We headed into town and what we thought was fairly early to eat breakfast at "The Buttermilk Café", highly rated on Trip Advisor. Well, 9:00 a.m. is too late. There was a 45 minute wait so rather than spend time looking for an alternate local breakfast location we headed to I-Hop. It was typical I-Hop breakfast but it filled us up for a very busy day.
First item on the agenda was the LBJ National Historic Park, home of the Johnson's Texas White House. It was really an amazing place with a lot of history. First stop was the Visitor's Center to obtain a ticket to tour the grounds. From the Visitor's Center you follow Ranch Road 1 along the south side of the Pedernales River for about a mile where it crosses the river and we begin the various stops as part of the ranch tour. We first arrived at the Junction School. This is where 4 year old Lyndon Johnson learned to read;
and where he returned 53 years later to sign the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
You can see his former teacher from the Junction School sitting at the table on the right. Unfortunately I missed getting President Johnson in the picture when I took this snapshot of the sign. That must have been an exciting time for his former teacher.
The next stop on the driving tour was a reconstruction of the house where LBJ was born, which is located in Johnson City. He had this house rebuilt to be used as a guest house.
Almost across the street was the Johnson Family Cemetery where both President and Lady Bird Johnson were laid to rest along with numerous other family members.
This house was the President's grandparents house, Sam Sr. and Eliza Johnson. They moved here from their home in the Johnson Settlement (in Johnson City north of here). They lived the remainder of their lives in this home on LBJ's Ranch.
These trees were so beautiful and elegant. It made me think of the description of the lane leading to Tara in Gone with the Wind. What a beautiful site!
These are pictures taken on the open ranch area north of the Texas White House and the other homes mentioned. The cattle and deer roam freely in this area except for the area where an airstrip is located that brought President Johnson and many dignitaries to the ranch during the years he was in the Senate and the White House.
This picture is taken from the northernmost part of the property looking to the south. What a beautiful view it is.
This picture was taken from near the Johnson's home looking north. It is no wonder they wanted to spend so much of their time at this location.
This Presidential Plane used during LBJ's years as President of the United States.
We concluded our drive of the area and entered a large hangar area that has been converted to hold much memorabilia of the Johnson's. During his White House years he had over 70 phones installed in his Texas home and he was on the phone as much as 18 hours a day. He recorded many private phone messages with various people. There were phones set up and you could select various phone conversations to listen to. I listed to one that gave an update on the fighting in Vietnam. He requested an update every single day on the fighting and casualties during that time.
I did not get a picture of the outside of the house, so here is a copy of our ticket to enter the home for a guided tour. The home was elegant, but quite simple and comfortable. The first room was Johnson's office. There was room for two secretaries and a larger area for Johnson's desk, plus an area as you entered the office for a member of the Secret Service. The tour guide explained that if Johnson brought someone there he wanted something out of them and he would not let them leave until he got it and evidently could be quite convincing and very compromising. He also told us it was not unusual for the secretaries to get a dressing down for not doing something the right way, etc. but then he might turn around and treat them in a special way.
The next room was the living room. It had a large fireplace and hearth with thick cushions for additional seating along the west part of the house. It had large picture windows looking to the east and three televisions lined up in a row on the south wall, so that he could see any news being played on the only three TV stations available at that time. The room was very comfortable and inviting. The guide said the TV's were going constantly to ensure Johnson did not miss any breaking news.
There was a quite large dining room that was used to entertain many guests to the Texas White House. The kitchen was quite large to provide sufficient storage for food, including an oversize refrigerator and freezer, pantry area and another area for dishware. There was a TV over the refrigerator and the guide pointed out Mrs. Johnson had stayed behind at the ranch that fateful day in November 1963 to bake a pie and make preparations for hosting then President & Mrs. John Kennedy. She was in the kitchen preparing the pie when she heard the news of the shots fired in Dallas. She called for all the staff to gather with her and it was here she learned of the death of President Kennedy and that she was now the wife of the 36th President of the United States. That was a very moving moment for me, standing in her kitchen thinking about how it would have been to hear this incomprehensible news.
After a year or two into the Presidency, Mrs. Johnson had a new bedroom area built for her in order to provide more privacy and to obtain a full night's sleep. It was not unusual for Johnson to be on the phone at 3 a.m. or anytime throughout the night; and their were always constant interruptions from staff.
The guide went on to tell us that after Mr. Johnson's tenure as President while working with his staff, he told them he needed to rest awhile. He laid down and a short time later called that he needed them right away. They found him along side bed where he had fallen on the floor (I happened to be standing quite close to the bed at the time he told us this) and most likely he was already gone. However they quickly transferred him to San Antonio where he was later pronounced dead. It was really amazing to think you were standing in the midst of such amazing history knowing this was the place where so much happened.
We could not take pictures during the tour of the house but I have included a few I took outside.
This is the large picture window I mentioned from the living room area.
This small building was used to house Secret Service members.
Here are a couple of President Johnson's cars. The guide said he liked to get guests in them and then drive them fast toward the river like he was going to go right in, and then swerve at the last moment.
I definitely plan to do further reading on Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson. They were very interesting people and the tour only made me want to know more about them.
By the time the tour was over we were starving. It was almost 2:30. We stopped up the road at Stonewall for lunch at Lindigs Restaurant & Bar. We both ordered the chicken fried steak which was huge. It was served with real mashed potatoes, yummy green beans, a roll and a nice dinner salad. We almost waddled out but it was very good.
Along side the deer head it said "Welcome Hunters". There were deer everywhere!!!
From here we continued on toward Fredericksburg. Just a mile or two outside of town we visited the Fredericksburg Trade Days. Wow -- there were what looked like large old chicken barns and numerous smaller buildings with all kinds of items to purchase - antiques, clothes, wood products, candles, etc. There were several acres of items for sale. We enjoyed walking through and visiting with a few of the vendors. I happened to notice a picture at one of the booths and the artist was Christina Blackledge. I stepped around to ask the lady there if she was Christina and she was. Blackledge was her married name and she was now divorced but she did tell me that a friend of hers had actually done some research for them of the Blackledge name and they did have some relatives in the Kansas area. Unfortunately she did not know what those names were. Interesting, huh?
Some of the shops at Fredericksburg Trade Days
It misted off and on while we were there but since we were inside a good part of the time it didn't really bother us much.
From the Trade Days we headed into Fredericksburg that is filled with NUMEROUS shops, winerys and restaurants. The sidewalks were full of folks visting all of these various stops in Historic Main Street. It was wonderful to see so much activity. Many of the buildings were already lit up for the coming holidays. We were both tired and did not take the time to visit any of the shops. I'm thinking this would be a great sister or sister/daughter trip some weekend.
Some of the shops in Fredericksburg, TX.
On the way home we had to drive to Lukenbach, Texas. I could not be this close and miss out on the town, the namesake of one of my favorite songs by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Yes, "We're going to Lukenback, TX with Waylon and Willie and the boys." I sung this song until Dean was sick of it! HAHA It was pretty dark when we made it but the dance hall (about all that is left) was lit up for a weekend event. We did not stay, took a picture and then headed on back toward the campground.
Best picture I could get of Lukenback TX dance hall as we drove by.
We made one last stop down the road at Dairy Queen. It was pretty good but not as good as the one we had a couple of weeks ago.
It's late and I'm tired and ready for bed. See you later!