All Things LBJ…And Luckenbach, Texas!

Posted by on November 30, 2012

Warning!  This post is extremely long…I apologize in advance!

We were up early yesterday as we had a busy day planned!  We left home about 8:00 am and arrived at our first stop of the day, The Johnson City Visitor’s Center just a few minutes before 9:00.   There are basically 3 parts to this ‘museum’ – the visitors center offers 2 videos, several different exhibits and a bookstore.  Across the street is the home that LBJ and his family lived in from 1913 (when he was 5) until his mother moved out of it in the 1950s.  Then just down the street a little ways is the homestead of his grandparents lived on for about a year or so.

LBJs childhood home – it’s very cute home with 4 porches and the dining room in the center of the home.

The kitchen – if you can see the gingerbread cookies on the cookie sheet on the table that’s a clue to the fact that the entire house was decorated for Christmas.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historic Park visitors center in Johnson City

The official brands of the LBJ ranch. On the bottom is the original ‘bar J bar’ brand and on the top the much more sought after ‘LBJ’ brand. The ranch no longer uses the hide branding technique but brand the horns of the cattle.

LBJ had LOTS of guests to his ranch – John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, World Leaders, actors, astronauts etc. When they visited he had them sign a paving stone. Above are stones signed by Werner von Braun and Donn Eisle. We learned bout both of them on our trip to the US Space & Rocket Center earlier this year.

The settlement of Samuel Ealy & Eliza Johnson – LBJs paternal grandparents

This barn was built by a relative that owned the land after Sam & Eliza resided here.

2 Texas Longhorns reside on the grounds!

It took us about 3 hours to visit all the different parts of this Johnson City port of the LBJ National Park but we really enjoyed it.  Before leaving we at lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen.  It was a gorgeous day so we sat out on the patio under a beautiful tree to enjoy the daily special of wraps.  Yum!

Owner & Chef of Kelly’s Kitchen hard at work

Next stop:  The LBJ Ranch in Stonewall, Texas.  Just 14 miles west down 290 you’ll find the 2nd part of the LBJ National Park.  Your first stop is the Visitor’s Center where you are given a driving permit and a cd to listen to the audio tour.  Before you begin the audio tour you are directed to visit the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm just a short jaunt from the visitors center.

The Sauer’s and Beckman’s were neighbors of the Johnson’s and one of the Sauer children was a midwife at LBJ’s birth.  The farm is still working with a garden, animals and volunteers that provide information.  You’ll find fresh eggs & milk in the kitchen….with the milk being made into clotted cream, cottage cheese and/or cheese.  There are preserves lining many of the shelves in the various rooms of the cabin.

Sauer-Beckmann Farm

Michael enjoying the view from the barn

I was shocked by the garden…still in full bloom on November 29th! Not something this Wisconsin girl is used to!

One of several shelves stocked with canned goods

Hanging the cheese out to strain – it’s ready to eat the following day

The audio tour of the LBJ ranch begins as you drive along the Perdanales River that bounds the LBJ property.  The stops include the 1 room school-house that LBJ attended when he was 4, the reconstructed home that he lived in until he was 5, the family cemetery, his grandparents farmhouse, the show barn, the hanger and finally The Texas White House.  The audio tour is free but there is a $2.00 per person charge to tour the inside of LBJs home.  Your are treated to a tour guided, by a park ranger, of the entire downstairs of the president and 1st lady’s  beloved home.  The home is as it was when LBJ and Lady Bird lived there.  The LBJ ranch was Lady Bird permanent address until she passed away in 2007, although much of her time was spent in Austin in later years.

LBJs reconstructed birthplace – he used it as a guesthouse

The Johnson Family Cemetery is set beneath this beautiful grove of trees

The final resting place of LBJ & Lady Bird (the 2 larger stones), his parents, grandparents, siblings and their spouses

Having a good time riding?!

….did I forget to mention there was NO horse under that saddle!?!?

Meet ‘LBJ Advance 3’ (#3 for short). I enjoyed petting him while we spoke with the Park Ranger in the show barn

The cattle roam freely throughout the ranch so we had to wait briefly while they crossed the road before we could move on

LBJ spent a lot of time ‘back on the ranch’ while serving as President. He flew on ‘Air Force One’ into Austin and then from Austin to the ranch he hopped on this little guy that he called ‘Air Force One Half’.

The back of the ‘Texas Whitehouse’. Unfortunately we weren’t able to take pictures inside and didn’t really get to see much of the front of the home.

We drove into Fredricksburg for some dinner and then stopped at Walmart to do our weekly grocery shopping.  I’d done my research on Yelp for a restaurant with high ratings.  My first choice was BBQ but the place with the highest reviews closed at 3:00.  My next choice was Panda, a Chinese restaurant.  It was very good.  Michael had his old standby – Sweet & Sour Chicken and I had the Beef & Vegetables.  We always get an order of Pork Fried Rice as well…plus the meal came with soup, egg roll & crab rangoon!  Needless to say we have the leftovers in the fridge for lunch one day.

Panda Restaurant – Fredricksburg, Texas

Beef & vegetables – the veggie variety (broccoli, asparagus, baby corn, water chestnuts, carrots, peppers) was perfect but the overall dish needed a bit of soy sauce to complete it.


We took a different route home, passing through Luckenbach, Texas.  How could we possibly not stop??  Luckenbach is not even really a town any longer – it’s more of a business since the post office closed in 1971.  Luckenbach is associated with country music, including Waylon Jennings’ 1977 hit Luckenbach, Texas.  The town is still popular with country music fans even though it only consists of a post office, a working saloon, general store and a dance hall – all in 2 buildings.  When we got there we strolled through the General Store, filled with all kinds of odds & ends.  The back door of the store leads into the little itty bitty bar.  That little itty bitty bar was packed to the gills with people.  There was a group of about 10 musicians doin’ a little pickin’.  It was way cool!  We finally found a spot on a bench, Michael got us each a Diet Coke and we sat down to enjoy the music.  It was the perfect way to end an already perfect night!

The inside of the general store which goes straight into the bar.  Believe it or not I found 2 Christmas gifts here!

Pretty much the entire bar! Thankfully there’s lots of room outside to sit.

Several of the ‘pickers’ that were at Luckenbach this night

The back of the bar. There’s a window to order from outside, bathrooms, a stage and lots of tables for customers to sit and enjoy the surroundings and music

What an awesome, awesome day we had and stopping at Luckenbach was a great way to end it!

2 Responses to All Things LBJ…And Luckenbach, Texas!

  1. Bernette Ervin

    That is awsome! If u come thru Dallas stop on by our house ! Keep safe. Albert and Bernette

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