We Won an EMMY!!


This past Saturday night in Fort Worth, Chet Garner won the 2016 Lone Star Emmy Award for Outstanding Program Host / Moderator / Reporter. It is the show’s 7th Lone Star Emmy, and Chet’s 3rd win in this category. We are incredibly excited to share this news with all of you.

“While this may technically be an individual award, there’s simply no way I would look half as good on camera without my amazing crew. I owe this award to their hard work , to my wife’s support, and to God’s blessing. Trust me, I didn’t get here on my own.  I’m simply not that talented or lucky”

- Chet Garner 

 A huge “Gracias” to all of our fans, supporters, PBS stations and sponsors for making this show possible. Keep watching PBS this month so you don’t miss our new episodes for Season 8.

Also CONGRATS to all the other PBS winners across the state.

  • KLRU (Austin) – Human Interest Award for Arts in Context
  • KLRU (Austin) – Cultural Documentary Award for “El Despertar”
  • KLRU (Austin) – Topical Documentary Award for Arts in Context
  • KLRU (Austin) – Special Event Coverage Award for SXSW Flashback 2015
  • KUHT (Houston) – Director Live Newscast Award for HOU Decide
  • KUHT (Houston) – Arts/Entertainment Program Award for “Body Art”
  • KUHT (Houston) – Interview Program Award for Manor of Speaking
  • KTTZ (Lubbock) – Texas Heritage Program Award for “There Will Be No Bad Talk or Loud Talk in This Place.”

The Spookiest (& Kookiest) Texas Mansion


It was a dark and foggy morning as I pulled into the driveway of the Munster Mansion. The ominous house seemed to spring up out of nowhere as I turned the corner of Brown Street. I parked, took a deep breath and walked through the towering iron gates. As I knocked on the antique door-knocker, my heart thumped louder and louder. I wasn’t sure what to expect in this creepy house…a witch? Frankenstein, himself? Would this be the last time I ever saw the light of day?

However, to my surprise, there was no monster on the other side of the door, just the warmly smiling (and definitely non-monster) Sandra McKee, owner of the Munster Mansion in Waxahachie, TX. “Come on in,” she beamed. At first, I was taken aback by the dragon peaking out at me from underneath the staircase, but then I realized Spot was just as friendly as anyone’s pet dog would be.

Spot This is a typical reaction for guests visiting Sandra McKee’s replica of the mansion on 1313 Mockingbird Lane from The Munsters, a 1960′s sitcom about a kooky family of monsters living an average life.

Since it was built in 2001, the Mansion has attracted fans and curious on-lookers, alike — which surprised Sandra.

“We just thought everyone would say, ‘Oh there’s just those weird people on the corner,’” she said. “But now we’ve been on tons of TV shows and have had fans travel all the way from Australia to see it.”


Each year, the McKee’s host a huge event so fans can mingle and get a look at the house, and this year’s event is on Oct. 21-22 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Ticket sales benefit the Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center.

At the event, you can tour the Mansion, peruse the Munster’s gift shop, play tons of games and ride the Ferris Wheel in their backyard. You can even meet Pat Priest, who played the Munster’s beautiful, non-monster niece Marilyn. There will also be performances by a magician and a fire-breather.


The idea for the now-famous replica first started when Sandra and her husband, Charles, were looking for a home in 2001. After not finding the perfect house, she jokingly brought up the idea.

“I said to him, ‘You know, we could just build the Munster Mansion’ and to my surprise, he said okay,” Sandra said. “I just ran with it before he could change his mind.”

In 2001, the McKee’s began building their dream home. They didn’t have actual blueprints, so instead, Sandra meticulously watched episodes of the sitcom over and over again to get the house exactly right.

“I knew Lily [Munster] was about 5 ’4″, so I could tell by how many steps she took as to where to place things throughout the house,” she said.


