Traveling Around Texas!

Penelope Gummelt's Texas Travel Journal

First Day - Fredericksburg

Hello! Today, I am going to visit Fredericksburg, we are going to learn all about it, like the sites and the culture! I was in a taxi all night driving here. So, I did some research and I found that one of the most historical sites is the Pioneer Museum Complex. Several times a year, they hold a few activities that you and your family can do, plus the staff dress up like how people dressed in the old days. I feel kind of bad for the dresser uppers because it is 88 degrees outside, I can't imagine being under all of those layers. I got to make little soaps and I even got to shear sheep! The complex is full of artifacts from the lives of the German settlers that lived there. I had a lot of fun, at the pioneer complex, so much history! But now it is time to move on to our next site - Enchanted Rock!

Ok, today we will be climbing the Enchanted rock! It is a granite dome that covers over 640 acres! Different Native American tribes thought that it was magic and possessed spiritual abilities.The rock was a good place for Native Americans to hide from their enemies, they would be able to climb the rocks and hide, because the place they hid could not be seen from below. The view was beautiful! There were a lot of trees and different shrubs that you could see from above. Enchanted Rock was a truly enchanted place!

Now, we will learn all about the culture! I will be going to a couple sited to find more about the music, art, and food of Fredericksburg! First we are going to go to the Insight Art Gallery! A lot of painters display their paintings in this charming building. I looked around for a while and there were a lot of paintings about history. There were landscapes, portraits, sculptures, everything was just so beautiful! After we finished at the gallery, we went to the Luckenbach Dance Hall and danced our hearts out!!! The Luckenbach Dance Hall is a really popular place to visit. I heard that there are concerts and dances EVERY weekend! They played many different songs and genres like country, polka, and waltz. I had such a fun day in Fredericksburg! Tomorrow, we are going to Plainview!

Second Day - Plainview

Here we are in Plainview! And let me tell you, it is no plain view, everything is so beautiful and nice looking. When I came out of the car it was pretty hot, it's about 83 degrees. Right now, we are going to the Llano Estacado Museum to learn more about the history of Plainview. On display they have different things like Native Indian weapons and different tools. There is also an exhibit about the Spanish Explorers and the hunters that slaughtered some of the buffalo population back then. Next, we went on to the exhibits that were more modern and were set in the 19th century. They had a general store, doctor's office, and even a small school house. While I was there I kept thinking about how the U.S developed and changed over time. As we walked on, I saw a gambling scene and a jailhouse. Then we went to the cattle exibit. There was barbed wire and a tall little windmill. There was also a blacksmith shop and a cattle tacking room. Soon, we went on to the next scene where there was a watering tank, and even a spring house. We kept going on and on looking at the exhibits. Then we got to my favorite part of the museum. The Victorian Era part! There were clothes from that time, and I love clothes! You also got to see a kitchen, parlor , drawing room, and more! This museum was one of the best I have ever been to!

Now, we are going to a park called Kidsville! I always loved going to parks as a kid, so I thought that it would be fun to run around and explore the park like I used to. So first we walked around the playground and it is just like Kid Country back home! Most of the park is made of metal and wood. There are things like platforms, monkey bars, swings, spinney metal things. As soon as we were done at the park we went on a little jog on the trail that runs around the park. It stretches really far and while you are walking, you get to see all sorts of things, but you mostly see trees. I don't even know what kind of trees there are but some of them look like small pine trees. After we walked for a while we rested for a little bit under one of the shaded rest/snack areas, which is great to have a picnic under! As soon as we finished resting we headed over to the volleyball courts and played a few games. I am SO tired! But Kidsville was awesome and I loved it! It was really fun! Now, we are going to check out the ARTWALK (that's really how they spell it)!

At the AW you see all sorts of art, music, and dancing. The Art Walk is actually located in Downtown Plainview. There are all sorts of different types of art to look at here. There is uncommon objects art, crotchet, and many more. What you do at the AW is, you walk down a man street and at different locations there are different shops to look at and browse. There are a lot of different shops like fine art, jewelry, music, sculpture, photography, street art, and quilts. We first went to the all of the fine arts stand and there were a lot of interesting art to look at. The fine arts were mostly painting pictures. There were paintings with flowers, skies, people, portraits, and some religious paintings. Then. we moved on to the street art , there were paintings on buildings, sculptures of animals. There was a bull that had crotchet yarn all over it, to where it was completely covered it! Also, there was a crotchet bus and a giant crochet cube, how crazy! Then we wen to the photography where there were Victorian photographs, and also some modern as well. The ART WALK was so fun! I can't wait to come and see it again.Next we are going to, San Antonio!

