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The Woodlands, Houston, Golf, & Ziegfest

October 2007

Summary - This Thank God For Weekends is about: camping at an outstanding new resort in The Woodlands, exploring The Woodlands Town Center, Traders Village Flea Market and their campground north of Houston, a visit to Herman Park in Houston, great music at the ZiegenBock Music Festival, plus golf at two fantastic courses - Blackhorse and The Links at West Fork

Rayford Crossing Deluxe SiteWe jumped in the motorhome and started heading to Houston for the annual ZiegenBock Music Festival on Thursday night. We had heard some good things about a new RV park in The Woodlands and decided to stay there on Thursday night. Arriving around 11 on Thursday night, Rayford Crossing RV Resort was pretty impressive - wide paved roads into and Entrance to Rayford Crossingthroughout the park and a very nice office and building that was decorated for Halloween and was home to the rally rooms, game room, laundry, library, and exercise room. The next morning we were even more impressed with Rayford Crossing RV Resort.

The sites are level and paved and our deluxe site included full hookups (which are lighted making it very easy to hookup at 11 PM in the pitch dark), new patio furniture including an umbrella, and a new gas grill! Rayford Crossing is immaculate, has great amenities, and a very friendly and helpful staff. What a great park - one of the best we have found in Texas! You can read our review by clicking here.

After enjoying some of Rayford's amenities, we set off to explore The Woodlands Town Center - a mixture of upscale restaurants, boutique shops, entertainment complex, and more. Adding beauty and a way to get around the Town Center is The Woodlands Waterway - a 1.25 mile water corridor that winds through portions of Town Center. There are six air-conditioned water taxis and a trolley that follow the path along the waterway and stop at various waterfront restaurants. We rode our bikes along the path and throughout Town Center. The path is paved and level making for a relaxing relaxing ride (jog, skate, or walk) along the water, waterfront shops, and restaurants and into the center of the complex. We wish we would have had time to sit on one of the waterfront patios sipping a cocktail and enjoying the scenery. But instead, we rode another portion of the trail that leads to Lake Woodlands and the lake park - a fun, easy, scenic ride. If you're looking for an enjoyable weekend that includes shopping, eating, golfing, and biking then read our Weekend Adventures article on Wandering Around The Woodlands.

Woodland's water taxi
Woodland Restaurants
Waterway and trail

Blackhorse Golf CourseRV site at Traders VillageFrom The Woodlands we rushed to Cypress which is 20 minutes northwest of downtown Houston for our tee time at Blackhorse Golf Club on their South Course. Wow, this is a very fun course in great condition. It's like playing three different courses - it starts pretty open and somewhat easy; then gets narrow, tree lined, and more difficult; and then plays around an old sand quarry. Holes 15, 16, and 17 are around the quarry and are some of the best three holes in Texas - very challenging, very scenic, and very memorable! Here is a link to the review of Blackhorse's South Course. You should go out of your way to play this course.

Friday and Saturday night we stayed at Traders Village RV Park which was close to Blackhorse and to Saturday's music festival. Traders Village RV Park is a huge park with over 200 sites adjacent to the Traders Village Flea Market. The park has level and paved full hook up sites with a small grass area, a pool, tent sites, laundry, showers, and more. This is a good place to stay if you want to attend the weekend flea market (more later), explore the local area, go to the horse races, or visit Houston. To learn more about Traders Village, read our review.

We got up early on Saturday and headed to Hermann Park in Houston to see how many activities we could pack into 4 hours! Hermann Park is south of downtown Houston and is home to:

In addition to all of that, there are miles of bike trails in and around the park, a miniature train, and paddle boat rentals on the pond. You could spend days here and not see it all. After finding a parking spot, a real challenge because it was a beautiful day and Boo at the Zoo day with thousands of kids in costume, we jumped on the bikes and had an exciting ride down 5 stories of the parking garage. We rode bikes around and through the park and due to our limited time, we decided to visit the Zoo. The Public Affairs Director, Brian Hill, was kind enough to give us a quick tour. Brian is a great guy and a wealth of information about this outstanding zoo. He made our short visit very enjoyable and we learned a lot about his zoo. The Houston Zoo provides a fun, unique, and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge, and care for the natural world. The zoo has over 4,500 permanent wildlife residents in 55 acres of lush zoological gardens and special exhibits, some of which include lions and tigers, grizzly bears, African wild dogs, the Carruth Natural Encounters Building, John P. McGovern Children's Zoo, Fischer Bird Gardens, Kipp Aquarium, Asian Elephant Habitat, Reptile House, and much more. Regardless of your age, you will enjoy this Zoo, so add it to your agenda for you next trip to Houston.

Back up the parking garage ramp, which was not near as much fun as going down, to load the bikes on the Jeep and head back to the camper for a quick shower, a change of clothes, and then off to the ZiegenBock Music Festival. But prior to leaving, we took a quick spin around the cars at the British Car Show which was held at the Traders Village Flea Market. This brought back some memories since once upon a time I owned a bug eyed Sprite and an MG Midget and as a teenager we used to scramble and chase rabbits in the desert on a friends Triumph motorcycle. I don't know how I ever got into or out of the Midget and Sprite - did they shrink or have I gotten a tab pudgier!

ZiegenBock Music Festival is held on the Houston Racetrack grounds just north of downtown Houston. If you like country music and some of the local Texas singer songwriters, this is a very good one day festival. The music started around 1 and went on until midnight or so. There were two stages 100 yards apart, which means that when the music stopped on one stage the next band kicked off on the other stage. All of the bands were great, but this year's highlight was Roger Creager and Cross Canadian Ragweed. Great festival - plan on attending next years event in Houston or Byran/College Station.

Roger Creager

Sunday morning, we couldn't start to head north and home until we had attended the flea market which was next door to our campsite. The Houston Traders Village market opened in 1989, covers more than 70 acres, is home to 2000 shops, and has become the largest market on the Texas Gulf Coast. You'll find hand-made crafts, one-of-a-kind treasures, garage sale bargains, food vendors, rides for the kids, and my favorite, a guy ridding around in a golf cart selling cold beer!

But Traders Village in Houston is much more than a flea market, it is an entertainment complex that each week features some type of special event including: live music, car shows, Native American Pow Wows, Cajun Fests, BBQ cookoffs, kids events, and more. Check out their calendar of events. And you can enjoy the market and any of the events for the price of parking - $3 - can't beat that for a full day of fun!

Shopped out, it was time to start heading home with all the new purchases. We stopped at The Links at West Fork for 18 holes of golf prior to the drive home. The Links is just west of I-45 in Conroe and is a real joy to play. The course was in near perfect condition, the scenery is beautiful as the course meanders along the banks of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, and some of the holes are very memorable. This can be a challenging but very fair course that you will want to play again. Here is our review of The Links at West Fork.

What a great jam packed weekend - but boy did it make the drive home long, I had to keep slapping myself to stay awake!