July 13, 2015

Our July Day by the Comal River

My son is visiting some out-of-town family members for the week and we always get a bit down when our big, bundle of energy is away. So, yesterday we decided to head out to the quaint, little city of New Braunfels,Texas just to get out of the house for the day.  

My husband suggested spending the day at Landa Park by the Comal river. This park is popular with the New Braunfels locals as well as many folks from the surrounding towns.  We're in North East San Antonio, and not terribly far down the interstate highway from this park, but I had never made the trip over there.  

This park was big, beautiful and clean.  When we first arrived there, we set up shop at a picnic table which was near the the paddle boat rental pavilion.  We were happy to be right near the water and underneath several large shady trees.  Those big, shade trees made all the difference because it turned out to be a really hot, sunny afternoon. 

My daughter and I stayed busy feeding ducks and splashing our feet in the cool, clear water.  There was another man at a nearby picnic table who was grilling a brisket and waiting for his family.  Evan, of course, managed to strike up a conversation with him about the grill feast he was working on.  

We were settled into this picnic area for about thirty minutes when two park rangers came over to talk to some men in kayaks who had parked on the bank near our table. The officers explained to them that only paddle boats were allowed in that area of the park.  He then politely explained to us that this portion of the river was home to some endangered species and they were very protective of the ecosystem within the park.  He also told us that they highly discouraged people from swimming or even putting their feet in the water there!

Well, my husband and I completely respected that they were trying to protect an important ecosystem, but my sassy girl sure did not!  She wanted to keep her feet in that crystal, clear water.  Truthfully, I can't blame her, the water was really pretty and refreshing and I was sad too.  So, to avoid further fits of protest from the toddler, we packed up and moved to a different spot that was much closer to the designated "swimming hole".  

Our little girl was not nearly as impressed with this busy swimming hole as she had been by that other peaceful, quiet part of the river. It was pretty crowded there and she just had no interest in getting in the water.  But, luckily there were still ducks around to chase and feed so that helped to keep her entertained. Those ducks also ensured that mom and dad got in some exercise as we were chasing after that wild and crazy girl who was chasing them!  These pics were snapped at the second spot, near the swimming hole.  

swimming hole at Landa Park

Patiently waiting for those ducks to come back!

the ducks that finally found safety in the middle of the river!

the white ducks were her favorite ones to chase!

 I was standing on one of the small bridges in the park when I snapped these

The water was so crystal clear and pretty

Loved all of the the little bridges

She loved waving to the people on the train as they rode by.  She would yell "Bye Thomas!!" :)

After a few hours of sun and fun by the water, we drove into nearby Gruene, Texas to find some dinner. When we first strolled into town, we heard live music coming from the Gruene Hall and, of course, we had to stop and listen to a couple of songs.  

I love this old place.  It really makes a big impression when you first walk in. The lighting is kept low and the building really smells worn in and old. The faded, hardwood floors creak and bend under your step and the furniture is fantastically weathered.  The tables are wobbly and carved up with many years worth of graffiti from guests and regulars. The walls are covered the most amazing autographed photos of some well-known and mega-famous country music artists who played here.  If these walls could talk (or sing), I'd sure love to listen!  

I've always heard terrific things about a popular restaurant in Gruene called the Gristmill. We've always checked in at this place when we've driven out to Gruene for a visit, but the wait for a table was always longer than we could hold out. 

The pictures I'd seen of the restaurant's layout and seating by the river were alway just gorgeous.  We checked in there on this visit too and were thrilled when the wait for a table was estimated at only twenty minutes!  I couldn't wait to try this place out!

Everyone's eyes were on this giant chalkboard.  When your name is written there that means your table's ready!

We waited in the courtyard and listened to some great music by a local musician named Rodney Hayden.

I was so happy when the hostess sat us at a corner table inside this beautiful open air restaurant!

I was seated on the other side of the sassy girl and this was the truly stunning view from my chair.  

After a enjoying a chilled glass of Reisling, dinner was served: grilled trout with Mexican spices, steamed squash and the house recipe green beans. It was all really delicious!  What a treat it was to sit down at the Gristmill, finally! 

When we are all back together, the Bolton's will return soon to visit the pretty, little cities of New Braunfels and Gruene. My history and music-loving son will love these unique spots!  This was a day of simple staycation turned awesome!


  1. You evoked a lot of sweet memories. My sassy girl is now a sassy adult. But splashing and ducks and open air restaurants continue!

  2. Thank you for stopping by Claudia! I'm so glad I found your blog. I'll definitely be keeping up with you!