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Gulf Coastal Plains Major City - San Antonio

Here we are in San Antonio! I decided that first, today we are going to the Casa Navarro Museum and Historical House that once belonged to Jose Antonio Navarro. Interesting fact for you, on my Grandpa's side their last names are Navarro, and also my Grandpa's name is Angel like Jose's father, but as far as I know, we are not related. Let me just tell you, that it is HOT here! I am sweating like a pig! But luckily we are headed to a house to look in. The Jose Antonio house is awesome! It is so nice in here! From what I have learned so far, Jose Navarro was a Texas patriot that fought for Texas! There is a lot of artifacts in here, like furniture, paintings, and there are some little videos that you can watch to learn more about him and his life. There is also a beautiful courtyard in the back that you can walk around in. The house shows a lot about the architecture and the way people lived back then. Also, there are pictures, videos, and articles that tell you more about Jose Navarro, his ancestors, and his children. There, you can also learn about what he did and his actions during the Texas War of Independence. Now that we are done with the museum, we are going to go to the San Antonio Natural Bridge Caverns!

In this tour you can go and see different stones and caves to explore. We are going to go underground and see all types of rocks and minerals like chandeliers and different things like stalagmites and stalactites. First, we walked down a path that was covered by a beautiful rock arch, then we headed over to the caverns to explore and go on tour to see the different rock formations that formed over time.It is pretty chilly in the caverns, it is only about 70 degrees in there. But the cavern tour is 3/4 of a mile long so hopefully I will warm up after a while of walking. The caverns are beautiful! The walls are covered in stalactites. And because of the lighting, the rocks and formations have a nice sheen to it, absolutely marvelous! The guide said that stalactites are formed from water dripping over inorganic material, and over time, the stalactites grow and grow, and some can fuse into a stalagmite. The guide also said that we will go 180 ft underground, and the tour goes on for 1 hour 15 minutes. The formations in the caverns are fascinating! The guide also said that you can see soda straws, chandeliers, stalactites, and stalagmites. The caverns just take your breath away! I am so glad that I took this tour, and I hope that maybe one day I can come back and explore some more.

For the last trip of the day, I am going to the Blue Star Art Complex. Some of the art exhibits that you can see is contemporary art, glass works, and cinnabar. I first went to the contemporary art exhibit. There was a lot of modern art there. Also metal works, but to be honest, they aren't really my taste. The art that I liked the most was the works where they incorporated metal and light fixtures together to make the art. We also went to see the glass works that were there. The place was called the Zollie Glass Studios, the artists made many things out of glass. Like lanterns, cups, and figurines. There was a cute little Onyx hand blown skull, I thought that it was really cute, so I decided to buy it. Also I say a glass candelabra chandelier, I thought that it was really interesting. Also in the building,l there was a pot and sculpture studio that was called Brick. There were different pots with decorations on it, a lot of them were really beautiful. There were also cherub sculptures which I also really liked. People in San Antonio have good taste! The Art Complex was really nice and interesting. I loved it! And now it looks like its time to move on to our next city.

Natural Bridge Caverns - San Antonio, Texas - Travel Thru History

Liverpool - Gulf Coastal Plains Minor City

Here we are in Liverpool! Right now we are going to the Bayou Wildlife Park, where there are a LOT of different animals. So we are going to do a quick tour through the zoo and move on to our next site. We are going to see a lot of different animals like ostriches, giraffes, antelopes, and many more. The Bayou Wildlife Zoo is a free range zoo where the animals can run around all day long. First I went to the ostrich habitat. The ostriches ran around a lot. Then we went to the giraffe habitat. I even fed one lettuce! Then we went on to the Nile lechwe habitat, the name may sound weird but they are so cute! They look like mix between a deer and a moose. Zebras! The zebras were so beautiful. The wildlife that they have here is so interesting. Now we are going to go to a few more habitats and finish up. After the Nile Lechwe we went to the David Pere Deer, then the antelopes, then we saw many other animals. The zoo was so fun! I had a great time.

