Monday, April 16, 2012

Blue Bell, Bluebonnets, Wildflowers, & Wine

First off, let me say thank you to all my wonderful friends, bloggers and non-bloggers, for all your comments, texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls.  How can a girl stay grumpy knowing she has such a great group of people surrounding her?

I left my worries behind and headed to Texas hill country for a weekend getaway.  Friday, we stopped at the outlets in Cypress, TX for some shopping.  I restrained and didn't spend too much money.  There were 4 pairs of shorts (pink gingham, grey embroidered with lobsters, green embroidered with anchors, and green with coral paisley) and a pink seersucker skirt I was lusting over at J.Crew, and somehow managed to walk away with none of them.  I did splurge on a gorgeous mirror at Marshall's that I have absolutely nowhere to hang in my house.   

We had dinner at a Mexican joint in Waller, TX.  Why is Texas tex-mex so much better than Louisiana tex-mex?  The portions were huge so we ended up eating leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

Saturday morning warranted a very, very early wake up call so we could drive to Brenham for the Blue Bell Fun Run.  My sister ran the 5k while I ran the 10k.  I'll do a full race review soon, but just know that it was very hilly (especially when you only run Louisiana flatlands) and very far from a PR for me.

My shirt says "There is no I in team, but there is in ice cream". Totally appropriate!

After finishing and stuffing my face with free ice cream, we headed back to the hotel to shower and eat leftovers.

Once our bodies were clean and our bellies were full, we loaded up the car to head to the wildflower trail from Johnson City to Fredericksburg.  Wildflowers are a big deal in TX, especially bluebonnets.  Also becoming a big deal is the Texas hill country wine scene.  We stopped at a winery just outside of Johnson City.  I was thankful to get out of the car and stretch my legs.  A tasting and tour of the processing facility ensued.  The vineyards were beautiful, but I didn't take any pictures.  I ended up leaving with 3 bottles of wine, although I'm not in love with any of them.  They were cheap and I'll likely use them for sangria.

A little ways from the vineyards was Perdenales Falls State Park.  We took a very short hike (fyi- leather sandals are NOT the best hiking shoes! You think I would have learned my lesson at the Grand Canyon) to view the falls.  They weren't huge waterfalls but were beautiful.  The water was very clear and green, and I wanted to jump in.  The pictures do not do it justice.  This park had miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as camping spots.  I would love to camp and explore this park more.

We left the park and headed to dinner at Pecan Street Brewery in Johnson City.  It was suggested by Southern Living.  We all ate burgers and I had a Ten Penny Nail Ale.  It was an amber ale and beat Abita Amber in flavor.  The burgers were delicious and that is from a girl who is very, very picky about burgers.  They were served on homemade beer brioche rolls.

After dinner, we continued on our search for wild bluebonnets.  The drive from Johnson City to Fredericksburg was dubbed the "wildflower trail", but we saw very few bluebonnets.  We continued to drive through Fredericksburg to Kerrville, where our hotel was reserved for the night.

Sunday, we woke up, ate continental breakfast, and headed back to Fredericksburg.  Our first stop on the day's agenda was Fredericksburgh Herb Farm that didn't open until 10 AM, so to kill time we browsed some shops in the quaint German town.  It was raining and 56 degrees.  I packed no pants and was freezing!  The shops contained Texas made eats (jellies, jams, salsas, pickled things), vintage reproduction toys and lunchboxes, Texas themed souvenirs, and outher touristy things.

The herb farm was more of a garden with herbs and other plants for sale.  On site, they had adorable cottages for rent, a spa, and a farm/garden to table restaurant.  My grandma purchased an artichoke bush (like what is pictured below), my sister bought lavender, and I bought basil since my seedlings died. 

East of Fredericksburgh, we stopped at the Wildseed Farms. It was part tourist trap, part plant nursery, and part gardens.  We walked around the grounds and looked at the most beautiful wildflowers.  Upon viewing their bluebonnets, we decided it is late in bluebonnet season and that is why we haven't seen as many as we expected.

Sporting my Katniss Everdeen look in the side braid and "hunting jacket".

After 5 million hours in the car and a stop at Dairy Queen for a chicken finger basket and pecan turtle mini-blizzard later, we found fields of bluebonnets.   Where were these bluebonnets?  In between Waller (where we stayed Friday night) and Brenham (were we ran Saturday morning).  So, between driving to the race, driving back to the hotel to shower, and driving back west, we had passed them a total of 3 times already. It wasn't until the 4th time that we noticed and decided to stop.  Might I add that this field was 4 hours closer to home than the "wildflower trail".

We frolicked in them and took pictures.  My sister said it's tradition to take pictures in the bluebonnets for your first birthday.  I missed that opportunity, but made up for it by laying in/smashing a pile for a ridiculously awkward photo op in my 27th year. I'll spare you those pictures. 

The weekend was a nice escape from life, which I am back to today.  Let the car shopping resume. Oh, and I have to get back on some kind of eating regime.  I feel disgusting after all the ice cream this weekend (and the candy last week)...and I am going to a pool party Saturday.  At this rate, I will have to wear a moo moo instead of a swimsuit.

What did you do this weekend?  Does anyone want to sell me your car?

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