Over the New Year’s weekend, we went to stay with friends in Llano, Tx. Saturday, they took us to Fredericksburg, Tx. Our first stop was the Wildseed Farms, which raises native Texas wildflowers for seed so that people can use native plants in their landscaping.
Since my duplex neighbor has Turks head bushes, which attract humming birds, I bought the “humming bird and butterfly” mix. I also bought some wild flower honey for my friend LB, and a “Lone Star” wreath for my door. In addition to the regular house door, I have a glass storm door, and there’s only about 2-1/2 inches of clearance between them, which makes it hard to find wreaths that are flat enough. This one is, though, and — it was on sale for half off! Win/Win.
As I mentioned in the previous post, there is a lot of limestone in this region of Texas and early settlers made good use of this abundant building material. Fredericksburg has preserved its historic old buildings and repurposed them into shops and restaurants, so that the oldest part of the city has retained its historic character.
As its name implies, Fredericksburg was founded by German immigrants to Texas — through an organization called the Adelsverein. While Hispanic is the largest ethnic group in Texas, the “Anglos,” people who immigrated to Texas from other parts of the United States, are actually the 3rd largest ethnic group. The 2nd largest ethnic group in Texas is German, people who immigrated to Texas from Germany, which included several members of my mother’s family. The hill country was and is home to a large ethnic German population. They brought with them their own vernacular style of architecture which they adapted to their new home. A descendant of these early German settlers is celebrated just across the street from where we ate lunch: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (at left). The old Nimitz Steamboat Hotel, (below) owned and operated by his grandfather, Charles Henry Nimitz, Sr., where young Chester played as a child, now houses the Admiral Nimitz Museum. It is part of a complex of museums and displays that comprise the National Museum of the Pacific War. Its extensive grounds include walls studded with memorial plaques to ships and people who served in the Pacific Theatre during WWII –which was where my dad served with the 6th Marine Division. We briefly toured the museum’s grounds, but we did not have time to do it justice. The displays and exhibits are quite extensive and encompass several buildings as well as a large courtyard. The part I found most moving, however, was the Japanese Garden of Peace, a gift from the people of Japan to the people of the United States, in honor of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Craftsmen came from Japan and built it, using money raised in Japan by popular subscription. We lunched at a restaurant called “The Auslander” — which is German for “outsider, foreigner.” Since I wasn’t driving, I had a big tall glass of Paulaner Hefe-Weiss beer with my Rinderbraten. (If you’ve never drunk anything but American beer, you don’t know what you’re missing!) The food was scrumptious, the portions generous (I had to have a “doggie bag“), and their brown gravy was to die for! They were doing a land office business, even in the trough of the afternoon (3 p.m.). The worst part of eating there was having to choose between having the Paulaner or a peach Bellini to drink with my meal.
The Auslander Restaurant has an interesting collection of cuckoo clocks whose cuckoo where kept shut up behind their little doors. Having that many cuckoo clocks going off at once would be rather cacophonous — especially at noon! The restaurant’s Christmas decorations were still up as well.
Following our meal, we took a stroll about, first to the Nimitz Museum, and then to the town square to see their Christmas tree and “pyramid”, which is based on one of those little gizmos which uses heated air from candles to turn a little propeller, which then turns the pyramid — except that the one they have is about 30 feet tall! The decorations on their Christmas tree reminded me of my home-baked snowflakes. This is a nice little park, which also has an ice-skating rink and a little wedding chapel. They have set up their “life size” creche and this other tree thingie as part of the town’s seasonal decorations. The roses in the park were still blooming.
Unfortunately, the yarn shop they used to have in Fredericksburg is now closed as the lady who ran it retired.