Now we are going to go to the Old Myrtles House Museum. The house was originally built in 1884 by John G .Slover but soon it was destroyed because of the 1900 Galveston hurricane. John G. Slover then relocate and built his house and a new place .The house is of Victorian queen and architecture and he named the house the "Chinese Castle". Over the years John built many accommodations to the home and he added on many rooms. The house has seven rooms with with baths. Over the years he added cupolas, sunroom, and fancy trying to the house and finally in 1909 he finished construction. he also added many plants and trees to the front yard such as orange satsuma trees, fig trees, and kumquat trees. John died and his wife and second husband took on the property. The owners planted crepe myrtles along the side of the home and called it the "Old Myrtles Home". The house was beautiful, it truly did look like a "Chinese Castle". It was so nice to see such a beautiful home.

Next, we are going to go to the Windsong Hollow Ranch Bed and Breakfast. Say that 10 times fast! The B&B is on a ranch where you stay in a little cottage on the property. The charge is $215 a night. It's actually above average for the cost per night. But the hotel is REALLY nice so hopefully it will be worth your money. In the cottage you get a bed with a bath right next to it. You will also get a small little living area with couch and a fireplace. Also a sitting area in front of a fireplace and a screened porch. The cottage has modern country - western - Mexican style furniture and decoration in the house. Probably the modern style of Texas today. Also on the path you get a chance to see some deer while you are walking back to your cottage. You get to eat a traditional country breakfast with eggs, fruit, coffee, orange juice, muffin, and a piece of cake... I think... The cottages are located near the woods so you can go to sleep soundly while thinking about the animals that could be lurking and stalking you through the night. No just kidding, but the cabins are seriously located in the woods. The cottage is lovely with that cozy Texas twang. I would seriously recommended going to the Ranch B&B, it's awesome!

Great Plains Major City - Odessa

Odessa! I love the weather here! I like the cold parts of the year and Odessa has the average of 64 degrees.First, we are going to the White Pool House Museum, you probably guessed because of all the house museums I have already been to. The house is one of the oldest buildings in all of Odessa. The house was built in 1887 by the White family hence the name. (We will talk about the Pool part later) The family moved here from Indiana because their oats business was failing, and they needed dry climate to plant them in. The husband of Lucy White died so she and her son moved to Mineral Wells. Many people owned the house until Oso Pool came in and bought it. (The Pool part!) Then, oil was discovered in Ector County, herds of people came to dig into the cash that was being pumped up from the ground.(Hint Hint - oil) Oso did some remodeling to the house and he turned it into an apartment for the people that were coming for the oil. He added in bathrooms, closed off porches, partitioning the rooms, at the end of the remodeling he had a five bedroom apartment for people to live in and rent. Later on, Oso donated his six acres of land to the county. Ector County Commissioners Office accepted the donation in 1978. The house also has rooms depicting different times from the 1880s to 1940s . The house was awesome! Absolutely beautiful, next we are going to the Odessa Meteor Crater Park.

Here I am at the Meteor Crater Natural Park! There are a ton of samples of octahedrite (metallic rock) that fell in prehistoric times. There is a total of five meteorites that hit the ground. The crater has a 550 foot diameter and is estimated to be 63,500 years old. The crater is also 100 ft deep! But, because of the filling of dirt and things like that, the crater is 15 feet deep. So really not much to look at. I went to the museum and they showed you parts of meteorite rock and some other rock samples. The museum also tells you about the history of the crater. To be honest, the park wasn't that great.. At one point the owner started yelling at me for taking a picture near a sign... Time to retire lady. But the crater was okay, I think the best part was definitely the museum. Now, we are off to the Midland Odessa Symphony and Chorale Orchestra!

At the orchestra, you will get to hear music like pop, country, classical, and also performances from musical guests and also recitals. I bet I will have lots of fun at the recital. Almost every other day they have a musical guest or some kind of performance for you to go and see. Most of the musicals guests are people you have probably never heard of. But boy can they play! There are performances from piano players, baritones, clarinets, and all sorts of different instruments. The musical performances were awesome! The music they played was beautiful and so peaceful. I of fun at the chorale. It was absolutely magical! Next, we are going to Seminole!

