Thursday, May 27, 2010

City I Love: Gruene, Texas.

After contemplating what I said in yesterday's post, I thought it might be fun to take a little departure from my normal goings-ons and post a little about where I'm heading this weekend. First thing to know about me is that I am in love with Texas. There is a romance about it that I just haven't found in any other state... and I should know, seeing as I've lived in so many. :) Second is that Dallas is not really where my heart is. I love living here, but there are two times per year I crave getting out: 1. Summer and 2. Fall. In the fall, nothing beats Texas wine country (which maybe I'll write about next time), but in the summer, nothing screams warm weather, beers and good times like Gruene, Texas. (Pronounced "Green") (and p.s., yes I am technically going to San Antonio, but were spending a day in Gruene, which is relatively close.)

First a little history, for those of you who like this kind of stuff: Gruene, Texas, was founded in the 1840s by a guy named Ernst Gruene, a German immigrant. He and his wife wanted to move to New Braunfels but had a hard time getting a piece of land. So they went just a tad down river and settled in the area of what's now Gruene. This guy was pretty cool, because he pretty much single handedly (with the help of his family) established this town, making it a pretty bustling place. His cash crop was cotton and lots of families moved there to prosper. Unfortunately, some stupid bugs (cursed boll weevil) started ruining his crops, and of course the Depression didn't really help, so Gruene essentially went by the way-side.

Fast-forward to the 70s: Pat Molak, a Texan sick of the city, decided to come to this little ghost town and reestablish it as the place to be... and the rest is history. One cool little tidbit is that Gruene Hall, one of the more famous landmarks in the city, never went under in all the years it's been standing, and Mr. Molak did slight renovations (I mean slight, ya'll... if you've ever been there, you'll know what I mean. It's pretty... historic.) to it to bring it back to bustling life. Gruene Hall is definitely the first and main stop to this town, and you can seriously feel the history in it when you walk in. Sigh. :)

(pictures all borrowed off Google images; please let me know if you would like this removed!)

Gruene Hall was built to be a salon and bar, which is quite obvious. It has never been anything else, ever. I love that! Plus, lots of great Texas bands come to play here, and the music just adds to the spirit of the town.

The whole town itself is fun, and most of the buildings are original, from the 1800s. For example, the Gruene Mansion Inn was Mr. Gruene's first home, and his workers' home was what is now Gruene Haus.

(Ernst Gruene's house, now Gruene Mansion Inn! photo courtesy GMI's website)

However, a must-visit is the kind-of-touristy Gristmill, which serves some srsly deeeeelicious Texas food and is on the site of the original Cotton Gin... what made this little town famous. (The original gin actually burned down, boo, so the Gristmill is a nice little replica.) Of course, there are tons of antique shops, little wine bars, restaurants and little landmarks to visit. (But you'll be hard pressed to leave Gruene Hall, methinks!)

I'll be sure to take some of my own pics and upload them next week. So, if you ever find yourself with a hankerin' for some Texas fun, definitely make your way to central Texas and visit Gruene. We're fixin' to welcome ya! :)


  1. I am the music manager for Gruene Hall. Love to see it getting love. If you're looking for a new restaurant to try hit up Mozie's for sliders and a pretty big beer and liquor selection or Gruene River Grill for higher end Texas food and wines. I hope you have fun and catch a good act!

  2. Thanks, Kayla! I knew you were involved somehow but wasn't sure. Hope you're doing well :)

  3. Wow, that house is gorgeous!! I'd love to take photos there. So pretty!! Have fun this weekend!

  4. We always spend a day in Gruene when we head down the San Antonio way from the Panhandle ... love it! Glad to hear that you're already having some good ol' Texas fun! :D

  5. Good stuff! I've never been to Texas, but I'm dying to go to the Austin City Limits music festival. Dyyyying. So maybe someday!

  6. Wow, I lived in Texas and never visited Gruene. I am intrigued now. Do share pictures when you get back. Have a fun and safe trip!