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Welcome Home Report ••• April 2013


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April 2013

IN THIS ISSUE 17

11 10 Page 6 Page 8 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 20 Page 22

Publisher’s Note : Hello from Kristi City of Amarillo, Texas City of Arlington, Texas City of Brady, Texas Burnet County, Texas City of Denton, Texas City of McKinney, Texas City of San Marcos, Texas City of Sonora, Texas City of Tomball, Texas Finding a Resting Spot on your Way Home : Out of the Valley RV Parks Listings What Our Winter Texans Say : Travel Recommendations Do More than Get Back Home Fast : Travel Recommendations

We ter Winans! Tex .welc www

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On the Cover: Clockwise starting from top L to R : Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX; Caverns of Sonora, Sonora, TX; Campground at Palo Duro Canyon, Amarillo, TX; Downtown McKinney Square, McKinney, TX; Fields, Tomball, TX; Sour weeds giving small town color, Tomball, TX; Courthouse, Brady, TX; Historical blue home, San Marcos, TX; Texas Bluebonnets, Burnet County, TX; Middle: Courthouse on the Square, Denton, TX

Kristi Collier Publisher

silentBYTES design Design

Welcome Home, Rio Grande Valley 219 W. Nolana, Ste A McAllen, TX 78504 956-687-5115 www.welcomehomergv.com

© Copyright 2011 Welcome Home, Rio Grande Valley, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic means without written permission from Welcome Home, Rio Grande Valley, LLC.

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Welcome Home Report ••• April 2013


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publisher’s note H ELLO FROM KRIS T I

Stop and smell the bluebonnets! On behalf of the entire Rio Grande Valley, and the state of Texas, I would like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU for choosing the Valley as your retirement destination. It’s no secret that here in the Rio Grande Valley we love our Winter Texans, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re sad to see you go (although we know you’ll be back soon!). I hope by now you’ve heard me talk about how important our Winter Texans are to the Rio Grande Valley. With an estimated economic impact of over $750 million to our economy (each season, I might add!) - the 130,000+ of you who have chosen the Valley as your retirement destination are in our eyes, special. We know that you have so many choices on where to spend your retirement, and we are extremely grateful that you chose to drive the extra miles to spend it with us. The economic impact that you have on our area is truly remarkable, but what goes unmeasured are the countless gifts of your time and resources that many of you spend in our hospitals, libraries, public schools and non profit organizations. We know you love our culture, but what you may not realize is that you have become a part of it, a part of who we are. While your stay in the Rio Grande Valley may be coming to a close for this season, I would like to invite you to spend some time in the rest of the Lone Star State. Throughout my visits with you this season, I’ve enjoyed hearing about your experiences along the way. I’ve listened to your comments and suggestions so I hope you will enjoy this month’s Welcome Home Report, a compilation of your favorites just in time for your next adventure. It has been an honor to be of service for the past five years, and I look forward to your safe and speedy return. We’re just connecting the dots,

Kristi PS: Don’t forget to make your reservation for next season before you leave, and invite your friends to join you!

We Winter Texans! www.welco

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Amarillo

Take

the back way home through Amarillo and drive your RV to the RV Museum. Vintage RVs and motorcycles remind you why this is such a great way to travel. Open Monday-Saturday from 9-5 pm at Sisemore Traveland. It is free. And don’t forget Palo Duro Canyon State Park (you can drive your RV to the bottom of the canyon), trolley rides down Historic Route 66, walks through unforgettable museums, and oh yeah, that 72 oz. steak! ••• For more information on Amarillo, visit www.visitamarillotx.com

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Welcome Home Report ••• April 2013


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Arlington Arlington,

Texas. The Sports Capital of Texas. Here we offer so many things to choose from for those who love sports.

RANGERS BALLPARK

Experience the two-time ALCS champions face off the toughest competition in the nation at this newly renovated open-air ballpark! One Texas Rangers game gives you the full All-American, All-Texan baseball experience. We offer Rangers baseball tours that take you through the retro complex. You can also channel the greats in the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and treat yourself at the Majestic Grand Slam Shop, where foam fingers and Rangers shirts are the staple.

COWBOYS STADIUM

If you want the ultimate sports experience, Cowboys Stadium, the most celebrated and state-of-the-art sports complex in the world! Here, Dallas Cowboys football fans can feel like champions as they walk on the field and see the largest HDTV in the world. Visitors are offered either self-guided or guided tours of the player’s locker room, the worldfamous Cowboys Cheerleaders dressing room and more. Also, make time to see the fivetime Super Bowl champions in action. They are “America’s Team!” Inexpensive Party Passes are available for standing room only. Or, roll in style with field-level tickets for club or suite access.

LAKE ARLINGTON

If you decide to stop at our city, Lake Arlington offers 2,000 surface acres of watery fun which includes boat launches, picnic areas, barbeque grills, 2 parks and event space rental opportunities. River Legacy Park and Living Science Center connects Arlington to the Trinity River. The park’s Living Science Center offers a range of interactive exhibits for environmental education. River Legacy is the perfect destination for visitors that seek fresh air and outdoor activities in the middle of all the attractions of bustling big city. Enjoy biking, kayaking, nature trails, bird watching, dog walking,

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or simply bask in the natural beauty that awaits. Guided nature walks, animal presentations, and special outdoor education programs are scheduled year round.

