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May/June/July 2021

Since 1990 people | places music | events | parks | wildlife shopping | lodging | dining & more

BRYANS ON 290 Thoughtful dining in the Texas Hill Country


WELCOME TO YOUR HOME IN THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY. Discover our family-owned, boutique wine resort in a rustic-meets-upscale oasis in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Stay in our spacious villas with luxury amenities. Pamper yourself in The Spa. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a much needed get away, Carter Creek Winery Resort & Spa is the perfect escape.

WINE, DINE & BREW Equal parts rustic and refined, Old 290 Brewery combines Hill Country craft beer with hearty, Texas-inspired cuisine featuring locally-sourced ingredients. Enjoy awardwinning wines inspired by a founding family of Texas Wine Country. In true Lone Star State style, enjoy live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night.

4064 West US Highway 290 | Johnson City, Texas 78636 866.930.0824 | reservations@cartercreek.com | CarterCreek.com


Head down to Gruene Historic District, where you’ll find live music, delicious food and more good times than you can handle.

FOLLOW US:

GrueneTexas.com

Want your calendar event in the SUN? Email melissa@hillcountrysun.com May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   3


HENLY

Texas Hill Country Locator Map

© 2020 by TD Austin Lane, Inc.

INDEX Austin J5 Bandera B10 Bergheim D9 Bertram I2 Blanco F6 Boerne D9 Buchanan Dam F2 Buda J7 Bulverde G10

Burnet G2 Camp Verde B8 Canyon Lake G9 Castroville C12 Center Point B8 Clear Springs H11 Comfort C8 Concan A11 Driftwood H7 Dripping Springs H6 Fischer G8

Fredericksburg C5 Georgetown K2 Granite Shoals G2 Gruene H10 Hancock G8 Helotes G6 Henly G6 Highland Lakes F2/3 Hondo B13 Hunt A7 Hye E6

Ingram B7 Johnson City F5 Kendalia F8 Kerrville B7 Kingsland F2 Kyle I8 Lampasas G1 Leakey A9 Llano D2 Liberty Hill I12 Luckenbach D6

Luling K10 Marble Falls G3 Martindale J9 Mason B2 Medina A9 New Braunfels H10 Oak Hill I6 Oatmeal H2 Pipe Creek C10 Round Rock K3 San Antonio F12

San Marcos I9 Sattler H9 Seguin I11 Sisterdale D8 Spring Branch F9 Startzville G9 Stonewall D6 Utopia A10 Vanderpool A9 Wimberley H8

To advertise, call Julie 512-484-9716 or email julie@hillcountrysun.com 4 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021


Unique Spirits Only in Texas hillcountrytxdistillers.com Hill Country Distillers 723 Front Street Comfort, Texas 78013

830-995-2924

GLASS BLOWING See Us Create 1/20

PHOTO BY ERIC W POHL

ART GLASS & LIGHTING GLASSWARE WGW.COM

Volume 29, Number 7 ISSN: 1524-2315. Entire contents © Copyright 2020 by TD Austin

Julie Spell Harrington Publisher/Ad Sales 512-484-9716 • julie@hillcountrysun.com

Come join us July 3 for our 7th Anniversary!

Melissa Maxwell Ball Editor/Design 512-569-8212 • melissa@hillcountrysun.com

Writers Ernie Altgelt & Bonnie Eissler Distribution

Gerry Burns

COVER PHOTO: Bryan’s on 290 See story, page 12. Photos courtesy Bryan’s on 290.

facebook.com/hillcountrysun • hillcountrysun.com May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   5


PLAY WHERE YOU BELONG

Membership Program Redefined WE WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND THIS OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO JOIN THE CLUB UNDER THE CURRENT MEMBERSHIP OFFERINGS BY JULY 1

There is no better time for your family to join the club, create memories and enjoy an abundance of amenities in the secluded Lake & Hill Country. Located in the heart of Texas, The Club at Horseshoe Bay Resort is a sprawling property recognized as a tropical oasis.

FOR MORE DETAILS PLEASE CONTACT MEMBERSHIP

6 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021

at

830.598.7846

or

MEMBERSHIP@HSBRESORT.COM


Texas Hill Country’s Most Expansive Inventory of Wellness Supplements

Summer Special

20% OFF any pharmaceutical grade supplement (Must bring this ad and only good for one-time sale; offer good thru July 31, 2021; not valid with any other offer)

Free Wellness Consultations in-store Extensive line of CBD Products Compounding Lab • Free Delivery

DRIPPING SPRINGS PHARMACY

www.MartinsWellness.com

512-858-7935 • 512-894-0285 • 100 Commons Rd, #1 • Dripping Springs, TX 78620 May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   7


