Go Greune This St. Patrick’s Day

This Saturday, enjoy a Texas hill-country-style St. Patrick’s Day. Make it out to Gruene Hall, Texas’ oldest dance hall, for some drinks, dancing and live music. The Damn Quails will be performing from 1 – 5 p.m. and Roger Creager takes the stage at 9 p.m.

 

Plan A Texas Hill Country Spring Break Vacation

There’s no need to book a plane ticket this Spring Break! Consider staying close to home and checking out one of the many family-friendly Spring Break destinations right here in the Texas Hill Country. Whether it’s exploring historic Gruene, Texas, discovering the wonders of the hill country or floating down the Guadalupe River, there are some local vacation spots that simply can’t be beat.

Gruene, Texas

Take a break from fast-paced city life and visit historic Gruene, Texas. This classic hill country town has so much to offer, you’ll never want to leave. Bring the family to stay in one of the 30 uniquely decorated rooms of the Gruene Mansion Inn. After a relaxing evening, wake up refreshed and ready to enjoy the many shops and restaurants located in Gruene. Don’t forget to make your way to Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall, Gruene Hall. To find out more and plan your trip, visit GrueneTexas.com.

San Marcos, Texas

Make plans to spend a fun-filled day in San Marcos. San Marcos has some of the best shopping in Texas, with two outlet malls and historic downtown shopping, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more. Once you’ve indulged in retail therapy, check out the Texas State University Aquarena Center and take a glass-bottomed boat tour to learn about the aquatic life in Texas. There is even more family fun awaiting you at Wonder World Park. There you can take a tour of the nation’s only example of an earthquake-formed cave, take in the scenic views of Texas from on high in the Tejas Observation Tower or experience the wonders of the Anti-Gravity House. Learn more about what San Marcos has to offer at SanMarcos.gov.

Guadalupe River

If you just can’t get enough of the beautiful Texas outdoors, spend this Spring Break on the Guadalupe River. Take the family camping at one of several campgrounds located along the river and enjoy river activities such as tubing, rafting and fishing. New Braunfels and the Guadalupe River bring together the best of both worlds. There is the solitude and peaceful retreat of camping and fishing, but you’re still a short distance from great dining and shopping. For more information and to plan your river trip, visit www.guadaluperiver.com.

Do you have a favorite Spring Break destination? Share your suggestions on the Havenwood Facebook page!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Texas Hill Country

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to start shopping and making dinner reservations to celebrate the day with your special someone. This year, go above and beyond giving a box of chocolates – plan a whole day that makes your sweetie know what they mean to you.

Begin the day with a special delivery! Men, make sure flowers are waiting for your wife, girlfriend or even your mom to start the day! Pre-order a dozen long-stemmed roses or a beautiful bouquet from Flowers by Jeni and have them delivered to your Valentine’s home or office on February 14.

Send Something Sweet! Don’t just hand out conversation hearts to your friends and family – give them a gift they’ll remember all year long! Visit Gourmage and check out their hand-made desserts that include 15 kinds of truffles, chocolate bark and chocolate-covered almonds. Be sure to order a dozen hand-dipped, chocolate-covered strawberries today before they run out!

Enjoy a romantic dinner for two! Make reservations today for a special Valentine’s Day meal at McAdoos Seafood Company and take advantage of their pre-set menu for two. Choose from two dinner options, Filet Medallions or Snapper, and enjoy a bottle of wine in one of New Braunfels’ most beautiful landmarks.

Dance the night away! Grab your dancing partner and head over to Gruene Hall for a free Valentine’s Day dance with the Sarah Pierce Band! Come out and enjoy songs from her new album, “Bring it On.” Visit www.gruenetexas.com for more information.

Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day tradition in Gruene or New Braunfels? Share them with us on the Havenwood Facebook page!

Life in New Braunfels

New Braunfels is a quaint little town in the Texas Hill Country. What began as a home for German immigrants in the 1800s has blossomed into a charming place for all to live.

Worry that you will miss the big city? You get the best of both world’s when you live in New Braunfels because San Antonio and Austin aren’t far!

There is a little something for everyone here. Schlitterbahn and tubing are great activities for the whole family! The multiple parks allow for soaking up that Texas sun. Gruene Hall is nearby if you are in the mood for some great country music and dancing! New Braunfels staple, Wurstfest, occurs every November and you can enjoy Bavarian entertainment and food.

Living in New Braunfels is definitely unique. Want to learn more about how living in New Braunfels a reality? Please visit havenwoodtexas.com.

