Exploring the Texas Independence Trail Region – Day 2

We started day 2 of our Texas Independence Trail Region tour, loading up on delicious kolaches at the Original Kountry Bakery in Schulenburg, part of the Texas Kolache Trail. If you’re wondering what a kolache is, check out this post from Feeling Foodish.

Delicious kolaches from the Original Kountry Bakery.

While the quaint little town of Round Top is indeed something to see, many people are not aware of Round Top Festival Institute, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Institute is an international center for performance and learning. While there are so many interesting things to see, my favorite building has to be Albert and Ethel Herzstein Memorial Plaza. This was Debbies favorite stop along our tour. Its gothic beauty is haunting and a photographer’s dream. Some day I hope to actually see a performance at the beautiful Festival Concert Hall. I’ve yet to have the pleasure of seeing it on the inside and hearing the acoustics of the amazing dream of concert pianist James Dick.

I’m ashamed to admit as a Native Texan, I’d never been to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site in Washington. To finally step on the historic grounds where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed on March 2, 1836, was a bucket list item for me. I must admit I got a little teary eyed. I also purchased a parchment copy of the document, as well as the Travis letter and a map of Texas’ original territory. They will find a place somewhere on the walls of my home in the very near future.

Just down the road is Barrington Plantation State Historic Site, the home of Texas’ last first family. Dr. Anson Jones was the last President of the Republic of Texas. There is a working farm and we got to see chickens, roosters, turkeys, cows, and pigs. We even chatted with one of the staff who was dressed in period costume pulling weeds and planting in the garden. Definitely recommend this to families looking to educate their kids about Texas history.

When Debbie was finally able to pull me away from Washington, we were getting hungry. We stopped in Navasota, a community in the Texas Brazos Trail Region, which I’ll blog about on a future tour. I do have to give a shout out to Classic Rock Coffee Co. & Kitchen. The downtown restaurant played classic rock with music memorabilia on the walls and served phenomenal food, including a Texas-shaped Chicken & Waffle meal. Not sure what they used on the breading of the chicken but it was delicious, or at least what I could taste of it, since I’m still recovering from losing my sense of taste and smell.

We drove through Houston because I’m going to focus on a big-city blog in the future. I will suggest some of my favorite places to visit when you’re there including the Houston Zoo, the Cockrell Butterfly Center, the Downtown Aquarium, and the Holocaust Museum Houston. One of my favorites is Space Center Houston. I was fortunate a few years ago to be there for the installation of the replica space shuttle. This place is fun for adults and kids. One of the best purchases you can buy is the Houston CityPASS, which gives you admission to the top attractions in the city.
I friend of mine works for Baytown Tourism and she’s shared their Umbrella Alley a few times so I had to see it for myself. There’s something very soothing about watching the wind whip up these beautiful umbrellas and walking around the mural-covered alleyway. Since you couldn’t be there with us, I had to shoot a little video so you could see for yourself. Fun..fun…fun!

When we arrived in La Porte, we were unable to tour the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, as it was closed. We did get to walk around this important site of Texas history, where Texas won its independence from Mexico. Reading the history as you walk around the monument and knowing the battle took place in the very spot where you were standing gave this Texan a sense of pride and thankfulness for those who gave their lives for our freedom. The Battleship Texas is going through repairs right now so we snapped a shot of it from the road. A pleasant surprise we found while in La Porte was Sylvan Beach Park. Debbie and I got our first close-up look at the Gulf of Mexico from this beautiful beach area. Definitely a recommended stop if you’re in La Porte.

I’ll leave you with one more look at the colorful umbrellas at Umbrella Alley in Baytown. Two more blog posts to go to complete our Texas Independence Trail Region tour, including Galveston, West Columbia, Victoria, and San Antonio. Stay tuned. Until next time, safe travels!
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