Monument Hill Kreische Brewery • La Grange, TX

On The Crush List because…

You weren’t sure the Black Bean Death Lottery was a real thing.

Texas State Parks/Monument Hill Kreische Brewery

Kreische Monument Complete

I never quite understood what this Monument Hill Kreische Brewery place was.  A Monument.  A Hill.  A Brewery?  I did know enough to know that it’s not a working beer-making facility serving fresh frosty ale and Buffalo wings, so what can I say, it kind of slipped down the list of sights to see. Plus it’s a hard place to say.

Turns out the name is pronounced CRY-shee.  And the whole thing is fantastic.  Great story, great old structures, great welcome center and stone visitors shed and mural and Art Deco tower and view and picnic tables and holiday trail of lights and annual Texas Heroes celebration with cannons and re-enactors and crafts. You can even get married here.  And you should!  One thing though, you can’t bring beer.

Kreische No Alcohol sign

To make things easy, let’s divide the story of Monument Hill Kreische Brewery into four parts.

First, the Black Beans.

Around 1840, as Texas was fighting for its independence, a couple hundred Texas soldiers decided to go down to Mexico to avenge the Dawson Massacre that had taken place over near San Antonio. Things didn’t go well and they were captured. But for various political reasons, Mexican General  Santa Anna agreed to send the soldiers back to Texas.  With one small catch.  Santa Anna was only willing to free 90% of them; the rest would be executed on the spot.  So in an exercise just one step above rock/paper/scissors or a Project Runway unconventional materials challenge, each soldier drew a bean from a pot. Lucky white bean, you got to live and go home.  Black bean, no.  Apparently the event was all very civilized. The doomed black bean soldiers dutifully lined up against the wall and were shot dead so that their brothers could go free.

Kreische Mural

Part Two of the story is where La Grange comes into the picture.  About five years after the lottery incident, folks wanted to honor both the Dawson Massacre victims and the heroic Black Bean soldiers. Remains were collected and since the only officer among the dead was from La Grange, a gorgeous bluff above town was chosen as the final burial site for all.

Kreische Tomb

Kreische View

Kreische Path

Part Three is the beer part.  Heinrich Kreische was a German immigrant and master stonemason.  He bought the land on the bluff, tomb and all, in 1849 and proceeded to build Texas’ first commercial brewery down near a live spring.  Bluff Beer was a hit and the locals enjoyed many a lawn kegger at the estate until  Mr. Kreische literally fell off his wagon in 1882.

Kreische House Far

Kreische Flower Wall

The final, most recent part of the story is that a magnificent full-on Art Deco tower and new granite vault were added to the tomb in the 1930’s, and the whole kit and caboodle from vault to brewery ruins gradually became a State Historic Site and then a park. Frisch Auf!

Kreische Monument CU

Kreische Monument and view

Kreische Tomb Sign

Kreische Entrance Walkway

Kreische Welcome Spot

Kreische Welcome Book

Kreische Sign

Under the Big Top • Round Top, TX

On The Crush List because…

This is a circus town, after all.

Cirque du Soleil tickets

Gone To Texas Pink Ladies

Like most of you, I’ve long been mesmerized by the extravagantly imaginative theatrics of Cirque du Soleil.  I love it all. The fabulous get-all-under-your-skin music…  The inflatable-climbable-disappearable-swimable sets…  The way-beyond-that Jillian woman levels of superhuman physical fitness.

Lucky for those of us in Central Texas, Cirque’s traveling show, Kooza, is on its way to the grounds of Austin’s Circuit of the Americas.  The humongous swirly blue and yellow tents start setting up in August and the shows start September 3. Don’t you think we should splurge on a set of VIP Rouge or Backstage Access tickets this time?

I realized while looking through the show’s website that, hey, I can write a new post about the wonders of my other favorite traveling circus, the Round Top Antiques Show, without actually writing anything.  Love that.  So, without further ado, I present to you an imaginative, mesmerizing, get-under-your-skin, practically inflatable look at the Antiques Show accompanied by copy stolen straight from the Kooza web pages!

The show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement.


Field Javelina

Snake on a Plate

Triptych Squid

It highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.

Lizzie ExCess Everlast

Mickey Masks

LIghted Notes

Between strength and fragility, laughter and smiles, turmoil and harmony, the show explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power.

CH Original Creation 3

Lizzie ExCess Lion


Charming and sophisticated, The Trickster is a sublimely quick and agile being, a genius who knows all about the world because he created it. He appears and disappears at will and there’s electricity in the air each time he arrives on stage.


France 15th Century Cabinet

Golden Dance Maiden

CH Monk Portrait

The Innocent is a naïve and melancholy loner carried off into The Trickster’s world. Outwardly childlike, ingenuous and simple, he is eager to get to know the new world he’s in, but as soon as he uses The Trickster’s powers he discovers an unexpected and jarring environment, a reflection of his soul.

Toddler and Maiden

Skull and Baby

Nymphs to Satyrs

And then there are the acts themselves, titled:



Patchwork Stool Tower



Lizzie Excess Legs



T Rose Arms



Manicure Chair



Stage Coach



Chairs on the Road



Barb Wire Globe

– dip to black –

William Clayton House at Festival Hill • Round Top, TX

On The Crush List because…

It’s the perfect showcase for life well-played.

