The ULTIMATE Bluebonnet Road Trip

It’s the time of year when wildflowers are popping up all over the countryside painting Texas in shades of red, blue, yellow and white. Here at “The Daytripper” we respect the beauty of all wildflowers, but because we’re Texan, we must say the bluebonnet is the best (it is our state wildflower after all). So, to make sure you get your fill of bluebonnet beauty, we’ve planned the Ultimate Bluebonnet Road Trip through the heart of the Hill Country.

Here’s the map…

Wildflower Road Route

First, you’re going to start in Burnet, TX as Burnet County is the “Official Bluebonnet Co-Capital of Texas.” Here you’ll drive through rolling hills bursting with bluebonnets along the highways. While you’re in town, don’t miss the photo-op with this awesome giant bluebonnet sculpture.  bluebonnet

Next, take Highway 29 west to your second stop – Llano, TX, the heart of Llano County which is the other “Official Bluebonnet Co-Capital of Texas.” You’ll see more beautiful Hill Country granite and more beautiful shades of blue.

Your third destination is a detour through the Willow City Loop which is a 13-mile scenic drive that will take you through creeks and hills all sprinkled with bluebonnets and wildflowers. The land surrounding the road is private so just enjoy the scenery from your car. To get there from Llano, head south on State Highway 16 and turn left onto the Willow City Loop. Follow this road through twists and turns until you hit Farm Road 1323, then take a right toward Willow City, TX. This road will take you back to State Highway 16.

By this time, you’ll probably be starving for lunch. Just down State Highway 16 is the Knot in the Loop Saloon where you can dine on burgers and sip a cold one while the jukebox plays old tunes.

IMG_0380After lunch, jump back on Highway 16 south into Fredericksburg, TX, where you’re sure to see tons of beautiful flowers and plenty of fun distractions. In Fredericksburg, hop onto US Highway 290 East and ride it through the 290 wine trail all the way to Johnson City, TX. After that, follow US Highway 281 North to Marble Falls, TX and you’ll be just in time for Pie Happy Hour at The Blue Bonnet Cafe where you can get a slice of historic pie and your drink of choice for $4. This will be the happiest happy hour ever.

Finish the trip by traveling up 281 back to Burnet, TX. And you, my friends, have just taken the ULTIMATE BLUEBONNET ROAD TRIP through the Hill Country.

 

#QueBrewTexas WINNERS

To celebrate Texas Independence Day (March 2nd) we partnered up with Rudy’s Bar-B-Q and Lone Star Beer for a Texas-sized contest. We asked you guys to be your MOST TEXAN and/or to have your MOST TEXAN MEAL ever. Well we went through TONS of entries. And here are the winners.

FIRST PLACE

Winner of a full Rudy’s Brisket from Rudy’s Anywhere and Lone Star BBQ set.

Jim Davidson – Chicken Fried Texas

Happy Texas Independence Day! #quebrewtexas

A post shared by Jim Davidson (@jdiscraft) on

REASON: We really liked Jim’s combination of chicken fried steak (invented in Texas), jalapenos (our state pepper), pecan pie (our state dessert made with our state nut) and the Official National Beer of Texas! Pass me a fork Jim, because I want a bite.

SECOND PLACE:

Winner of a $20 Rudy’s gift card and Lone Star hat.

Dennis Bosquez – Mr. Tats

REASON: These fajitas and bacon-wrapped peppers look amazing. And we can only assume this guy got his custom “Lone Star” tattoo just for our contest. OK, probably not, but it shows a permanent commitment to the Lone Star State that rivals even our own. 😊

 

THIRD PLACE:

Winners of a shaker of Rudy’s rub and a Lone Star bandana. OK – we couldn’t pick just one, so we picked four.  Enjoy.

Laura Chapman – Frito Pie, Sheet Cake, and Hay

REASON – We like the idea that Laura is eating this meal on hay. That makes for a dang good dining room table. There’s also a great combo of Texas food – frito pie, Texas sheet cake and my favorite BBQ dessert – banana pudding.