Furnishing the house has been an ongoing process to find the exact match for each piece of furniture. Every room is laid out exactly like in the show, whether it’s actual props from the show (like the items on the dining room table pictured above) or recreations (Sandra had the electric chair in the living room custom-made).

electric-chair As you roam through the cobweb-covered rooms of the Mansion, you’ll find Herman Munster reclining in the hazy living room watching reruns of his famous show.

livingroom2 Mrs. Lily Munster will show you around her eerily beautiful dining room, complete with tattered wallpaper and picture frames just barely hanging on the walls. But, careful, she’s just vacuumed (which she likes to do in reverse so the dust blows out and cakes the entire room…)


And if you look closely in the entry hall, you’ll find the famous coffin-phone. Upstairs, you can stir up trouble with mad scientist Grandpa Munster in his lab…but be warned, you never know what kind of hair-brained potion he’ll concoct next. You can even hang out with werewolf son Eddie and his stuffed doll, Wolfie in his room — which is full of more pointy objects than should ever be allowed around a growing boy.



You never know quite what you’ll find in this spooky and kooky mansion, so be sure and drop by on Oct. 21 and 22. The event is cash only and parking is at Finley Junior High, where shuttles will pick up and drop off visitors at the Mansion. Click here for more information.

Podcast 35 – “Behind the Scenes Season 8, Part 1″


Join us this time as we share stories from the road and a behind the scenes look at the first 5 episodes of Season 8. In the first 5 episodes we travel to Big Bend, Terlingua, Boerne, Conroe and Taylor. Bears, spiders, flyboards, BBQ, guns and more…join us for Season 8!!

For more information on Big Bend, check out our Big Bend podcast episode.

We love your questions or feedback on the show…so if you have comments or questions you’d like us to address or topics you’d like us to feature, email us at: podcast@thedaytripper.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and the Windows store!

Windows – Search for the Daytripper Podcast in your dedicated podcast app.

This episode is sponsored by Mikey V’s Salsa.



Deep in the Heart of Brady


Since Chet and I have started writing a Hill Country Travel guide, I’ve researched and visited pretty awesome towns like Gruene, Belton and Salado (which basically means going on adventures to see if they’re epic enough for y’all!)  I recently traveled to Brady and Melvin, and it’s become one of my favorite trips!

Brady is located in the geographic center of Texas, making it the “Heart of Texas.” But on my journey deep in the heart of Texas (cue the clap, clap, clap) I found that Brady is Texas’s heart for so many more reasons than just being in the exact center — the true essence of our great state pumps through every inch of this little town!

My first stop in town was the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum, and I gotta admit that I was expecting this museum to just be a little homage to a few Texas artists with a tiny collection of photographs and replicas of costumes — and boy was I wrong!


Started by Tracy Pitcox, host of the internationally famous 1989 radio show “Hillbilly Hits,” this museum is filled with wacky and fun personal items from many country legends that were personally donated to Tracy by each artist.

You’ll find everything from handwritten notes by Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn to a brick from Hank William’s home and a bumper car ridden by the King, himself, Elvis Presley!  You can even tour Jim Reeves’ tour bus!


After catching a glimpse of a different type of life on the road in Jim’s tour bus, I hopped in my own car and headed to the center of town to find the especially regal-looking McCulloch County Courthouse. The beautiful stone building almost looked like a castle built out of Legos! And right in front of the Courthouse, I found the selfie-worthy “Heart of Texas” marker, signifying that I was literally in the center of Texas!


Next, it was time for lunch and I had been excited about where I was eating for quite a while. You see, I’d recently read an article in Texas Monthly raving about the inside-out burgers at Jacoby’s Cafe in neighboring town, Melvin. Yet, as I started the drive and my GPS lead me farther and farther from civilization into very flat farm lands… I started to get nervous. The growl of my stomach pushed me on.


When I finally arrived at Jacoby’s (which is a small cafe right next to the Feed and Seed store and below two ominously towering grain elevators), I walked into the dark wooden room and sat at a little booth among friendly farmers who all knew each other and were catching up with the week’s gossip. When I ordered my burger and was asked if I wanted fries, onion rings or the heavenly choice of fried okra  – I knew I was in the right place and quickly ordered the okra!

