUCH faster than actually staying on the interstate).

Anyways, back to Boerne. We arrive in Boerne and find this cute Episcopalian church, St. Helena’s Episcopal Church. Chuck’s attention was caught by the part that looked like a tower of a castle. It was a cool little area to take some pictures. Definitely recommend the little courtyard across the street from the church office to take pictures. Great setting and neat little fountain.

From there we parked on Main Street and began our walk. One thing we noticed right away was that there are LOTS (and I mean LOTS) of antique stores. If you love to hunt down antiques then this is the place for you. Us, not so much. We enjoyed the shops that were not quite to so cluttered or had a more specific motif. The Christmas Shoppe ( https://thechristmasshoppetx.com) was one of my favorites. No matter what time of year it is, Christmas stores are always fun to look through. Flashback Funtiques (https://www.facebook.com/flashbackfuntiquesboerne/) is a cool antique shop with jukeboxes, gas pumps, pinball machines, and more. Definitely out of our price range, but there were some neat old time things in that store. For the music lovers (which of course Chuck is) we found the Hillje Music Center (https://hilljemusic.com/). A small selection of acoustic guitars, stringed instruments, and amplifiers can be found at a reasonable price. My favorite store that we found (and actually spent money at) was Casa Décor (https://www.facebook.com/casadecortx). This was a huge store of handmade furniture that comes from Mexico. Great selections and awesome quality. We purchased a new wooden entertainment cabinet. They had a sale of 50% off furniture (hence the purchase). The customer service was amazing. We had to drive home to get the van since the piece didn’t fit in the car. When we got back to the store, they had the piece shrink wrapped and loaded it into the van. I will definitely go back to purchase additional items later.

We found what we thought was a park, but was actually this cool little “Veterans Plaza”. We spent some time reading the names on the bricks and reading the pillars.

Now the not so good. Like I said earlier, there were LOTS of antique stores. Too much in one shop at most of the stores. I wasn’t even sure where to look. I was expecting the same small town feel we had when we went to Bandera the week before (that entry will come later, when we revisit the town). That was not the case with Boerne. Don’t get me wrong, the Main St. shopping is definitely small town, just not the same.

We stopped at Bear Moon Bakery and Café for lunch and coffee. This was at the suggestion of some random guy on the street. We were disappointed with the bakery selection. The word “bakery” was misleading. There were some cookies, croissants, and donuts. A few cakes to choose from. But overall, not the selection of bakery items one would expect from a place that has the word “bakery” in it. So we decided to order lunch instead. Ummmm, their menu selection was about as limited as their bakery selection. Prices were decent, and portion sizes were pretty good based on what we saw going out to other customers. But the lunch choices were not our cup of tea. I enjoyed a cup of coffee while Chuck had a coke and then we went on our way.

I am glad we ventured to Boerne because I got my new furniture piece, but it is definitely not a place we would visit again, unless Chuck has a show at one of the places. Again, I am not saying it’s not a place to check out. You will probably find something you enjoy. You will check out something new. Take the adventure and enjoy the ride!