Hill Country Bed & Breakfasts

One of the many things to love about visiting and living in the Texas Hill Country is the access to so many historic, unique bed and breakfasts in the area. The Gruene and New Braunfels areas in particular are packed with hundreds of the quaint homes that allow guests to relax and enjoy area scenery from shaded porches, german-inspired food and even the occasional farm animal sighting! Here is a list of places in the Gruene area that will give you a taste of what Texas living is all about:

The Gruene Mansion Inn Bed & Breakfast is located near New Braunfels, Texas in the historic community of Gruene, Texas. It offers quaint, historic rooms and mouthwatering home-cooked meals against the scenic backdrop of the Guadalupe River. The Mansion Inn shares the town with a number of other rustic Bed & Breakfasts, making Gruene an ideal place to soak up some Texas history. For a complete list of New Braunfels and Hill Country B&B’s, click here.

Gruene Homestead Inn: This country inn is located in New Braunfels, Texas, just outside of the Gruene Historical Disrict situated on eight acres of an original German homestead.

Gruene Apple Bed & Breakfast: For a relaxing family weekend or a romantic getaway, sample warm homemade biscuits, swim in the natural stone pool and gaze upon the Guadalupe river or historic Gruene from your private balcony.

Miss Milburn’s B&B: Beautiful cottage-like bed & breakfast located close to downtown and Gruene and shopping areas. Experience warm comfortable beds and hill country cooking.

Accents of Gruene: Constructed in the late 1800s, this historical home’s brick chimney’s and rosy brick walls transport you to a different time. Spacious breezeways and a lush garden make this the perfect visit.

Gruene River Inn: Located on the banks of the Guadalupe River, guests can take part in the antique shoppers paradise nearby, or simply enjoy beautiful and panoramic views.

Do you have a favorite Texas Hill Country Bed & Breakfast? Tell us about your stay! To learn more about making the Texas Hill Country your permanent home and building a dream house, visit us on our website.

Small-town feel, Texas-sized community

Just north of New Braunfels lies a small town that is anything but ordinary. Gruene, Texas dishes out a healthy dose of  Hill Country charm and a sense of community that can be matched by few.  Antique shops, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts and Texas’ oldest dance hall entice visitors, with many of these businesses occupying original buildings from the town’s beginning in the mid-1840s. The Historic District is a thriving collection of “mom and pop” stores and restaurants that flourish and remain true to their small-town foundations.

When visiting a place like Gruene, one of the best ways to experience it is to indulge in the local flavor. The Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, which is the original cotton gin, offers flavorful dishes that are guaranteed to make your mouth water. Under the protection of several giant oak trees, or perhaps in front of one of the stone fireplaces, sink your teeth into a juicy steak or a heaping burger.  After dinner, head to the Gruene General Store (the original mercantile building) and pause for a drink at the soda fountain. As the sun sets, visitors and locals alike can relax on the spacious patio of The Grapevine and sample New World and Texas wines by the glass or bottle. Down the road, toes are free to tap as music springs to life at Gruene Hall where live music is available almost every night.

For the avid antique enthusiast, the  mercantile building, which once held dry goods and housed Gruene’s original bank vault, is now home to the Gruene Antique Co. In this impressive Texas Landmark Building, 6,500 square feet of antiques, gifts and collectibles can be found. Lone Star, originally a Gruene family cottage, offers an eclectic assortment of furniture, gifts, candy, dinnerware, candles and accessories.

Preserving the authenticity of Gruene has been a long-time focus for those that love and protect the town. It is this that makes it an ideal and inviting place to come and slow your pace for a weekend and experience living history. Whatever your fancy, this small piece of the Texas landscape will delight and rejuvenate.

Plan your stay today! Visit www.gruenetexas.com for more details. Interested in living in Gruene? Havenwood is a special, masterplanned community adorned with majestic oak trees and rolling hills. You can enjoy the hill country sunsets from the porch of your very own custom-built home at Havenwood, with acres of land to explore. For more information on Texas hill country homesites, visit HavenwoodTexas.com.

Local Savory Spot: Gruene River Grill

Everyone knows that the Texas Hill Country has a relaxed state-of-mind – even down to the way people dress and the things they do for fun. After all, flip-flops are the choice footwear of most residents and visitors the majority of the year, and tubing the Guadalupe or Comal rivers involves nothing other than laying in a tube to soak up the sunshine!

So, it just goes to show that those who live in Gruene love their restaurants the same way. Local favorite, Gruene River Grill, is the newest member of the Clear Springs Restaurant Family, which are known for their larger-than-life fried catfish and homemade onion rings. In fact, most of the menu items at Gruene River Grill are made from scratch.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is often raved about, with a relaxing patio overlooking the river. There is also a newly-remodeled wine room that seats up to 22 people, and serves rare, unique wines from around the world.