TIERRA VERDE GOLF CLUB

If golfing is your thing, Tierra Verde Golf Club is one of the only Audubon Signature-certified golf courses in the United States, due to its wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement. It also offers a full service restaurant, state-ofthe-art golf learning center, lighted driving range, three-hole practice course and large chipping and putting green complex. Lessons and clinics are taught by PGA/LPGA professionals and apprentices.

CHESTER W DITTO GOLF COURSE

Another course is Chester W. Ditto Golf Course which is a challenging, 18-hole, par 72 golf course, offering plush tiff fairways narrowed by trees and accented with white sand bunkers and ponds. A driving range, a practice putting green and a chipping area are offered to complete one’s golfing experience. The clubhouse offers snack bar concessions and a full line pro shop with today’s most popular equipment and apparel. C.W. Ditto offers tournaments and private and group lessons taught by PGA Professionals and Apprentices.

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LAKE ARLINGTON GOLF COURSE

Lake Arlington Golf Course is a traditional 18-hole facility that offers challenging golf along with a practice putting green and chipping area at an exceptional value. Lake Arlington Golf Course blends open and tree-lined fairways, long challenging par 3’s and scenic greens to appeal to players of all skill levels. It has a longstanding commitment to environmental enhancement and preservation. The clubhouse offers a full line pro shop, club repair and a small cafe with patio seating that overlooks the 18th hole.

MEADOWBROOK PARK GOLF COURSE

Meadowbrook Park Golf Course opened in 1924 and is the oldest course in Arlington. It is located east of downtown Arlington in Meadowbrook Park. The nine-hole course par 33 consists of six par fours 250 to 300 yards in length and three par threes approximately 150 yards in length. Its small greens and narrow fairways are designed to challenge every level of player. The clubhouse offers a full line pro shop, concessions, and golf cart rentals.

MOLLY HOLLAR WILDSCAPE

Tucked away in Veteran’s Park is the Molly Hollar Wildscape, which was founded by members of Arlington

Conservation Council and the Arlington Organic Garden Club in 1994. Its mission is to educate the community to use native plants to conserve resources, attract wildlife and connect with nature.

TEXAS FOOD TRUCKIN’ FEST

Eat your heart out at the first annual “Texas Food Truckin’ Fest,” with over 50 food trucks to choose from, live music and activities held at Rangers Ballpark! Participating trucks include: Tin Star Taco Taxi, Eat Jo Dawgs, Pompeii DFW, Yellow Belly, Tutta’s Pizza, First Bite, Taste of Home, Simply Dosa, Bombay Chopstix, Oink and Moo and many, many more! Parking is FREE. Friday, April 26 4pm to 10pm Saturday, April 27 Noon to 10pm Adults: $10.00 one-day pass $12.00 two-day pass Kids: 12 and under $5 Children under 32 inches are FREE 15% of attendance proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society www.TxFoodTruckinFest.com •••

For more information on experiencing Arlington, check out www.experiencearlington.org


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Brady Brady and McCulloch County…The True Heart of Texas.

Brady sits as the geographic center of Texas at the northwestern edge of the beautiful hill country. With its majestic historical courthouse, rolling green fields and mounds of seasonal bluebonnets, Brady is a spectacular site to linger and relax. The community’s unmatched hospitality makes it a soft landing spot for reconnecting with nature and rejuvenating yourself. Brady, established in 1876 and incorporated in 1906 as the county seat of McCulloch County, stands as a rich agricultural community and home to award-winning hunting and numerous other outdoor recreational opportunities. Bird watchers, photographers, and nature lovers of all types will find their passion in McCulloch County. Located 5 miles west of town, Brady Lake, with 25 miles of shoreline and over 2,000 surface acres, offers outdoor enthusiasts boating, skiing, swimming, camping, fishing and relaxation for the entire family. Facilities at Brady Lake Park include an enclosed marina and fish house, covered boat storage, a large covered pavilion, restrooms and showers, full and partial RV hookups, screened cabanas, tent and primitive campsites and numerous picnic areas. Located at Brady Lake is the Kenneth Medlock Gun Range which is the site of the State Headquarters for the Texas Muzzle Loaders Rifle Association. Richards Park is another jewel of Brady. The 44 acres of shaded green grass offer a wonderful setting for families to make memories. The

city park has stunning well-built playground equipment set against a Brady Creek backdrop. There are picnic and camping areas as well as RV hookups and a pavilion. For the sports enthusiast there are lighted baseball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts and a disc golf course. Richards Park is sure to keep your schedule full. Adjacent to Richards Park is the state-of-the-art Brady Aquatic Park, a unique complex with an Olympic size swimming pool, children’s water features, BBQ pits, picnic pavilions, playground, sand volleyball courts and washer and horseshoe pitching pits. The City of Brady also maintains an attractive 9-hole, par 71 golf course. Built in the 1930’s, today’s golf course provides competitors five bunkers and three water hazards with Live Oak Creek crossing the course in two places. The course offers a year-round calendar full of tournaments and some of the best views in Brady. Other interesting attractions in Brady are the Heart of Texas Historical Museum and the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum. These two gems offer a glimpse into the local heritage of Brady and the history of traditional country music. The Heart of Texas Historical Museum is housed in the former McCulloch County Jail, which was

