New Braunfels is a city of about 70,000 folks between Austin and San Antonio. It was settled by German immigrants about 1845 and retains much of the culture of its founders. I've always enjoyed this place; in fact, Donna and I became engaged here more years ago than I care to remember. But the town has grown so rapidly since then that it is beginning to lose its unique character. But that is the opinion of an old fossil; I suspect most people would really enjoy the place.
The list of things to do in New Braunfels is endless, especially if you are young and you love the water. Some of the major attractions include Schlitterbahn Water Park, Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch, Gruene Hall, Wurstfest, and many, many more.
Donna and I have done many of the things in New Braunfels, so we really go there to just soak in the culture.
We made our headquarters at the Faust Hotel. This was our second time to stay here, and it may be our last. We picked the Faust because we like old hotels and it is conveniently located on the edge of downtown, but the rooms really are not that comfortable. I think we are just a bit more demanding these days, and rooms in old hotels are usually small, especially the bathrooms. Heating and cooling often do not work well, and lighting can be poor. But if you can overlook these snags, then the location is excellent.
|Front of the Faust Hotel.|
|Lobby of the Faust|
|The bar at the Phoenix hosts an impressive array of beers on tap.|
|Front area of the Phoenix|
|Jeffrey Ryan Vaughn on stage at the Phoenix|
|Interior of Naegelin's is rather small, but the taste is big.|
After a morning of shopping, we headed to Lockhart for some BBQ. We've eaten at all the places in Lockhart, so we debated about which one to try this time. It had been 4 years since our last stop in Lockhart, so we wanted to choose wisely; however, we failed. We opted for Smitty's, which I've enjoyed in the past, but on this day, we were disappointed. The brisket had lots of fat; the ribs were dry; and the sausage was dry. None of the meat had the smoked taste we long for. Well, you win some and you lose some, so we'll cross Smitty's off our list for now.
|We were disappointed with the meat at Smitty's this trip. Jalapeno sausage on the right, ribs in the center, and brisket on left. Notice the large amount of fat on the strip of brisket nearest the bread. The meat all lacked the smoky taste we crave.|
|When you enter Smitty's from the back, you get up close and personal to the pit.|
|Exterior view of Krause's. The domed area is the biergarten. A farmer's market is held on Saturdays in the area where the cars are parked.|
|Another exterior view of Krause's showing the mural.|
|The draft beer selection at Krause's is more extensive than that at the Phoenix, located across the street.|
|One end of the biergarten with stage at right. Notice the standing propane heater in left center.|
|People seem to just drop in, have a beer or two, visit a bit, then move along somewhere else. It's a nice place to spend some time.|
|The original party girl enjoying a pint of Fat Tire.|