Monday, July 1, 2013

Hill Country Wineries and Indoor Playgrounds

It's Monday once again, my friends. And as always that means it's time to reflect on the things that made us happy over the past week. And of course now is also the perfect time to set the tone for a great week to come! 

If you missed my take on LML, you can find it here. If you missed the explanation of LML Monday, you can catch up here

The Texas Hill Country might not be the first place you think of when you think of wine. But, then again, perhaps it should be.

Now, I haven't verified that statement. But why would a hand-written sign in a winery lie, right? True or not, though, the Texas Hill Country definitely does produce some pretty darn good wine.

I had the pleasure of taking wine tour on my recent trip to Texas, and sampling some of the goods. I don't drink a lot of wine, but I did sample some really good ones. And the wineries are beautiful, which made it even nicer. And I was with my family, in my favorite part of Texas. What's not to love?

The best thing about Sister Creek Vineyards, besides the award-winning wine, is the self-guided tour of the winery. My kids and their cousins took the tour while the adults did some tasting. Then my son took us all back so that he could give the tour and explain to us all about the wine-making process. He especially liked showing us where the wine was sleeping.

You wouldn't necessarily think "family friendly" when you think wine tour, I know. But for the most part they actually were. (We had several kids with us, ranging in age from 5 to 17.) They couldn't drink the wine, obviously, but there was always something for them to do, and they all had a good time.

The Messina Hof Winery had some really great wine, and some of the friendliest staff that I encountered. The grounds were absolutely gorgeous, and the kids sat outside and had a "chocolate tasting" while the adults had our wine tasting.

The wine at the Fredericksburg Winery is easily as delicious as any of the others. It was, however, the only place that we encountered what I would consider a "wine snob" on staff. That actually just made it more entertaining for the rest of us, though, so it was still a good time.

This place is also the one exception that I found to the "family friendly" rule. Not that the kids weren't allowed there, it just wan't as welcoming, and there wasn't really anything for them to do. Fortunately there is a really nice chocolatier next door, so that problem was easily solved.

Sadly, our Texas vacation had to come to an end last week, and we headed back home to Arizona. Sadder still, the temperatures since our return have consistently been in the 115 - 119 range. And it's been kind of hard on the kids, going from playing outside every day to being stuck in the house for fear of bursting into flames.

Fortunately there are a few indoor options around, so we try to make the most of it. Like Saturday, when my husband and I took the kids to our local McDonald's to play. It lets us all get out of the house for a little while, and gives them some freedom to run around and make some noise.

And there's ice cream. When it's this hot outside, ice cream is a must.

Ok. I shared mine - now it's your turn! Please feel free to leave me a comment and share some of your recent LML moments. Focus on the happy thoughts, and let's all have a great week!

And if you're a blogger and would like to get in on the LML fun, feel free to grab the code and join the blog hop! Your post doesn't specifically have to use the "LML" label (although you're welcome to use it if you'd like, and the graphic that goes along with it.) If you have any kind of happy, positive Monday message that you'd like to share you're welcome to join. The more happy vibes, the better the Monday!


  1. Sounds like a good trip.
    If Texas is #2, I am betting that WA is #1... ;) I am surrounded by wineries and the folks who drink it...

    Anyhow, I hope you don't mind - I added my GBT post to your linky, but I'm not adding the linky to my post.

    Oh, and last week I mentioned your blog in my GBT post...

    1. I think California is probably #1, but now I'm curious. Perhaps I'll go look that up...

      Thanks for linking up with LML Monday. I love your GBT posts!

    2. Let me know what your research turns up - would be good to know.

      And thanks for letting me link up with you - I was worried that since I don't label it LML, you wouldn't want it up there.

      Together, we will make Mondays better!

    3. Also, I wanted to let you know that I added a link to your blog on my connections page. Hope that is okay....


    4. Ok, so I didn't do extensive research, but I did look up a few things.

      I don't know where the "#2 wine destination" stat came from. The only lists of top US wine destinations that I found (in my admittedly limited search) all quoted a TripAdvisor list found here:

      It doesn't mention any in TX, but there was one in WA. (Mostly in CA, though, like I suspected.) I did find some interesting TX wine sites, though.

      And since you mentioned WA, I looked that up too. Here are a few sites that I found. And one of them mention WA as "the new star of the U.S. and world wine industry." I have no doubt that you are as surrounded by wineries as my sister is in central TX.

      And no, I don't mind if you don't specifically use the "LML" label. Like I mentioned, anyone is welcome to use it (and the graphic) but it's not a requirement. The only requirement is a positive Monday message, which you definitely have.

      And thank you for adding my link to your site. I appreciate the mention!

  2. What a great trip! I'm glad you and the kiddos could njoy some time outdoors before returning home to the furnace!

    1. Me too! It made me a little sad to bring them back to this heat, but at least we got to enjoy some outdoor fun for a little while.

  3. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)

  4. The Texas Hill Country was named the "#2 Fastest Growing Wine Destination in the Country, 2nd to Napa" by a few years ago. Since then it has been named in other top lists: #1 in Top Ten Hidden-Gem Wine Regions by, Six Great American Wine Regions by Budget Travel and American Wines from Unexpected Places by Fodor's along with a number of other great articles about the area

    We are very excited about the growth of new wineries and new visitors everyday!

    1. Wow - thank you for that information! I guess I just didn't read far enough when I found that web site. :)