constructed in 1910 and deeded to the Historical Society in 1974 as a museum. This museum is also home to the restored Curtis Field Control Tower, which served as the Curtis Field tower during pilot training during World War II. In 2001, the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum was built to recognize and remember the great musicians of the past who have made their mark on country music. Run by the 800 volunteer members of the Heart of Texas Country Music Association, the museum represents over 100 artists and is a historical journey that traces the history of the entire country music industry. There is also a wealth of shopping and dining options in town. The quaint downtown square encircles the gorgeous historic courthouse and houses a variety of boutique shopping, furniture stores and a wine bar. South of the courthouse square, numerous shops and restaurants line both sides of Bridge Street sure to keep you busy from sunrise to sunset. Brady boasts an exciting special events calendar, as well. The largest event of the year is the famous World Championship Barbeque Goat Cook-Off, which takes place in Richards Park every Labor Day weekend. What began with 16 cooking teams in 1974 has grown

into a nationally recognized event that includes over 200 teams and swells the small town population of Brady from 5,000 to about 15,000. Other activities throughout the weekend include an Arts & Crafts Fair, Food Court, children’s games, petting zoo, horseshoe and washer pitching tournaments, live music and a street dance on the historic downtown courthouse square. It is a unique experience unlike any you’ll find elsewhere. In addition to the Goat Cook-Off, the first weekend in July brings celebrations of the annual July Jubilee complete with a parade, street dance and fireworks. The Goat Cook-Off caps off the summertime and our Christmas in the Heart celebration wraps up the year with the lighting of the courthouse, Richards Park and an early visit from Santa. With its home-town charm, abundance of attractions and unique specials events, Brady is busting at the seams with entertainment for you to enjoy when you visit. Your next vacation won’t be complete without Brady on the schedule! •••

For more information on Brady and McCulloch County go to www.bradytx.us

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Burnet County

S

ituated in the stunning rolling hills of the famous Texas Hill Country, the Highland Lakes are enriched by abundant natural beauty and charming Texas hospitality. We’re blessed to have four of the gorgeous Highland Lakes within our county’s borders (Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, and Lake Travis), where you’ll have lots of room to enjoy playing in the clear lake waters, plentiful fishing and breathtaking sunsets. The captivating Texas towns of Bertram, Burnet, Granite Shoals, Marble Falls, Kingsland and Spicewood provide guests with not only fabulous dining and lodging options, but are also situated near other natural treasures like impressive caverns carved by running water, gorgeous parks and nature preserves that are home to endangered species such as Bald Eagles, Black-capped Vireo, and Golden-cheeked Warblers and picturesque meadows of Blue Bonnets and Indian Paint Brush in the springtime. Whatever your vacation goals may be, Texas’ Highland Lakes are sure to have what you are looking for.

••• For more information on Burnet County go visit www.thehighlandlakes.org

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Welcome Home Report ••• April 2013

© Photo: Patti Alford

Relax…you’re finally here.

UPCOMING EVENTS April 12-14 30th Bluebonnet Festival May 18 Spring City-Wide Garage Sale June 14-15 Burnet County Fair & Rodeo September 14 Kid’s Day Out September 20-21 Bulldog Thunder Truck & Tractor Pull September 27-28 Burnet BBQ Cook-off & Music Fest September 27-29 Day Out with Thomas October 12 Ft. Croghan Day November 9 Fall City-Wide Garage Sale November 15-16 Hill Country Christmas December 6-8 Main Street Bethlehem December 14 Christmas on the Square December 14 Christmas at Ft. Croghan December 13-15 Main Street Bethlehem


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Denton

Calling all independence-

loving, original thinkers! For people looking to bypass the “same old, same old, Denton, Texas is the best in different: shopping, music, arts, culture, entertainment – there’s no place like Denton. Downtown is vibrant with hip shopping and local eateries all just steps from Denton’s crowning jewel, the Denton County Courthouse-on-theSquare, one of Texas’ most photographed of all county courthouses. 

artists and performers to 220,000+ fans. Sound like a fun detour? Plan for April 26-28, 2013, because it is fun!

Music is everywhere! More than 25 live music venues within walking distance of the downtown Square feature local singers, songwriters and bands. The world-class Murchison Performing Arts Center hosts orchestras, operas, and concertos.  Every spring, visitors enjoy the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival  where FUN IS THE THING and JAZZ IS KING! The 2 ½ day event is FREE to the public and offers 2,700 musicians,

That’s not all… One of Denton’s most popular attractions is the North Texas Horse Country Tour, a wildly successful experience for all types of groups. Thousands have taken advantage of this unique attraction, winding their way through “Horse Country USA” among 450 premier horse farms and ranches excelling in every equine breed and discipline. Upcoming guided, motorcoach tours are on April 13 and May

4. Or, our self-guided tour is downloadable at www.horsecountrytours. com and lets you enjoy the region at your own pace. With more than 250 restaurants, many of them ••• offering uniquely local fare, For more information plus accommodations at on Denton affordable rates, what are visit you waiting for?  Original. www.discoverdenton.com Independent.  If that’s or you, come visit Denton.  www.escapetodenton.com You’ll be in good company here.  www.welcomehomergv.com