Susie Hampe Hagedorn – Flags over Lunch

REASON: Check out this spread. The 1824 flag, blue bell, beer, and Whataburger. Extra points because she’s using the spicy ketchup.

Jerrod Whitman – El Senor Texas

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRJ4FAOjBKXhW4a9biYzru_49Turo_8758RicQ0/

REASON: This guy has the full backyard spread. He’s not eating anything, but his shirt says “TACOS” so we’ll count it. But the flag, the music, the beer. He’s the real deal.

Aaron Haley – BBQ and BEER, need we say more.

How do you do #texasindependenceday up right?! @brownsbbq_atx and a @lonestarbeer #quebrewtexas #bbq #beer #Austin

A post shared by Aaron Haley (@austinfoodguy) on

REASON: This drool-worthy shot has two of my favorite things – BBQ and beer. And that makes Aaron a winner — in contest and in life.

 

Road Trip the Texas Revolution

Happy Texas Independence Day! We remember March 2, 1836 because on that day Texas declared its independence from Mexico at the Convention of 1836. Yet, there were many significant events that led up to this final important moment (and you can find a timeline here). Here’s a list of all the modern day places that are significant to the Texas Revolution, in chronological order of their place on the revolution timeline. You can retrace Texas’s fight for independence by following this entire list on a road trip or just choose a few to find artifacts and retrace certain moments on Texas’s road to freedom.

(1) Gonzales Memorial Museum – Gonzales, TX

The journey to Texas Independence started in Gonzales on Oct. 2, 1835, when Texans — already angered by Santa Anna’s tyranny — refused to surrender a cannon to a troop of Mexican soldiers and taunted them with a call to “Come and Take It”. The Texans attacked the Mexican troops thus igniting the revolution. You can view this important cannon, artifacts from the early days in Gonzales, and a memorial dedicated to the men who died in the Alamo at the Gonzales Memorial Museum.

(2) The Alamo – San Antonio, TX

Every Texan is sure to “Remember the Alamo,” where General Santa Anna and his troops surprised the Texans after the Siege of Bexar, leading to defeat after a 13-day battle at the Alamo. Visit this iconic Texas mission in the heart of downtown San Antonio to see the line Travis drew in the sand asking his men to join him in the fight for Texas, learn about the fateful battle and honor the men who lost their lives here.

(3) Washington-on-the-Brazos Site – Washington, TX

In the video above, you’ll see our time at the site where 59 men gathered on March 2 to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence claiming Texas as free from Mexico’s control. Not only can you still tour Independence Hall, the little cabin where Texas first gained freedom, but at this site you’ll also find the Star of the Brazos Museum and Barrington Living History Farm, where you can learn about and experience early Texas life.

(4) Fannin Battleground State Historic Site – Victoria, TX

After the fall of the Alamo, Santa Anna was angry that the Texan army was increasing, so he ordered all prisoners from battle be shot. To escape death, Commander James Walker Fannin, Jr., surrendered at the Battle of Coleto on the condition that they be escorted back United States. This historic site is where the Battle of Coleto was fought, and you’ll find a monument marking the spot where Fannin surrendered.

(5) Presidio la Bahia – Goliad, TX

After Fannin and his men surrendered at the Battle of Coleto Creek and Mexican General Mexia agreed to their condition of being treated as prisoners of war and escorted back to the United States, the prisoners were delivered to Presido la Bahia. But instead of keeping his word, on March 27, Mexia had the Mexican troops execute the Texan soldiers by the side of the road. Fannin and the other injured soldiers were executed in front of the chapel. Visit this site in remembrance of the brave men who died at the Goliad Massacre. Down the road, you’ll find the Fannin Memorial Monument, marking where Fannin and his men are buried.

(6) New Kentucky Park – Hockley, TX

This park near Tomball is the site of Sam Houston’s famous “fork in the road” decision during the Texas Revolution. As he was traveling with the Texas troops, he had to decide whether to turn left and head for safety in Louisiana or turn right and face the Mexican Army. He headed right toward San Jacinto to face the Mexican army head on. Stop by to see the marker signifying this fork in the road.

