The LBJ Ranch, Back to Luckenbach and Other Highlights from the Texas Hill Country

I’m planning a big party and you’re all invited-more details coming soon…..

Welcome back.  Traveling west for an hour or so out of San Antonio, Texas you come to what Texicans call the Hill Country. While I was in the area last week I discovered another part of America that is well worth the trip. Here’s a taste of what I saw:

The area was created in the early days of the earth’s existence and according to the artifacts that have been discovered Native Americans were the first people to roam the area. Spanish conquistadors were also in the area and their names and traditions live on today. German immigrants had a big impact as well when they settled in these mountains in the early 1800s. There’s plenty of history in the two thousand foot high Hill Country and after two days of camping at remote Lost Maples State Park I think a return visit to this part of the country is a must.

Traveling north for another hour to the outer edge of Hill Country you come to Fredericksburg, TX which is the home town of five star General Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The history of the Nimitz family is displayed in a museum housed in what was formerly the Nimitz Hotel back when the Admiral’s grandfather settled here. Chester Nimitz eventually became one of only a handful of five star generals in the country and his museum is now part of a large complex which includes the National Museum of the Pacific War. Your two day admission ticket gets you into both places and takes you back to a time when the world was at war and the faith of our nation rested on our GIs. Planes, boats, all kinds of guns and a German submarine are on display here along with exhibitions describing the various battles, the weapons that were used and the numbers of men who died. Outside on the grounds, a memorial wall and garden is situated between the two museums and features plaques of all sizes dedicated to the soldiers who were killed as well as the ships they sailed on. Three very moving exhibitions all in one spot and I guarantee you will enjoy every minute of that two day ticket.

Just fifteen miles outside of town is a place that was called the “Texas White House” back in the 1960s. Born, raised and educated on this same piece of property, President Lyndon Baines Johnson is also now buried there in a small family cemetery. After Lady Bird Johnson’s death, the family donated what had become a large working ranch to the National Park Service. The drive through the ranch where they are still working cattle descended from Johnson’s original herd, takes you past the house where Johnson was born, the one room schoolhouse where he learned to read and even the cemetery. A tour of the Johnson family home which still has the original furnishings gives you a keen sense of history as Johnson frequently met with Cabinet members and foreign leaders here. The ranch lies along the scenic Pedernales River and you won’t want to miss it. This historic site is just one more reason to visit Fredericksburg.

I’ll end this week not far from where I started where they announce “Everybody is somebody here.”

It was 1970 when the town founders advertised the town for sale in several newspaper around the country. A colorful character named Hondo Crouch bought the place lock, stock and barrel and appointed himself Mayor and Crown Prince. A good natured man with a wild imagination, Crouch established a make believe town picking his friends to be ambassadors to foreign countries and creating several festivals in honor of his new town. Music was constantly in the air as musicians from all over came to play under the 500 year old live oaks and to have some fun with Honda who always had dominos and plenty of cold beer on hand.

In 1973 Texas musician Jerry Jeff Walker recorded an album here “Viva Terlingua” which went gold and soon this fairytale town became a must visit place for musicians. When Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson showed up for the annual Fourth of July picnic the town became known around the world. “Luckenbach, Texas, Back to Basics” became a massive hit for Waylon and Willie and the little town would never be the same. Today with a full time population of three, the old original country store and bar is still going strong as hundreds of tourists stop by every day to see where it all started and listen to live music under those same old trees. They can drink a beer and eat a hamburger at the Feed Trough seven days a week in the town where everybody is somebody.

Till next week, I’ll see ya town the road………..

P.S. As most of you know the OK Mozart Festival is in full swing so don’t miss the opportunity to hear some world class live music right here at home. Hope to see you there.