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McKinney What’s unique about McKinney, Texas? That’s a question visitors frequently ask. Those of us who live here know: it’s that “special something” that brought most of us here, the reason we chose to call it home. And Money Magazine must understand it, too. McKinney was named the magazine’s #2 Best Place to Live in America in 2012, up from #5 in 2010 and #14 in 2008. What makes McKinney a special place to live and visit? Over the years, those who have sculpted McKinney into what it is today have worked diligently to incorporate and preserve nature in as many ways possible while making room for the thousands who have settled here in recent years. Despite this brisk population growth (from 53,000 in 2000 to 141,000 in 2013), McKinney still embraces the quaint historic center of town - our downtown square and historic residential district – where our deep roots in Texas history have been lovingly preserved. McKinney: Then and Now Settled in 1848, McKinney was both the center of commerce in this region of north Texas and the governmental seat of Collin County. Named for Collin McKinney, who was one of the drafters and signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, the city’s main source of trade was cotton. Farmers would come from miles around to weigh and trade their cotton on the downtown square and at the nearby Cotton Mill. Standing empty since closing in 1969, it was restored and reopened in the early 2000s as a popular event venue, as well as site for offices and a popular backdrop for photographers and retail catalogs. The Collin County Courthouse, built in the center of the downtown square, was considered the tallest building in Texas north of San Antonio upon its completion in early 1875. A drastic remodel in 1927 saw the addition of a basement and third floor and a more modern look. The historic Collin County Courthouse was vacated in 1979 when a new Courthouse opened just south of the square, and was refurbished and reopened in 2006, now housing

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the McKinney Performing Arts Center. The building is now the site of concerts, plays and even silent movie showings accompanied by the Mighty Wurlitzer theater organ housed there. The buildings that make up the four sides of the historic downtown square appear very much as they did 150 years ago. Home back them to banks, merchantiles, hardware and drug stores, and barbershops, as well as movie theaters and saloons, these buildings now house an eclectic mix of boutiques, antique stores, art galleries, specialty shops including a popcorn and candy shop, dog boutique, magic shop, used/collective book store, and Texas salsa shop. Tastebuds are tempted here, too, with some of the best dining options in the region including down-home comfort foods, desserts, a four-star steakhouse, gourmet burger joint, and any nationality of food one could want. Visitors will also find hopping night spots where live music fills the restaurants on weekend nights, and even some during the week. McKinney’s Nature When in McKinney, there is plenty of nature with which to commune. The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary offers miles of nature trails, a butterfly garden, wetlands canoe adventures, zip line and ropes course, and all sorts of educational opportunities. Also

Welcome Home Report ••• April 2013

on the property, guests will find a beautiful outdoor amphitheater where concerts, bird and wildlife lectures, and other events take place throughout the year. McKinney is also home to hundreds of acres of parks, including Towne Lake Park & Recreation Center at the center of town where the city hosts events all year long. Park guests can also take a paddle boat (duck or swan-shaped) out for a spin around the lake, or throw a line in the water to fish. Picnic spots are numerous, too, with a playground, sand volleyball court, and horseshoes.

Other Unique Must-Visit Spots McKinney is home to some other fun and different features appealing to a wide range of traveler: • Third Monday Trade Days is the oldest and largest flea market in North Texas, offering hundreds of vendors the weekend prior to the third Monday each month. • The Heard-Craig House was built in 1900 and houses a large collection of early Texas art. Its gardens, carriage house and adjacent performance hall make it a popular event venue as well. • Chestnut Square Historic Village is

a collection of the oldest homes in McKinney, a replica schoolhouse, a general store and visitors center where visitors can see the world’s largest collection of ice cream freezers. This bustling place is home to a weekly Saturday Farmers Market during the growing season and monthly markets during the winter months. The annual Ice Cream Crank-Off, Spirit of the Cowboy Festival and Living History Days are also popular events here. • Franconia Brewing Company is owned by a Bavarian brewmeister (the art/craft goes back to the 1800s for his family) where guests enjoy weekly tours/tastings ($5 per person) every Saturday. • Second Saturday Art Walk features downtown art gallery exhibit openings every Second Saturday of the month when guests can meet the artists, enjoy wine and appetizers, and shop late on the square. Make McKinney Your Destination For more about planning your experience in McKinney, contact the McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau at 888-649-8499, by email to info@visitmckinney.com, or by exploring the website, www. visitmckinney.com. And stop by our visitors center at 200 W. Virginia in the historic downtown. We’d love to see you!


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San Marcos

We’d love your company! A unique blend of old and new, charming and hip, natural and spectacular, San Marcos boasts a unique multicultural heritage and history where cultural influences are a part of everyday life. Conveniently located between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos is known not only for its natural beauty and the crystal clear, spring-fed San Marcos River, but also for some of the best shopping you could ask for. Featuring more than 260 shops and amazing discounts up to 65% off retail, the prices and selection at Tanger Outlet Center (www.tangeroutlet. com/sanmarcos) and San Marcos Premium Outlets (www.premiumoutlets.com) are hard to resist. Together they make San Marcos home to the largest outlet shopping center in the Unites States! Looking for something a little different? The San Marcos Downtown Historic District offers a unique alternative to the mainstream. Nestled around the restored 1909 Hays County Courthouse, it’s just a short walk to trendy boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, and

more all in the heart of the city. When you’re ready for a break from shopping, why not take in our historic homes and architecture? San Marcos is fortunate to have preserved its past and is home to many neighborhoods designated as Historic Districts. The areas contain a variety of Victorian, Classical Revival, and Craftsman architecture built between 1880 and the 1940’s. Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy the many flavors of San Marcos. From home-cooked treats to international cuisine, we have a variety of restaurants that is sure to delight every palette. Get a taste of what you’ve been missing and dine at one of our local establishments.