Rob Gwynne A big name in little guitars

Rob Gwynne. Photo by Ernie Altgelt. Story by ERNIE ALTGELT

W

e all know that everything’s bigger in Texas – our ranches, our oil industry, our state acreage, our T-bone steaks, our egos, heck, just look at our Stetson hats! BIG is just a Texas “thang.” And, no biggie there. But, thanks to the incredible works of a master modeler who originally hailed from of all places, New Zealand, and now happily resides in our Texas Hill Country, small can definitely be pretty cool too. Yep, after reading more of this, you might just say that ex-Kiwi Rob Gwynne, a respected professional jeweler by trade and an amateur musician to boot, has gotten into miniaturization in a big, big way or, to put it differently, “going small” is simply his “thang” – or, perhaps more appropriately (think guitars), his “twang!” Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1947, as a youngster Rob always liked “American stuff.” As he offers, “My friends and I just loved your culture – cars, music, lifestyle, etc.” And, it was this farfelt affection that would eventually bring Rob to our shores – first to California, then to New Braunfels. But, prior to that, he lived a normal, “Western-style” existence in Christchurch comprised of learning, playing and growing up, not that much difference from our lives here. However, one exceptional talent that the young Rob displayed was his ability to make (often from scratch) amazingly detailed scale models, primarily of aircraft and automobiles. His attention to recreating near exact miniaturized replicas was lauded by all who knew him. And, it was these modeling skills (mostly self-taught) that eventually got him 8 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021

into the jewelry biz where small things can have great prestige. Working as a successful jeweler — creating, designing, fabricating and repairing — provided Rob with a comfortable existence that’s still his primary occupation today. He’s currently independent having his own clientele but also puts in time with the Hill Country’s very own James Avery company. But, it’s his avocation that’s the story here. As mentioned, Rob plays music and, his axe of choice is the legendary Fender Stratocaster®. In 1965 (while still in N.Z.), on a whim, the already-accomplished modeler decided to try his hand at making a ¼ scale Stratocaster that, when completed, measured a mere eight inches in length. Recalling that initial project Rob states, “In retrospect, that first effort, while okay, really had some issues.” But, regarding the future creation of more “tiny guitars” this miniature master and his output would only get better. SEE Little Guitars, page 10


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Changing Smiles, Changing Lives Heather H. Bobb, DDS, FICOI 331 Sportsplex Drive, Suite B Dripping Springs, Texas 78620

512-858-7200 • heatherbobb.com May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   9


LITTLE GUITARS, from page 8 Since that first Fender(ette), Rob has since gone on to “build” more than two dozen other petite, but amazingly accurate replicas, for himself and others (who primarily just wanted a keepsake of their own full-bodied and, much loved six-strings). Working with a variety of materials, often incorporating the same woods that the “real” guitars are manufactured with but then further adorning with exotic inlays like mother-of-pearl as well as actual silver and even 14 karat gold (tuning knobs, strings, fretwork, etc.), these peewees really did become “precious” little instruments, especially when considering the exquisite workmanship involved in putting it all together. And, the only thing they really lack, according to Rob, is “being playable” but, you would never know that by their appearance. As he adds, “These babies are strictly for show, not for go. But, show they do.” As mentioned, it’s Rob’s skills as a modeler turned Jeweler that allows him to perfectly reduce something three feet longish down to mere inches. Measuring and scaling precisely, each original dimension is accurately translated to a Lilliputian size. And then, using an assortment of tools (some self-invented), Rob begins the intricate process of transforming all involved (woods, plastics, metals, etc.) through careful carving, sanding, soldering, painting, staining and more, into another astonishing finished product. And, even though the entire process per guitar can take up to six weeks, with the level of detail achieved, many would assume a longer period would be required – like years! Of the guitars Rob has created, most are Fenders – Strats, Telecasters®, Mustangs®, etc. However, he has constructed other brands including a Les Paul Gibson SB® as well as several Burns of London. And, besides electric guitars, he can even complete the

10 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021

ensemble (upon request) by adding mini amps and microphones with actual electrical cords – wow! Most of Robs mini-axes retail for about $750.00 but, as he clarifies, “If a customer wants a lot of gold or other pricy add-ons or, something that requires more time on my part, the bottom line can, and has, exceeded $2,000.00.” Is that too expensive? Frankly, there’s nothing to compare these artistic accomplishments with. “One-of-akind” and “rare” is how most describe them. And, everyone certainly agrees that these museum-quality gee-tars are beautiful. Truly, each is a masterpiece. Now, what’s that worth? Anyway, by downsizing, Rob Gwynne really has become a BIG name where little guitars are concerned but, that’s just his thing – twang! Photos courtesy Rob Gwynne. For more information about Rob and his guitars, visit his Facebook page at Miniature Guitars “Not A Small Thing,” email miniaturetwang@gmail.com or call 925-216-0618.


Lavender Festival

Independence Day celebrations

LEAKEY H Head on over to the July Jubilee, Rodeo, Independence Day Parade and Arts and Crafts Festival July 2-3. The fun will get started with a Rodeo at 8 pm Friday at the Rodeo Arena on RM-336. The celebration continues Saturday with a 10 am parade, followed by live music, plus food and concessions. Arts and crafts vendors display their talents on the Courthouse lawn on US Highway 83. Saturday night, enjoy a 9 pm street dance with music by the Frio Canyon Band, followed by Gary P. Nunn & Sons of the Bunkhouse. For more information, visit the website at www.friocanyonchamber.com.

COMFORT H You’re invited to an Independence Day celebration filled with live music, art, vendors, a silent auction, games and a barbecue lunch in the park July 3. A Children’s Bike Parade will be followed by the 10 am Independence Day Parade, then a barbecue and events in the Park until 3 pm, plus live music in numerous locations all afternoon and evening. Shops will be open, and don’t miss the Little Theater’s performance of the historic “Comfort Cannon Caper” from the 1800s – a must-see. For information, call 830-995-3131 or email info@comfort-texas.com.

BLANCO H Don’t miss the 16th Annual Lavender Festival June 11-13. You can visit Texas’ first Commercial Lavender Farm, listen to speakers presenting tips on growing and using lavender, information on horticulture, distilling and more, plus enjoy live music in Birdseil Park. A festival-goer’s favorite, the popular Lavender Market on the historic Blanco Square will feature local and regional lavender farms with vendors selling their own lavender, products and plants, along with unique and beautiful creations by the finest artisans and craftspeople in Texas. Explore jewelry, fine art, clothing and accessories, yard decor and furniture, metal work, plants and more! For details, blancolavenderfest.com.