Selections from Kismet--Midland-Odessa Symphony Chorale

Great Plains Minor City - Seminole

Seminole! I am so excited to be exploring this minor city in the Great Plains. First, I am going to the Gaines County Museum. This museum shows a lot of exhibits about the history of the city and its people. It also shows artifacts that played roles in events of history. First I saw an exhibit about the Norden Bombsight. The bomb was used in high altitude bombings to destroy European and Pacific theaters. The bomb was also the first to bomb Hiroshima in 1945 :( . The museum also offers information and artifacts to view about pre - Columbian and Mesoamerican cultures. You get to view things like figurines made by the tribe and people. The range goes from 200 B.C to 1300 A.D. Also it goes from different groups like Aztec, Toltec, Maya, Oltec, and others. There are also artifacts like jewelry, pottery, carvings, tools, baskets, burial pieces, ceremonial and decorative pieces also. You can also view more modern pieces like a safe box from one of Seminole’s first ever banks. I also passed through an exhibit that was about the murders of Tom Ross and his partner Milt Good. An exhibit about women’s fashion in the day and the quilts and blankets they would make. A room representing a 20th century home that has a wood burning stove and even kerosene lamps. A exhibit for a chuck wagon, ranching tools, farming tools, horse tacks, and horse saddles. One of my favorite exhibits was the old photograph and camera section. There was also an exhibit about schools and info about the high school annuals. The museum was really nice! I had a lot of fun here, I wish I could stay but I have to move on to my next site.

Next, for my natural site I am going to go to the Seminole Canyon State Park. At the park, you can hike, bike, walk, camp, and do a little nature viewing at this beautiful canyon park. The park also has some flora and fauna like white tailed deer, raccoon, armadillos, and squirrels. About 7,000 years ago, the region went through a major climate change, it produced a landscape much like todays. The people that lived in the region at the time lived in small groups and caught animals and gathered plants to survive. Also during this time, the tribe people found time to paint pictographs on the cave walls that surrounded their home. It’s said that the meaning of the paintings are buried with the people that painted them. Many armies had operations in the park such as the Confederates and also one of the first Europeans in this area was Castano de Sosa. The park is so magnificent! Probably the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen ! They even had paintings from a very very very long time ago. I loved walking around here! But now we are moving on to our nex site in Seminole...

Now, we are going to go to the Seminole Trade Day Festival What it is is where people will sell and trade their things to buyers. And since pretty much all of the people here are Texans obviously, I expect to see a lot of cowboy, boots, western stuff, and other things related to Texas. The county host these trade day festivals nearly a few times a year and they just love to sell and trade with other people. There is just about everything here, there are posters, figurines, lamps, shoes, clothes, and a lot lot more. And like I said there was a lot of western stuff there, it only goes to show you that people in Seminole are strong about their western culture. I had a lot of fun at the trades day today, I even bother few items and Chase with the few of the residents. I had so much fun in seminal I would say the thing that I love the most about this place was getting to go to the seminal Seminole Canyon State Park. And now I am moving onto my next city. See you there!

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Panther Cave at Seminole Canyon State Park

Mountains and Basins Minor City - Presidio

Here I am in Presidio, Texas. I am so excited to see what this small city has to offer.first we are going to the Fort Leaton State Historic Site. It is believed that in the 1830s a man by the name of Juan Bustillos owned and created the little adobe house. Then later Benjamin Leaton took over, he used the house before at the trading post and called it his fortress. Leaton was a trader and a freight hauler from the Chihuahua Trail. He was also a merger, he got money for every indigenous person he killed, so he was a bounty hunter. In 1850 the County of Presidio was born, Leaton was the first one in the government position. Leaton died in 1851 and left the house to his wife who then remarried and her new husband took over the house but then soon after he also died in the 1860s. Then Leaton's old partner John Burgess took over the fort. But then the family of John Burgess abandoned the house in 1924 and then the fort was donated to Presidio County.This place has quite a history but it is also a very cool place to visit. It kind of reminds me of the house that Luke Skywalker lived in, in Star Wars kind of weird huh? But a much much bigger version of the house. Now we are going to move onto my next site.

