To Create Sunshine

Creating a lifestyle filled with health and happiness


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The Hills of Tapatio Springs

If you are a lover of rustic charm found in nature, the Texas Hill Country is the place to go.  A few years ago my brother-in-law and his lovely wife moved into the exquisite resort community of Tapatio Springs.  This was a double blessing for my husband and me because not only do we get to visit with them more often, it gives us more opportunity to explore one of our favorite regions in Texas.

Tapatio Springs hosts the perfect mix of Texas nature with deluxe resort.  This awe inspiring golfing community is nestled in the heart of the hill country, just outside the charming town of Boerne.  I have to tell you the brief ten minute drive on Johns Road from I-10 to get to Tapatio Springs is just as sweet and charming as the lovely community itself.  Once you exit I-10, the road twists and winds through the rustic and hilly countryside that gives the area it’s name.  As you drive be sure to keep your eyes open for deer, sheep, goats and various other wildlife you might see as you drive.

As you take one last turn around the bend at the top of the hill you get your first breathtaking view of Tapatio Springs. The resort was bought several years ago by the country/western singer George Strait and a group of investors and they have been making improvements to the resort ever since.  The 18 hole golf course has recently been renovated by architect Tripp Davis and Associates and features an amazing panoramic view of the rolling Texas hills that surround the golf course.

I’m honestly not much of a golfer, but I do enjoy riding in the cart and taking in the beauty of the surroundings. I also enjoy photography so this seemed the perfect opportunity to practice my amateur photography skills while Dear Husband practiced his amateur golfing skills.

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As you tour the golf course, you get an amazing view of not only some of the highest hills of the area, but also some of the beautiful homes surrounding the golf course.

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The 18 hole golf course offers a spectacular venue and is filled with auspicious live oak trees, rolling terrain and abundant with water features.  This serene Hill Country Resort offers both a photographers and a golfers delight!

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As always, when it’s time to pack up and return to our busy lives in the city, I’m thankful for the opportunity to have spent some relaxed time in the serene beauty of the Texas Hill Country!

Until Next Time – xxoo- Gerri


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Rustic Charm in the Texas Hill Country

I know that there are many places of awe inspiring beauty in the world. Colorado has the most majestic mountains I’ve ever seen.  I am enthralled by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.  I have been astounded by the breathtaking beauty of Hawaii.  Thailand fascinated me with it’s exotic culture and charming people. I long to visit and see more of these amazing places.  However unique and fascinating those places are, they are far from my home.

So, when I need a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, I escape to the Texas Hill Country. My husband and I load up the Tahoe, along with our schnauzer, Bear, and head west until the flat lands gradually turn into rugged, rolling hills covered with live oak and cedar trees.  Nestled between San Antonio and Austin and encompassing 25 counties, the Texas Hill Country boasts of a rustic charm filled with a a rich Texas history, charming architecture, and a natural beauty that soothes my soul and brings me peace and serenity.

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I have to admit, the weather was less than desirable the weekend of our last visit. After our arrival the fog and rain set in, and temperatures dropped into the 30’s.  No worries though.  We loved being there no matter what the weather.

The Texas Hill Country is known for it’s numerous small town venues, restaurants and antique shops all filled with quaint, rustic charm.  One of our favorite hidden gems is the Welfare Cafe. Located off IH-10, between Boerne and Comfort, the Welfare Cafe is an out of the way kind of place that is not too be missed.

The Welfare Cafe began as a General Store way back in early Texas history opening around 1848.  The local post office was later established in 1880 inside the General Store.  Welfare became a railroad shipping point and the small town thrived. By 1892, the town of Welfare consisted of a whopping 275 residents, along with a schoolhouse, saloon, hotel and cotton gin.

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In 1916, the original general store and post office burned down, but was rebuilt that same year.  As time passed, the small towns population dwindled and bad times haunted the small community.  The boll weevils destroyed the cotton crops, and of course there was the  great depression.  The population dropped to a mere 25 residents.  Through it all, the post office and general store continued to be an important meeting place for the community.  A place to collect your mail and exchange stories, borrow books and talk about the weather. Over time as the population of the small town dwindled,  the local school closed and the few students  that still lived in Welfare would take the bus to the school in Comfort.  At the end of the day the bus would drop them off at, where else, but the general store.  In 1966, the trained stopped running past Welfare and it wasn’t long after that the post office closed, followed by the general store in 1978.

