Randy and Cheryl and the crawl to Blanco

July 17, 2009

Some of you may have noticed that I have been m.i.a. on this blog for a while.  I’m going to do my best to catch up and catch you up on our adventures.  Cheryl has been prodding me to get with the program, so no more slouching; here I go.

Chery, (http://consciousgardening.blogspot.com/) is building a fence in her back yard using cedar pickets.  She found a good place to get them at a good price in Johnson City (see previous blog about our Johnson City crawl), and she needed a few more so we decided to head out west to pick up a hundred of the sticks and visit Blanco, Texas, home of the Blanco Lavender Fest (http://www.blancolavenderfest.com/) on the way and see what that town had to offer.  I had never been to Blanco but have always heard really nice things about it and love visiting towns in the hill country.

Our first stop was the The Lion’s Share Iron Works (http://www.thelionsshareiron.com/The_Lions_Share/Welcome.html) located three miles west of the “Y” in Oak Hill.  They have quite a selection of all things iron including chairs, headboards, planters, benches, fencing and much, much more.

Just a small portion of all of the iron headboards

Just a small portion of all of the iron headboards

The aluminum selection

The aluminum selection

Stiill more headboards

Still more headboards

They had great prices and the owner was making some amazing deals.  Stop by and check it out if you get a chance.  Definitely worth a look.

Our next stop was Solstice in Dripping Springs (solsticegardens.com).

Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 068This place was a very pleasant surprise.  Cheryl and I thought we were going to see a plant nursery, instead we were treated to some amazing art and sculptures that were installed around the tree-shaded grounds of the old house which served as the headquarters.

One of Mark White's amazing dream catchers

One of Mark White's amazing dream catchers with the business owner in the background.

One of the artists work that was featured was Mark White from Sante Fe.  His works are mobiles made of different types of metal.  These photos don’t do them justice.  To see how amazing they are you really have to check them out for yourself in person.

One of the owner's creations.  It's spins in the wind.

One of the owner's creations. It's spins in the wind.

May nip if molested.

May nip if molested.

If you find yourself in Dripping Springs be sure to check this place out.  It is not to be missed.  The owner is a very friendly and interesting guy.   Be sure to tell him we sent you!

Leaving Dripping, we took the back way to Blanco via Ranch Road 165.  This is what a drive thru the hill country is all about.  Rolling tree-covered hills and uninterupted views with the exception of a dozen or so cell phone towers (how many of these eyesores do we really need?).  This road meanders along side the Blanco River, which is just a bit of a mudhole with this terrible drought we are experiencing.  Still, it was a really nice way to enter the city.

Blanco is a really charming town.

Buildings on the square

Buildings on the square

And it’s also the County Seat.

Please landscape me!!!

Please landscape me!!!

Love this Second Empire architecture.  Could do with a little landscaping and perhaps someone should water the grass, don’t ya think?

Cheryl and I were starving when we were in Dripping Springs, so by the time we got to Blanco we were about ready to yank of each others’ arm and start chewing.  Fortunately, we stumbled upon the Rockin’ R Restaurant and Steakhouse (www.rileysbarbq.com yes, that’s the link).

This place will save you from cannibalism

This place will save you from cannibalism

This place was a great find.  The interior decor was very charming and the food was DELICIOUS!  My mouth is watering  just thinking about the black and blue burger I had with it’s pepper crusted patty and bleu cheese (man I’m hungry).  Cheryl had the portobella mushroom sandwich and said it is the best one she’s ever had and she’s EXTREMELY picky!  Don’t let her tell you otherwise.  We both gave this place a thumb’s up.  Be sure to stop in next time you pass thru town.

After lunch (and a pitcher of Real Ale Fireman’s 4 from the friendly town brewery http://www.realalebrewing.com/beer_styles.php) we stopped in at the local nursery Blanco Gardens.  (http://www.gardenguides.com/resources/nurseries/nursery.asp?store=847045).  For a little town it had a good selection and great prices.  Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 087Be sure to check out the bird house while you are there.

Texas-Sized bird house

Texas-Sized bird house

Local residents of Texas Sized birdhouse

Local residents of Texas Sized birdhouse

The owner of this place and I have this in common.

The owner of this place and I have this in common.

From there we crawled along highway 281 in to Johnson City.  There are signs all along the roadway advertising Whittington’s, so we decided we better stop in to see what all the fuss is about.

It is a known fact that bikers love jerky.  Look it up.

It is a known fact that bikers love jerky. Look it up.

They advertise that they have the best jerky and while I have not personally tried every jerky in the world I do have to say that this jerky was damn good.  Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 100I insisted that we stop in and see Kathy Johnson at Pieces of the Past (http://www.pieces-of-the-past.com/).  I can’t go out this way without stopping in and visiting with Kathy and seeing what new things she has picked up.

Need a loveseat? Porch railings? Ceiling tin? Saint? Rooster?

Need a loveseat? Porch railings? Ceiling tin? Saint? Rooster?

I know I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, but I love this place.  There are so many things to see and so many things I want.

Kathy Johnson kindly holding up my purchase.

Kathy Johnson kindly holding up my purchase.

Pull up a chair!

Pull up a chair!

This place is definitely worth a stop when you’re in JC.  Kathy will make you some great deals.

After we loaded up my pickup with Cheryl’s cedar pickets, we had lost our beer buzz, so we swerved off the highway and onto Ranch Road 2766 and headed to the Texas Hills Vineyard.  Bloom Day, Blanco, JC 111This was just what we needed.  The Winery itself is a really cool (literally) building built out of rammed earth meaning that the materials used when leveling the ground for the building was smooshed (that’s the technical term) together to form the concrete-like walls of the building.

A cave on top of the ground

A cave on top of the ground

The staff were friendly, the wines delicious.  We purchased a few bottles and headed back to Austin.  Cheryl and I agreed we had a really nice day.  It was great getting out of the hustle of the city for a day.

3 Responses to “Randy and Cheryl and the crawl to Blanco”

  1. Bob Pool Says:

    It looks like you and Cheryl had a good time. I actually got caught shooting pidgeons off of that court house when I was a kid. The local police came by and let us use his spot light because it was night and we could hardly see them by the street lights. We had to give him some of the birds though. The police likes pidgeons too.

    I missed the closing picture of you and Cheryl, one thumb up and one thumb down. Bob at Draco


  2. You can certainly pack a lot in one day! Thank you for all these great places to visit. Now I want to follow your Blanco tracks. Linda

  3. Cheryl Says:

    Nice Blog Randy! I’m finally getting mine up and going…whew! Real Ale Brewery next time!


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