Thursday, March 3, 2016

Number 60: Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery

Can I just take a moment to say ahhhhhhhh.  Breck and I last visited a state park in August.  August!  Way too long, but that is all behind us now.  This past weekend we put aside our chores and hit the road for Monument Hill and the Kreische Brewery just outside La Grange, TX.

It is a beautiful spot surrounded by tall oaks and St. Augustine grass.  Back in the day and even now it is used for picnics and gatherings.  The museum has some wonderful old black and white photos of parties held here.

The monument is actually a crypt where the 36 Texans that died in the Dawson Massacre in 1842 are buried.  It stands on the top of a sandstone bluff with the Colorado River slowing by below.

The view.  Stunning.  I took about 30 photos from this spot.

There is a trail from the monument that winds along the top of the bluff.

When we passed this tree/bush I stopped to smell the purple blooms.  I told Breck it was a familiar scent that I couldn't put my finger on but made me think of childhood.  He nailed it and new the smell right away.  It smelled exactly like a grape popsicle.  I should have asked the Ranger what it was.

Breck spotted this Texas Spiny Lizard on the wall along the bluff while I was still snapping shots of the river.  He was very patient waiting while I switched cameras, switched lenses, and in general got my act together.

He even gave me a re-pose.

The Kreische's house is here, well placed for the amazing views.

Heinrich Kreische immigrated from Germany in 1849 and bought 172 acres which included the monument.  He was a master stone mason and built the 3 story house and raised his 6 children there.

Who was he and why is this important to Texas history?  He established the first brewery in Texas.   The brewery is now in ruins, buy you can still get a good view and a walk through the museum will give you a good idea of how it all worked.  There is also a tour, but we were running late in the day and opted for a hike around the property.

One interesting fact is that when Mr. Kreische would complete a brew, he raised a banner for the town to let them know all were welcome to come for a beer.    Reminds me of a neighbor when I was a kid who would raise a flag when everyone was welcome to come swim in their pool.

The trails are beautiful beginning with a switch back down from the bluff.

Breck was sneaky and squeezed in a shot of me checking out a Cardinal in a tree along the way.  I had to include it because he told me when he took it that he hoped I would post it.  You can see that on this day I hauled my own backpack full of camera gear.

So many scenic views.

We have been seeing more butterflies around here lately.  Spring has sprung.

Red Admiral
And warmer weather brings out the snakes too.  Sorry I missed the head shot.  As it was I was lucky to spot this Garter Snake at all in the brush.  Such beautiful coloring.

And while you're looking, can you spot the critter in this shot?

How about when I zoom in?

That's an anole with a bug in his mouth.  Sorry for the blur, but you loose quality when you crop.

One last thing before I let you go.  Mr. Kreische as I said was a master mason.  When you go to the park and hike around keep your eyes open.  His handiwork  is everywhere.  Some like his house, the brewery, and this bridge are easy to spot.

But there are some along the way that will take a keen eye to see.