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Today, the fascinating history of the small community of Welfare is being revitalized by Gabriele McCormick and her husband David.  In the early nineties, Gabriele and David were looking for a change from corporate life in the city and fell in love with the charm of the hill country,  as so many of us do.  They purchased the general store, post office, and various barns on about 150 acres.  Slowly, they began to restore the old buildings and began the transformation to what we now enjoy as the Welfare Cafe.  The restaurant has thrived, and over the years, Gabby and David have continued to make improvements on the land.

In 2005, the Goat Barn was built using reclaimed wood from the original barn.  There is now an intimate wine bar in the loft. The Welfare Cafe frequently offers special events and is the perfect venue for a rustic, but charming hill country wedding.

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As mentioned previously, the weather was dreary the day we visited and the charming, rustic gardens were showing the effects of the recent freeze.  I have to admit, I enjoy wandering the grounds almost as much as I enjoy the fabulous cuisine which has a touch of German influence.  The day we were there, we enjoyed a delicious Sunday brunch complete with German sausage and strudel, croissants, an assortment of fresh fruits and cheeses, quiche, pancakes and so much more.  Of course, what Sunday brunch is not complete without Mimosas!

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The Welfare Cafe is a delightfully charming venue filled with nostalgia and relics from the past.  This is a delightful spot for a lovely lunch or dinner.  Be sure to check out their website and calendar for special events.  They offer special holiday celebrations and often have live entertainment.

The charms of the Texas Hill Country are endless.  If I had my way, I would spend my days wandering the many small towns and visiting all the lovely shops, restaurants, historical sites, and possibly a winery or two.

I hope that someday you have a chance to visit the Texas Hill Country and explore the many fascinating venues that the area has to offer.

“Texas is a State of Mind.”  –  John Steinbeck

xxoo – Gerri

* I would love to hear a comment from you have visited or plan to visit the Texas Hill Country or the Welfare Cafe and Goat Barn.

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Estes Park Beauty

After being home in Cypress for two weeks, I am still reveling in the delight and memory of our Rocky Mountain getaway.  Today I am sharing photos with you from the town of Estes Park.

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Estes Park is nestled at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park and is surrounded by the most auspicious views everywhere you turn.  Mountain Peaks rising around you range in height from 8500 feet to 14,000 feet.  Mix this backdrop with the beauty of changing fall colors and you have a recipe for beauty that is hard to beat.  The town hosts numerous cabins, condos and hotels all sharing amazing views of the glorious Rocky Mountains.

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Estes Park offers an abundance of shops, galleries, boutiques and restaurants to enjoy during your visit.  Main Street has a small town atmosphere where you can enjoy the beauty of the Riverwalk while browsing the many shops and local artists galleries. You can even throw a line in and try your hand at fly fishing.

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One of our favorite dining spots while visiting Estes Park was Ed’s Cantina and Grill. Although we had a bit of a wait ( they do take reservations ) the food did not disappoint. The menu is diverse and flavorful with plenty of fresh ingredients featuring items such as Squash Stuffed Poblano Chile and Bison Tacos. My personal favorites included the Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas and the Veggie Taco Salad. The diversity of the menu satisfied both the vegans and carnivores traveling in our group.

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When you step outside the backdoor of Ed’s Cantina, you are greeted by the surprising beauty of the riverwalk that meanders through the town.   Here you can enjoy a stroll or simply sit and take in the peaceful beauty of the river.  Many restaurants offer outdoor seating to take in the glory while you dine.

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I have been fortunate to visit the wonders of Colorado a few times.  Each time it has left me in a state of awe and wonder at it’s incredible beauty.  There is so much more to see and experience in this great state that I look forward to hopefully many more trips!

Hope you are enjoying the beauty that surrounds you                                     where ever you may be today!

xxoo  Gerri

 


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Rocky Mountain High!

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As an elementary art teacher, I rarely have the opportunity to travel in the fall. But when our dear friend’s daughter announced her wedding would be in Estes Park, Colorado, my husband and I jumped at the chance to share their special day and to visit beautiful Colorado in the fall!

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From the moment we headed north on Highway 25 from Denver to Estes Park, the astounding beauty of Colorado  began to fill my soul with a peace and serenity that is often difficult to find.  The beauty of the fall colors mixed with the Rocky Mountain backdrop was everything and more that I had hoped to see.

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Our friends recently bought an amazing cabin ( really it’s a beautiful home ) just at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park.  The views from their back porch are simply stunning!

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The first morning after our arrival we were awoken by the sound of bugling by the “Great Prince” elk as he kept his “harem” together.   Imagine walking onto your back porch to find some 50 odd elk passing by about 50 feet away.