(7) San Jacinto Battleground Site – La Porte, TX

The Battle of San Jacinto was the last major battle of the Texas Revolution, when the Texan army surprise-attacked the napping Mexican troops. During the 18-minute battle, the Mexicans were defeated and Santa Anna was captured the next morning. Walk the area where Houston and the troops claimed victory for Texas, visit the San Jacinto Museum of History to learn more about the battle and ride the elevator to the top of the monument for a bird’s-eye view of the battleground and the bay.

(8) San Fernando Cathedral – San Antonio, TX

In this cathedral are the few remains of the Texas heroes who died at the siege of the Alamo, including Travis, Crockett and Bowie. After the battle of the Alamo, Santa Anna ordered the remains of the Texas troops burned and scattered, but Juan Seguin gathered them and hid them in this Cathedral. Stop by to pay your respects to these great men.

Click here for ten epic Texas Independence Day parties around the state!

Podcast 43 – “Talkin’ Texas March 2017”

We make the case that Texas Independence Day should be a National Holiday, the Corpus Mayor (former Mayor) has a meltdown, Krusty Krab in Kemah…not, a Texas flag emoji…worth the attention of the legislature? Join us for these topics and other news from the Lone Star state! Tune into this episode as we are joined by Jordan Breal from Texas Monthly.

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!

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Windows – Search for the Daytripper Podcast in your dedicated podcast app.
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Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, The City of Georgetown!

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Chevy’s Bringing in the Awards!

There’s a reason we trust all our road-trippin’ to Chevy — not only can it handle miles and miles of exploring Texas, but for the fourth consecutive year, Chevrolet has earned more J.D. Power Initial Quality awards than any other brand…and that’s a HUGE deal! The J.D. Power Initial Quality awards recognize Chevrolet’s ongoing commitment to Quality, Reliability & Dependability.

Check out their latest awardees:

Equinox – “Highest Ranked Compact SUV in Initial Quality in a tie, Two Years in a Row”

Silverado HD – “Highest Ranked Large Heavy Duty Pickup in Initial Quality.”

Silverado LD – “Highest Ranked Large Light Duty Pickup in Initial Quality.”

Tahoe – “Highest Ranked Large SUV in Initial Quality.”

Spark – “Highest Ranked City Car in Initial Quality, Two Years in a Row”

From design and safety to performance and fuel efficiency, Chevrolet continues to deliver on their promise of quality and long-lasting dependability. Learn more about these award winning vehicles that help YOU explore Texas, by visiting chevy.com to today!

 

#QueBrewTexas Social Media Contest

Howdy Trippers! As you know, Texas Independence Day is coming up on March 2nd. But as you probably didn’t know, on his way to Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836, Sam Houston stopped by Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q to enjoy some Texas Bar-B-Q and a cold Lone Star Beer. It was this moment when he realized that Texas must become a country to preserve its unique traditions.

To honor Sam and our other Texas founding fathers, we want you to enjoy the “Most Texan Meal Ever” on March 2nd (Texas Independence Day). Tag the photo with #QueBrewTexas.

We’ll be giving away prizes to the best ones. The first place winner will receive a Lone Star BBQ set, as well as Rudy’s brisket and a side shipped to their door via RudysAnwhere AND a Daytripper decal. Second place winner will get a Lone Star hat and shirt and a $20 Rudy’s Gift Card. Third place gets a Lone Star Bandana and Rudy’s Meat Rub.

What are you waiting for??? Get to eatin’ and postin’!

10 Texas Independence Day Parties

It’s almost time to wish Texas a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Next Thursday, March 2, marks the 181st Anniversary of Texas declaring its freedom from Mexico by signing the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836 (brush up on your Texas history here). And you know how everything’s bigger in Texas? Well that goes for the parties too! Show your love to the Lone Star State by hitting up one of these EPIC Texas Independence Day celebrations around the state!

181st Anniversary of the Siege & Battle of the Alamo – San Antonio, TX

Picture by Amelia White.

