Friday, June 5, 2015

My happy place...New Braunfels,Texas

Do you have a place that just makes you happy no matter how you feel or what mood you're in? That place for me is a little place, settled by the German's, called New Braunfels, Texas. It is an easy drive, located about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio. Many know it as the home to Schlitterbahn Waterpark, but to me it's just my happy place. This place is so much more than a place to go to a water park, or tube the Comal River. New Braunfels is quaint and full of history at every corner.

Edyn and I both love historic sites and gazing at old buildings, no matter where we are. When we were invited to go on a walking tour of the beautiful hand painted murals along some of the old buildings in New Braunfels, I knew we had to grab our camera and go! It was just a mile, but our tour guide was so knowledgeable and really made us fall in love with this beautiful city even more.

This first picture didn't  have much to do with the actual walking tour, but it was right where we started and we had a good laugh about it. Only in Texas will you find unopened beer hidden in a cactus! I guess they were saving it for later and didn't want anyone to find it!

We met our tour guide on the corner of S. Castell and W San Antonio in front of the Phoenix Saloon. This place wasn't on the mural tour, but again, there's literally some type of historical place on every corner, so it had our attention!  Edyn was intrigued looking through the windows at the long bar, wooden floors and tables She decided that her dad would love this old place! Since it wasn't on the tour, and we didn't know much about it, we decided to try and find out a little bit about this place.

**I took this information from their Facebook page**
Originally established in 1871, The Phoenix Saloon was the first bar in Texas to serve women. It had a beer garden with a bell in a tree for service (as it would besmirch a lady's reputation to enter the bar).

There was an alligator pit and badger fights, live music on Saturday nights, and a parrot on a perch inside the front door taught to say “Have you paid your bill!?” in German. In 1894, proprietor of the back room cafe (William Gebhardt) invented chili powder (devising the first process to crush and dry fresh chilis).

Prohibition closed the Phoenix Saloon in 1918 (though for a couple more years the basement served as an illicit brewery, with tunnels cut to run the drink out under the streets of downtown). In 1922, the building was expanded into its present configuration. Turned into a department store (with a refrigerated water fountain that was always proudly nonracial and unsegregated), it remained little changed into the 1990s.

In March 2010 (after 2 years of bruising renovation), the Phoenix rose again as an historic Texas bar, chili parlor and live music venue.

To date, The Phoenix Saloon has been featured on The Food Network and The Travel Channel's 'Food Paradise'. It has also been voted "Best Bar in New Braunfels" and "Best Live Music Venue" in New Braunfels. The Phoenix Saloon has hosted bands such as Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Hayes Carll, Jesse Dayton, The Derailers, Alejandro Escovedo, Fastball, Billy Joe Shaver, Shinyribs, Tejas Brothers, Two Tons of Steel and Dale Watson.

We were so excited to find out all of this history about this neat little place!

Our tour guide arrived, and across the street from the Phoenix Saloon was our first mural, The City of a Prince, painted by Clinton Baermann. This shows the arrival of  Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels, the founder of New Braunfels, and his German followers. The building and mural were so long we had to take the pictures in pieces.

Literally right around the corner from The City of a Prince, is Spass and Gemutlichkeit, which I believe translates to food and fun. It was painted by local artist, Brent McCarthy. It pays tribute to Krause's Cafe, and the tradition of sausage, bread, wine and beer. It was a bit hard to take pictures of this mural because it's in an alleyway with cars coming in and out, and also parked there.

They even painted their dumster to look like an old oven. (It still smelled like a dumster though lol)

This was across the alley and Edyn thought it was really neat that they painted the electrical boxes.

We walked another few blocks and came to a tiled mural, also by Brent McCarthy. It is called Herman Seele - The Soul of New Braunfels. Herman Seele was known for being the colony's first teacher in 1845.

On our way to the next mural, which was a bit of a walk, we went right by Naegelin's Bakery. They claim to be "the oldest bakery in Texas since 1868." I could have gone in here and just ended the tour right then and there! You could see the yummy goodies through the windows, and they were calling my name!! 

Right next to Naegelin's was this little German style house. I don't remember what it was exactly, but it was such a cozy and quaint little place. My dream house!

Last but not least we came to the mural, Lindheimer - Father of Texas Botany, painted by Alex Brochon. Lindheimer was a botonist with over 50 plants named after him. He also started the first newspaper in the community that still runs today, the Herald-Zeitung. It also was not easy to get pictures of this mural. We had to dodge cars and trees. 


On the way back to our car, we got to pass the Comal County Courthouse. This is a BEAUTIFUL building with it's arches and stone exterior. I really want to go back when we have time, because our tour guide said it's even more beautiful on the inside!

All in all we had a wonderful day, with plenty of sunshine and plenty of hands on history. We didn't even come close to seeing all of the wonderful historical sites in this little place, but we did learn how New Braunfels got it's start and who some of it's early settlers were.  I can't wait to go back to my happy place, and learn even more next time!!

If you are headed to New Braunfels this summer for vacation check them out. No, I'm not being paid to say this, I just really enjoyed it that much!! You can also find them on Facebook!


  1. OOh, how wonderful. I absolutely love murals like that, so colorful and so educational :) I'll enjoy NB's vicariously through you for now :)

    1. Lol so did I! I love anything historical too!

  2. Thank you for sharing! We go to New Braunfels every week for extracurriculars and grocery shopping. I haven't seen all of these beautiful murals yet and appreciate you posting them. I'll have to check out Spass Walking Tours - never heard of the company before.

    1. Oh you should! Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and she made it interesting!! Also, if you haven't been to the train museum in downtown it's also a lot of fun with the sweetest people that work there!