Finding the birthplace of Texas

Exploring the wonders of Washington County

Last fall I found myself on a media tour of Washington County Texas with more than a dozen other travel writers. I’m a resident of the Houston suburbs, so I was not unfamiliar with certain parts of our tour. But it was thrilling to get the perspective of a tourist. My discoveries were amazing,  and I want to share them with all my readers: Finding the Birthplace of Texas; Exploring the wonders of Washington County.

While many in our tour group stayed at peaceful bed and breakfast properties or on a working cattle ranch, I found myself in downtown Brenham enjoying a luxurious Victorian room in a historic 1800’s renovated grain building at the Ant Street Inn, a boutique hotel. This was amazing for me, as each room presents with authentic Victorian furnishings, which I love! You can feel the history there.

I’m so excited about the newly renovated Simon Theater, and the Antique Rose Emporium was blissfully delightful. Most of our group took a turn at sitting behind the president’s desk in the mock setting of the Oval Office at the George Bush Presidential Library.

There are so many places that exude Texas history, such as the Barrington Living History Farm, the Cotton Gin Museum and Independence Hall at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the actual birthplace of Texas.

March is usually the time the year that almost everyone I know in the Houston area goes to Washington County to photograph their kids, wives, husbands, pets and grandkids among the Texas bluebonnets and Indian paint brushes, especially near Brenham and Chappell Hill.

Don’t miss a tour of the wineries in Washington County…it’s worth your time: Star of Texas Winery, Saddlehorn Winery, Windy Winery and Pleasant Hill Winery. I hope you get an opportunity to stay at Ant Street Inn, Lillian Farms Country Estate B&B, Southern Rose B&B or Texas Ranch Life working cattle ranch. Some of the places we ate included Must Be Heaven Café, Funky Art Café, Nathan’s BBQ, Ninety Six West and Brenham Grill next to Ant Street Inn.

I’ll be back soon with another travel adventure. Right now, I’m packing for our next cruise, TBA at a future date. Until then, happy spring!

Enjoy a glimpse of Washington County and enjoy my travel story in The Tribune at http://www.ourtribune.com/article.php?id=19926

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taking the walking tour of Historic Downtown Georgetown

IMG_9087My last post was about Round Rock, Texas, and the Round Rock Donuts.

Moving on we took a little tour of Georgetown, where I found some treasures at one of the local antique shops.

Georgetown is located just north of Austin off of IH-35, and it has the distinction of having been voted the “Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas” in 1997. However, they claim that this title in no way indicates that the town is a bunch of squares – on the contrary!

Foodies and shopaholics will love Georgetown! Antique shops and boutiques, with an abundance of places to eat, will fill up your day, your weekend or your week.

It’s a beautiful town, with Victorian architecture and local watering holes nearby – Lake Georgetown, Blue Hole or San Gabriel River, where fun in and around the water is always waiting.

Founded in 1848, by 1880 the town boasted a courthouse, the state’s oldest university and the railroad.  Things were good, although in the beginning this frontier town looked quite ordinary with mainly log cabins and shacks.

Georgetown’s Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the historic Williamson County Courthouse, a Neoclassical structure, is a focal point that is being restored to its former days of glory. Victorian commercial architecture fills the streets and is now protected by the national register and the Georgetown Heritage Society. You will find scattered throughout Georgetown many displays of art, especially in downtown square and Southwestern University.

Georgetown has had much success rejuvenating its downtown area due to the city’s participation in the National Main Street Project. This program is piloted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and helps to bring about economic, as well as, architectural vitality in towns across America.

With so much to see, it’s a joy to take the walking tour of Historic Downtown Georgetown. They like to say that Georgetown is the hill country’s most beautiful little secret. And I agree!

See you next time, when I venture out to tour and enjoy more of what Texas has to offer. It’s a big state, you know! Adios!

Trilla

February 20, 2016

New photos added to our walking tour of historic downtown Georgetown, Texas.

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Discovering Round Rock Donuts

IMG_9069I’m a big fan of the TV show on PBS titled “The Daytripper,” where you’ll find Texas-born and raised Chet Garner exploring Texas, one day at a time. One particular day, he was exploring Round Rock, and that really got my attention!

After hearing me explain why I wanted to visit Round Rock, my family and I made a trip there one Saturday morning to get our reward!

Round Rock Donuts is located in this Texas town and it is world famous! Since 1926 this yellow/orange donut has been winning the hearts and stomachs of all who enter. This Texas favorite comes from a yeast-risen, bread-like dough, with fresh eggs bringing out the color. This sets them apart from ordinary donuts. And, this is the home of The Texas Donut, which you have to see to believe. Which is exactly why I wanted to visit this place. I wanted to make sure that Chet wasn’t just pulling my leg, so I had to go see for myself.

This Texas-size donut is incredible and, except for the size, looks and taste just like the regular size ones. But you can imagine being on a business conference in Austin and suddenly seeing this big mamma on the breakfast buffet!

