Sunday, April 13, 2014

National Museum of the Pacific War - Fredericksburg, TX

This is another place we never made it to. I'm not a history buff but I must admit I was blown away at this place. If you plan on going you need to plan on at least 3 hours to take it all in. The majority of the stuff is inside but they have a really great exhibit outside as well.
Off to war

The Museum sits on 6 acres & includes 3 museums. The complex includes the George Bush Gallery, Admiral Nimitz Museum, Pacific Combat Zone, Plaza of Presidents, Memorial Courtyard, Japanese Garden of Peace, & the Nimitz Education and Research Center.

Admission includes all 3 museums & you can take your time & visit over the course of 48 hours. If we had known we would have planned to stay another day but we did as much as we could. Since I didn't have a need to read every single article I got through it in 2 hours. That was more than enough for me. Al did it in 3 hours but could have
Rape of Nanking Exhibit
stayed longer if I wasn't waiting.

After dropping me off at the motorhome he went back & visited the Admiral Nimitz Museum around the corner. I had enough of war museums so I stayed at the motorhome with the kids.

I did get to take a lot of photos & will try to relate what they are as best as I can remember.

The first exhibit & photo has narration talking about the great depression & how it effected people, families, banks, & the war.
Pearl Harbor

There are a lot of exhibits I did not get photos of & most of them had so many parts to it I just captured a few photos to give you a general feel for the breadth of what this museum has to offer. Throughout the museum you will find restored World War II tanks, planes, submarines, etc. There are video

Pearl Harbor
The most impressive exhibit was a 5 minute video presentation of Pearl Harbor. It was horrifying but I sat through it twice. A picture is worth a thousand words is so true after seeing this.
Pearl Harbor

The photos I did take are posted in the order as I walked through the museum. Every area displayed is done in chronological order from the beginning of the Pacific wars till the end. I was never very good at history but while I knew about some of this there was obviously a big gap in what I missed. I guess I was out sick that day!
Fighter Plane

As an FYI, General Nimitz was born in Fredericksburg which is probably why these 3 museums are here. They even have a Nimitz hotel.

The fighter plane shown here is just one of many in the museum.
Admiral's Launch

The Admiral's Launch is the last photo I took of the indoor exhibits.

The remaining photos were part of the outdoor exhibit.

Anti-aircraft gun

One of many "big guns" displayed outside. I believe this one was listed as an anti-aircraft gun. It was taller than I am so I classify it as a very BIG GUN!

Plaza of the Presidents

Plaza of the Presidents is an impressive display honoring the ten consecutive Presidents that served during  World War II. There are a total of 10 monuments placed in a semi-circle around the plaza. Each honoring a President.

Presidential Stones

Well my History teacher would have been proud. Mostly that I took the time to go through the museum but it was impressive. Perhaps not something a teenager would have understood or cared about but as an adult I have to admit it is impressive & I'm glad I finally to to visit it.

Airport Diner & Hangar Hotel at the Municipal Airport in Fredericksburg, TX

We have been coming to Fredericksburg for years dating back to when we lived in Texas (for the first time).
Airport Diner
We started coming to attend the Spring & Fall woodcarving shows held by the Texas Woodcarvers Guild. In 2003 we moved to WA so it was too long a commute to visit.

When we moved to New Mexico in 2007 we started coming back for the Texas Gourd Festival in the fall & usually came early to spend some time wandering around. It wasn't until this year as retirees (from doing shows) that we returned as "vacationers". After our very last show in Louisiana we stopped at Fredricksburg for 2 days & decided to check out a few attractions we hadn't had time to do previously.

The first stop was to the Airport which is on the other side of the runway across from the Lady Bird Johnson
Al outside the Airport Diner

Municipal RV park where we usually stay. At the airport is the Hangar Hotel & Airport Diner, both of them take you back in time to the 1940's. The hotel looks like a hangar & the inside is filled with antique's such as the switchboard which actually works although they actually have modern phones to call the rooms.