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Book online @ www.vagaro.com/graceaesthetics Text: 512 909 4515

drippingspringsfacial.com May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   11


Fine Dining In Johnson City

Bryans

Story by ERNIE ALTGELT

on 290

Y

ou’ve got to be pretty proud of something before putting your name on it. Why, the act alone implies a belief in the quality and worthiness of the recipient as well as an indication of the bestower’s deep commitment to the same. Really, by gifting one’s name quite simply means “I care” and, in anything (and everything), that’s important. Well, this caring is nowhere more in evidence than in the case of culinary connoisseur Bryan Gillenwater and his much-loved, muchnurtured and very successful namesake restaurant, Bryans on 290, located in Johnson City. Truly, both of these “Bryans” are a reflection of each other’s exceptional abilities, capabilities and offerings with the appropriate result, regarding his restaurant, of year after year of plentiful growth. And, the chow will definitely wow! Opened in February of 2016, this endearing eatery conveniently located (as the name attests) on Highway 290, well within LBJ’s charming Hill Country hometown, has been garnering praise and positive reviews for the restaurant and its able (and very pleased) author to boot. And, upon examination, the recipe for this success is fairly obvious: Take one experienced, creative and highly trained restaurateur imbued with a personal vision for what a great bistrotype establishment should be and combine that with a totally rehabilitated and refurbished former cafe positioned on a welltraveled route. Then, add a custom wood-burning grill, tons of savory natural ingredients made even more wonderful through expert preparation, an attentive wait staff, a great wine and beer selection and, what else is needed except hordes of hungry, eager customers – which this restaurant has thankfully enjoyed since day one. But, let’s first take a closer look at Bryan. Since his Boy Scout days, this native San Antonian, future chef, culinary director and dining consultant has had the “food bug.” As he readily admits, his first merit badge as a scout was earned for cooking on an open fire during group campouts. Later, while initially studying communications and psychology at Southwest Texas State University, he “dropped out” to enroll in the prestigious Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Boston where his passion blossomed. Then, after graduation (he was second in his class), his career path soared while working as a lauded chef in several noted restaurants, by providing consulting services for others and even managing various large dining operations. Basically, he was a complete food service package lacking only his “own place,” something he always desired. That realization would be happily met in 2016 with the founding of Byrans on 290. And, now on to Bryans on 290. With his experience, drive and determination, Bryan would develop “his” restaurant into all of the things he considered essential to create the thriving enterprise he sought. Quality was (and still is) key whether he’s thinking customer comfort, staffing and especially, in regards to the foods that comprise his stellar dishes. As mentioned, Bryan totally reworked the old building to more comfortably accommodate diners (inside or outside) while further SEE Bryans, page 14 12 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021


Jams, Jellies, Dips, Gourmet Foods, Gifts & Warm Friendly Smiles

H Fence Building H and Repair H Driveways H H Rock Work H H Deck Building H and Repair H Garage Clean Out H 512-296-6066 EW WEhbE wildwestfencing@yahoo.com WildWestFencing.com

Sample our Texas Pride Jalapeno Mustard Peach Salsa Peach Amaretto & Pecan Jam Jalapeno Jelly Convenient to Austin, Fredericksburg & Dripping Springs Monday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm

Hwy. 290, 7 miles west of Dripping Springs

newcanaanfarms.com

800-727-5267

JOIN US AT OUR NEW VISITOR'S CENTER

VISIT DRIPPINGSPRINGSVODKA.COM

Coming Summer 2021!

©2021 Dripping Springs Vodka, Gin, and Bourbon. Distilled and Bottled by San Luis Spirits in Dripping Springs, TX. Vodka 40% ABV, Orange Vodka 37.5% ABV, Traditional Gin 47.5 ABV, Bourbon 42.5 ABV

May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   13


BRYANS, from page 12 ensuring kitchen and employee efficiencies. The end result is stateof-the-art premises guaranteed to enhance all dining experiences and that, Bryans on 290, does in spades. But, of course, it’s the cuisine that keeps folks coming back for more and in this, his amazing restaurant definitely doesn’t disappoint. A peek at the menu will get the juices flowing. For starters, many opt for the steamed mussels served in a savory lime broth or the equally tasty crispy Brussels sprouts garnished with smoked pork belly and a hot chili glaze. For entrees, there’s also a lot of wonderment to entice. The castiron, seared salmon is exceptional, made more so by the accompanying jicama spinach salad enlivened with a sesame citrus dressing, Fish lovers will also delight in the pan seared redfish and dirty rice. But, this is Texas after all so extraordinary beef and lamb also abound. For the truly hungry, a marbled 14 oz. prime Angus ribeye coupled with buttery whipped potatoes is guaranteed to satisfy as is the prime Colorado rack of lamb with a side of potato fritters dripped in garlic oil. Both are to die for. Also, look for uber-fresh regional/seasonal specials sourced from area farms and ranches. Obviously, there’s a lot more to complete the experience including sumptuous desserts and of course, a bevy of beverages to further whet any hearty appetite. Yum, yum! So, what’s in a name? Well, after reading the above, if the name is Bryan, then you should have a pretty good idea because, where this bistro is concerned, the name says it all – incredible eats, extensive wine list, comfy surroundings, attentive staffers, convenient location – can we say more? Photos courtesy Bryans on 290. Bryans on 290 is located in downtown Johnson City at 300 East Main Street. Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 pm to 9 pm and Thursday through Saturday 11 am to 9 pm. On Tuesdays, the restaurant hosts a wine tasting five-course dinner. For more information or to make reservations, visit the website at bryanson290.com. The phone number is 830-868-2424.

