Friday, September 28, 2012

Kerrville, Texas

Kerrville is a pleasant community with a population that is a little over 22,000.  It is laid out along a few main business strips, one of which adjoins the small communities of Ingram and Hunt.  Old, new, and historic buildings blend seamlessly.  Kerrville is considered the heart of hill country.  Its advertising states that it is a small community with a big city feel!  It truly has that feel!  It is very active in the arts, with numerous galleries and an indoor and outdoor theater for plays!  The statue pictured is in Kerrville at The Museum of Western Art.  The community has stores and a medical center that one would usually only associate with larger cities.  It is home to Schreiner University.  Kerrville has an upscale feel, but also feels pleasantly rural.  The area is amazingly lush and green with the Guadalupe River running through the center of town.  With the exception of seeing cacti interspersed with the deciduous greenery, it is easy to imagine being in a state other than Texas.  I often found myself comparing it to the Catskills of New York.  We found the flora of the area interesting, as just 70 miles away in Johnson City the ground cover is more that of high desert.  Kerrville has a central location to other communities of interest.  It is only 20 miles from the very tourist oriented community of Fredericksburg, and 60 miles from San Antonio.  Our planned one month stay turned into two months, and we left looking forward to returning someday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Visual Arts Center

This is the Visual Arts Center located in Ingram.  Ingram adjoins Kerrville.
Admission to the grounds and gallery is free!
This bottle tree is pretty simplistic, but I have to admit I like it!
This is just an old door with random items attached to it.  One begins to wonder about this being art, but once again there is just something about it that creates a mystique and for some unknown reason is likable!
Okay, now these things called art are getting pretty far out there!  I'm beginning to think I should become an artist, and make thousands of dollars for my great works!
I can paint some branches with acrylics!  I wonder how much this sells for!
I could create this, too!  Does it go for a thousand or even a few hundred dollars?
This is the gallery.
I like the colors in these three paintings and the patterns of colors are interesting.
These artist trading cards are interesting.  They are business cards with an example of the artist's work on the back.  When artists are at gatherings, they trade cards.  Knowing about artist trading cards makes me feel like an insider in the art world!
This art project modeled after Stonehenge has an interesting story.  In 1989 Doug Hill, a friend and neighbor to Al Shepperd, was putting in a limestone slab patio.  Doug had a slab of limestone left upon completing his project.  He gave it to Al.  Al stood the rock up monolith style.  Pretty soon Al began to consider getting more limestone slabs so as to build Stonehenge!  Doug convinced Al he could reduce the cost by producing plaster and graphite covered metal mesh stone replicas.  Doug and Al built Stonehenge II in Al's pasture.  It took 9 months.  The finished product is 90% as wide as the original Stonehenge and 60% of the height.  The stones are approximately 8 feet tall.
After a trip to Easter Island, Al commissioned Doug to recreate a couple of the Easter Island heads using the same wire mesh technique as he had used creating Stonehenge II.  Here is Roy pointing up at one!  :-)

In 1994 with ideas dancing in his head of other creations to build, Al Shepperd passed away.  He was in his seventies.  His nephew acquired the property, but sold it in 2010.  The monuments were slated to be torn down!  They had become such local landmarks by this time that the Hill Country Arts Foundation rallied to their defense.  They bought the monuments and trucked all 75 pieces 8 miles to their new location near the Visual Arts Center in Ingram.  In 2011 Doug Hill and Al Shepperd's creations debuted in their new home!     

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kerrville Nature Center

We were at the Kerrville Nature Center at the wrong time of year to see the full beauty of the gardens along the walking trail, but we enjoyed what we did see.  Touring the nature center and gardens is free.
I don't know what this shrub is, but thought the color of the berries was interesting!
The parking lot has a nice succulent garden!
This is a type of Yucca that is common to the area.
This is a Cholla cactus.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kerr Arts and Cultural Center

On the same day that we toured the Schreiner Mansion, we toured the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center.  It is located next to the mansion.  Both are free!
One exhibit was quilt pieces designed by separate artists based on the quilt piece before it.  The first item on the left is a paper picture.  The second item is a re-creation of the picture with cloth quilt pieces.  The remaining items are also quilted cloth creations.  Each picture is created by a different artist based on seeing just the completed quilt picture before it.
Here is another example of the sequence.

Upon leaving the art gallery, I spotted this gorgeous butterfly flitting around these flowers.  It was the very best work of art!  My research indicates that it is of the Pipevine Swallowtail family and specifically is classified as Battus P. Philenor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Schreiner Mansion

A historic site of interest in Kerrville is the prior home of early entrepreneur, Captain Charles Schreiner, and his family.  In 1869 he opened a general store in Kerrville, and later expanded into banking, ranching, and marketing.  By 1900 he owned 600,000 acres of land.  He had mansions built for each of his 8 married children as their wedding gifts.  Some are in Kerrville and are privately owned as homes or businesses.  Some of the homes built for his children are in Austin.
This is the Captain Charles Schreiner home.  Note the turret on the right front corner of the home, and the matching porch and balcony.
The porch is beautiful!
The elegant entry!
To the right as you enter the home is the sitting room.  There was also one to the left of the entry way.  It is presently being used as a welcoming area for tourists.  In a nice conversation with the greeter, she told me that some volunteers believe the house is haunted and claim to have encountered an apparition.  I had to admit that historic homes we've been to before have felt empty while this one had the feel of a home being lived in!  
If upon entering the home you went straight ahead through the pictured doorway; on the right is an office area and to the left is the dining room.  The bedrooms are up the stairs. 
This is the office at the back of the house.  It is connected to the previously pictured sitting room.
This dining area is across the hall from the office, but is also accessed more formally through a second sitting room at the front of the house, and to one's left as you enter the front door.  I suppose one sitting room was for the men and one was for the women.
Since the Schreiner home became part of Schreiner University in Kerrville, most of the upstairs bedrooms have been taken out to create a large conference room.
This nursery was left available to view.
This is a play area upstairs near the nursery in the turret that can be seen on the front corner of the home.
This is looking downstairs into the front entryway. 
I thought this was an interesting handrail design.  The floor is hand laid parquet.
This building sits to the left of the mansion as you stand facing it.  The building is said to be an original building of the Schreiner Department Store.

