O.k. so I told you if you came back to read part 2 I would provide an explanation as to why it took double the time it should have to arrive at our New Braunfels hotel. Yes, there was a bit of a weather issue with torrential downpours but it was short and manageable – the real culprit of our lengthy detour was “Annie” our GPS (aka the crazy @#$%). I’m not sure about you, but after several hours of driving, weather issues, and hunger – there comes a point when you just need to be there and Mama Bug was at that point! After having us circle on and off I35 at least 5 times, good old Annie decided to give up and her final last words of the night were “Leave the Road,” which is not really what you want to hear when looking for your destination. Looking back, it really was the perfect time for her to resign, because the minute that she did, we no longer followed her terrible advice and we arrived at the hotel. For future reference, if your GPS can’t get you to your destination in 2 attempts – call the hotel for directions or get a map.
After a good night’s sleep, and a chance to literally “recharge,” Mama Bug and Annie were back on speaking terms and were ready for the next adventure (although if you continue to read DAY THREE, you will see why it will take a very long time for Annie to gain back Mama Bug’s trust – fool me once shame on you – fool me twice-shame on me!!!) But back to Day Two, it was definitely very nice to be within a half hour drive to our next destination. When choosing a hotel, I chose New Braunfels because of it’s location (approx. halfway between Austin and San Antonio). What I had not anticipated was how much we would enjoy the area, and the numerous things there were to do there. I think that part of the reason I enjoy travelling so much is the discovery of places you never knew existed and this was one of those times.
this gorgeous view was the back of our hotel (Courtyard by Marriott New Braunfels) This hotel was beautiful and was in a fabulous location – tucked between IH35 and the Guadalupe River. Friendly helpful employees and very reasonable prices.
New Braunfels is the ideal location to stay on your trip to Texas if you enjoy water sports. It is right in the middle of two pristine rivers, the Comal and the Guadalupe. This allows opportunities for tubing, rafting, kayaking and more. There are several entry points where you can rent equipment or bring your own. Tubing is a huge thing here, and you can easily make it a whole day or weekend event.There’s also a more than 70 acre water park/resort named Schlitterbahn (meaning “slippery road” in German) where you can indulge in some wet family fun. This park has won Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for 19 years straight.
A definite highlight of the trip, as we turned the corner of the windy road (after being stopped by a herd of deer), it was like stepping back in time. What started as a “drive by” turned into me searching flights to figure out how we could extend our stay and spend some more time here. Unfortunately that didn’t work but we will be back!Gruene Hall – this is the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas, dating back to 1878, and yes there was live music playing and people dancing when we poked our nose in to see (even on a Monday night)
each of the little antique and souvenir shops had their own unique character
Gruene Mansion Inn – bed and breakfast in the heart of the tiny town
Two restaurants that we checked out and absolutely loved the atmosphere – we didn’t get a chance to eat there but next time
The Gristmill – this old barn/restaurant was like eating in a treehouse, with different levels and inside and outside seating with incredible views of the river when looking down
Cantina Del Rio – delicious smells were coming out of this little Mexican restaurant and my pictures of the inside don’t really portray the ambiance and uniqueness of this little treehouse setting nestled amongst thousands of tiny colourful lights. Sounds strange but it felt a little magical.
When I said we were going to the Riverwalk, Baby Bug pictured it to be exactly that – a walkway near a river, which it is but so much more. She was pleasantly surprised to see all of the shops and restaurants and the beautiful park like setting right in the heart of the city. You can access the Riverwalk at several different points throughout the city just by walking down some stairs, Parking tip: There was a lot of street parking but it was only two hours, which we knew would not be enough and we didn’t want to have to be going back and forth to add money to the meter. If you’re wanting to spend more than 2 hours, it would be best to find a lot or garage centrally located (the shopping mall is a great location because you can then walk to the Alamo afterwards) – you may pay a bit more but it will save you time in the long run.
This narrated boat ride along the riverwalk is a great way to get an idea of the layout and where you may want to walk, it also provides some facts and history. Boat tour was $10 per person and lasts about 35 minutes. We bought our tickets and got on board just outside the food court at the Riverwalk mall.
The riverwalk is lined on each side with restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. There are also waterfalls, bridges and the ducks. We loved walking and taking it all in – especially the trumpet player playing under one of the bridges.
The Alamo – again, this historical monument exceeded our expectations. Not only did we get a bit of history but we really enjoyed walking around the beautiful park like grounds. Admission was free and audio tours were available. They also had exhibits set up with people in costume portraying what life was like in that era.
The Alamo Cenotaph (aka the Spirit of Sacrifice) has the names of those who fought in the Battle of the Alamo engraved on it.
Baby Bug at the Alamo Old Well – of course we threw in some coins and made a wish
Keep reading DAY THREE, for the highlights of our last day in Texas – The Magnolia Market & Silos – will there be a Chip & Joanna sighting???