14 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021


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Your Hill Country

USED CAR SUPERSTORE

LIVE MUSIC

Friday, Saturday & Sunday WE BUY CARS CONSIGN CARS — WE SELL CARS No-Nonsense Used Car Dealer Tasteful Website Shopping It’s no secret that buying a used vehicle can be a daunting experience. We believe that purchasing your next vehicle should be as easy and fun as a trip to your favorite market.

512-288-5000 • toll free 866-933-5002 Located 10 Miles East Of Dripping Springs

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in Dripping Springs, Texas 78620

May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   15


Dreamland Family fun in Dripping Springs Story by BONNIE EISSLER

D

reamland, located on 64 acres just a couple of miles west of Dripping Springs, offers family-friendly entertainment in a relaxing, mostly outdoor, setting. Miniature golf, pickleball courts, an amazing outdoor art museum, a beer garden and live music performances are all part of the Dreamland story. The colorful mix of activities and sensory delights are a reflection of founder and owner Steve Kuhn’s description of himself as “a 12 year old boy stuck in a 50 year old body” for Dreamland is tailormade for those who haven’t lost their childhood enthusiasm, who appreciate games and like to have fun. Operations Manager Jen Bland says “Dreamland is a mix of ideas forged from Steve’s vast non-profit work and his love of miniature golf and pickleball. He wanted to create an affordable place where all people are welcome and can have fun in a safe environment.” Although construction started last spring before the pandemic was full-blown, Jen says they would never have imagined how much people would be needing outdoor entertainment spaces. Since opening in February, “it’s been a blast watching people enjoy the venue.” The two miniature golf courses were designed by Mike Stone, after a chance encounter with Steve at the golf course Mike owns and operates in Crosslake, Minnesota. Mike loves golf and has said that he “was kind of born into a golf family,” since his dad was a club champion and a coach who introduced him to the sport at the tender

age of five. Mike has an innate understanding for the best way to incorporate the natural landscape into his designs and these courses meander up and down and around the gentle rolling hills, oak trees, large stones, and delicate wildflowers. The Challenge Course is a quarter mile long, difficult course with color-coded easy, intermediate and hard flagsticks or pins that you can shoot for, offering three options for each round. The black flag course will challenge even the best players. The Dream Course is a whimsical, creative shorter course designed so that every round offers a chance at a hole in one. It takes only about half the time (30 minutes) as the Challenge Course to play making it more relaxing and likely more fun for beginners. Invented in 1965 as a children’s backyard game, pickleball is a paddle ball sport that’s one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Dreamland has one of the best places in the Austin area to play, with four covered, weather-proof and lighted courts. They also offer clinics for new players, league nights for more experienced players, and tournaments throughout the year. Court reservations for pickleball can be made online, and that’s a must on weekends with so many wanting to play. Art and music are integral to the Dreamland experience. Multiple large-scale sculptures, mosaic murals, and an amazing group of reclaimed rainwater collection tanks, painted by a mix of Austin locals and international artists, are displayed all around the property. SEE Dreamland, page 18

Photo courtesy Dreamland. 16 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021


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333 Wayside Drive, Wimberley, TX • 512-847-2517 • www.7ARanch.co May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   17


DREAMLAND, from page 16

Coming across an unexpected piece of art while exploring the area is a truly magical moment. The large black and white sculpture of a sitting man, “Equals,” is the work of contemporary artist Michael Benisty, who grew up in Antwerp, Belgium. The Dreamland logo and “Immigrant Eyes” mosaic were the creations of Houston native J Muzacz. A public art advocate and educator, Muzacz lived and worked abroad for many years. He has painted large scale murals across the United States as well as in places like New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Dreamland offers two music stages with live music at least four nights a week. They showcase musicians of many genres, from singer-songwriter soloists and all-acoustic bands like The Hill Country Ramblers to Jamaican bluegrass groups and perennial Austin favorites such as Bob Schneider, who has won 55 Music Awards for multiple projects over 25 years, and Asleep at the Wheel, Texas country rockers who have won nine Grammy Awards. “We want to provide a wide range of musical and theatrical performances on our outdoor stages,” Jen says, “we want to be a place for community, creativity and connection.” You can’t miss the majestic display of the massive American and Texas flags along Highway 290. That’s Dreamland! Photos courtesy Dreamland. Dreamland is located at 2770 W. Highway 290 in Dripping Springs. There’s so much happening here, including monthly Kid’s Days with balloons and face painting, Tuesday Trivia Nights, farmer’s markets, festivals, concerts and tournaments. Open Monday through Thursday 4 pm to 11 pm, Friday 4 pm to 1 am, Saturday 7 pm to 1 am, and Sunday from 4 pm to 11 pm. F or more information about upcoming events, visit the website at dreamlanddstx.com or call 512-827-1279.

A sight to see at nighttime.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Shop where the Antique Dealers shop!

Cranberry’s

Antiques Best prices in Texas!

