When David and I move to a new location, we promise ourselves that we’ll get to know all the points of interest in the area. Usually we don’t manage it. We get busy with our day-to-day, and pretty soon we’re slaves to our routine, which doesn’t include sight-seeing. This time we’re determined to do things differently. There’s a lot to do and see here in the hill country, and we’re looking forward to exploring.
To that end, we rented a boat earlier in the week and motored up the Colorado River, and then the length of Lake LBJ all the way to Horseshoe Bay. There was little boat traffic, and the water was calm and cool. The thing to do at this lake is to look at the houses along the water. Most of the shoreline is developed and the lots and homes go for a fortune. At one point, I drove the boat while David managed to stay afloat on a round inflated raft, which didn’t look easy or comfortable. We swam, we ate chicken, I drank a glass of wine, and David had a beer. What we were mainly doing was answering the question—do we want to buy a boat? The rent for four hours was two-eighty, which, because I’m frugal, seemed expensive. On the other hand you’d have to use a boat at least once a week for several years to justify the cost of purchase, not to mention storage and maintenance, the hassle of towing it around, and getting it in and out of the water. Only true devotees go to the trouble. If you rent it, you just pull out your credit card and go. I can see doing this two or three times a year, probably when we have visitors. It’s pleasant on the lake, but no, we won’t be buying a boat.
The way we might go is kayaks. We haven’t been out on Lake Marble Falls, which is nearby and seldom crowded. We have a rental reservation for kayaks next Saturday, and we'll do that on LMF.
Today we’re visiting Fredericksburg. The ads in the tourist magazine are for antique shops, gift shops, wine-tasting bars, and restaurants. So antiquing, wine, and food—for me, a perfect day.
The drive is easy—twenty minutes to Johnson City, right for half an hour on 290, which morphs into Fredericksburg’s Main Street. Lined with quaint store-fronts, old-style signage, and charming covered walkways, it’s designed to attract. We park as soon as we’re able, planning to walk up one side and return on the other.
The first shop we enter is called Linens-N-More. The ad in the magazine claimed that it has the largest collection of placemats and matching napkins in the state. (A selling point? Seriously?) A room off to the side boasts a thousand quilts. Indeed, I’ve never seen so many quilts, not even at a quilt show.
Next on the agenda is a gallery that specializes in glass art. Our house has a tall built-in display alcove that we're compelled to fill, and we immediately see the possibilities in this shop—long-necked vases, swirled bowls, elegant fountains; typically, David likes one piece and I like another. It’ll take us months of debate to figure this out. We take pictures and move on.
Next we hit an endless row of gift and accessory shops, all filled with the same useless, yet artfully arranged, crap. I, of course, must go into every one of them, with David patiently trailing. I drag him into a clothing store that claims to have unique designs; and I wonder how a place can make this claim when on every rack there are rows of tops and skirts that are exactly the same. Does no one pay attention to the meaning of words anymore?
In one shop I overhear one woman ask another, “Ain’t we have came into this store already?”
What does this even mean? The grammar makes me cringe, and David says, as he does every time I’m appalled by the vernacular, “Remember where you are.”
Next up, lunch. There are so many restaurants to choose from—authentic German, barbecue, Texmexentric. David's hungry for a Reuben, so we go to Winslow’s. I have chicken and dumplings, a rare indulgence. After lunch, our major fun find is across the street—Rustic Rob’s. Here they offer samples for tasting of absolutely everything in the store, from raspberry chipotle sauce to jalapeno olives to, my favorite, peach butter. We buy mustard, chili mix, and barbecue sauce, then head to the car.
As David drives us home, I take a nap.
Lake LBJ, tick. Fredericksburg, tick.