Monday, April 6, 2009

Deep in the Piney Woods heart of Texas...Lufkin

The beautiful Azalea Gardens, at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, TX

We first met Keith and Donna in Branson, Missouri and we enjoyed their company so much in Kerrville, that when they graciously invited us to visit them on our way East, we said "Oh, Yes...we'll be there!"...and we sure are glad we did! Talk about Texas hospitality....Paula Deen better be moving West from Savannah!

Serving tender and juicy Texas Rib Eye's for dinner after we arrived, Donna and Keith kept us well cared for! On Wednesday we all played tourist and visited the Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, the "first city in Texas",where we enjoyed the charming Azalea Gardens (an extensive garden, just a few days past full bloom, and truly lovely, see photos above) and then took in the Old Stone Fort Museum, getting a little history on the early settlement of Nacogdoches in East Texas. Legend has it that an old Indian chief had twin sons, Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, whom he directed to walk three days distance, one to the West and one to the East. Thus were born the twin cities of Nacogdoches in East Texas, and Natchitoches, Louisiana, 100 miles apart. Fact or fiction?....don't know, but Nacogodoches is a charming town!

Returning to Lufkin, (after a yummy lunch), we took in the Texas Foresty Museum and the Museum of East Texas. Both were interesting as they depicted the impact of forestry in the Piney Woods region of Texas (where all of the trees are!), as well as an artistic interpretation of the discovery of oil in East Texas, and how these shaped life in this region. East Texas is lushly green and verdant, unlike the Hill Country, Gulf Coast, or High Plains. Frankly, Texas is a country all unto itself, so large and diverse....I really don't know why they need Washington DC at all!! :)

Donna, Keith and Bob searching for the geocaches in Lufkin! (above)

We spent some time Geocaching, and showed Donna the Oregon 200 handheld GPS. Deb and Rod got us hooked on the handheld GPS when we were in Kerrville, so along with Mark and Dortha, Norah and Howie, and now Donna and Kieth, we all have this gadget to tell us how fast and long we walk and to find our geocaches!!!

Molly, Donna and Keith

Keith and Donna's lovely Texas Ranch Home

Donna and Keith have a splendid home.....what we would call "Arts and Crafts" back home, but it's a lovely Texas Ranch home with beautiful Pecan trim and a welcoming Texas flair...the grounds are green and inviting with an amazing lake that almost surrounds them.
As always, the favorite part of their home was the porch (you all know I love porches!)......
....and we spent many hours on the porch, just we RV'ers love to do!!
In spite of the many delicious meals, we had to find a way to top them all!! And Keith and Donna sure did a long shot the BEST Mexican meal we have ever had, was at the Cafe del Rio! We love Mexican, but this one is over the top...and the warm, homemade tortillas were served with honey and butter...makes my mouth water just thinking of it. Thanks, Keith and Donna for this special treat!!

Cafe del Rio...the BEST Mexican food we're ever tasted!!
A few more grand days under sunny, Texas blue skies, in our life spent with good doesn't get any better than this!
Hugs Keith and Donna...hope to see you in May, and many thanks for the memories and the warm Texas hospitality!


Joe and Sherri said...

Sherri and I had a screened in porch on our house at the lake. We loved setting out on it and watching the wildlife in the woods out back. I can't wait to see the wildlife when we get on the road. We are looking to buy some more land on the same lake and set up a camp there for us to relax in when we come in off the road.

Joe and Sherri

Debbie and Rod said...

What a gorgeous porch!!