More than 10,000 square feet of antiques

For more than 100 years — a family-owned, independent pharmacy

Compounding, Nutrition and Wellness

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On the Blanco Square (830) 833-5596 • 405 3rd St in Blanco

30 years s in busines

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STOREWIDE SALE Memorial Day weekend

May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   19


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Science Mill D iscover the fun of science at the Science Mill in Johnson City! Housed in an historic 1880s mill in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, this innovative science museum offers a fun, interactive learning experience for all ages. The Science Mill recycles a historic community landmark into a gathering place for the community and a forum for science exploration. The museum renovated the historical structures of the mill with minimal connective additions, so the museum space is bright, modern and airy, with innovative exhibits that combine creativity and education. The outdoor Science and Art Park features unique experiences such as the 30-foot-tall Colossal Robotic Hand, the Giant Wave Pendulum, the Incredible Ball Machine, the Fossil Dig and more. The Aquaponics Greenhouse demonstrates how fish, plants and microbes work together in a unique ecosystem to create healthy food. In the Science Mill’s newest exhibit, Jurassic Flight, visitors put on a virtual reality headset and use their arms to control the full-body motion table, exploring the a rich prehistoric world from the vantage point of a flying pterosaur. Jurassic Flight is perfect for ages 7 and up (or an arm span of 48 inches). These are just a few of the many exhibits that combine creativity and hands-on learning through art, kinetic technology, augmented and virtual reality, computer gaming and 4D experiences. While each exhibit has a brief description in English and Spanish, visitors won’t find lengthy how-to guides or instructions. This is by design, so each visitor can create their own unique Science Mill experience each and every time they visit. Highly trained Explainers are positioned across the museum to answer questions. A movie theater features short science films throughout the day, and the museum’s Science Store has the widest selection of sciencefocused toys, books, games and gifts in the Hill Country. When museum-goers get hungry, the on-site Lady Bird Lane Café, a small farm-to-table restaurant, offers lunches using local and regional ingredients, or families can bring picnics to eat on tables or blankets near the creekside pecan grove. The next time you’re looking for a curiosity-sparking, memory-making family destination for all ages, remember the Science Mill! Photos courtesy the Science Mill. The Science Mill is at 101 South Lady Bird Lane in Johnson City. Summer hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, visit the website at sciencemill.org.

20 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

FARM, RANCH and HOME STORE Building Supplies H Steel & Welding Farm & Ranch H Animal Health Sporting & Outdoor H Lawn & Garden Plumbing & Electrical H Hardware & Tools and now Paint & Lumber 2400 N US Highway 281 • Blanco, TX

(830) 833-1504 • kandcsupply.com

Brewery & Restaurant

Open Thursday - Monday 11 am to 9 pm

307 4th Street, Blanco, Texas 78606

830-833-3062 • texascannonbrewing.com

May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   21


Success is sweet!

Texas Drop Fudge

Story by ERNIE ALTGELT

A

chievement of any kind is always a pleasure. It’s just the way we Americans are wired. When we accomplish something, it feels good, when we’re recognized and appreciated, it feels even better. And, when we’re rewarded for it – that’s like hitting the jackpot! Well, right up the road from bucolic Leakey, near the banks of the beautiful Frio River, lives a lady who, thanks to a lot of culinary creativity, business savvy and pot loads of old-fashion, hard work has experienced all of the goodness that comes from achievement. Yep, Susan LaNell Deagen, thanks to her amazingly delicious Texas Drop Fudge, knows what can happen when one hits on that winning recipe and then knows what to do with it. Why, in Susan’s case, you might just say that “success never tasted so sweet.” A native Texan through and through, Susan grew up in a loving household where good cooking was prized. As she recalls, “Mama knew her way around a kitchen and, while a youngster, she made sure I learned a thing or two as well.” And learn Susan did, eventually, or so some attest, surpassing her skilled mother in the art of food preparation. Couple those acquired abilities with a natural knack for experimentation and, her reputation grew as someone who knew what was needed where exceptional cooking was concerned. But, for the majority of her productive life, spending time in the kitchen was more of an avocation or perhaps, an enjoyable household contribution. Susan’s primary, professional focus surprisingly ended up working within the oil and gas industry. As things can happen however, it was ultimately an overlap between the oil biz and her home cooking that eventually would launch her into the world of fudge making and marketing. More on that later but first, let’s talk about her Texas Drop Fudge. As mentioned, Susan’s mom was pretty good around a stove and an oven and, as Susan admits, “She made some pretty wonderful fudge herself.” But, daughter Susan would go on to rework the family recipe and “put her stamp on it,” resulting in an extraordinary end product that quickly started garnering rave reviews. She named her sweet treat “drop fudge” because, like dumplings, each piece is “dropped” onto a cookie sheet rather than baked in a pan. Visually, this technique adds an attractive, free-formed aspect that square-cut fudge doesn’t

