Sunday, March 29, 2015

Texas Baptist Historical Museum

Being Baptist myself, and interested in Texas history, Texas Baptist history is a big deal to me.  And Independence, TX is where it all began.

Independence Baptist Church is the oldest continuously active Baptist Church in Texas.  It was organized in 1839.  It is also the church where Sam Houston was baptized.  

If you're interested in learning more about Independence, and Texas Baptist History, here's a website you should check out.

We toured the museum, and the old church, the other day day after we left Round Top.

Church meetings were first held in a school building.  Baylor University was established in Independence in 1845, and services were held in University buildings until 1853, when they moved to the present site.  That building burned 1872, although the pulpit furniture and pews associated with member Sam Houston were salvaged.  The congregation then built the stone structure which still stands today.

I really like the stained glass windows.  Simple, but colorful.

The old church is now part of the museum, and open to the public.

This is the new church, across the street from the older one.  We were blessed to be able to worship with this congregation today, Palm Sunday.  And doubly blessed to join them in the Lord's Supper.  

I've heard this story before, and you probably have, too.  They say that there were "throngs of onlookers" when Sam Houston was baptized on November 19, 1854, in Rocky Creek, 2 miles south of town.  When he was told his sins were washed away, he reportedly replied, "I pity the fish downstream."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Round Top, Texas

We had been to Round Top years ago (37 years, actually) with my parents.  Daughter was just a babe in arms.  It was a tiny little town, with several old log cabins you could walk through.  The famous Round Top, held in the spring each year, wasn't so famous then, although it had already been going on for about 10 years.

Fast forward to this year.  The town is still small, just 90 people live there. But. Those sweet little log cabins that told the history of this little Texas community?  They have all been remodeled to house boutique type shops.  The Round Top Antique Show?  The roads to all the surrounding towns were lined with vendors on the day we went - and the show didn't even officially begin for two more weeks.

And get this - some enterprising soul decided what this sleepy little town needs during the Antique Show is male strippers.  Yep.  This year, after a hard day's shopping for antiques, you can go to the little town of Warrenton, just 8 miles away, and relax while being entertained by The American Cowboy Las Vegas Revue, "a Chippendales-like performance featuring muscular men dressed in jeans, boots, cowboy hats and, occasionally, shirts."

On Easter weekend, no less.

Good grief.

We did find a quiet spot to have lunch in nearby Winedale.  I had mistakenly posted this photo on Facebook earlier as our campground.  I've since edited that post with the correct photo.

We stopped at one of the vendors.  As I understand it, at the official Round Top Antique Show, only antiques are allowed.  But vendors outside of town can sell whatever they want.  This was about 5 miles outside of town.  I thought these driftwood sculptures were fascinating.  The vendor told us they were imported from Pakistan.

After leaving Round Top, we drove to Independence.  We found this little church about halfway in between the two towns, at a little place called Gay Hill.  The sign on the front of the church said Friedens United Church.  I have no idea what kind of church that is, though I suspect it's some kind of Church of Christ.  I just thought it was pretty.  Texas is full of little, old churches like this.

I'll post more about what we found in Independence later.  We were so impressed, we're going back there tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Blue Bell

I know you are all on pins and needles wondering which movie we ended up seeing yesterday...we ended up watching Cinderella.  Because Do You Believe? wasn't showing in Brenham.  Hopefully, it will be showing somewhere near Georgetown next week.  We like to support Christian films, and I've heard this one is really good.

Cinderella was good, too.  Maybe the prettiest movie I've ever seen.  And I love the mother's advice to Ella..."Have Courage, Be Kind."  Didn't Jesus say sort of the same thing?

So, back to Blue Bell.  We took the tour on Tuesday. I  really wasn't expecting to be impressed with a factory tour, but the Blue Bell factory was actually kind of fascinating.  I can't imagine working there, though, even if they gave me all the free ice cream I could carry home.  Reminded me of the I Love Lucy episode where she and Ethyl went to work at the candy factory.  I would never have the dexterity and stamina to keep up!

