As we continue exploring the Texas Hill Country, we decided to spend some time in Fredericksburg, Texas. We’ve come to spend the day in Fredericksburg a number of times over the years, but this time we decided to stay a while. While here, we decided to use the Fredericksburg RV Park as our home base. While there are other parks available in the area (Fredericksburg), we chose this one because it is the newest park in Fredericksburg and less than a mile (walking distance when the weather is a bit cooler) from Main Street with all the shops, restaurants, and museums.
The first thing you notice about Fredericksburg (besides the limestone buildings) is that there are many German restaurants in town. Fredericksburg, named after Prince Frederick of Prussia, was one of a number of German settlements, with many of the original settlers from German villages along the Rhine. The desire of the early settlers to avoid getting involved with US government affairs kept the German culture strong. The design of the buildings, some street names, the names of the houses and buildings, and the food served in many restaurants show that there is still a strong German influence in the town.
Naturally, since we are in the Hill Country, there is also a strong Cowboy influence; we even saw a lawyer who one local said dresses like Buffalo Bill. This German influence, focused on working together to build a strong community, combined with the Cowboy influence, which is an inclusive way of life, makes for a very friendly town. Even in the design of the town, the founders named the streets to show how friendly they were. When following Main Street to the East (from the center of town), the first letter of the streets you pass spell out the message ALL WELCOME; and, if you head West you see the message COME BACK.
We enjoyed visiting the many shops and museums in the town. The largest museum is the National Museum of the Pacific War (sometimes called the Admiral Nimitz museum) and includes the George H. W. Bush Gallery. At the museum you can view a reenactment of the taking of a Pacific Island in WWII (it is fun to see the Marines in full uniform walking around town or driving by in their WWII vintage jeep). Especially when you are just as likely to see someone dressed as though they just rode in from the ranch to visit a saloon.
A couple of the dishes we’ve eaten while here include burgers (made with jalapeno-cheddar buns baked fresh each day) at Charlie’s Golf and Grill; a chicken-fried ribeye with lobster, green-chile gravy and a side of 3-cheese grits at the Cabernet Grill; Carlsbad Benedict (crab cakes and poached eggs on an English muffin covered in hollandaise sauce) at the Sunset Grill; a chilled avocado soup with ½ a tuna salad sandwich at the Peach Tree Restaurant and Gifts; the adovada burrito at Hilda’s Tortillas (because it reminds me of New Mexico food); and, naturally various versions of schnitzel and sausage at a few of the German restaurants (like the Auslander). And it is important to visit the Farmers Market on the Marketplatz every Thursday afternoon.
Okay, I’ve talked about the German influence, but have not mentioned the 2008 Beijing Olympics; you are probably asking how that fits into this story. Well, one of the attractions here in Fredericksburg is called Rockbox. This is a musical show that pays tribute to the music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Naturally, we wanted to see the show, which featured excellent professional musicians paying tribute to various artists, with a lot of family humor weaved into the show (for example, imagine a German polka band playing Rolling Stone songs, such “Can’t Get Nein Satisfaction”). It was an excellent show (dubbed “Funtabulous” in the theater) that always features a guest star.
The guest star in our show was Regie Hamm. Regie Hamm won the American Idol songwriter contest in 2008 with his song “Time of My Life.” This song was the first single that the winner of Idol that season (David Cook) recorded. The song was used as a montage at the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and Oprah dubbed the song as “the theme song of the 2008 Olympics.” Regie did a couple of his own songs, as well as some old gospel songs mixed with some Elton John hits. It was an excellent show.
So, that is how I managed to bring together Fredericksburg, Texas, Germans, and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing without ever leaving a small town in the Texas Hill Country.