Airport Diner Inside
When you walk inside the diner you feel like you have entered the Twilight Zone & have been taken back in time. The Airport Diner is designed after the railcar diners of old in the northeastern states, the Airport Diner features a curved ceiling of birch trimmed in mahogany.  Bright stainless covers the walls, as wells as the equipment and fixtures.  The floors are done in the lost art of terrazzo, which consists of the grinding and polishing of granite particles.  All counter-tops are black granite with soda fountain stools and booth seating are done in matching comfortable mahogany colored fabric. Large windows allow ample viewing of the aircraft parked adjacent to the diner or to arriving and departing aircraft on the main runway. You will also find airplanes hanging from the light fixtures & on the counter-tops filled with mint
Hangar Hotel street view
candies. And to top it all off you get excellent food.

We arrived at opening time & within minutes the place started filling up. We looked out at the airfield as we waited for breakfast & watched a pilot drive up to his private plane & go through his pre-flight check up. It was a very pleasant experience.

After breakfast we wandered over to the Hangar Hotel to check it out. We had been told by friends that they serve free fruit & the best home-made scones in the lobby along with coffee.

Hangar Hotel OC Club Entrance
Directly across from the diner was the entrance to the hotel through the Officer's Club. At the entrance is a large billboard & airplane.

We entered the hotel through the Officer's Club. It had pool tables, grand piano & lots of leather chairs. It looked very cozy & warm.

After you walk through the OC Club you enter the lobby of the hotel & while it's very small it is very quaint.

The people behind the desk were very friendly & were more than happy to talk about the beautiful antiques that include a working switchboard that would be used to call the rooms. The hotel is only 11 years old & the switchboard is not really used it does actually work. On one side of the lobby is a beautiful grandfather clock which really does work.

Next to the clock is a little alcove where they serve free coffee, home-made scones & fresh fruit. Friends had told me about these scones but we just never made it over here to check them out.

If you ever get to Fredericksburg you really need to stay at the Lady Bird Johnson Municpal RV Park. If you park in the horseshoe loop or the hill (our favorite spot) you will be able to look across the airstrip to the airport. Don't just look at it, you need to add it to your list of places to visit while you are here.

I also highly recommend Friedhelm's Bavarian Inn for the BEST German food for lunch or dinner. My favorite is their Jager Schnitzel. It is "to die for".  We have tried every German restaurant in town & this, by far is the best. The best German pastries can be found at the Fredericksburg Bakery on Main St. They have some great selections but my favorite is their German Pretzel.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Spring Visit

We arrived back in Mission after the Louisiana Gourd Show & our Plantation shutters were installed.
Plantation shutters open
I am amazed at the difference in the amount of heat & light it keeps out, privacy & appearance.

Before the shutters were installed Al painted the wall behind the desk. The paint was pealing on part of it. There had been some touch up paint applied which hadn't been prepped properly & the paint was peeling. Al prepped the wall & then painted it with a terracotta color so we now have a nice accent wall.

The shutters are really beautiful & really make our "Little house on the Prairie" look so much better than it did with the mini blinds.

Plantation shutter closed
The photo on the left shows the other wall which, like the rest of the walls is beige.

The best part of our visit was seeing how gorgeous our bushes were. The roses were blooming as well as the "butterfly bushes". It was amazing to see how much they had grown in the month since we had left.

This isn't really the height of the butterfly season but we certainly had a bunch of them visiting.

During the visit we also visited a local nursery to pick out some bushes to put in the back & around the side of the patio. The goal is to attract butterflies & birds but also to add color, provide a little shade & privacy. The way we plan on having them put in it will almost create an outdoor room. We won't get them put in until we return in the fall but we wanted to figure out what would work so we can order them before we arrive.

During our visit I caught Shadow sleeping in our bed. He looked so cute snuggled up in the quilt. I got the
camera & he just opened one eye & gave me a look like...."you really don't think I'm going to move do you?" He didn't! It's a good thing it wasn't our bedtime because it didn't look like he was going to share.

Our short visit came to an end but not before we had an opportunity to attend some community activities. Even when half of the "Winter Texans" had already left they had quite a few activities planned, most of which involved food. Now we have to head home....& diet!

After many fond farewell's we hit the road heading to Fredricksburg, TX before heading back to New Mexico.