If it’s museums or art you are hoping to find, San Marcos has choices that are sure to please.

The LBJ Museum of San Marcos (www.lbjmuseum. com) preserves the legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson by focusing on his formative years when he honed his political skills and developed a strong commitment to education and civil rights. The 36th President of the United States attended what is now Texas State University, the only Texas college to graduate a future President.

the finest cars ever made in the United States. With pristine models dating back as far as 1929, the collection is a tribute to the American passion with the automobile. The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University is a literary/photographic center that inspires visitors with changing exhibitions related to Southwestern writers and photography of the Southwest and Mexico. Seven large gallery spaces include a permanent display of costumes, props, set pieces, and other memorabilia from Lonesome Dove. •••

For more information on San Marcos, visit www.toursanmarcos.com

Dick’s Classic Garage (www. dicksclassicgarage.com) contains three decades of www.welcomehomergv.com

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Sonora

ITexas, deally located in the middle of our community is a great

place to visit and experience! Below are a few things you can check out on your stay!

Caverns of Sonora

www.cavernsofsonora.com Located on a working ranch, The Caverns of Sonora is a World Renowned show cave, a National Natural Landmark and is internationally recognized as one of the most beautiful show caves on the planet. Our guided walking tour takes you through a remarkable cave, which is over 98% actively growing.  It contains some of the world’s most beautiful and rare formations.”  We have RV and tent sites and offer special group rates.

Christoval Winery

www.christovalvineyards.com Come experience the Rhone Valley of France right here in West Texas.  Our 25 acre estate vineyard and winery is nestled up to the banks of the spring-fed Concho River in Christoval, Texas.  Just 15 miles from San Angelo, Texas, we are located on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country.  Visitors are invited to tour this beautiful vineyard and winery and taste a range of outstanding wines.  Book your next wedding or private event at our 17th Century country French style event center or just relax with a glass of premium wine and take in the scenery on our covered patio.

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Welcome Home Report ••• April 2013

Fort McKavitt

www.visitfortmckavett.com Atop a remote hill, the remains of a 150-year-old fort beckon visitors to one of the best preserved examples of a Texas Indian Wars (1850–1875) military post. At Fort McKavett State Historic Site, take in the spectacular Hill Country vistas and experience early West Texas life through the real stories of the infantrymen, Buffalo Soldiers, women, and children who lived at what Gen. William T. Sherman once described as “the prettiest post in Texas.” 

••• For more information go visit www.cavernsofsonora.com


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Tomball

Whether

looking to get away for a fun-filled weekend or put down roots and stay awhile, Tomball is Texan for Fun!®   Just 28 miles northwest of Houston, Tomball is your hub for adventure.

ANNUAL FESTIVALS AND EVENTS • From scratch golfers to duffers, more than 30 nearby golf courses are ready to play. • Visit the acclaimed Tomball Museum District or any of more than 40 historic cemeteries, markers, museums and homes within a short drive. • Creager, Robison, and Russell . . . enjoy live music listening room style from some of the best talent in Texas. • Hike, bike and photograph nature in hundreds of acres of parks and woodlands surrounding Tomball. • Come to annual events like the Tomball German Festival, Honky Tonk Music Festival, the award winning Rails & Tails Mudbug Festival, Tomball Bluegrass Festival, and the Bugs, Brew & Barbecue. • Go antiquing throughout old town Tomball, then grab a mouth watering meal from one of a dozen mom-and-pop restaurants and tea rooms. • Check out the art galleries or shop the boutiques for big town chic’ at small town prices. • The wine bars are filled with selections from Texas, California, and throughout

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Europe and South America, while the Bluebonnet Wine Trail of vineyards is only a short drive away. • Tour a half dozen Texas craft breweries all less than 60-minutes away. • Experience the season in lights and music throughout Christmastime. • Two-step and rodeo all year ‘round. • Take a creepy ghost tour intown then fan out to other haunted locations nearby. • We’ve even got paintball, disk golf, SplashTown Waterpark and the famous Texas Renaissance Festival just a short drive away. • And, that’s just the start!   Tomball has great lodging for all budgets, and many offer special festival rates, too!   For a full rundown on the fun awaiting you in Tomball, go to www.tomballtx.gov and check us out! In fact, go ahead and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook. com/TomballTexanForFun for regular updates on the festivals, food, fun and more!  After all, Tomball is Texan for Fun!®