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My husband took this photo of a “Great Prince” elk in town.  October is rutting season for elks.  The male elk ( or as we like to call him the “Great Prince” ) gathers as many female elks as possible into his “harem”.  The “Great Prince” is clearly in command and does not easily welcome any “competitors” near his “harem.”

Before the wedding, we had a day to explore Rocky Mountain National Park! The only word I know to describe the views is breathtaking!  I have had the good fortune to visit this incredible place before and I promise it never disappoints.

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Travel Tip:  October is an incredible time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. The air is crisp and the birch trees are turning a beautiful yellow gold.  It’s hard to miss the harems of elk as they travel into town and inhabit the local golf course.  The crowds of summer have begun to thin, but there are still many visitors to the park on the weekend.  We arrived on a Tuesday and were able to take advantage of the park before the many weekend visitors.  The weather was cold the day of our arrival, so pack you jacket,  but warmed up to a very pleasant 70 degrees over

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 Many happy travels to you!  Gerri xxoo


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Beach Getaway at The Pearl South Padre

There is nothing like a little beach getaway to renew the spirit and sooth the soul.  On a recent family escape, I had the opportunity to do just that at the lovely Pearl South Padre. South Padre Island is a barrier island located on the coastal tip of Texas.  On a clear day,      ( and they’re nearly all clear days) you might see Mexico on the horizon line.   It is a popular resort area known for its clear, blue waters and white, sandy beaches.  South Padre is  also the home of the Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark.

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The Pearl South Padre hosts the largest hotel swimming pool in South Texas.  Adults can enjoy a cool tropical drink from the swim up bar.  Families have plenty of room to frolic and play in the curvy design of the 6000 square foot pool  where there is plenty of room for floats or other pool toys.  If you prefer, you can go under the waterfall to a more secluded swim area.  For the youngest guest there is a separate kiddie pool with slide.  Did I forget to mention there is also a separate heated spa?

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From our ocean view balcony it would have been easy to simply spent the entire day merely gazing  at the lush tropical landscape surrounding the pool with the Gulf of Mexico just beyond.  The cooling breeze was ever so delightful even with temperatures soaring into the upper nineties.  A perfect place to relax, read, even nap!

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My favorite part  of any beach getaway is walking the beach in the early morning.  I adore watching the mesmerizing repetition of waves rolling into the shore.  I crave the feel of the wet sand under my feet. I am excited as the waves rush up and splash my legs and then ease their way back to the ocean.  Spending time on the beach is definitely the ideal place to relax and enjoy these warm summer days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Summertime! Fun Time!

Now that school is out and summer is here, I am trying to get down to some serious relaxing and enjoying life!  Recently, my brother and his lovely wife were here visiting us from their home in Hawaii. ( I know, we should be visiting them right! )  For a fun excursion, my husband and I took them for a day at the Kemah Boardwalk.

CAM01186Kemah was once a sleepy, little fishing town where Galveston Bay and Clear Lake merge.  I remember as a child going to Jimmie Walker’s or the Flying Dutchman for a delicious seafood dinner and to watch the boats come in and out of the harbor.

Some would have called it a “dive” in those days, but we loved being close to the water and getting to watch the sailboats and trawlers cruising in and out of the harbor on their Sunday jaunt.

Later on, my dad, who was an avid boater, would keep his boat at Lakewood Yacht Club and we would be the ones on the boat waving to the onlookers as we gloriously breezed through the harbor.

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Then, one day, Landry’s Restaurants bought the property and it became the infamous Kemah Boardwalk that it is today, filled with numerous restaurants, a ferris wheel, rides galore, shops, and a boutique hotel! You know, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot!

Well, that’s enough of my ramblings! Seriously, it really is a great spot to send the day!

CAM01188   We enjoyed an amazing brunch at the fabulous Cadillac Bar where we were able to sit and gaze over the harbor and wave to passing boats.  We then boarded the FantSea Yacht for a cruise through the harbor and Clear Lake.  Many beautiful homes and marinas line the shores of Clear Lake and it is quite a sight to see.  It is also fun to visit the many shops, ride the train or any of the other fun rides at the amusement park.

For me, I enjoyed just being near the water again and having a chance to reminisce about days gone by when we would anchor out in the lake, swim by the boat, and then picnic off the back of the boat!  I was also glad to get to visit with my brother and his wife.    We don’t get to see them near often enough!

You never know, maybe next time we will get to visit them at their home on the lovely island of Oahu!  When this happens I’ll be sure to send you a picture!

Aloha for now!

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