When: Feb. 23 – March 6

To commemorate the number of days the Alamo was under siege and honor the Texans who lost their lives 181 years ago, San Antonio and The Alamo are hosting a 13-day event complete with daily historical readings and live reenactments, and concluding on March 6 with a special reenactment of the memorial service Col. Juan N. Seguin hosted in honor of the fallen Texans one year after the attacks. Click here for a complete list of the events.

Sam Houston’s Birthday & Texas Independence Day Celebration – Huntsville, TX

When: March 2

Join the town of Huntsville in celebrating TWO significant Texas holidays — Texas Independence Day and Sam Houston’s birthday (which happens to also be on March 2!) Events will be hosted all around town throughout the day, starting with a Coffee and Reception at the Walker County Museum at 9:15 a.m. and ending with a “Toast to Texas” and Birthday Cake at the Sam Houston Statue at 2 p.m. Other events include a special ceremony honoring Sam Houston and a Memorial luncheon. Click here to see the full schedule.

“Texas 181 Years” – Gruene, TX

When: March 2

Gruene is honoring Texas Independence Day with TONS OF FREE STUFF AND CONCERTS! Enjoy free music at The Grapevine and Gristmill River Restaurant, discounted food at multiple eateries and even 181¢ beers (possibly the most Texan discount ever!) While Gruene Hall won’t be open, you can stop by the town starting at 3 p.m. to take advantage of these special offers and party it up Texas style! Find more discounts here.

Texas Birthday Bash – Navasota, TX

When: March 3-4

Navasota is throwing a FREE Texas-sized two-day birthday party. It starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night and the party continues until 11 p.m. on Saturday night. The festival includes live performances from Texas artists like Kevin Fowler, Asleep at the Wheel and Neal McCoy. There will also be a Chili Bowl Cook-off, a Wild West Shootout and a “Made in Texas” craft fair. Kids will love the mechanical bull and petting zoo. Find more information here.

Stroll Through Texas History – Acton, TX

Picture by Acton, TX.

When: March 4

Head to Acton, TX  to attend the “Stroll Through Texas History” hosted by the Texas Heroes Foundation from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Festivities include crafts, live period music, rifle demonstrations and even the chance to meet some famous Texans like William Travis, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston and more! Find more information here.

Texas Independence Celebration – Luckenbach, TX

Photo by Robbyn Dodd Photography.

Where: March 4

Head to the town where “Everybody’s Somebody” for an epic Texas celebration. The fun starts at 1 p.m. with an Official Texas Flag retirement ceremony with Former Texas Rangers, then spend the afternoon enjoying a FREE concert by the Doug Moreland Trio! Click here for more information.

Texas Independence Day Cook-Off – San Angelo, TX

Photo by the San Angelo CVB.

Where: March 4

Join San Angelo for a day of food, fun and music! Festivities include a craft fair, live music from the Ice House Brass Band and performances by square dancers, cloggers and local bluegrass and country groups! There will also be a Barbecue Cook-Off, so come hungry and ready for tons of good ol’ Texas ‘que! Find more information on the city’s calendar.

Washington on the Brazos Celebration – Washington, TX

Picture by J. Williams.

When: March 4-5

The birthplace of Texas is having a Texas-sized party to celebrate the Convention of 1836 on March 2 when 59 elected men met at Independence Hall to write a new Constitution and the Texas Declaration of Independence. The convention established Texas as a new sovereign nation. Along with free admission to Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum and the Barrington Living History Farm, Washington on the Brazos will host a variety of events including live cannon and musket firings, historical reenactments and a historical play about the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Find more information here.

Alamo Defenders Remembrance Ceremony – Austin, TX

Picture by Peggy Vallas.

When: March 5

The Texian Legacy Association and Celebrate Texas are hosting a remembrance ceremony at 2 p.m. at the “Heroes of the Alamo” Monument on the Capitol lawn to remember all the brave men who died defending the Alamo. There will be a guest speaker, and the names of each fallen Texan will be read, followed by the firing of muskets in their honor. Click here for more information.