Hidden Festival Sombrero

Do you ever spend your morning trying to decipher the exact lyrics to the songs that the neighborhood birds are belting out?  I do, and I don’t find it easy at all.  Sometimes I get to the point of actual pains in my skull.  The good news is that I am making progress. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far:

“Your ladyship, ladyship.  Your ladyship, ladyship.” “SEEECRET secret secret SEEECRET secret secret.” “Your panties, your panties show. Your panties, your panties show.” “She thinks she thinks she’s coooool.” “Tony Duquette, Tony Duquette.”

Speaking of Tony Duquette, it was such a treat to be invited in for a private tour of the elaborate, fantastical, richly worked in/lived in/played in Clayton House at Festivall Hill.  You remember Festivall Hill, home to the Festival Institute and where all of Round Top spends its summers listening to exquisite classical concerts.

Duquette called his interiors “celebrational environments” and man-o-man that is exactly what these rooms are, each completely overflowing with joy and creativity and culture and travel and craftsmanship and curation and playfulness and history and love of a good story or song.

Hidden Festival Wide

Hidden Festival Corner

Hidden Festival Ceiling Swirl

Hidden Festival Mobile

Hidden Festival Pillows

Hidden Festival Crown Skel

Hidden Festival Chair

Hidden Festival Peacock Lampshade

Hidden Festival Piano

Hidden Festival Piano Photos

Hidden Festival Sheet Music

And in that rich tradition of Schroeder at the piano, the house is chock full of busts, including, even, one or two of Festival Hill’s founder and Clayton House resident James Dick himself.

Hidden Festival Beethoven Bust

Hidden Festival Bookshelf Bust

Hidden Festival Blue Eyes

Hidden Festival Clock Bust

Hidden Festival Small Busts

Hidden Festival Lei

Hidden Festival Bust

The home was moved from nearby La Grange and is everyone’s dream of a quaint old Victorian in the country. In the early years, before the immense concert hall was built, performances were held here.  Today it’s a private space, used as a residence and for lessons.  So how do you get to the William Clayton House?  Practice!

Hidden Festival Porch

Hidden Festival Roof

Hidden Festival Exterior Trees

Jackrabbits Field • Serbin, TX

On The Crush List because…

The Lee County Community League:

La Grange Demons       Weimar .45’s       Serbin Jackrabbits      Jackson County Thunder  

New Ulm Firemen      Bernardo Bears      Winchester Rifles      Fayetteville Waterdogs    

 Ellinger Ducks      Rutersville Outlets

Read the Texas Monthly Article where Dan Rather mentions the Serbin Jackrabbits Field

Rabbits Scoreboard

Kids grow up which is all good.  But I miss certain things, many of them baseball:  The shaky bleachers, the diet Dr. Peppers and pork-chops-on-a-stick, the side games of wall ball, the mom chitchat, the fund-raised road trips, the struggles with red clay stains on white pants.  My few moments spent crushing on the Serbin Jackrabbits’ quiet field took me back to all that and then sent me on my way.

Rabbits Tree and Board

Rabbits Sign Tight

Rabbits Bench

Rabbits Glove

Rabbits Not Liable

Rabbits First Base Tight



Wendish Heritage • Serbin, TX

On The Crush List because…

These Texas pioneers brought us colored eggs, black bonnets, dudelsacks and noodles.

Texas Wendish Heritage Society

Serbin Eggs

So imagine:  It’s the mid 1800’s in Lusatia and you’re a Wend. You’ve begun to feel quite a bit pinched by the King of Prussia who keeps insisting that you change your religion and your language. What do you do?  Yes, you’re exactly right. You gather up your family and friends and hop on a ship to Galveston, Texas.

That is the incomplete but completely true story of how a few hundred Wends found their way to Serbin, just west of Round Top. In a charming museum right in the heart of Serbin, the Texas Wendish Heritage Society has compiled an impressive amount of information and artifacts about the Wends’ life and times.  So many, in fact, that a visit there feels a lot like antique shopping, without the option to purchase. The museum facilities also house a kitchen space where volunteers gather twice a week to make traditional Wendish noodles to be sold in stores all over the area.

I’ve learned more than I have room for about the Wends, so I must leave you with just one brief thought for now. Don’t pile up your Wendish noodles with a bunch of stuff like it’s pasta.  The noodles are a side dish to be eaten like a bowl of grits, with butter, salt and pepper.

Serbin Arrow and Angels


Serbin Boat Model

Serbin Welcome Sign
Serbin Trunk Wide

Serbin Spinning Hair

Serbin Cotton

Serbin Yoke

Serbin School Posters

Serbin Doll

Serbin Cemetary Trees

Serbin Museum Exterior

Serbin Noodles

4th of July • Round Top, TX

On The Crush List because…

We love a parade!

July 4 Los Patrones

Round Top’s historic Fourth of July parade and Rifle Hall celebration are exactly as wonderful as you’d expect.  If you want to go next year and you really want to do it right, my suggestion is to think of it as a tailgating situation and have yourself an all-out patriotic pop-up-tent party. If you’re really ambitious you could even look into joining the parade.  I have no idea how one goes about about entering their float or horse or  tractor or motorized La Z Boy recliner. If you find out and it’s easy, let me know and I’ll deck out the minivan Crush List style.

July 4 Wide

July 4 Announcer

July 4 Baseball

July 4 Lazy Boy

July 4 Veterens

July 4 Paper Presidents

July 4 County Queen

July 4 Dancing Horse

July 4 Little Cowboy

July 4 Cannon

July 4 Cake Wheel

That’s a cake wheel.  Cake wheels pop up more than you’d expect around here.  Canned peaches and polka bands too.

July 4 Peaches

July 4 Sack O' Sacks

July 4 Bud LIte and Horn

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