We sampled all we could eat, and with a sad and fond farewell, we continued our Saturday, but always remembering what we had for breakfast. It’s something I will never forget…  http://roundrockdonuts.com/

Round Rock ranked among best, most affordable cities in U.S.

I’ll see you back here soon with a look at Georgetown, Texas, which is just a stones throw away. Adios!

 

 

 

Hit the jackpot!

View from the boardwalk

View from the boardwalk

We didn’t exactly hit the jackpot playing slots, but I think we came pretty close finding this new jewel in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino Resort is conveniently located only two and a half hours from Houston, and makes a superb mini-vacation spot for all of us in east Texas.

We ventured here on invitation to join friends who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and wanted to share their excitement with us.

View of the grounds

View of the grounds

We were not disappointed! From the front entry with free valet parking to the beautifully appointed guest rooms overlooking the pool and lazy river, with the lake beyond, we were very impressed by the overall atmosphere. Our view was spectacular from the 19th floor, which offered a balcony for further viewing enjoyment.

View of the beach

View of the beach

With so many restaurant choices for dinner, we ended up at our familiar Saltgrass Steakhouse. Other choices were Landry’s Seafood House, Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, Lillie’s Asian Cuisine, Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, Grotto Italian Restaurant or the Blue Martini overlooking the lake. And let’s not forget about the The Buffett, which every casino goer loves.

We visited Claim Jumper for breakfast, which is located near the elevators and nearby Starbucks, where we enjoyed a casual meal and conversation with our friends.

Cadillac Bar beachside

Cadillac Bar beachside

For sunning and swimming, the pool and lazy river looked enticing and so inviting, offering cabanas and daybeds. We found a beach with volleyball area and a boardwalk by the marina. Coming soon, visitors can book a tee time for golfing.

Room with a view

Room with a view

There are eight or more shops on the premises, meeting and planning rooms, a barber shop, spa and salon for ultimate relaxation and destressing.  The full service spa salon and boutique features treatments and popular products, sauna, whirlpool and steam room.

Shows and entertainment are presented in the Grand Ballroom and the H2O Pool and Bar. Speaking of bars, we found Cadillac Tequila Bar, Blue Martini, Rush lounge and Party Pit, Ice Bar and Bar 46, and there could be more! Oh, and the casino is huge, with every slot and table game imaginable.

RV parking is available, and interested parties are provided contact information for bus tours on line at http://www.goldennugget.com/lakecharles/, where rates and accommodations can also be found.

All in all, the Golden Nugget Casino Resort on Lake Charles is my number one resort choice within easy driving distance to Houston. Tilman Fertitta, the owner who calls himself the world’s richest restauranteur, has created an easily accessible mecca for vacationers who want restaurant choices, sunning, water and golfing activities, gambling and entertainment all in one neat package. Can’t wait to visit again soon!

Golden Nugget

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Not second best — The Best!

Here for the wedding!

Here for the wedding!

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie made our day! My friends Arceli, Shalni and I made plans a week ahead to take in this movie and to do it in style – authentic Indian style, that is!

We discussed our options of what to wear; decided when and where to meet and marked our calendars. We decided to dress as if we were going to the wedding in the movie – Fun!

Sunday afternoon seemed to be the perfect time so we met up at the local ShowBiz Cinema. We were excited to see what each of us had decided to wear and were greeted at the ticket booth with, “Where did you get your outfits,” and “We love your outfits.”

So we laughed and sighed and cheered for the characters and enjoyed the movie immensely. In fact, we left the theater with plans to eat nearby, ready to talk more about the movie. The Three Foodies (that’s what we call ourselves) ate at Oriental Gardens, and drank two pots of tea, which was just enough to get us through our evening.

The Three Foodies enjoying food, tea and conversation at Oriental Gardens after the movie.

The Three Foodies enjoying food, tea and conversation at Oriental Gardens after the movie.

We arrived at the restaurant at 4 p.m. and stayed until the restaurant closed around 9:30. I guess we didn’t realize how much we had to talk about and reminisce. Now that’s a lot of catching up! We were hungry, the food was good, and we had the best time talking for five hours, laughing and sharing our life’s journeys. I guess this movie just puts you in that kind of mood.

Some of my favorite quotes from the movie are by Sonny:

“It’s the teamwork that makes a dream work.”

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

“Instinct is the nose of the mind.”

“Coincidence is just a word for when we cannot see the bigger picture.” And my very favorite quotes are, “Sometimes it seems the difference between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash,” said by Evelyn. And Muriel said she had heard someone say, “There is no present like the time.”

We’d like to properly thank Oriental Gardens in Kingwood, Texas, for giving us our table for most of the evening. For location and more information visit http://orientalgardensrestaurant.com/.

If you haven’t seen The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie, visit their Facebook page and website:  http://thesecondbestexoticmarigoldhotel.com/

Here’s hoping all your journeys are happy ones, and remember there’s no present like the time!

Trilla