Big Bend Ranch Park! I am so excited to visit, I have heard a lot about it but never really knew what it was all about. Well today I guess I'm going to find out. I found out a little more information about the park. What you do is you take a long drive down the highway or road will you get to see absolutely beautiful mountains and stunning scenery. I took a very long drive down and let me tell you it was just... You know, words can't describe it. All of the plants were so interesting and it blended well into the scenery of the mountains in the background. The mountains looked as if they had different layers of color almost like building blocks stacked up on each other, it was so beautiful. I also explored a little bit and walked around, and I even found some prehistoric hand prints and cattle skulls. I would highly recommend taking this trip to Big Bend Ranch Park, it has been one of the greatest adventures I have had on this entire journey absolutely stunning. Now we are moving onto my next site, I can't wait!

Today, I am going to the Saint Theresa Church Festival. It is a Catholic church festival, I hope I can get in even though I'm Christian. Hehe. At the festival you get to feast in honor of Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus and Holy Face. A lot of people celebrate by praying and doing spiritual rituals. But the best way to celebrate is to be kind to others and say small prayers. They say that a miracle that happens will have the scent of a rose. The rose is believed to be the symbol of Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus and Holy Face. They also hold raffles where you win stuff, and you get to donate money to help out the church. I mingled with a lot of the people and they were really nice and friendly. At the festival they say you have to have love in your heart and be kind to people and give people love and kindness. A lot of people were there. I had lots of fun at the festival. The people were nice, the food was good, and happiness was everywhere. Now, I am going to Alpine!

Mountains and Basins Major City - Alpine

My last city! I hope I end my journey in Texas off with a bang! First , we are going to go to the Big Bend Museum. I checked the reviews and they said that it was the best ever, so I'm hoping that I have the same experience as they did. You get to see some exhibits about Native Americans, the arrival of Europeans, the Spanish, and many more. First I went to the Native American exhibit. You got to see different artifacts and the history of the Indians in the region. The exhibit and background was awesome! They even had life size mannequin figures that were displaying their everyday lives. Next, I moved on to the Spanish exhibit. They had a little adobe house with a shrine for their religion. Then I went to the next exhibit, it had a few cowboy mannequins with a chuckwagon right behind them. It also had a few things like tools in the wagon also. The Cowboys were standing over a fire, I thought it was really cool. There was also a cute little cowboy on a horse with a prairie or Canyon background and I thought it was a really nice touch.The exhibit also had a lot of information on that section, just like all of the other exhibits. Kudos to the creators of the museum and the people that were in charge of the exhibits, because they did a really good job and paid attention to a lot of detail. We then moved onto the cattle drive exhibit. Then after that, the Civil War exhibit, there are just so many exhibits that I saw it was all so cool and interesting. By far this is been the best museum that I have been to, it outshines all of the others with the detail and all of the info about the different times that I learned. And now for our natural site we are going to go to Elephant Mountain! I am so excited!

Ok, so at EM you get to walk around forests, mountains, and you also get to hunt game if you want :( . The Mark was created to study and preserve different animal species. Like desert mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, Scaled quail, whiptail lizards, rattlesnakes, and many more. The mountain that is there is 6, 225 feet above sea level and the top of the mountain covers over 2,000 acres. But unfortunatly, it is not open to the public. The mountain was pretty cool and really beautiful. The only thing I would complain about is that you have to take your own drinking water to explore in without it you get really thirsty. I made that mistake this time. I walked around a lot and throughout the park and caught some of the animals in their element. I had a pretty good time at the park. The view was beautiful. I can't wait to get to our cultural site!

Next, I am going to an art walk. I am so excited to see what kind of art they will have there. When I first went to the art walk I looked around and saw all different kinds of genres of art. There were even cars that were decorated and painted. I was home one car that was painted like a helicopter and had a propeller hooked onto it. The art was really interesting there, there were a lot of different styles and different types of paintings there that I thought were really cool. People in Alpine have some good taste in art. A lots of the paintings there were whimsical and majestic. A lot of the paintings had bright colors, I really like getting to walk around there. I had such a fun time, it was a good way to end my journey across Texas throughout the different regions. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventures!

Museum of the Big Bend | Exhibit Hall Walkthrough