Monday, September 10, 2012


We're back by popular demand!

Standing on the side of Highway 16 north of Kerrville is this large magnificent buck made up of mechanical parts and scrap metal!

A plaque says that the sculpture is of Scrappy, the TIVY Antlers mascot, and is dedicated to family members and a few local dignitaries that graduated from TIVY.  Since the plaque didn't define TIVY, we started to speculate.  Hmmm....T for Texas...I for Institute....V for Vocational...Y for ????  Texas Institute of Vocational made sense with all the mechanical parts used in the sculpture, but Y was a mystery, so we went away not really knowing where the people graduated from, but with an appreciation for the nice dedication to a family.

During one of our drives around Kerrville we noticed Scrappy and the name TIVY Antlers associated with TIVY High School sports!  That was part of the puzzle solved, but still T-I-V-Y was a mystery.

A few tours around town later, and the mystery was solved!  We came across this history marker telling about the life of Captain Joseph A. Tivy.  Besides other great accomplishments, he was the first mayor of Kerrville back in 1889.  During his term of office he donated land for the city schools. We later came to appreciate that the sculpture of Scrappy heralded a very active emphasis on the arts in Kerrville!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Johnson Creek R.V. Park, Ingram, Texas

Although Roy and I were shooting for a September 1st departure, our leaving Miller Creek R.V. Park on the 3rd worked out beautifully.  It was nice to have the extra few days for increased organization, visiting friends, and letting the Labor Day weekend crowd disperse.  We pulled into Johnson Creek R.V. Park early in the evening, and was thankful for my having done prior research.  The park is located about 6 miles out into the country without signs informing of its presence.  Without knowing where we were going, Roy and I would have been stressing, and settled for one of the more expensive parks in town.  We also learned a lesson about websites.  Our first choice in parks was located in town, and their website made the park look quite pristine.  When we pulled-in to check it out, we couldn't believe the difference!  The pictures for the website must have been taken 30 years ago, when it was new!  Lesson learned:  Never make a months reservation site unseen!  Johnson Creek R.V. Park was our second choice, and appeared online to be more rustic than we might want.  It turns out to be a reasonably priced upscale park in a serene country setting.  Roy and I had planned to stay a month, but on day two of being here, we've already begun considering staying an extra month!
The roads and R.V. pads are all paved!  Each lot has a nice sized yard as well.  The park is built on the edge of a working pecan orchard.  The trees you see down this park road are pecan trees.  Odie, the dogs, and I have been enjoying walks on these nice roads.  I'm looking forward to getting my bicycle ready for taking the dogs for some runs!  Our camper sits just off center of the end of this road close to where I'm standing to take this picture.
Here is our lot. Behind the camper is a pasture that had 3 horses in it when we first arrived.  Our furry crew sure were curious about them, and I was, too.  We're allowed to feed them apples and celery.  The owners switch them between this pasture and another, so they'll be back.
This is the pecan orchard that the R.V. park is in.  It's beautiful the way the sun comes through the trees different times of day.  Deer are milling around in the orchard throughout the day, but primarily early in the morning and early evening.  The furry crew was fascinated and a bit intimidated by these unknown animals running about in the dim light!  Now the deer are accepted, as just part of our new surroundings.  We have a nice view out our windows while sitting at the table.
These are pecans.  Aren't the outter shells interesting?
The owners feed the local Axis deer, and have a population of about 20 females with a buck.  There is a mother Whitetail deer with twin fawns that stay near the herd.  They are not fenced in.
This is the rec. hall for rally groups.
The interior is super cute, with a western town theme! There is a nice big kitchen.
This is the clubhouse for park residents.  So far there don't seem to be a lot of planned activities, but I have a feeling that picks-up as the Winter Texans arrive.
This is the clubhouse entry.
Beautiful kitchen!
Dining area.
Laundry room.  I think the clothespins with the individual pieces of cloth hanging from them make a cute valance for a laundry room!  This laundry room must just be for a quick load while at the rec. hall.  There is another laundry room with approximately 6 washers and 6 dryers.
Book exchange library!
Billiard room!
Garden and pool area.
This is an overlook in back of the clubhouse.  It gives a good idea of how green and wooded this area is!  We were told we could take the dogs off their leashes to play down by the creek on this island.  The creek is shallow enough in some areas to wade across. 
There are several large catfish swimming below the observation deck.   This picture was taken from quite high above the creek.
The park even has a little chapel!
It's actually pretty big inside.  The park owners would like to get a retired minister to hold services.
This is the park's access to the creek.  You can see the creek is shallow in this area.  Some hot day we'll have to venture into the water and explore the island.  Life is good!