Gruene Texas

by | Feb 14, 2016

As we planned our travel through Texas, I was interested in the central area where a number of German immigrants settled during the 1800’s. We visited Gruene, TX, settled in the mid 1800’s by Ernst Gruene. Ernst’s son, Henry was quite the entrepreneur for his time creating this town with a mercantile store, cotton gin powered by the Guadalupe River and a dance hall and saloon. Unfortunately, with the death of Henry, the town started a downfall and never recovered after the Great Depression.

That is until a fortunate turn of events in early 1970, when a college student working at the Texas Historical Commission stumbled upon the town during a kayaking trip. Seeing the town, it’s now famous water tower and the structures, he realized the significance of this historical treasure. You can read more about the restoration of Gruene here.

Today, the town is a mix of old and new. Shops, a wide range of eateries, wine tasting rooms, the eclectic and fun Gruene General Store and the famous Gruene dance hall. We had a great lunch at the River House Tea Room specializing in their farm to table cuisine. We picked up a few gift items, some specialty salsas, laughed at the t-shirts and signs at the General store and enjoyed a wine tasting of local vineyards at The Grapevine.

Our final stop was Gruene Hall. Every notable country and western act along with today’s upstarts has played the Hall. Walking into this dance hall built in 1878, was like stepping back in time. The bar still heated by a wood stove, the well-worn floors, wooden tables in the dance hall covered in carved graffiti and of course, the stage. Stepping through the main entrance you’ll find pictures on the wall of many who have played the hall. There we several shots of George Strait, where he was the house band in his early career. Brought me back to the moment in his movie Pure Country when he returns home and visits the dance hall where he got his start. Unfortunately, our schedule didn’t allow us to return for one of the weekend band.

A fun afternoon. Good food, wine, history along with great conversations with the locals.

I love RV life. Jerry

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