As I waited on my food, I heard tidbits of conversations, my favorite being the man in the flannel shirt next to me saying to the waitress, “Well, you know I normally get the special, but I hear there’s a big to-do about one of your burgers, and I’m feeling left out cause I’ve never had it, so I’m gonna get that today.” And neither Mr. Flannel Shirt nor I were disappointed with our burgers.


I bit into my inside-out burger (which hardly fit in my hands it was so big) expecting the cheese, peppers and onions stuffed into the patty to spill out in an overwhelming ooze — but was pleasantly surprised that it was not oozy at all! The inside-out burger had just the right amount of spice and the meat had the perfect amount of juiciness.

As I ate my burger with strangers all coming together over good homecookin’, in a small town cafe surrounded by wide expanses and deep blue skies, I realized that I’d never been anywhere that exemplified Texas quite like this. Looking back at my day in Brady, and the surrounding area, I understood exactly why it’s called “the Heart of Texas” — the kind folks, one of a kind museums and good eats are exactly what makes Texas so great!

New Season 8 Shirts!!!


Hey guys,

It’s a new season, which means we’ve got epic NEW SEASON 8 SHIRTS! Show off your love of Texas with this awesome Texas Forever shirt design. They are only here for a limited time, so hurry up and get yours HERE at The Daytripper General Store!

Podcast 34 – “Talkin’ Texas” October 2016


Join us this month as we discuss Gov Rick Perry, Doughnuts and UT controversy, the Astrodome and more as we explore the news across Texas. Plus a listener asked about our favorite road snacks!

And as promised…

We love your questions or feedback on the show…so if you have comments or questions you’d like us to address or topics you’d like us to feature, email us at: podcast@thedaytripper.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and the Windows store!

Windows – Search for the Daytripper Podcast in your dedicated podcast app.

This endeavor is generously supported by Mighty Fine Burgers Fries Shakes.

Texas Pumpkin Patches


Halloween is on it’s way and Thanksgiving’s not too far behind. If you don’t already have a porch decked out in Jack-o-Lanterns and a fridge full of Pumpkin Pie – don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a list of awesome Pumpkin Patches across the state that are have a plethora of pumpkins for your perusing!

The Great Pumpkin Patch - Bastrop



Images courtesy of Barton Hill Farms

When: Weekends through Nov. 13

Where: Barton Hill Farms

What: At this scenic farm, you’ll find a variety of pumpkins, both big and small in the Great Pumpkin Patch! You can also wander through the Lonesome Dove Maze and the Spooky the Pumpkin Kiddy Maze. You can even say “hello” to the farm’s furry friends at the new Barnyard, which contains Sheep, Pigs and Goats! Other activities include riding the grain train, competing in a ring toss or bouncing around the huge jumping pillow! Find more information here.

Autumn at the Arboretum – Dallas




Images courtesy of Dallas Arboretum

When: Daily through Nov. 23

Where: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

What: Visit the Dallas Arboretum to see a magical wonderland of over 90,000 pumpkins at the one-acre Pumpkin Village in the Pecan Grove. The village showcases pumpkin artworks like Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage and the state of Texas made completely out of pumpkins, as well as a garden of fall flowers. You can also find your way through the Haybale Maze and the Great Pumpkin Search Scavenger Hunt. Click here for more info.

The Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch – Medina



Images courtesy of Bryan Hutzler

When: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays in October

Where: Love Creek Orchards

What: APPLES AND PUMPKINS? Sounds perfect! At Love Creek Orchard’s Pumpkin Patch, you can pick fresh apples, choose the perfect jack-o-lantern pumpkin and buy a bale of hay! You can even play with cute animals at the petting zoo, enjoy unlimited hayrides, and take a tour of the apple orchard and cider mill! Find more information at their website.