Susan (R), and her daughter-in-law, Tara, at the shop. have. But, it’s the taste and not the shape that folks love and, that all comes back to Susan’s “top secret” recipe. (Unfortunately, don’t look for any hints here. She keeps her recipe close!). Susan does offer that she only makes “small batches” at a time – generally weighing about ten pounds – and, to only using all natural ingredients without any preservatives. Amazingly, her fudge (which is freezable) enjoys a twoweek, unrefrigerated shelf life but, the product seldom lasts that long after a first bite is sampled. Hmm. Susan makes several varieties of her drop fudge including dark chocolate and milk chocolate versions. Expanding on these two, she can (depending on her mood) add pecans, walnuts, coconut and even peanut butter to the mix. Whatever, it’s all really wonderful because, as many of her loyal clientele will attest, there are no “bad” Texas Drop Fudges – period! Now back to the oil and gas connection. It was while working the oil and gas fields with her husband Mitchell as they operated their Deagen Oil and Gas Consulting Company, servicing clients spread all over the state, that word began to spread about Susan’s one-of-a-kind fudge. She would bake up and distribute the same to their customers as seasonal gifts. Well, once this started, grateful recipients began requesting more and, most notably, they were even offering to pay for it. Susan knew her “treats” were well liked and, others (usually family and close friends) had always told her she “ought to go in business” but, with a fulltime job running the consulting firm with Mitchell, where would she find the time? Encouraged by Mitchell and others, 12 years ago she “took the plunge” and, with the assistance of her daughter-in-law, Tara, opened her very customer-friendly shop/commercial kitchen in Leakey initially catering to the many tourists who were drawn to the popular area (which includes Garner State Park). And, from day-one, as she relates, “I can’t seem to make enough!” Word spread and sell-outs quickly became the rule with her Texas Drop Fudge, now satisfying snackers across the country and even, beyond. Is Susan happy with the result? You betcha. “It’s takes a ton of effort but Tara and I love every minute of it. Who wouldn’t, seeing all those smiles on my customers’ faces?” Yep, for Susan Deagen, success really can be sweet! Stop by next time you’re in Leakey! Photos courtesy Texas Drop Fudge. Susan’s Texas Drop Fudge shop is 1322 South Highway 83 in Leakey. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm Thursday through Saturday. You can also find Texas Drop Fudge on Facebook or call 830-232-5858.

22 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021


A Frio Tradition!

Our 37th Summer on the Frio!

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Snack Shack serving Hand Dipped Blue Bell H Hawaiian Shaved Ice

Sunday-Thursday 9:30 am - 5:30 pm Friday-Saturday 9:30 am - 6:30 pm

Check Us Out On Hwy 127 in Concan

830-232-6300 • friosdryfifty.com

FUDGE handmade from scratch with no preservatives Open Thursday - Saturday 10 am - 6 pm

Hwy. 83 South • Leakey, Texas May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   23


Hill Country Calendar Please call in advance or check websites to be sure events are running as scheduled. EVERY NIGHT DRIFTWOOD: Live music every night (except Fridays) at Hays City Store. hayscitystoretx.com. MOST NIGHTS (Summer Months) CONCAN: Live music at Joe Jimmy’s. facebook.com/joejimmys. EVERY TUESDAY GRUENE: Two Ton Tuesdays. Gruene Hall. gruenehall.com. EVERY FRIDAY & SATURDAY CONCAN: Live music at House Pasture Cattle Company. See lineup at housepasture.com. JOHNSON CITY: Rhythm on the Vine®. Sip and savor Carter Creek wines, Old 290 Brewery craft beers and authentic Texas fare while enjoying live music from a variety of regional talented artists cartercreek.com/calendar-of-events. EVERY SATURDAY BULVERDE: Saturday Night Rodeo. Family-friendly rodeo and live music. Doors open at 5 pm; the rodeo at 7:30 pm. tejasrodeo.com. FIRST SATURDAY BANDERA: Market Day. Arts and crafts vendors sell their wares and merchandise on Main Street. banderacowboycapital.com. WIMBERLEY: Market Days. More than 450 vendors at Lions Field. wimberleymarketday.com. THIRD SATURDAY JOHNSON CITY: Food and Wine Pairing Dinners at Bryans on 290. bryanson290.com. LEAKEY: Market Days. (March through December) 9 am to 5 pm. At Pearls, 441 US Highway 83 South. EVERY WEEKEND DRIPPING SPRINGS: Live Music at Fox 12 Brewing. 12foxbeer.com. HUNT: Hunt Store’s 75th Anniversary Spring and Summer Concert Series. Live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July. Sponsored by: King’s Texas Smokehouse. thehuntstore.com SECOND WEEKEND BOERNE: Market Days. Hundreds of festive booths display everything from collectibles a to modern innovations that bring a smile of wonder to those who stroll past. boernemarketdays.com. THIRD WEEKEND GRUENE: Old Gruene Market Days. Nearly 100 vendors offering gifts, uniquely crafted items, and packaged Texas foods February through November and first weekend of December.,10 am-5 pm. gruenemarketdays.com. MAY 19-AUGUST 15 AUSTIN: “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked The World.” Fascinating exploration of the science, sound, history, and culture behind world’s favorite instrument. Bullock Museum. thestoryoftexas.com. MAY 27 - JULY 2 KERRVILLE: Southwest Gourd Fine Art Show. Tuesdays through Saturdays, features nation’s finest gourd artists. kacckerrville.com. MAY 22 BOERNE: German Motor Gathering. Explore an exhibition of German cars, motorcycles, and scooters with vehicles from Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche, Artega, Apollo, Mercedes, Simson, and Wiesmann, to name a few. Main Plaza. germanmotorgathering.com. CEDAR PARK: Hill Country Flyer. 6-hour round trip train excursion takes you through the Hill Country with a layover in Bertram, then returns to Cedar Park. Departs 9 am, returns 3 pm. Purchase tickets at www.austinsteamtrain.org 24 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021