For more information on Tomball, visit www.tomballtx.gov

MARCH Tomball Honky Tonk Music Festival A full day of old-style Country music from the days of Patsy Cline & Hank Williams at Tomball’s historic Depot. Tomball German Heritage Festival Three days of music, food & fun throughout downtown celebrating Tomball’s German founders. APRIL 5K Bunny Run & 1M Walk Certified 5K run & 1M family walk in Tomball’s historic downtown district. MAY Rails & Tails Mudbug Festival presented by HEB A weekend full of tasty crawfish & other Cajun treats set to live music, games & bayou-style contests. Memorial Day Weekend Chili Cook-off Dozens of chili cooks from across Texas converge on Tomball to compete in this CASI sanctioned event benefiting local veterans. Oiltown USA Jamboree A celebration of the 1933 Humble Oil Company gusher in Tomball. Historical exhibits, live period music, nickel hotdogs & antique car show in a county fair atmosphere. JULY July 4th Street Party & Fireworks Display It’s an old fashioned street party with live music, dancing, vendors, food & fireworks on July 4th in Tomball. SEPTEMBER Bugs, Brew & Barbecue A Texas-style Oktoberfest with classic Volkswagen “Bugs”, Texas craft beer, local barbecue & lots of live music. OCTOBER Zomball in Tomball Halloween fun for the kids as the old Depot goes haunted & the surrounding streets fill with costumed partiers. There’s even a kid-friendly spooky film on the giant inflatable screen at dusk. Tomball Bluegrass Festival A day of true Americana . . . live bluegrass music, country vendors, food & more. NOVEMBER Diesels & Easels Art Festival Artists from throughout the Houston area exhibit their talent at the old Depot in downtown Tomball. Live music, food, & more. DECEMBER Tomball German Christmas Market Experience the Christmas holiday with a touch of old Germany. Shop for holiday gifts from more than 150 vendors, carnival & kids play area, live German & Texas music, food & more in downtown Tomball. Christmas on Commerce A traditional family Christmas celebration with games & activities for the kids, holiday music, food & seasonal movie on the giant inflatable screen at dusk. *Free admission & parking

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find a resting spot on your OUT OF THE VALLEY RV PARKS

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April 2013

• Bay Landing RV  2305 Hwy 380 West Bridgeport, Texas 76426 1-877-570-2267 www.rvonthego.com

• Medina Lake RV 215 Spettle Road Lakehills, Texas 78063 1-877-570-2267 www.rvonthego.com

• Rusk KOA 745 Farm to Market 343 Rusk, Texas 75785 903-683-6641 www.ruskkoa.com

• North Texas Jellystone Park 2301 S. Burleson Blvd. Burleson, Texas 76028 817-426-5037 888-855-9091 northtexasjellystone.com

• Hill Country RV Resort & Cottage Rentals 131 Rueckle Road New Braunfels, Texas 78130 830-625-1919 www.hillcountryrvresortnb.com

• Colorado River RV 1062 Thousand Trails Lane Columbus, Texas 78934 1-877-570-2267 www.rvonthego.com

• Barefoot Bay Marina 5244 FM 1520 Pittsburg, Texas 75686 903-856-3643 www.barefootbaymarina.com

• Pecan Park Riverside RV and Cabins 50 Squirrel Run San Marcos, Texas 78666 512-396-0070 888-808-7181 www.pecanpark.com

• Broke Mill RV Park 6069 W. US Hwy. 90 Del Rio, Texas 78840 830-422-2961 www.brokemillrvpark.com

• Lake Tawakoni RV  1246 Rains Co. Rd. 1470 Point, Texas 75472  1-877-570-2267 www.rvonthego.com

• Lake Texoma RV  209 Thousand Trails Drive Gordonville, Texas 76245 1-877-570-2267 www.rvonthego.com

• Texas Lakeside RV Resort 2499 W. Austin Street Port Lavaca, Texas 77979 361-551-2267 www.texaslakesidervresort.com

• Lake Whitney RV  417 Thousand Trails Drive Whitney, Texas 76692 1-877-570-2267 www.rvonthego.com • Lake Conroe RV 11720 Old Montgomery Road Willis, Texas 77318 1-877-570-2267 www.rvonthego.com

For more detailed information on these RV resorts, check our website www.welcomehomergv.com/resorts

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www.welcomehomergv.com

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travel

Welcome Home RGV appreciates the travel recommendations provided to us by our Winter Texan friends! We may or may not have visited these places. Welcome Home RGV cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided and we strongly suggest you call ahead or use the google machine to explore any place you care to visit on your way home!

• • • • • •

recommendations SPREAD

THE

WORD! WHAT OUR WINTER TEXANS SAY

ROYERS ROUND TOP CAFE Round Top, Texas Great food and wonderful pies! Cindy Grady Missouri SHINER BREWERY Shiner, TX Great little town and home of Texas beer favorite Shiner. Tour the brewery and get some samples. Town has Town Park that has RV park. Don Myers Texas GOLIAD STATE PARK Goliad, TX Very nice state park with restored Mission in the park. Nearby are restored Forts and Mission that were prominent in State’s history. Don Myers Texas PIONEER RV PARK Bandera, TX Nice park in Downtown Bandera in walking distance to downtown. 830-796-3751. Karen Price Florida 11TH STREET BAR Bandera, TX This bar holds 1000 people. You dance under the stars (open air) to live music! On Wednesday nights, people bring their own steaks and cook them on huge grills before the dancing. Lots of customers arrive on horseback. Bandera is the cowboy capital of the world. At the OST (Old Spanish Trail) restaurant you can sit on saddles at the bar. The town of Bandera is my favorite place! Carolina Lightfoot Ontario

