My Texas Bucket List began taking shape shortly after we arrived in College Station. At first the list consisted of only a few touristy day trips and experiences (think Six Flags, SeaWorld, etc.) I'd thought of or heard about prior to our move. But as we made new friends, especially new friends who grew up in Texas, we learned from them about the lesser-known - at least to Midwesterners - but not-to-miss sights and sounds of the Lone Star State.
Each time I cross something off my Texas Bucket List I document it here, both because Chasing Roots serves as my Texas journal and because looking back on these posts and "watching" our love affair, if you will, with our now-home state unfold is a beautiful thing.
You can see my full - but ever-growing - Texas Bucket List here. Feel free to let me know what I'm still missing!
A few weeks ago Tom and I escaped College Station to spend a grand total of 28 hours together, just the two of us. (We had planned for a slightly longer trip, but when we realized TAMU doesn't recognize Presidents Day and Tom had to teach at 11am that morning, we had to cut our time away from two nights to one.) We managed to pack quite a bit into those 28 hours though, crossing three small experiences off of our Texas Bucket List.
First, we drove to Shiner and went on a tour of the Spoetzl Brewery. While Spoetzl, the birthplace of Shiner Beers, is the oldest independent brewery in Texas, it certainly doesn't show its age; the buildings, production and assembly areas, gift shop, and grounds are all clean, updated, and well cared for. We enjoyed our free tour, and were pleasantly surprised to receive a few free samples of different active and seasonal beers.
Following our brewery tour, we hoped back in the car and drove on to Gruene, where we ate at the Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, listened to music at the famous Gruene Hall, and walked through the quaint and historic downtown. As the sun set we drove back in the direction of home, stopping in Bastrop where checked into a hotel, watched a movie, and ate Cinnabons for dinner.
The next morning we woke up WHEN WE WOKE UP (my favorite thing EVER), ate breakfast, and headed to Bastrop State Park. After talking to the park ranger, we decided to hike two different trails totaling about six miles through the park. We could not have dialed up more perfect weather - sunny and temperatures near 60 degrees - and truly enjoyed our hours spent walking and talking. (I insisted we talk the entire time to scare away any snakes.)
We made it home by mid-afternoon on Sunday - too early for the kids' liking, as they were thoroughly enjoying their weekend with just Grandma and Grandpa - so Tom would have time to prep for work on Monday. The trip looked different than what we had originally envisioned for our 15th anniversary celebration, but I'm proud of us for making something work and then making the most of what our state has to offer on this little getaway.
Perhaps a more traditional vacation awaits us for our 16th anniversary? 😉