MAY 27-28 CONCAN: Sweets and Stars Frio Float. Join Frio Float and Texas Ranchland Nightsky Tours for sweet summer treats under the stars. Every Friday in May, the family can grab a sweet treat and enjoy a guided look at the night sky. During stargazing hour, astronomers present to answer questions with telescopes available. visituvaldecounty.com/events. MAY 27-31 KERRVILLE: Folk Festival. The longest continuously running music festival in the United States. Every day has activities for all ages with a focus on artistic expression in a loving family-friendly environment. kerrvillefolkfestival.org. MAY 28-30 BANDERA: PRCA Rodeo. Mansfield Park. banderaprorodeo.org. MAY 28-30 FREDERICKSBURG: Crawfish Festival. Cajun food, live music, and a kids’ carnival. fbgjaycees.com. KERRVILLE: 18th Annual Texas Masters of Fine Art and Craft. Some of the finest professional artists and craftspeople from all over Texas display their work. texasmasters.com. MAY 29 BOERNE: Musikfest. Bands perform live for a feet-stompin’ good time, plus vendors, dachshund races, more. Don Strange Ranch. 830-537-3156. MAY 29-SEPTEMBER 4 HUNT: Criders Rodeo and Dancehall. Seasonal rodeos with live music and dancing on Saturday nights. cridersrandd.com. MAY 29-30 BANDERA: Stampede Days Arts and Crafts Fair. Courthouse Square. banderatex.com. BOERNE: Old Summer West Fest. Outdoor fest filled with family-friendly activities. Explore the Old West town, enjoy food, music, dancing, wagon rides. enchantedspringsranch.com. JUNE 1 - JULY 30 DRIPPING SPRINGS: Summer Reading Programs at Dripping Spring Community Library, DCSL.org. JUNE 4-5 BURNET: County Area Fair. Enjoy a traditional county fair with quilts, photography, sewing, plants, arts and crafts, a barbecue lunc. Plus see cooking demonstration, shop vendors, bid at a silent auction, enjpy live music, and an old-fashoned ice cream crank-off. burnetcountyfair.com. JUNE 5 BOERNE: Day at the Farm. Explore farmers market, gardens, trails, enjoy workshops and live music. Herff Farm. cibolo.org/locations/ farmers-market. FREDERICKSBURG: Masonic Open Car Show. Food, beverages, a raffle, silent auction, and more. fredericksburgmasons.com. MARBLE FALLS: Summer Market on Main. Arts & crafts, jewelry, wood crafts, iron works, foods, more. 10 am to 4 pm. 200 Main Street. marblefalls.org. STONEWALL: Fishing Day at LBJ State Park. Cane poles and bait are provided along with a fishing demonstration. 830-644-2252. JUNE 5, 12, 19, 26 BANDERA: Cowboys on Main. Find all kinds of free cowboy fun in downtown Bandera every Saturday this summer. Possible activities include chuck wagon storytelling, saddle-broke longhorn hopping, horse-drawn wagon tours of Bandera, and reenactment shows. banderacowboycapital.com.


JUNE 11-13 BLANCO: Lavender Festival. More than 100 of the finest arts and crafts vendors, exceptional mu-sic, local beer, regional wines, the Texas Specialty Packaged Foods Area, a speakers pavilion, and of course, lavender are highlights of the 16th annual festival. This is a free, kid-friendly event. Downtown Square. blancolavenderfest.com. JUNE 12 SAN MARCOS: Texas Water Safari. Billed as the “World’s Toughest Canoe Race,” the Texas Water Safari is a 260-mile long canoe and kayak race from Spring Lake in San Marcos to the city of Seadrift on the Texas coastline. texaswatersafari.org. JUNE 17-19 STONEWALL: Peach Jamboree and Rodeo. The 60th celebration of the annual peach crop includes peach judging, crowning of the Peach Queen, a parade, peach eating, pit spitting, food, music, and a rodeo. stonewalltexas.com. JUNE 18-20 FREDERICKSBURG: Trade Days. Shop from more than 400 vendors in seven barns and acres of antiques, collectibles, tools, crafts, shabby chic, primitives, ranch furniture, hunting accessories, candles, unique clothing, jewelry, and food. fbgtradedays.com. JUNE 19 BOERNE: Music in the Cave. Enjoy an eclectic blend of contemporary acoustic songs, soaring vocals, dynamic instrumentation, and improvisation celebrating the Summer Solstice down in the Queen’s Throne Room at the Cave Without a Name. cavewithoutaname.com. MARBLE FALLS: Slide into Marble Falls. Family friendly water party features three lane, 1,000-foot, padded slip -n-slide. 10 am - 8 pm. marblefalls.org. SAN MARCOS: The Great Race. 120 antique automobiles make their way through downtown San Marcos. greatrace.com/route. JUNE 26 BANDERA: RiverFest. Kayak races and rentals, a river rodeo, a car show, live music, children’s activities, and a barbecue cookoff are some of the events taking place at the ultimate riverside picnic. City Park. banderatexasbusiness.com. JUNE 26 LUCKENBACH: Food Truck Fest. Taste offerings at food trucks from San Antonio, Austin, and Fredericksburg region, sip on wine from Hill Country wineries and enjoy live music. luckenbachtexas.com. JUNE 27 BANDERA: Frontier Times Museum Jamboree. Bring your lawn chair, enjoy an afternoon of live music with new hosts each month at outdoor music circle that’s free to the public. frontiertimesmuseum.org. JULY 2-4 LLANO: Rock’N Riverfest. Grab your lawn chair and sunscreen and enjoy your weekend. If you have a jet ski, bring it and participate in the jet ski races on the Llano River. Saturday, check out the Oldies But Goodies Car Show full of sleek, classic cars, don’t leave before music and fireworks begin. Badu Park. llanorocknriverfest.com. JULY 3 COMFORT: Celebrate America, Comfort’s Independence Day Celebration. Kids’ bike parade, main parade, barbecue lunch, shopping, live music, much more. comfortchamber.com. JULY 3-4 LEAKEY: July Jubilee. Parade, vendors, and a rodeo. Free Saturday night street dance at 9 pm featuring Gary P. Nunn and Sons of the Bunkhouse. friocanyonchamber.com. JULY 4 BANDERA: 4th of July Pet Parade. Bandera City Park. All pets—anything you can lead, ride, or carry—are welcomed to participate in this Fourth of July parade for furry friends. bandera-cowboycapital.com.