Texas Independence Celebration & BBQ Cook-Off – San Benito, TX

When: March 11

The Texas Heritage and Independence Celebration Association is throwing a huge celebration in San Benito with reenactments of the Battle of Gonzales, the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. There will also be a signing of a replica of the Texas Declaration of Independence, as well as live music, craft vendors, food and art contests. For more information, click here.

We’ve Got Three Awesome New Shirts!

Hey Trippers,

Head on over to The Daytripper General Store to check out our three new shirts. You’ll look awesome in these Texas designs!

Show off your love of all things meat with the Daytripper TX Bar BQ shirt or perhaps you’d rather show that you believe in the majestic jackalope with the Daytripper Jackalope Shirt. And if you want to send a little Texas inspiration wherever you go — we’ve got the “Make Every Day A Trip” Shirt for that.

BUY YOURS TODAY!!  

Podcast 42 – “Behind the Scenes: San Antonio, Palestine and Glen Rose”

Join us on this podcast as Chet, Todd and Richie share stories from the road for the continuation of Season 8 episodes. We talk about San Antonio, Palestine and Glen Rose. There’s a lot more to the show than what you see, so listen in as we reveal more stories about each location.

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!

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

Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, The City of Georgetown!

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11 Cozy Texas Cafes!

While the five-star restaurants and exotic cuisines of the ever-changing big cities are great, some days you just need a comfy atmosphere, a great conversation and a smorgasbord of fried foods. If it’s down-home and country cookin’ you’re looking for, than look no further than these 11 small-town cafes. Sure, they may not be the flashiest or the most famous, but at these cafes you’ll find honest, welcoming folks, comfort food cooked with family recipes and homemade desserts to die for.

Lost Maples

 1. Lost Maples Cafe – Utopia, TX 

Cluttering the walls of Utopia’s favorite cafe are props from it’s famed days as a location in the 2011 movie, Seven Days in Utopia. Yet, even after hosting movie stars like Robert Duvall, not much has changed at Lost Maples Cafe. In fact, since it was built in 1904, this little cafe has been everything from a classroom to a drugstore, but one thing’s always remained the same — it’s the center of the community. Join the locals in this tightly-packed diner as they shoot the breeze over a hearty breakfast of giant fluffy biscuits, thick slabs of bacon and a mason jar of freshly made salsa — yes every breakfast plate is served with an entire jar of salsa — or stop by for a quick slice of creamy fudge pie after a day of road tripping to nearby Lost Maples State Park.

2. The Dixie PigAbilene, TX

Decking the pastel pink walls and window sills of Abilene’s oldest restaurant are all sorts of piggy paraphernalia collected by customers and waitresses over the years. This cafe turns 86-years-old in July, and it’s the kind of place where you can “pig” out on giant platters of country cooking without any modern distractions…like cell phones (this old-fashioned diner still uses a rotary phone) or Wi-Fi (no computers either — it’s cash or check only). And don’t be surprised if you leave with a couple of new Abilenian friends.

Picture by Ginger Brown's.

Picture by Ginger Brown’s.

3. Ginger Brown’s Olde Tyme Restaurant and BakeryLake Worth, TX 

Though this cafe has only been around since 1985, the black and white photos of family reunions and kissing sweethearts on the walls paired with the mini jukeboxes over the tables at each of the faded green floral booths call back to a much simpler time. At Ginger Brown’s, customers and waitstaff mingle into one big family, Monday-night BINGO and Cinnamon Roll Happy Hour are the main events each week and enormous portions of fried chicken and pot roast will transport you to Sunday dinners with your family.

4. Koffee KupHico, TX 

Leave your diet at home, and be sure you’ve packed your fat pants for this cafe. At the Koffee Kup in Hico, hand-battered chicken fried steak, over-sized onion rings and homemade pie are the three main food groups that provide nourishment (well, maybe just satisfaction…) to travelers from near and far. Their Cream Cheese Jalapeno Burger has even made one of Texas Monthly’s top burgers list. And since 1968, this cash-only cafe has served pies under a belief that “pie fixes everything.” Just one bite of their Doctor’s Office pie and you’ll be a believer, too.

