texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history

texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history

THE GRUENE MANSION INN. This is a premier bed and breakfast experience smack in the middle of Texas' finest history. 
Sleep in the H.D. Gr
uene's 1872 mansion / corn crib carriage house / barn, next to the Guadalupe River. Photo: Ira Kennedy

GRUENE, TEXAS
THE TOWN THAT SLEPT   Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
The Great Depression and the Boll Weevils came and went leaving the town abandoned
like a neglected antique in the attic of Texas history. Sleeping no more, Gruene is alive with the spirit of adventure,
commerce and history.


  

 

 

OA.jpg (2672 bytes)n a back road between San Marcos and New Braunfels near the banks of the Guadalupe River rests the community of Gruene, Texas.  The whole town is a historical landmark registered with the prestigious National Registry of Historic Places.
      Founded over a hundred hears ago by Ernst and Antoinette Gruene from Hannover, Germany, the town was once an important way station between Austin and San Antonio.  It served as a stage stop for the Brown and Tarbox Stage Coach Lines for years; then in 1900 it was a station stop for two railroads.  The town prospered at the turn of the century through cotton production.   The cotton gin, general store and grist mill hummed with business until the boll weevil and the great depression virtually emptied the town.
     After years of silence and neglect the town came back to life. By 1977 a saddle factory, winery (since closed), dance hall and numerous shops opened attracting neighbors and tourists alike.

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
BUCK POTTERY: Located in a "turn of the century" barn featuring hand-thrown, wood-fired utilitarian and decorative stoneware pottery.  Watch a fine craftsman at work.

  Ironically, if the town hadn't been abandoned for so long it probably wouldn't be worth going to today.
       Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
THE GRISTMILL RIVER RESTAURANT & BAR: Since 1977. Uniquely Texas, casual dining. River Room with hill country fireplace, Garden Bar, multi-level deck and patio dining. Beneath the water tower overlooking the Guadalupe river in an 1870s cotton gin. Steak, fish, chicken, burgers, soups, salads, sandwiches and incredible desserts.

      As a designated historical landmark all of the buildings in town are being restored to their original condition.  There are some excellent examples in Gruene of 19th Century Victorian and mid-century German colonial buildings.

texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
GRUENE MANSION INN:   Henry D. Gruene's Victorian home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated Texas Historic Landmark.

        To get a real feel for what's happening in Gruene you should spend a long afternoon and visit many of the other flourishing businesses around the downtown area.

Texas tourism, travel, lodging, restaurants, dining, shopping and history
VAN WILKS: The acclaimed Texas musician (left) accompanied by Josh Smith  entertains the customers on a Sunday afternoon at Gruene Hall.

       Gruene Hall, built as a saloon by H.D. Gruene in the 1880s is a major attraction on thee weekends for some live country music. Such notable musicians as Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, and George Strait began their careers there playing on the weekends. Also, Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Dixie Chicks have held center stage at "the oldest dancehall in Texas"
      Next to the dance hall is a restaurant in the building that was once the grist mill.  Today, The Grist Mill Restaurant makes a most unusual place for dining.  The atmosphere is literally open air.  You can relax at their full bar, enjoy beautiful patio dining and buy a t-shirt to commemorate the visit.
       One last thing: When shopping in Gruene tell them you saw the article in Tourin' Texas.                                

Also in this issue:
You Can Get There From Here, But...
First we got lost. Then within 100 yards of Gruene we  had to turn around...

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