Comfort’s Independence Day Celebration

Celebrate America! Saturday • July 3, 2021 Kids’ Bike Parade followed by 10 am Main Parade 11 am-1:30 pm BBQ Lunch in Comfort Park 11 am-3 pm Live Music • Games • Face Painting Silent Auction • Apple Pie Contest Downtown/Community Shops Open!

Live Music all afternoon & evening around town Little Theater presents Comfort’s Historic 1880s

Great Cannon Caper

www.comfortchamber.com FRIO CANYON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESENTS

FRI JULY 2ND

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Firecracker Sponsors

May/June/July 2021 Hill Country SUN   25


JULY 4 FREDERICKSBURG: July Fourth Community Parade and Patriotic Program. Bring your lawn chairs for a great seat or use the tailgate of your truck, then stay and celebrate the holiday with a free patriotic program at Marktplatz following the parade. fbgtxparade.org. FREDERICKSBURG: July Fourth Fireworks Display. Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. fbgtx.org. KERRVILLE: Robert Earl Keen’s Fourth on the River. Celebration features a beer garden, food, vendor booths, family fun, bounce houses, and face painting. Live music kicks off at 4 pm, headlined by a free concert by Robert Earl Keen, followed by the largest fireworks show in the Hill Country. robertearlkeens4th.com. NEW BRAUNFELS: Founders Fireworks. Display over Landa Lake. Open seating at golf course. since1845.com/event/founders-fireworks. JULY 5 WIMBERLEY: Independence Day Parade. The “best little parade in Texas” starts in front of Katherine Anne Porter School on FM 2325, winds down Ranch Road 12 and ends at South River and Stillwater. 10 am to noon. wimberley.org JULY 5-11 LAMPASAS: Spring Ho Festival. Live music featuring William Clark Green and Cory Morrow, pageant, carnival, dance contest, pet parade, arts and crafts fair, more. springho.com. JULY 10-11 KERRVILLE: Gun and Knife Show. texasgunandknifeshows.com. JULY 17 FREDERICKSBURG: Night in Old Fredericksburg. This festive occasion features live pari-mutuel horse racing and other activities all during the day, plus plenty of beverages and food. gillespiefair.com. JULY 23 BANDERA: Hall of Heroes Induction Ceremony. Recognizes contributions of individuals and characters who, through their leadership, creativity, example, and work keep pioneer spirit alive and help keep Texas Texan. Frontier Times Museum. frontiertimesmuseum.org.

JULY 23-25 FREDERICKSBURG: 43rd Hill Country Auto Swap Meet. Including a “car corral” with vintage autos for sale and flea market. Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. earhartproductions.com. JULY 24 BANDERA: National Day of the American Cowboy. Enjoy a fun-filled day around the courthouse with live music, reenactments, arts and crafts, children’s activities, and other interactive activities to honor the town’s cowboy heritage. Main Street. banderatexasbusiness. com. JULY 29-AUGUST 1 FREDERICKSBURG: Hill Country Film Festival. Celebrates independent film; screens more than 90 independent films (short and feature length); and hosts revealing Q&As, captivating filmmaker panel discussions, and opportunities for attendees to rub elbows with filmmakers. Admiral Nimitz Gallery. hillcountryff.com. AUGUST 7 FREDERICKSBURG: Texas Ranger Day and History Symposium. Honoring those who have served and those still commissioned, t event features historians and educational programs, reenactments by Living History HQ Company Rangers focusing on 1823 to 1960, Ranger Camp set-ups, cannon firing, and memorabilia displays. Texas Rangers Heritage Center at Fort Martin Scott. trhc.org. MARBLE FALLS: Lakefest. Experience the rush of adrenaline as drag boats race along Lake Marble Falls at 200 mph. marblefalls.org. AUGUST 14-15, 28-29 FREDERICKSBURG: Live Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing. Gillespie County Fairgrounds. gillespiefair.com. AUGUST 26-29 FREDERICKSBURG: 133rd Annual Gillespie County Fair. The oldest continuous county fair in Texas is filled with fair favorites including a carnival and midway, traditional fair food, livestock judging, agricultural and household exhibits, arts and crafts, antique tractor shows, live music and dancing, and more. gillespiefair.com.

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10 Minutes From Garner State Park 5 Minutes from House Pasture

River Road - CR348

Seven 5-Star Rentals (361) 522-9222

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26 Hill Country SUN   May/June/July 2021

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5 pm to 9 pm Tuesday & Wednesday • 11 am to 9 pm Thursday - Saturday

Food & Wine Pairing Dinners on Tuesdays

300 E Main Street • Johnson City, Texas

830-868-2424 • Reservations can be made online at bryans290.com


Profile for Julie Harrington

Hill Country SUN - May/June/July 2021  

Interesting people, places, events, things to do in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Since 1990!

Hill Country SUN - May/June/July 2021  

Interesting people, places, events, things to do in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Since 1990!

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