texas: hill country

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Howdy from  Texas!

I am currently in Fredericksburg, a popular city attraction in Hill Country, Texas. The landscape of Hill Country is reminiscent to that of the East, with rolling hills and trees, but it is dry and beholds a barren, desert-like feeling. Today is my last day in Hill Country; tomorrow we (my cousins..the same cousins as last year’s Texas vacation) are driving to Austin for the day. After Austin, I will be spending  the remainder of my Texas vacation at my cousins’ home (where I also began my vacation before heading to the Hill Country). My cousin Christina, who is the lovely mom of two little ladies, Sadie and Vivian, and wife to husband Kevin, is such an admirable role model and one of my best friends. Having a chance to actually spend time with Christina (versus only e-mail communication) is a real treat and an opportunity I am grateful for.

Yesterday, my first “full” day in Fredericksburg, my cousins and I (minus Kevin, as the trip to the Hill Country was a girls’ trip) visited a wildflower farm, Wildseed Farms. It is past wildflower season in Texas, but I enjoyed looking at all of the other gorgeous flowers and practicing my hand at photography. Walking along the rows of vibrant flowers was peaceful and relaxing; I could have spent the entire day gazing at and snapping photos among Ladybird Dwarf Cosmos, Standing Cypress, and Zinnias.

After the wildflower farm, we drove to Pedernales State Park. The shade of the cyprus trees along the banks of the shallow Pedernales River provided a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic lunch before venturing into the refreshing water. While my cousins ventured upstream, I walked downstream, camera in hand, intrigued by the unique trunks and roots of the cyprus trees. I also enjoyed looking for rocks on the river floor. It always surprises me how much rocks can change appearance once out of the water and dry; the colors seem to diminish, and I am always a little disappointed that the vibrant, unique colors disappeared. But, like the wildflower farm, my time in the river was another soothing experience.

Today, after a breakfast of Blueberry Chobani Greek yogurt, Applegate Farms chicken breakfast sausage (Christina is a “foodie,” too, and the linked products above were introduced to me by her; both the yogurt and sausage are delish.), butter and honey toast, and fresh cantaloupe and strawberries, the cousins and I drove to Enchanted Rock, a hiking area that was once thought to be a worship site for Native Americans. The trek to the top of Enchanted Rock was rather short, but I enjoyed the hike. On top of Enchanted Rock, the wind blew fiercely, and the view was beautiful. The Hill Country barren, dry, desert-like feeling was upon the top, so I was amazed to find little spots of life bursting with flowers, trees, and cacti. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience hiking today.

After Enchanted Rock, I was dropped off on Main Street in Fredericksburg, free to window shop and roam the town for a couple of hours on my own. My favorite shop of the day was a natural foods and supplements store, Peach Basket. The store was like a miniature New Pioneer, equipped with a gluten-free bakery, Beat the Wheat, at the back of the store. I treated myself to a “souvenir:” a delicious gluten-free cookie, filled with cranberries, coconut, oats, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. I would never have guessed the crispy-on the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside cookie was gluten-free!

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Now, the little ones are in bed, and Christina and I are about to sit down to dinner (carry-out from a recommended local restaurant). I forgot to pack my camera USB cord, so I will update my Texas posts with photos when I return to Iowa.

Have a wonderful evening!

P.S. While in Fredericksburg, I even got a little bit o’ baking in! More on that experience soon!

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