Of course, the real reason we were there was the "free" scoop of Blue Bell at the end of the tour (which cost $4 for seniors).  Huge scoops of Blue Bell.  There are just a few brands we are loyal to...GM, of course, since Cowboy worked there for most of his life, Crest toothpaste, Coca-Cola (me) and Dr. Pepper (Cowboy), and, most of all, Blue Bell ice cream.  We discovered Blue Bell at a little ice cream shop in Benbrook back in the 70's (I think it was called The Cold Rush), and we've been eating it ever since.

They wouldn't let us take photos inside the factory, but here's a few of the outside.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Cowboy had Mint Chocolate Chip and I had Crazy Cookie Dough.  It was crazy good!

Antique Rose Emporium, Independence, TX

We are still at Garner State Park today.  We will be moving to Canyon Lake tomorrow.  I'm hoping we can get good wifi service there.  In the meantime, here's some photos from a couple of weeks ago that I still had on my phone.

It's really just plain tedious to post from my phone, but I'm getting so far behind.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, I reckon.

While we were in Independence, we stopped by the Antique Rose Emporium.  This is a combination nursery, with plants and garden gift items for sale, and public garden.  We were here a couple of years ago.  There weren't as many plants in bloom this time of year, but I got a few photos.

Instead of shopping carts, there are little red wagons to gather your purchases.

Lots of ideas and inspiration for home gardens...

Made me wish I was a gardener.  Then I thought about all that work.  

Several little buildings were made into shops.  This one sold beautiful wooden crosses inlaid with polished stones.  I asked if I could take pictures, but was told the artist wouldn't allow it.  

Since I'm NOT a gardener,  I feel doubly blessed that I am able to enjoy the fruits of real gardeners labors as we travel.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brenham and Bluebonnets

Monday, we moved to Rocky Creek Corps of Engineers Park, on Lake Somerville.  Just a few miles north of Brenham.  The picture above is the view from our front door.  We love CoE Parks! This one is on a peninsula, so we have water views on three sides.

There's opportunities to indulge ourselves in so many of our favorite things here...history, just down the road Independence and Washington-on-the-Brazos and Round Top and more...wildflowers all over the place...great restaurants (we've already had some of the best Mexican food I've ever had in my life - at a great price too)...worship, there are plenty of  churches to choose from here.  In fact, the Texas Baptist Historical Museum is right down the road. Blue Bell Ice Cream (first thing on our list)...and for Cowboy, fishing.

Well, almost.

Once we got the 5er (fifth wheel) set up, the first thing he did was unload his little inflateable boat.  That's when he realized he'd forgotten to bring the seat to the boat.  Bummer.  But they say the fishing hasn't been too good here anyway, what with the lake being a couple of feet high, and they are letting water out of the spillway.  Yep, you read that right.  This lake is actually too full.  Wish they'd send some of it towards North Central or West Texas! That hasn't stopped him from fishing off the bank, though.  Like they say, a bad day of fishing is better than...well, I can't think of anything it would be better than, but I'm sure my Cowboy could.

The weather has been perfect all week, but it's windy and rainy here today, so we are heading to town after lunch to see a movie.  Probably either Cinderella or Do You Believe?

We're really not that far from home, if anyone needs a little vacation, you could come see us!  Here's another photo to tempt you.  Took this one between Brenham and the park.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The "Cajun Riviera"

Here's the thing about RV've got to be flexible.  We didn't take Spring Break into consideration when we started out...and places where we've never needed reservations before are now booked solid.

No worries.  There's so much in the great state of Texas we haven't seen yet, so who needs Louisiana anyhow?

Before we got too far away though, I've always wanted to see the Louisiana Coast.  So, we took a long drive south from Orange, down through many, many petroleum refineries (nasty!) then east toward what the travel brochures call the "Cajun Riviera."

Well.  Now I've seen it.  Here's the photos to prove it.

Cowboy loves beaches.  He could have walked along here for miles.  But we were hungry.



Beach debris.

Charlie's ready to go!
Ugh... I think the Cajuns need to clean up their beach.

So, all in all, it was a good, educational day.  We ended up in Lake Charles, where we found a nice lunch, so that was good.  But I don't think I'll be wanting to visit the "Cajun Riviera" again any time soon!

