On Saturday, January 28, our GPS led us to the sign for Hidden Valley RV Park where we had reservations. An arrow pointed down a dirt road. Reluctantly, we slowly drove along the grated road for 3/4 mile to the RV park while we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. The wide gravel spots, trees, fishing lake, newly renovated showers, and quiet would make this place ideal for getting away from it all, not for taking in the sights. Fortunately, the owner refunded our money and we moved on finding the San Antonio KOA in town centrally located for what we wanted to do.
Our first adventure was Gruene (pronounced Green) a historic town near San Antonio where Jon had visited several years ago while working in the area. Our goal was to eat at the Gristmill.
We walked around the town first visiting gift shops, antique stores, junk stores and an outdoor garden shop. The Fickle Pickle offered tastes of their product. One bite and addiction to the crunchy, sweet, and spicy chip of a pickle set in. We bought a jar and as soon as I get home, I’m ordering more online. They are the best pickles ever.
Many stores offer unique art and gift ideas.
We stopped in for a bit to listen to the music at the Gruene Hall, which is believed to be one of the oldest dance halls in the state of Texas.
The Gruene Mansion Inn, once H.D. Gruene’s historic victorian home and cotton plantation, is a bed and breakfast establishment that offers 33 rooms.
On Monday, we watched men, women, and robots, on the assembly line of the Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Texas plant, while truck bodies floated overhead. The tour explains the process of assembly, painting, inspecting, and preparing Toyota Tundras and Tacomas using a just-in-time method. Robots not only assemble or aid the workers in the assembly of the trucks they also deliver parts to the appropriate stations. The tour started out with a movie and safety precautions. Then we all loaded up in trams and donned the provided headphones for listening to the tour guide. The plant employs approximately 7,500 people, 4,000 are Toyota employees and the remainder were onsite vendors that provide parts and accessories and assist with any issues that arise.
No photos are available because purses, backpacks, camera phones, and cameras are not allowed on the tour.
The historic town of Boerne (pronounced Bernie) was next on our list to explore. German immigrants established the community in the mid-1800s. Antique and gift shops line Haupstrasse (main street) along with plenty of choices for lodging, meals, and drinks in the area. We stopped in at The Dienger Trading Company. Established in 1884, the building has undergone a restoration to honor its original beauty. Inside we found a bakery and bistro, a bookstore, and a boutique. The white walls and subway tiles, wood floors, baseboards, and doorframes, carry through the entire building in a cohesive design. Even the ladies bathroom is a work of art. We took a break from our gawking to enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious cherry cobbler in the bistro.
A mural on the wall opposite the bathroom doors depicts the history of the building and its owners. The old safe in the alcove gave the place authenticity.
This work of art stands near a water feature in a parklike area of natural vegetation.
At the visitor’s center, we collected a variety of maps and information about other places to visit in the hill country. A short video tells the history of the town’s founding.
Armed with our map, we followed the road to Sister Creek Winery where we tasted their varieties and settled on a bottle of Chardonnay to take home.
Next post? Part two of our time in San Antonio.