08/05/05 - Fredericksburg  The first weekend of August was the last fling associated with my 30th birthday.  As a last ditch effort to retain my lost youth.  Just kidding; it isn't lost...I keep it around here somewhere...I where did I put it?!?  Hmm...I guess memory really is the first thing to go.

Enchanted Rock at 1400 Feet

Enchanted Rock at 1825 Feet

We left on Friday night for the 4+ hour drive to Fredericksburg, TX - right in the heart of Texas Hill/Wine Country.  We stopped along the way to do a few caches and even had dinner at a tiny little diner on the highway.  We rolled in to our bed 'n breakfast at about midnight and climbed into a very comfortable bed on the second floor of a quaint Victorian style home.  It was very pretty on the inside and it had a nice mosquito infested garden in the back yard (Yea, we only spent about 2.6 seconds in the garden).  Fortunately, the yummy breakfasts and resident kitty cat more than made up for any unplanned insectoid transgressions.  We enjoyed omelets on Saturday morning and pancakes on Sunday.  Oh, almost forgot, we stopped for a few minutes in Luckenbach and shared a drink.  Luckenbach was an interesting place - I guess it is the only combo bar/post office I have ever seen :).

Shopping for Pots

Shopping for Cats

On Saturday we drove to Enchanted Rock state park and hiked to the top of the domed mountain (1800+ feet elevation; 0.5 miles round trip).  We had planned on doing some other hiking, but it ended up getting warmer faster than we expected.  As such, we cut our hike short and returned to Fredericksburg to visit a few wineries followed by a bunch of shopping.  Wine stops on the first day included Fredericksburg Winery, Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek, and the new Torre di Pietra.  Torre di Pietra, which means Stone Tower in Italian, was one of our favorite stops the entire trip.  We loved nearly every wine we sampled (reds and whites)...which is not very common on the wine tour.  As for the shopping, we thoroughly enjoyed perusing all of the cute little shops littering the sides of main street.  We visited garden, kitchen, Christmas, linen, knick-knack, and several gourmet food stores.  Rustlin' Rob's was one of my favorite places on Main Street.  It is a gourmet food store that lets you sample EVERYTHING in the store.  In front of every item is a sample bowl with chips, pretzels, etc.  It was a lot of fun trying various items such as picked artichokes, super spicy salsa, and Merlot jelly.  While at the linen store, Susan and I picked up a new set of bed sheets that were delightfully soft...oh, and I also picked up a purple pillow case ;).

Vineyard View

Gone to the Birds

Sunday was our lazy trip back through all the small towns of Hill Country.  We stopped at several additional wineries including Texas Hills, Flat Creek, and Fall Creek.  Of these three, Flat Creek was my favorite (they also make my favorite Orange Muscat - although the Muscat grapes didn't harvest well this season and it will be another year before I can buy any more of this variety from this vineyard - *snaps fingers*).  While in Marble Falls we stopped to dine at a nice little Mexican restaurant where I had one of the best Chimichangas in recent memory...yum!  Of course, we also did several geocaches along the way and stopped at a nice pond to feed the ducks.  All in all it was a very relaxing and enjoyable trip.  It is definitely one we could make again.

- Nathan