Fall CountryFest – Devine



When: Weekends through October

Where: Devine Acres Farm

What: While this patch has an epic selection of pumpkins in every size to choose from, it’s also got everything you need to celebrate fall. You can dress up a Scare crow, cruise on a Farm Hayride, get lost in a Pumpkin Vine Maze or cozy up to a campfire. And if horsin’ around with goats, chickens and pigs are more your style — they’ve got a barnyard where you can feed the farm animals. You can even check out their famous Christmas Tree farm…just for an early peek of course! This pumpkin patch will help you spend a day with your family having farm fun! Find information here.

The Maize – Lubbock


When: Daily (closed Mondays) through Nov. 12

Where: At’l Do Farms

What: At this patch, you can pick your pumpkin and your Maze! Adults will enjoy the Giant Maze and kiddos will love the special maze through the corn fields that tells the story of “Young Quanah and the Rabbit.” After you’ve wandered through the Mazes, you can hop onto a hayride and ride out to the patch where you can pick your perfect pumpkin, or shoot corn out of the corn cannon. After dark, there will be a Pumpkin Hollow, showcasing over 150 jack-o-lanterns glowing with designs of Disney, Star Wars, Peanuts characters and so much more. Learn more about the patch here.

Pumpkin Days – Cleburne


Image courtesy of Mainstay Farm

When: Weekends in October

Where: Mainstay Farm

What: Head to the Mainstay Farm for all kinds of pumpkin fun. You can browse through their pumpkin and gourd selection in the Pumpkin Tent, crawl all over Hay in the Hay & Play Barn, catch a ride on the hayless tractor hayride and fly through the fall breeze on the Flying Fox Zipline. At the end of the season, join the farm for an extreme day of Pumpkin Smashing. The farm takes a few leftover pumpkins and sends them barreling through the air from a 40 ft. tower into a wall on the ground…causing the most epic CRASH! Find more information here.

Dewberry Farm – Brookshire

Image courtesy of Krista Runge, Dewberry Farms

Image courtesy of Krista Runge, Dewberry Farm

Image courtesy of Dewberry Farm

Image courtesy of Dewberry Farm

Image courtesy of Dewberry Farm

Image courtesy of Dewberry Farm

When: Weekends through Nov. 13

Where: Dewberry Farm

What: There’s no shortage of Fall Festivities at this Pumpkin Patch! You can get yourself lost in the 8 acre Corn Maze, peruse acres of pumpkins or walk through the Punkin Hollar (which showcases over 500 lit pumpkin designs!) Kids will love the Little Farmersville playground and SpringTown where they can ride a pony and watch Pig Races. If you’ve had enough Fall fun, then hop on the DewVille Express Railroad and take a look at the trees growing in Christmas Tree Forest. Learn about these activities and more at Dewberry Farm’s website.

Sweet Berry Farm Pumpkin Patch – Marble Falls


When: Daily (closed Wednesdays) through Nov. 6

Where: Sweet Berry Farm

What: Celebrate Harvest Season at the Sweet Berry Farm with all sorts of activities. You can stuff your own Scarecrow, hop on the Scarecrow Island Hayride or munch on grilled corn. Test your Texas knowledge at the famous 4-acre Texas-shaped Hayfield Maze where you must try to find all 12 of the cities that correspond to the questions on your game card!  There’s also a Candy Corn Hay Maze for the kids to race through. And, of course, you can pick from various pumpkins, gourds and fall items at the Pumpkin Patch. Find more info here.

Going Gruene!


Recently, I made the journey that every Texan must make — to the magical, antique and wine-filled town of Gruene. I’d been to this Mecca of music and handmade crafts once before, but that time I made the mistake of going to the Gristmill at 7 p.m. on a Saturday without a reservation (gasp!), and waiting three and a half hours in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. I have no regrets (because let’s face it, those sangria’s are worth the wait!), but I decided this time to visit on a slower day and take my time exploring this old-fashioned village.