Picture by Leander General Store

Picture by Leona General Store

5. Leona General Store Leona,TX

The 1921 general store in Leona, TX has been converted into the best steakhouse you’ve probably never heard of — but plenty of folks have since a line almost as big as the town, itself, begins forming at 4:30 p.m. for the opening of the cafe at 5:30 p.m. The menu is limited, but the food is out of this world. Choose between a juicy, thick rib-eye (really this should be your choice) or grilled catfish or chicken on Friday and Saturday nights, and gorge yourself on hand-breaded All-You-Can-Eat catfish on Thursday nights. While the meats are a meal in themselves, the house-made sides like jalapeno hush puppies on catfish night and twice-baked potatoes on steak night are also worth the immense post-dinner food cramps.

6. Royers Round Top CafeRound Top, TX

This throwback cafe is the perfect place to eat when you’re tripping through a town that has the one of the best antique shows in the US. The walls are a hodgepodge of old photos, hometown trophies and magazine articles, and at your checkered picnic table you can enjoy thick pork chops or succulent grilled quail with food-coma-inducing sides like creamed corn and jalapeno cheese soup in a laid back atmosphere. But don’t let the extensive dinner and lunch menu full you, you’re really here for pie. With flavors like strawberry rhubarb, apple pie and Texas Trash, if you can’t choose — get three slices (we won’t tell…)

hill country cafe

Enjoy a full country breakfast at Hill Country Cafe.

7. Hill Country CafeKerrville, TX

Right outside of the hustle and bustle of Main Street, this cafe, though small, is the central meeting place for many folks — from business men grabbing a home-cooked breakfast before heading off to work to old folks catching up over a cup of coffee. And that’s the way it’s been since it opened in 1942. But more than just a place to grab a delicious homemade cinnamon roll, Hill Country Cafe sits on some pretty historic ground as well. Look closely at the news articles on the wall near the cash register and you’ll in find out that in 1905, Mrs. Florence Butts opened a little grocery store that would soon grow to be Texas’s favorite grocery store — HEB!

8. Rock Inn CafeSeymour, TX 

Drive through this sleepy little town in the southern Panhandle, and you’ll find that the Rock Inn Cafe is almost always hoppin’. Since 1933, this home style joint has been the place where cowboys and farmers alike can catch up over a cigarette and a plate of chicken fried steak, and hot fried pickles and hefty cheeseburgers await travelers weary from trippin’ across Texas. Dine on heaping plates of fried pork chops and collard greens that would put your grandma’s cooking to shame and wash it down with the sweetest of sweet teas.

jacoby's

The expansive view from Jacobys front porch.

9. Jacoby’sMelvin, TX 

This is the epitome of a small town cafe. Beneath the looming shadows of the granaries for this farming community’s Feed and Seed store, where the land stretches out for an eternity on every side, farmers gather daily at the dark-paneled diner to discuss the town news. Each platter of fried chicken or cheesy burger comes with your choice of fries, onion rings or okra (always choose the crisp okra), and if you’re lucky, a ginormous pan of freshly baked Texas chocolate sheet cake will greet you at the cash register on your way out (this, too, you must always take.)

10. 7th Street RestaurantCushing, TX

This place looks like a tavern and is a great place for a frosty beer during happy hour, but don’t let the bar vibe fool you — it’s got all the flavors of a laid back hometown cafe. You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu — fried catfish, humongous burgers, smoked fajitas, you name it it’s good — and in the evenings, you can enjoy your meal and conversation with live music from local artists!

nyhill1

Picture by New York Hill Restaurant.

11. New York Hill RestaurantMingus, TX 

Atop a hill with wide, sweeping views of West Texas sits this hidden gem in plain sight. You can get heaps of classic country cooking (big-as-your-face chicken fried steak and fried chicken galore), the fresh rolls were made to be drenched in honey and homemade buttermilk pie is the best way to end the meal. On the walls, you’ll find the history of the nearby ghost town Thurber, and learn about it’s booming days in the mining industry of the early 1900s. After you eat, head to the bottom of the hill where you can explore a historic miner’s home and an old mining caboose!