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CAMPGROUND Van Ormey, TX (outside San Antonio) Hidden Valley Campground, run by two of the sweetest people you would ever meet, is in Van Ormey, TX about 10 minutes from San Antonio and is a must stop for us coming and going to the RGV. Quiet, scenic, with a good fishing creek running through it. We usually end up with 2 or 3 extra days there. It is so relaxing and laid back with so much to do. Just minutes away in San Antonio. Sharon Brewer Washington NACHEZ TRACE Mississippi, Louisiana Taking the Nachez Trace route versus major interstates provides the following: 1.Relaxing pace @ 55 MPH Max speed 2. Excellent free and inexpensive RV Parks and overnite stops 3. Great restaurant stops 4. Huge amounts of historic scenic byways with picture taking opportunities. Maryann Lesnieski South Carolina 11TH STREET COWBOY BAR Bandera, TX Bandera, Texas is the Cowboy Capital of the World. We always get a group to caravan with us through the Hill Country. Our favorite stop is to spend a couple of nights. Wednesday night is steak night at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar. You bring your own meat and they have all the seasonings and marinades. They light big charcoal grills. You cook your own meat, they sell plates with your sides. After dinner, a band plays on the big stage. This is all outdoors. So much fun! We always stop here and have a great time with friends heading north. I do have lots of photos on Facebook of Bandera. Ron & Shirley Knoche Missouri

HILL COUNTRY Bandera, TX Cowboy atmosphere, shops, saloons, dancing. Sometimes horses on Main Street Old Spanish Trail restaurant, where you share a long table with people from all different places. Around the area are lots of winding roads and scenic views. Lynn Huybers Wisconsin SCOTTISH RITE TEMPLE Guthrie, OK The largest Masonic Temple in the state, on the National Register of Historic Places, built in 1919. Breathtaking architecture and a fun and informative tour is available. You don’t have to be a mason to appreciate this place! Pat Davidson Texas SHOWMEN’S REST CEMETERY Hugo, OK World famous (but little known!) cemetery is the final resting place of numerous circus people. Unusual and interesting to see! Pat Davison Texas GATEWAY TO THE GULF RV PARK Victoria, TX Easy in and out campground on Rt. 59 in Victoria. This is our last overnight stop on our way back to the Valley each October. Nice FHU sites, great staff! Dale Bruss Texas BLUE BONNET CAFE Marble Falls, TX Excellent Food! Martin Ligdren SK


BUCKHORN LAKE RV RESORT Kerrville, TX This is the nicest RV park in the Texas Hill Country! Tons of activities and events, lots of amenities--they even have their own bus for trips in the area. Hoby Follis New Mexico SKYLINE RANCH RV PARK Bandera, TX After leaving the Valley, there is a singles rally held in here. Skyline Ranch RV Park ~ 2231 Hwy. 16N ~ PO Box 1990 ~ Bandera, TX 78003 Phone: 830-796-4958 ~ Toll Free: 800-267-1402 Karen Price Florida BREAUX BRIDGE CRAWFISH FESTIVAL Breaux Bridge, Louisiana The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival has become one of the largest gatherings of world famous Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop musicians and plays host to over 30 bands on three stages during the threeday festival. Also part of the fun are the Breaux Bridge Heritage Tent, Cajun cuisine, crawfish races, Cajun and Zydec dance contests, carnival midway, crawfish cookoff and eating contest, and a parade to honor the Crawfish Queen. For more information visit: www.bbcrawfest.com Festival will be held May 3, 4 & 5, 2013 Karen Price Florida FLEA MARKET Canton, TX First Monday trade days. Has been going on for years. Weekend before first Monday of each month. Huge huge huge flea market and crafts. Roxie Brown Iowa ANDY’S STEAK & SEAFOOD GRILLE Fredericksburg, TX Absolutely the “go to” place for the BEST country fried steak. Can’t be beat ANYWHERE. We were introduced to this venue by my sister & brother-in-law who winter in Fredericksburg. Not fancy but good food. Rosemarie Cook Ontario

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PACIFIC WAR/ NIMITZ MUSEUM Fredericksburg, TX I’m not a war buff but even I found this interesting. Several locations to browse including a mock up Pacific combat zone. Tickets allow you to see the sites over a few days rather than having to rush through. Rosemarie Cook Ontario SPOETZL BREWERY, SHINER BOCK BEER Shiner, TX Visit the Spoetzl Brewery, in the neat little town of Shiner, TX. North on Hwy 77, then NW on Hwy 111, to Shiner. Stay at Green-Dickson Municipal Park. Enjoy the Churches, Cemetery, historic buildings, wild flowers, & the Spoetzl Brewery, home of “Shiner Bock Beer”. Bill Roberts Texas RESTAURANT/GIFT SHOP Camp Wood, Texas Camp Wood is cool...it used to be the place where the US Army had the camel corps. It is on the way to/from Bandera and they have a gift shop/camping and restaurant that is pretty good. P.O. Webb Texas SAN JACINTO MONUMENT & HISTORIC SITE La Porte, TX A great historic site, including movie, museum, & view of the battlefield, from the top of the 570 ft. Monument. You can spend the night in Victoria, TX at “Lazy Longhorn RV Park”, a few miles south, located at the junction of Hwy 59 & Hwy 185. Bill Roberts Texas UP IN SMOKE BBQ Abbott, TX This is truly some of the best BBQ we have ever had! We make it a point to stop on our trip south and our return trip! It may be a little difficult to access due to road construction in the area but it is located right along Interstate 35 and well worth the stop! Sherwin Linton Minnesota

