Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history TOURIN' TEXAS A FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER                                                                                                                PAGE 2

  You Can Get There From Here, But... 

Gruene Hall Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history

GRUENE DANCE HALL: Built in 1878 as a saloon and social hall for cotton farmers, this is believed to be
one of the oldest dance halls in Texas.  Christian Herry (1854-1917) built the hall under the direction of town
developer Henry D. Gruene, for whom many of the farmers worked.  The center of the community's social life
for over a century, the large one-story structure features a "false front" entry with asymmetrical window
and door arrangements. --Texas State Historical Marker / Photo: Ira Kennedy

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Gruene Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and historyure, I knew how to get to Gruene (25 years ago) so naturally we got kinda lost. "Buy a map," Ms. Intrepid said. We were already on the wrong side of Interstate 35 and the Guadalupe River.I knew that much -- so I stopped for gas (and a map).
       With a map in the hands of Ms. Intrepid and mine on the wheel we found ourselves within 100 yards of Gruene.   Nothing to stop us now but a low water crossing -- flooded and impassable.

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history

 

 

 

 

ROAD CLOSED:  Although this is a very colorful picture it wasn't exactly the "local color" we were seeking. Just across the river and around the bend is Gruene.

     The last big rain was a week ago so it must have been a real gully-washer upstream. We stopped for a pictures while a few brave souls with kayaks put in for  adventure.

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
JUST AROUND THE BEND:  OK, so we were in a Land Rover and the crossing didn't look that bad. But, there are two things you don't mess with in Texas: flooded low water crossings and rattlesnakes.

Using our new  "Guadalupe River Map" we worked around the problem discovering along the way that the map was NOT to scale. However, it served us just fine and we found Gruene in short order.
     Unlike many Hill Country towns luring tourists, the businesses in Gruene are open on Sunday consequently the place was alive with slow moving cars and casual pedestrians.
     After cruising around for a little drive-by shooting (of photos) we finally found a place to park Nigel the Land Rover and wandered about taking more pictures.
       One of the first places I wanted to check out was the Grist Mill.  I was there once when they first opened and I was curious to see how the place had changed. 

Gruene Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
THE GRIST MILL BAR: From the wood stove to the ceiling fans, and wall to wall, this full bar is all Texan.

Frankly, I remember it being smaller, which could have been the case. In any event the decor was really excellent, starting with the clever up-side-down Christmas tree in the main entrance. The outdoor dining area wraps all around the place which rests on a hillside along the Guadalupe River giving the area a treehouse experience. You can check out their menu here.

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
TREEHOUSE DINING:  It's hard not to feel tranquil in this setting. You might want to try Gristmill's famous frozen margaritas.

       At high noon Ms. Intrepid and I headed for the Gruene Hall bar.
     As I mentioned earlier I had been to Gruene in the distant past and snapped a photo of a feller at the bar . I always wanted to put a name to the face.  Ms. Intrepid and I figured it would be as good a way as any to start up conversation with the bartender and pry loose a few facts about Gruene in the process.
     Well, the bartender didn't know mostly because when the picture was taken he was about -2 years old.  Then he called on Rex Sullivan who has been involved in the restoration of Gruene since 1975. As it turned out we were college classmates back in the early 70's in San Marcos.
       After a little catch-up after some 25 years Rex did help me identify the feller.  His was Frank Schlather, saddle maker and fire starter. A regular at the Gruene Hall bar, Frank worked in the local saddle factory and, during the winter months, he had his own key to the bar and would let himself in every morning and fire up the wood stove.                                       

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