Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden of Austin, Texas

Not far from the rapidly beating heart of Austin lies a quiet and serene park that mesmerizes your senses in every way possible. Whether you walk around the garden and marvel over every sculpture with museum eyes or sit and listen to the Texas native birds sing over the muffled sounds of waterfall and streams, one can only assume this shady garden of Texas native plants is that oasis of tranquil harmony you have been seeking.

The four acre xeriscape garden and museum is located at 605 Robert E. Lee Road near Barton Springs and was transformed into a sculpture garden by the city of Austin in 1991. The many pieces of bronze and stone sculptures were donated by 20th century American sculptor, Charles Umluaf.  To ensure a complete sensory experience, each bronze sculpture is washed and waxed for gentle touching which is of course especially important for the visually impaired guest.

With a cool breeze on a warm day to sharpen your senses, try relaxing on a secluded bench while reading your favorite book or sitting back and watching others traverse the pebbled paths and marvel at the beautiful and intriguing sculptures.  While we were there, we even witnessed a small wedding party enjoying the beauty of the park along with the beauty of the loving couple just wed.

While I thought this would be a quick, short stop on our tour of Austin this day, it turned out to be our favorite and lasted many hours.  We sat at our chosen bench location and enjoyed the scenery while talking about our favorite topics of the day as time slipped away and the clouds dashed across the sky. Before we knew it, our bodies reminded us it was time to have some dinner. Strolling out of the park, I am reminded of just how beautiful Texas is as we see Texas Thru My Back Door!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Biker's Heaven – Anderson, Texas

Weekends are made for fun, not work. Suzanne and I took a little trip out northwest of Houston to the sleepy little town of Anderson. Traveling the backroads from Highway 249 on a cool summer morning is shear pleasure. With tall pine trees glittering with the morning dew in the sunlight and rolling hills to rock you like a lullaby, you can relax and enjoy a ride through the peaceful countryside.  It is less than an hour from Tomball and well worth the trip. 

Originally known as Fanthrop, the town was renamed Anderson for the last vice president of the Republic of Texas and it is the county seat of Grimes County. In Anderson, the Grimes County Courthouse stands out as a stunning architectural achievement in an otherwise nondescript town center.  But don’t let that stop you from cruising the antique and collectible shops in town. Who knows what treasure you might find while rummaging through old discarded stuff of yesteryear? The business owners are friendly, talkative and willing to deal if you find that perfect thing.  Our favorite was the Courthouse Antiques shop because of its very large collection of books and music in addition to the furniture and other collectibles found in all the shops we visited.

After all that antiquing and reminiscing about those things we grew up with that are now considered “antiques”, it was time to grab some grub. Our next stop turned out to be the best part of the trip. Just a few miles out of Anderson on FM 244 is a biker bar and grill with great food and cold beer called Yankee’s Tavern & Grill. I’m sure many of you bikers already know about this place. Don’t worry, if you drive up in a car they won’t kick you out!  It’s a great place to stretch your legs out and enjoy a cold one. 

This rustic joint sits on 8 acres of open space.  The atmosphere is casual and laid-back with lots of friendly people. Suzanne and I tried their ½ lb. cheeseburger on homemade jalapeno buns with some fried pickles on the side. Everything was fantastic! Yankee’s is a great place to sit back, people watch and relax. Well, eventually every good time must come to an end. We jumped back into our car, turned on our favorite music and headed home. Hope to see you again as we traverse the backroads, while enjoying Texas Thru My Back Door!