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Travels with Grandma...
Preserving the stories, legends & history of Texas for generations to come...
From Windmills to Rocking Chairs...

Hi! This is Grandma. Since this is our first edition, I thought I would introduce my self. I like to travel and I especially like to travel close to home and uncover the history and treasures and an oddball thing or two that make our area so special.

I have five grandchildren, ages 5-11, who like to travel with me. Hence the name “Travels with Grandma”. I first started traveling and writing down my stories and taking pictures to preserve this history and the countryside that may be gone by the time they are grown. If we don’t save our history for our children and grandchildren, who will?

So pack a picnic, load up the kids, fill up the gas tank, buckle up and we’ll be off…

We’re not going far from home (Granbury) today, just a short jaunt down Hwy 377 to the west and to the town of Tolar and then over to Lipan to see one of Texas’ oddball’s – you’ll have to wait and see what that might be.

First stop is the historical marker at the picnic area just east of Colony Road. Take time to get out and check the view from here. It is well worth the time. You can see for miles, rolling hills and wide-open pastureland. Home to farms for generations.

Read the historical marker and you will learn that Colony Rd. led to where the residents came to Texas with their white southern owners as early as the 1850’s. After emancipation they settled the land and, under a state law that allowed settlers to acquire land after living on it for seven years, many acquired land under a patent. The area grew rapidly during the end of the century and many of the residents played important roles in the growth of Hood County. As with many settlements people moved on and the last of the residents left in the 1940’s.

For more Hood County historical markers visit
http://www.9key.com/markers/county.asp?county_name=Hood

Continue west on Hwy 377 and head west on Colony Rd. You will wind through the countryside that was home to The Colony. About 2 miles down the road you will find Windmill Farm and Bed & Breakfast. A wonderful collection of more than 35 windmills that are typical of the kind used to settle Texas. They have been painstakingly restored to their original function. Stop at the gate when you go in, sign the guest book, and leave a donation in the envelopes provided. Don’t forget to pick up the windmill guidebook.

You can drive from windmill to windmill, but it is a nice smooth walk. You can see and feel the grandeur as you stroll among them; hear the eary sounds of the metal twisting in the wind. Each is marked with signs that refer back to the guidebook telling their history and their uses.

When the grandkids and I went, they were amazed at the history behind the mills and couldn’t even begin to imagine that is how people used to get their water. They couldn’t believe that if the wind didn’t blow, the pump didn’t work and you just did without water.

Stop by the barn and you just might find some restoration work in progress. And, if you are really lucky, Mr. Rickgauer, windmill restorer extraordinaire, will be there working, He took the boys inside and explained what the different pieces were and how they all fit together…told them about his tools and equipment…Very exciting for 10 & 11 year old boys!

As we leave Windmill Farm, we’re going to take a right back onto Colony Road and off into the farmland. When you see the Diamond M sign, honk & wave; the Millers, Bill and Etta, are friendly folk and if they’re out, they just might wave back.

Go on down Colony Road until it dead-ends and take a right on Hwy 56. This is beautiful countryside…rolling hills, tree covered roads, and wide open vistas. It is easy to forget that you are only miles from the hustle and bustle that Granbury has become. Look for the collapsed barn on the right on Hwy 56 as you go by, I think it got tired and just gave up. It is easy to imagine the families and their new found freedom, eking out livings, raising their children, gathering for church and socials in this area. It’s harder for me to imagine loading up a family in a wagon and heading across this land to go to town. The trip that took me a few minutes, took them all day.

Follow Hwy 56 straight onto CR102 (Star Hollow Rd), take CR 102 until you come to the stop sign, take a right and wind on down CR103 to FM1189 and keep winding through the countryside. The land opens up and the rolling hills come into view. Green rolling pastures, grazing horses and cows. You will come into Lipan at the intersection of Hwy 4. Stop in at the Pack-N-Sack for a cold drink and friendly service. Chastity waited on me, gave me directions, and let me tell you, this girl can give directions! She was so sweet it made me glad that I stopped in. (Ok, Chastity, your secret is out, and I did write about you in the paper!)

Once you’ve got your drink and are fueled up go north on FM4. 5 miles to the blinking light (Hwy 281), turn right and about ½ mile on your left – there it is---rising out of the countryside – 25 feet 10 ½ inches tall - The World’s Largest Cedar Rocking Chair. WOW!! It is well worth the drive. Isn’t it hard to believe that the world’s largest anything would be just a few miles down the road?

Take a look around, and you will find a lot more “treasures” as it looks like they are painstakingly building a “town” much like it would have been when these lands were first being settled. The outside wall of the “mercantile” (Hill Country Furniture) is covered with old tools, and Natty Flat Smokehouse is reminiscent of an old general store. They were closing when I arrived, but that nice girl (I’m sorry I didn’t get her name), fixed me up with a bowl of the best pecan cobbler to go. As I sit here eating it, and writing, I got a hankering to go back and taste the BBQ, but unfortunately, they are closed on Monday, so I will just have to wait.

Well, the sun is getting low in the sky and it’s time to head for home, backtracking down Hwy 281, left on FM 4 and back towards, Granbury….sun setting on the left, Comanche Peak rising on the right as you come down out of the hills….it’s a beautiful site. Right on to FM 51 at the end of Hwy 4, takes you back into the Granbury Square…Not quite ready to call it a day?

Stroll around the Granbury Square, take a walk through the park and see the new fountains and landscaping they’ve done or head south on Hwy51, back to the red light at Hwy 144, cross the bridge and stop at Groggy Dawgs (behind Texaco) for dinner & sunset on the lake…good food, good company, good service, compliments of Dan and Tyler. A great way to end the day – watching the sun paint the lake, boats cruising by, kids feeding the ducks….nice, very nice.

Till next time…

Love,
Grandma

Have a story to share or a place you would like me to visit? E-mail travelswithgrandma@yahoo.com

To see more pictures visit www.photo.net/photos/Sharon C And go to the “Travels with Grandma” section.