As I entered Gruene, surrounded by old brick and wooden buildings, I was transported back to the 1800s, and almost expected to see a horse and buggy pass me on the gravel streets. In fact, this “town” is actually an entire village that was built in the 1840s by German immigrant, Ernst Gruene. In the 1970s, it was re-discovered by UT student, Chip Kaufman, who had accidentally floated too far down the Guadalupe and spotted the water tower in the distance. After learning that it was about to be turned into a housing development, Chip petitioned to have the entire district added to the Texas Historical Commission, and with the help of new business owners, upcycled Gruene into the destination it is today.

My first stop in this historic district was the Gruene General Store, one of the district’s most popular stores which is housed in the 1878 mercantile building. As soon as I entered, it was clear to me why this store draws travelers from near and far — its license-plate-patched floors and hodge-podge of every jam, peanut butter and salsa embody the unique magic that is Gruene. In this one shop, I perused Tex-ified Christmas decorations, tried Jalapeno Peanut Butter (surprisingly amazing!) and heavily considered buying a jar of their homemade Maple Bacon Jam.


Across the street, I found the Gruene Antique Company in the 1903 mercantile building. It should actually be called “Antique World” because the store has rows and rows of shelves overflowing with precious treasures of yesteryear, from gold-plaited dishes to crystal jewelry.


I even found a glorious monument to beer — you know we, here at the Daytripper love a good Lone Star!


Down the street, next to the legendary Gruene Hall and Gristmill, I stumbled upon my new favorite shop, The Gruene Haus. This 1880s home-turned-shop has an overwhelming overload of Texan things. And if you like words as much as I do, then this is your haus – seriously, every inch of it is covered with metal signs, shirts and mugs with corny sayings about Texas, the lake and beer. There’s even a room full of “mantiques.” If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, then it doesn’t exist.


Gruene Haus sits on the edge of the historic village, and as I exited, I saw a steady stream of cars disappearing down the winding hill, away from Gruene. I couldn’t imagine why so many people would be in such a hurry to leave this enchanted land of shops, so I followed them to see what the hullabaloo was about. As I made the drive down the winding hill, I ended up right outside Gruene, on a bridge overlooking the rushing Guadalupe River. What a breathtaking surprise! I joined the folks pulled over in an abandoned parking lot to journey closer and take in the view.

A video posted by Linsey T. (@linseylouu) on

Countless families floated past me on tubes as I marveled that this peaceful nature scene was just minutes from the bustling Gruene.


I drove back up the hill and grabbed a cup of joe for the road at Gruene Coffee Haus before saying my goodbyes to this mystifying town. As I left the magic of Gruene behind, the picturesque scene in my rear view mirror looked like a postcard from another era beckoning me to stay just a little longer.



Howdy Trippers!

ARE YOU READY TO PARTY?? Join us Thursday, Oct. 6 on the Georgetown Square to kick of Season 8 from 6-8 p.m. We’ll be premiering our Big Bend episode and giving away EPIC prizes. There is no RSVP necessary — all you have to do is show up and have fun! The party will be in the parking lot in the middle of 809 and 811 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626 (right next to the Grace Heritage Chapel).

We’ll have free Lone Star Beer to anyone of age.  And delicious Rudy’s Bar-B-Q for only $5 that’ll get you a chopped beef sandwich, chips and iced tea. Sweet Lemon Inn will be selling desserts.  And so much MORE!!!!  It is a parking lot, so please bring lawn chairs for you and your family.

It’s gonna be a TEXAS-SIZED PARTY, so don’t miss out! See you there!

Podcast 33 – “The Anatomy of a Shoot” September 2016


Join us this time as we discuss the Anatomy of a Shoot. Ever wonder what it takes to plan an episode? How we decide where to go in the episode, what to talk about, where to eat and the funny bits that go in the show? In this podcast episode, Chet and Todd talk about all the different parts of a shoot…the heart, the head, the feet, the guts…the anatomy of filming an episode.

We love your questions or feedback on the show…so if you have comments or questions you’d like us to address or topics you’d like us to feature, email us at: podcast@thedaytripper.com.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and the Windows store!

Windows – Search for the Daytripper Podcast in your dedicated podcast app.

This endeavor is generously supported by Mighty Fine Burgers Fries Shakes.