We took the day on Saturday (11/24) to go and explore Castroville, which is about 25 miles east of Hondo.
Our first stop was at the Steinbach Haus Visitors Center which is in a building that was originally built in Alsace, France in the 1600s. The home was dismantled (its built with pegs) in 1988 and stored and then gifted to Castroville in 1998. For three summers volunteers from Alsace came to Castroville to assemble the building and finish it off.
It’s fairly small but has two stories and is quite interesting to see. It’s furnished with furniture that was sent/donated from France to make it that much more authentic.
We picked up a walking tour map of many of the area homes and set out for that when we left the visitor’s center. There we 60+ stops on the tour so we decided to drive it rather than walk as it would have taken us a LOT more time than the 3+ hours it took us to drive it.
The guide shows the year the home was built, current owners, address and then a write-up about the building’s history. We really enjoyed it as its fun to see the different types of architecture in an area and much of this had a German influence.
One of the stops on the tour was at the St. Louis Church which also has a small tour inside that you can participate in, which we did. The tour takes you around the church describing the people depicted on the stained glass windows, as statues, etc.
A little over halfway through the tour, the tour crosses the highway and we took a brief break to get something to drink and to stop at Haby’s Bakery…an Alsatian bakery with lots of goodies. We’ve been to many different bakeries (German, Italian, French, etc) and this was similar…however, we did each pick out a couple of cookies to snack on.
The first stop after our break was at the Landmark Inn, a state Historic Site with several buildings on the premise including a gristmill (in quite a bit of disrepair). The main building houses a bed & breakfast, small museum and gift shop. We watched a video that gave some of the history of the place and then wandered a bit before heading outside to check everything out.
The Landmark Inn is situated along the Medina River where there is a man-made dam…which is a very pretty setting. There are a few grills and tables down there for picnickers to enjoy.
The river must get pretty high at times as there was a flat bottom boat wrapped around a tree…way up off the ground. Pretty sad.
The ‘walking’ tour ended right next to our next stop…Dziuk’s (pronounced Jooks) Meat Market. Friends, Mike and Tina, had recommended we stop…so we did. It’s similar to the Opa’s Meat Market in Fredericksburg, which we like so much.
We picked up a few things to try: chicken cordon blue, chicken Caliente (bacon wrapped chicken breasts stuffed with cheese & jalapenos) and sausage sticks. And also tried their specialty…Parisa.
Parisa (pronounced ‘Pah-ree-sa’) is similar to something you might know as Cannibal sandwiches, Steak Tartare or Ground Round. Parisa is ground round, cheese and onions. It’s served on saltines or by itself. At Dziuk’s you can also get it with jalapeno’s. We tried it without jalapeno’s and while it wasn’t bad…it wasn’t anything we’d buy but would eat if we were somewhere that was serving it.
Monday we were back in San Antonio for a couple of doctor’s appointments. I had a GYN appointment at BAMMC (or SAMMC…whichever you prefer) which is the Army hospital/clinic on Ft. Sam. Before my actual appointment I had some blood work done and also tried to see if I could get in for a mammogram. The mammogram will have to wait until we are back in town next year, this time as they were booked until January and we’ll be gone by then.
Then it was over to the other side of the city for Michael’s appointment with his primary provider at the VA. The person he saw last time is gone so he got a temporary person who neither of us were pleased with…thankfully, she’s only temporary. She did however, order a back x-ray to check on the progress of his degenerative disc disease as his back just seems to get worse and worse, causing him more and more pain.
Finally done with doctor appointments we headed northwest to Bandera as we were meeting Mike & Tina at Brick’s River Cafe. A nice, cozy place with plenty of seating and if it were light enough out we might have been able to enjoy the view of the river.
We all got something different: Michael, chicken fried steak, Mike, seafood platter, Tina, vegetable platter and me, Southwest chicken. Michael and I also ordered Devil’s on Horseback (Gulf shrimp w/Monterey jack & jalapeno wrapped in bacon) as an appetizer.
Everything was very good. Tina and I each had a cup of cream of squash soup…and it was delicious! The bacon wrapped shrimp appetizer was awesome. I’d recommend the place.
We really enjoyed our visit too…so much so that we’re already talking about meeting up in Fredericksburg next month after Michael and I are back from Wisconsin and Mike and Tina have changed locations.
Michael and I are moving to Ft. Sam on Thursday 11/29 and then flying to Wisconsin on Friday (11/30). We’ll be staying with Paityn and Cameron while they’re mom and dad head off to the Dominican Republic to enjoy some time with Kelsea’s family.
It’s been a LONG time since Michael and I spent a week alone with little folk. Little folk that have LOTs going on. (Don’t forget their puppy siblings, Oakley & Maggie!) We may need a vacation when we come back to Texas…but we’ll love every second of being with them as well as their cousins and their Uncle Dan and Auntie Amanda.