For those wondering how long we plan to stay in Texas, the answer is that we are already back home, but I've been slow in finishing this blog. Only one or two more to go after this one.
On a day when our friends went to see San Antonio and the Alamo (we'd been there, done that), Paul and I decided to check out what seemed to be the interesting town of Castroville, about 20 minutes west of San Antonio. It was our lucky day. Not only was it overcast and cool, setting the stage for more saturated colors, but it was very, very interesting in both a historical and current slice of Americana sense.
While its California namesake is more famous as the "Artichoke Capital of the World", this Texas version offers a whiff of Europe's Alsace region. The town was established in the 1840's when an Henri Castro offered transportation to his land grant on the Medina River, to multiple families from Alsace and Baden. Eventually, the settler group flourished, though retained old country customs and their dialect of High German. Much of that has been diluted over the last century or so, but many fascinating reminders remain in this town of 3,000.
Visitors are welcomed to Castroville by its charming visitor center, The Steinbach House, originally constructed in Alsace in the 1600s, then disassembled, moved, and reassembled as a gift to the people of Castroville. The staff person was knowledgeable and the home was furnished with period pieces, hand made artifacts and ceramics.
Steinbach House - Castroville Visitor Center
Original Pieces from the 1600s era home
Old Country Ceramics
After a delightful lunch and some prowling through a shop with "yard art", we strolled through the historic homes district. Along several streets were homes built by the original Alsatian settlers or their descendants. Most had been carefully preserved, and/or restored, with colorful yards
From 1846 - with additions and bright poppies
"Kit" home ordered from Sears & Roebuck for $5000
Partway along the street, we encountered a corner yard overflowing with poppies and original farm buildings and implements. The current owner opens his lot to visitors during poppy season, asking only for a small donation.
By Golly, That's Red!
Jack, the "King" (breed) poodle Greeter
Impossibly Cute Backyard
The day we visited also happened to be the Saturday of the local high school Senior Prom, so many sites around town had clusters of proud mamas and papas taking photos of their "young'uns"; in prom garb; the boys acting uncomfortable in their tuxedoes and the girls awkwardly tugging up the tops of their first-ever strapless gowns.
Barbara and Paul