Saturday was housework and laundry day, Sunday we went to First Baptist Church in Beaumont.  We moved further west Monday, and this week has been great.  Not everything goes our way when we're camping, but then, it doesn't always when we're home either.  Life on the road is good.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shangri-la Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

Today's adventure took us to this amazing place in Orange, TX. Here's a few pictures.
Cypress trees in the swamp.
More cypress.
The orchids were my favorite thing.
I could have stayed here all day.
The alligator was Tim's favorite thing. This was the "small" gator.  We didn't see the big one.
Herons.  They come here every spring to lay and hatch their eggs.
Another reason I love traveling...I get to enjoy so many
different gardens, and I don't have to do any of the work!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dream Camper

We stopped to get diesel at Lena, Louisiana, and the guy next to us at the pumps was hauling this magnificent contraption to an RV show at LaFayette.  Said he found it, as is, in someone's old garage.  Built on a model T, according to plans in a Popular Mechanics magazine.  AND, he even has the magazine. 
So cool.
Can you read the sign on the front of it? It says "Dream Camper"

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Nacogdoches, Louisiana

The first thing you need to know is, it's pronounced "nack-a-tish."

Well, maybe you didn't need to know that, but I needed to tell you.  I like to pronounce words, especially names, correctly.  At least, as correctly as I can with my Texas twang.  I'm told it's not just a Texas twang, it's a Texas twang with a heap of country on top.  (I started to say I sound rural, but rural is one word I cannot pronounce to save my life.  Ties my tongue in knots every time.)

Now that's out of the way, maybe we can get on with this story.

We finally left home yesterday morning around 11:00.  (We were supposed to leave two weeks ago, but there have been issues...not really problems, just ... issues.)We drove through Palestine and Rusk, arriving at our destination, Ajax Country Livin' RV Park, around 7:30 last night.  We had never been through that part of Texas before, and we dearly love going down new (to us) roads.

The RV Park is great.  I wish we were staying longer than two nights here.  It's in the country, but just about half a mile from I-49.  It's small, it has a little lake (with a resident alligator, of course) and the people here are so friendly.  It's not fancy at all, but it has full hookups, and the space we are in, although grass, is perfectly level.  And roomy.  Tim's already been fishing twice, even though we spent most of today sightseeing.

Nacogdoches is an awesome, beautiful, quaint, wonderful town.  Like a little country New Orleans.  The historic district is right on the Cane River.  We spent a night here once about 15 years ago, and were told that the man who wrote Steel Magnolias was from here, and he wrote the play about his sister who died, and his mother and all her friends and how they supported each other.  Also, the movie was filmed here.

Here's a few photos I took with my little phone camera.  It's not a great camera, and I'm not a great photographer, but you can get some idea of the beauty of the town.

So so so so pretty!

Nacogdoches is famous for many things...several movies have been filmed here, it's the oldest town in Louisiana, it's on the Camino Real...but the thing the locals seem most proud of is .... the meat pasties.  Go figure.  They're like empanadas, only bland.  Besides, this town is very Cajun/Creole/French, for Pierre's sake, and I always thought pasties were kind of an Irish (maybe Cornish? or Welch?) kind of thing.  Whatever.  We ate lunch at Lasyone's Pastie Shop, one of the oldest restaurants in this old town.  I got the beef pastie, because the only other choice in pasties was -yuck- crawfish.  It was pretty good, but basically just a ground beef turnover.  No onions or veggies or much of anything in the way of seasoning.  But still, good.

Okay, I just looked up "pastie" on Wikipedia..."A pasty...(sometimes known in the United States as a pastie or British pasty) is a baked pastry, a traditional variety of which is particularly associated with Cornwall, the westernmost county in England.)

So.  Now we know.

After lunch we visited a couple of plantations.

This is Oakmont Plantation.  Look at those trees!
Here's some more of them.
And here's the Cowboy! He's excited to be here.  Really.  That is his excited face.

And here's me at Melrose Plantation.

That pretty much wraps up today.  Tomorrow is another travel day for us.  Hope everyone at home is well and happy.  As always, big thanks to our sweet daughter and son-in-law for watching the house and taking care of the animals while we're gone.  We couldn't do any of this if not for them.  We are very blessed indeed.