MMAP, Wilderness Ridge, Smithville & Surrounding Areas, TX

Our time at Wilderness Ridge has come to an end. We have thoroughly enjoyed the Texas hospitality the last couple of months.
The guys hung up the valances after making wood holders for the tree branch rods
They really came out looking nice and gave a more homey look to the dining room!
The ladies finished their other projects, painting the bunkbeds
and “Chaplains Room” bathroom and cabinet.
The Chaplains Room rug was cleaned, and fantastic, like new valances for that room and the guest house were installed. by the guys as well.  We found both on ladies day out at the Goodwill! But not just any Goodwill… it is where things are sent when they  don’t sell in the local stores.  It was large, with several bins, everything $1.39 per pound. Interesting experience.

The guys finished up their projects:  Paul finished up his electrical commitment, the shed by the pool was completed,

 and the shower house tile and plumbing was completed.

We enjoyed the steakhouse meal along with the fellowship!

Smithville, TX, for those of you who are unfamiliar with such information, is home to the Guinness World Record Largest Gingerbread Man!   This is the cookie sheet they used to make him!

Right up my alley, right?  They earned the distinction when the baked cookie weighing 1308 lb, 8 oz, standing 20 ft tall, was baked on the cookie sheet on display at the city park on Dec. 2, 2006.
 750 lb of flour, 49 gallons of molasses, and 72 dozen eggs were used  to make the cookie!
It has some pretty intriquing homes

including the one used in the movie “Hope Floats”
and the Extreme Makeover house built for a single volunteer firefighter, after she lost her home to the fires that destroyed the camp.

Balstrop is a larger town, where we headed for supplies.  Having Lowes and Walmart,  it is to the east of the camp about 8 miles.  I don’t know why, but we did not really drive around to see the town itself.
It is located right next to the Colorado River, 
The ladies went to Giddings one day to get material for quilting projects.  Of course, I don’t sew that much, but being here has got me started again, so now I am committed…. I bought some material to make some things.  The town is not that large, but has several fabric stores.  It also has some features that make it stand out.

It is also known for the train depots, but we were not in that area of the town.

La Grange was our destination on the second weekend.

We first visited Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery, a state historic site. 
The impressive monument honors those killed in the 1800’s battles for Texas independence, and the tomb holds the remains of some of the heros who died in those battles.
On March 25, 1843, 176 men were captured during the Mexican war.  They were told one tenth would be executed.  They all drew a bean from a pot with 159 white beans and seventeen black beans.  Those who drew the black beans  were able to write home, then were shot at sunset.  One faked death and escaped only to be shot three days later.  The other sixteen were returned here for burial in 1848.
The bluff offers beautiful views of the valley.
By taking a short walk, we were able to see the home of one of the first breweries in Texas.  Heinrich Kreische, a German immigrant, purchased the land that included 172 acres and  the monument (which he maintained the rest of his life) in 1849.  He was a master stonemason.

In 1860, he began building the brewery in the ravine below his house where there was a stream.  


He would raise this banner when the brew was ready!
By 1879 he was the third largest brewing operation in the state.  He died in 1882, which, along with modernization of the industry, contributed to the brewery closing in 1884.
It was a beautiful site to visit, and we thoroughly enjoyed the trail walks through the area!
We visited the old jail in Balstrop, which was  used from 1883-1985.

which had a small, quilt display of a dozen quilts made by one person.

While Paul got his hair cut, I walked around the town square, admiring the buildings.

And the old historic muster oak tree, a living memorial to the many soldiers who gathered there to sign up and go off to war.
For ladies day out, the camp manager’s wife, Sandy, took us to visit Austin capitol building, 
had lunch, then on to shopping.
The capitol building was very impressive.  We timed it right and were able to have a guided tour.

They even had the “eyes of Texas” in the shape of the lone star for their chandeliers!
They have the original Texas flag on display.
They have added underground offices to the existing site, which was quite impressive as well.

Our time in Texas has been fun, and we would not mind visiting again……there is still more to see!

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