PALO DURO CANYON STATE PARK Canyon, TX Referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas”, take a day, drive through, stopping to check out Lighthouse Rock formation, or drive to the top of the canyon for many great views, full hookup camping & capins are available. If you’re lucky to get there in June - Aug., see the spectacular outdoor musical “TEXAS”, Shown at the Pioneer Amphitheater. Bill Roberts Texas ENCHANTED ROCK STATE PARK Fredericksburg, TX 6710 Ranch Road 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 915-247-3903 Activities: Hiking, Rock climbing, Backpacking, Camping, Picnicking, Birdwatching Description: 1,643-acre Enchanted Rock State Natural Area draws countless visitors to its distinctive 500-foot-high dome of pink granite, the second largest such formation in North America. Judy Shuck Missouri MUST SEE IN FREDERICKSBURG Fredericksburg, TX A must see in Fredericksburg is the historic Keidel Hospital Building downtown, the home of Der Kuchen Laden, a really amazing kitchen store.  In the store you will find a wine shop, which is owned & operated by my cousin.  Stop in and say hello. 258 E Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 Kristi Collier Texas WILDSEED FARM Fredericksburg, TX Fields of wild flowers and a big red barn gift shop where you can buy seeds, speciality foods, and other stuff. Judy Shuck Missouri GOOSE ISLAND STATE PARK Lamar, TX You can park right along the water. There is a great fishing pier that goes way out over the water. Just north of Rockport. Robert Wiley Pennsylvania

Got an experience that you just want to rave about? Let us know and we will spread the word! Contact us today at 956-687-5115! www.welcomehomergv.com

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recommendations April 2013 DO MORE THAN GET BACK HOME FAST • • •

I really encourage Winter Texans

to do more than the “Point A to Point B - Get There As Fast As You Can” trip home.  I feel they are wasting a wonderful chance to enjoy some unique places on their way to their northern homes.  And Hey, you are retired, you don’t have to speed by it all on Interstates!! Even if I can’t talk them into a more leisurely route home, there are still some opportunities just off I-35 or other major routes north. Many of course, have stopped to enjoy the Alamo and Missions and Riverwalk in San Antonio Rvers can stay a couple days in one of the RV parks on the outer circles of 410 or 1604 and take advantage of their buses that take you to the attractions and bring you back.  Admiralty RV was one we stayed at. Just off I-35 at Waco, TX are two very enjoyable and unusual museums - The Texas Ranger Museum and the Dr. Pepper Museum - both well worth a few hours stop. Taking 59 north, stop at Goliad State Park with its Mission and the nearby Presidio La Bahia. Just off 77 in Shiner, TX stop to tour the Spoetzl Brewery which makes the famous Shiner beers -

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free tastings. And you might even stop in the same gas station we did and not believe your eyes to see a full “draft beer set up” in a Gas Station - “only in Texas”! If you hug the coast going north there are many interesting things to see in Corpus Christi (wide seawall of steps to the water to sit on, the U.S.S. Lexington, Mustang Island), Rockport - Fulton (a must for Art buffs), Aransas Pass (take the ferry to Port Aransas), Mustang Island.   If you stop in Galveston Island, be sure to stop in the little museum that shows the black & white film about the horrendous Hurricane of 1900 that wiped out the whole city and killed thousands. If you take a route home thru the Hill Country, you may see the beautiful blue hillsides of bluebonnets.  Take a little extra time and find the tiny tiny town made famous in the country song “Luckenbach, TX” - Waylon, Willie and the Boys.  It is near Fredericksburg (an interesting town too) which is off Hwy 290. 

Luckenbach is down a gravel road off FM 1376 about 5 miles south.  If you don’t see signs, stop and ask someone.  It is a unique experience to go there and walk thru the old dance hall, the country store/post office/bar.  Impromptu “jam sessions” often occur there. Huntsville north of Houston on I-45  - visit the Texas Prison Museum - SO interesting with the old cells and ball and chains and electric chair and changes in prisons in the last 160 years.  You will pass the 67 ft tall Sam Houston statue along the highway - you want a picture next to that. Here are a few more ideas for Winter Texans who may be headed west or can be talked into a route a little further out of the way.   Well worth it, is a stop at Brackettville (north of Eagle Pass and east of Del Rio on Hwy 90). You’ll find a gigantic spring fed swimming pool at Fort Clark Springs and a great golf course, but a “must” is going


a short ways out of town to see the movie set that was built for the movie “Alamo”. John Wayne insisted that the set not be just “fronts”, but whole buildings. This full scale western town recreation actually gives you a more realistic idea of what the Alamo was like than the real one in San Antonio (now surrounded by big city hotels & businesses). The set

is a working farm and is still used sometimes for TV or movies. If you are heading even further west take Hwy 90 west of Del Rio about 60 miles and stop at the Rest Area before you cross the Pecos River. It overlooks the high cliffs of the Pecos River - makes you wonder what the early settlers in their wagons did when they got to this!! They must have had to detour hundreds of miles north to

cross that river. Right there at Langtry, stop at the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center (preserves the site where the colorful judge famous for “Law West of the Pecos” and his “six shooter justice” - with a rustic saloon, courtroom, billiard hall and opera house). If you get this far west - keep on going and explore Big Bend National Park - especially take the Santa Elena Canyon trail along the Rio Grande River where the river has cut thru rock cliffs on each side 1500 feet high. Along most of the trail the river is narrow and the cliffs crowd it, with just the narrow band of blue sky above until you get to the end of the canyon where it opens up to the sky again.

Joni Davisson Beloit, Wisconsin

www.welcomehomergv.com

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Welcome Home Report, April 2013