And of course, to round out a hearty, home-cooked meal at Gruene River Grill, you can’t forget their  Crème Brulee made with real vanilla beans or their Fudge Nut Brownie with vanilla ice cream.

Have you been to Gruene River Grill? What’s your favorite Gruene or New Braunfels area place to dine?

 

A Look Back: Historic Gruene, Texas

Gruene, Texas is a lively and vivacious community nestled in Texas hill country within the city limits of New Braunfels. Gruene’s history speaks of the rise of a town, its fall from prosperity, and its reinvention in the 1970s, turning it into the remarkable place it is today.

In 1872, first generation German American farmer Heinrich D. Gruene purchased 6,000 acres of farmland and planted cotton. It was Gruene’s second son, Henry D. Gruene that made cotton the number one cash crop in the area and a hub for shipping and banking. This attracted families to the surrounding areas, causing Gruene to grow. A mercantile store was built, and the town sprang forth, prosperous and successful. Unfortunately, the Depression and other economic factors led to the collapse of the family business in 1920. The town fell into disrepair and became a shadow of its former self.

It remained so until 1974, which brought about the arrival of Pat Molak. Seeking an environment different from that of the big city, Molak discovered the ruins of the once-thriving Gruene, and began to breathe life back into the flourishing community that stands today. Molak restored the town’s genuine look by renovating many of the buildings and houses and turning them into prosperous businesses. It is interesting to note that several of the houses that Henry D. Gruene originally built are still standing and in use today. A large frame house that Henry built for the foreman of his farm is now Gruene Haus and his Victorian cottage is now Lone Star. What is now Gruene General Store was once the town’s first mercantile store, and the cotton gin, which was powered by the Guadalupe River, is now Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar. Gruene Hall was once a dance hall and saloon, the small community’s main source of entertainment at the time.

Because of Molak’s work, Gruene has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the buildings that were rescued have been awarded a Texas medallion from the Texas Historical Commission. It is also sought by visitors and is thought of as a premiere attraction. Beginning with Gruene and carried on by Molak, this is truly a Southern treasure!

 

Why Live in the Texas Hill Country?

It would take all day to rattle off all the reasons why living in the heart of Texas is an experience like no other. However, is there actually anything to back it up? Publications like U.S. News & World Report, in addition to CNN and Yelp.com have become trusted online ratings indicators from those who know best – consumers. If you ever wondered where the Texas Hill Country ranks in terms of categories like job growth, places to retire, or even the best restaurants, see our list below.

  • Hill Country named among small towns to “Retire in Paradise,” CNN/Money Magazine
  • Austin #1 on Kiplinger’s Best Cities for the Next Decade
  • Austin in Top 10 Best Places to Live, U.S. News & World Report
  • Austin ranked as one of Best Places to Live, CNN/Money Magazine
  • Austin ranked as one of Best Places to Retire, CNN/Money Magazine
  • San Antonio ranked as one of Best Places to Live, CNN/Money Magazine
  • San Antonio named “Great Place to Live,” Sperling’s Best Places
  • San Antonio named one of “Best Places to Live,” Relocate.com
  • Texas Workforce Commission says the unemployment rate in the Central Texas area saw a 0.4% drop to about 6.9% from February 2010 to February 2011
  • The Comal Independent School District – 12 schools rated “Exemplary” and 10 schools “Recognized.” Several schools recognized with Gold Performance Acknowledgement (GPA) Awards by the TEA for outstanding performance
  • Nearby restaurants Liberty Bistro, Friesenhaus, Red Rooster Café, Gruene River Grill and the The Gruene Onion Grill voted as best New Braunfels –area restaurants by Yelp.com users

For more information on living in Gruene, visit the Havenwood website, or schedule a tour today.

 

The Historic Gristmill River Restaurant

One of the most well-known restaurants in the Texas Hill Country is the Gristmill.  If ever asked for suggestions on a great place to enjoy a chicken fried steak and a breathtaking view, locals will point you in the direction of this historic restaurant and bar.

Situated on a hill overlooking the babbling Guadalupe River, the Gristmill is reminiscent of a treehouse situated around majestic oak trees.

In 1922, the Gruene cotton gin processed crops raised by area farmers until the wooden structure tragically burned to the ground. All that remains of the water-powered mill today is the three story brick boiler room, which now serves as the main part of the restaurant and bar.

The Gristmill’s most popular dishes include their steaks and homestyle hamburgers, as well as catfish, grilled chicken and enormous sandwhiches.  They also have an adjoining bar with great win and fresh-squeezed lime margaritas.

For more information on the Gristmill and to make your reservations, visit http://www.gristmillrestaurant.com/

 

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