Texas Forever Vacation: History at Its Center

Vacation is finally blogged! You can read all about our travels out west, then south and back central. Texas forever, y’all.


West and south Texas were so, so good to us, but we were itching to get close to home.

Well, that and eat some good BBQ while teaching the kids about Texas history. Our destination? Gonzales. It is the quaintest, cutest, most historic Texas gem there is.

From their websiteGonzales holds a unique place in Texas history as the site of the firing of the first shot for Texas independence. October 2, 1835 eighteen townsmen stood on the bank of the Guadalupe River and refused to give up their small cannon to the Mexican Army. A flag was fashioned showing a black replica of the cannon on a white background with words that would echo through the years, “Come and Take it.” Gonzales further carved out its niche in history when 32 men answered the call for help from the Alamo. The immortal 32 were the only reinforcements who made it to the Alamo in time to fight and die along side many other heroes. After the fall of the Alamo, during the Runaway Scrape, General Sam Houston ordered the town of Gonzales burned. Later soldiers and townspeople returned to Gonzales to rebuild their town.

Most Texans know it as the site of the “come and take it” cannon. There aren’t too many places you’ll travel in the Lone Star State without seeing this flag on a shirt, cup, hat or bumper sticker. We take our history seriously here, folks.

We stayed in this beautiful historic home, owned by a friend of ours. I seriously thought about never leaving. It was a short walk from here to the cannon museum and a short drive from the city jail, which we toured later in the morning.

The jail ended up being the highlight of our tours. Who knew? It didn’t hurt that our guide “loved big families” (check), “people who appreciated Texas history” (check, check) and “folks with small town roots” (check, check, check). We almost adopted her into our family. She gave us a personal tour of the jail and none of us could believe it that an hour had passed!

I don’t want to ruin the tour for you. Let’s just say, “if those walls could talk, the stories they would tell.” Totally worth your hour. And be sure to ask for Ann. She’s a hoot.

At this point, the kids were all, the creepy jail is cool, but can we eat some BBQ? Why yes, yes we can. Baker Boys is a top 50 joint and it did not disappoint. The stuffed chicken was out of this world.

We headed back to the house for some swimming, nap time and down time. While Scott was at the grocery store with a couple of the kids, I popped a squat on the back porch to scroll through Instagram. And that’s when a friend DMed me about the tours of the Shiner Bock brewery. We were a super close 17 miles away and the last tour of the day started in 20 minutes. After a 9-1-1 text to Scott, he literally screeched into the driveway, we threw out our groceries to the kids and we sped off to drink beer.

Parenting. Win.

This is a whole new phase in our family vacations, y’all.

They were even kind enough to wait on us after I called and told them we’d be a few minutes late. “Honey, we’ll hold a spot for you.” My good gravy I love Texas hospitality. Oh, and did I mention the tour is FREE and you get four tokens for any four beers they have on tap?

Color me hoppy y’all. It was a good, good afternoon in Shiner.

We’ve decided we’re ending every family vacation this way from now on. It’s too bad I didn’t save those IG stories, because they were solid gold. Shiner is also home to one of *the* loveliest painted churches. No trip is complete with spending some time in prayer there. We stopped by the corner grocery, picked up a case of Shiner Family Reunion, a gallon of Blue Bell and went back to the house to grill steaks, swim and roast s’mores. If that isn’t Texas, I don’t know what is.

And that, y’all, is a wrap on Texas Forever Part II.


  1. Amy Whitaker on October 6, 2017 at 3:28 am

    You are blessed indeed, what a wonderful trip! Oh the stories! You will love looking back on them. The Shiner field trip sounds perfect for a big family vacay:) When we loved up north for husband’s residency, we embraced the culture, food, and climate believe it or not! But at heart, I am a Georgia girl- th low country, on the water. Where you grow up is a part of you forever, that shapes your entire life. Southern hospitality is the real deal. We take it very seriously around here! My cousin went and moved to Dallas, after getting his MBA, and works for an oil and energy company- perfect place to be. The stories he tells! Y’all do everything “bigger” in Texas! They run with a fancy crowd:) If you are ever in Georgia, look is up! I highly recommend Savannah, my hometown. God bless, and thanks for sharing!

  2. Bailey on October 6, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    My husband’s family is from the town over from Shiner and despite us being together for nearly 15 years, I’ve NEVER managed to make it to the Shiner Brewery Tour! We tend to visit on weekends/holidays so they are usually closed. One of these days, I hope!
    Your Texas vacation posts give me so many ideas for places to visit. I’ve never had much interest in visiting South Padre/South Texas but it looks like so much fun!

  3. Debbi on October 11, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I think the family jail photo would make an awesome Christmas card! LOL!!!

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