20 April 2012

This Is What It's All About

Recently we ventured away from the Green House to enjoy some good living out at Blanco State Park with friends.  We had never been out there, so it was surprising to discover that the small park abuts the tiny town.  I suppose if we were looking for a hardcore nature experience, Blanco State Park might have been disappointing, but since we just wanted to relax in nature, it was perfect.

The weather was great, and relaxation was plentiful.


Our friends who coordinated the trip, Fred and MJ, opted for an open-air cabin over a regular campsite, but there was plenty of space for everyone else's tents (we had a big crowd -- a total of about 15 people came out at some point over the weekend).


Here's our little home-away-from-home:


The weather was so nice that we didn't need to get into our sleeping bags...but we weren't too warm, either.

The view from our tent wasn't bad, either:


But the best part of the river, which ran right through the middle of the park, was the swimming pool that was built into the dam back in the 1930s (as a New Deal project):


Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting the park to have so many amenities, so I was unprepared for swimming.  But the kids in our group -- and lots of other families -- enjoyed it.

We did go on a guided nature walk, where a very knowledgeable volunteer showed us some of the highlights of the park and shared nuggets from its history.  But my favorite part was seeing all of the wildflowers:



Our new little friend Cerci enjoyed the nature walk, too.


And also seemed to be a fan of the flowers:


MJ had expertly coordinated the meal plan (our contributions were corn on the cob, s'mores ingredients, and pancake mix), but we were on our own for lunch.  We were the slackers who hadn't brought anything.  Our plan was to cheat by driving into town for lunch, but since town was so close (less than half a mile to the town square), a bunch of us ended up "hiking" back across the river for lunch.


We ate at the Redbud Cafe, which seemed to be a local favorite.  Everyone enjoyed their lunch (mostly sandwiches), and I especially enjoyed the lavender lemonade.  I'm sure the live music would have been fun, too.


Of course, what small Texas town doesn't have one of these cool old courthouses?


Oh, and we found some unique local flavor, too:


But mostly there was just a lot of hanging out, enjoying nature and the company of friends (some of whom went for a bike ride, hence the cycling attire):


We were happy to keep it simple -- reading, and napping, and chatting, and just enjoying our time at Blanco State Park.

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