Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Christmas (Page 1 of 2)

San Antonio Riverwalk

Riverwalk Bridge

After our drive through Gruene, we headed to an even more historic Texas city, San Antonio. San Antonio has been on my list for a while now, and if our short trip to Austin had been one day longer, we probably would’ve taken a drive to check it out.

When planning to explore San Antonio, one of the first things to come up is, of course, the Riverwalk. The San Antonio Riverwalk was designed to aid with flood control after a disastrous flood in 1921. Nowadays, the riverwalk is kind of the heart of entertainment in the tourist area of the city, with miles of shops, restaurants, musicians, and attractions all along the river. Being the most touristy part of the city, it’s hard to know which of the restaurants on the Riverwalk are good or if they’re just banking on tourists wandering in without a plan. We had lunch at Casa Rio which we learned on the boat tour is the oldest restaurant on the riverwalk and we were not disappointed!

Christmas Tree Lit Up

Taking the boat around the Rivercenter Mall Christmas Tree.

Tour boats drive up and down the river all day telling the history and pointing out the sights. Since we were in the city around Christmas time, I really wanted to see take the boat tour at night with all the Christmas lights around us. We got in line a little before six and had great light by the time we got on our boat. If you are planning on taking the boat tour when in San Antonio, I have a tip for you: buy your tickets in advance and then you can get on at any of the three stations. When we were walking around, we noticed that for whatever reason, the middle station had a ridiculously long time. The stations closest to the mall and in the Aztec theater had much shorter lines and were both covered (which makes a big difference in the Texas sun). Tickets can be purchased up to 30 days in advance at GoRioCruises.com.

We got a great deal on a hotel in San Antonio. We stayed at the TownPlace Suites, just a few blocks from the Riverwalk and the Alamo. Our room had a kitchenette so we were able to save some money and cook a little in our room. The only parking the hotel offers is valet and given the location, it is expensive. But, given how cheap the room was, paying for parking wasn’t that big of a deal. There are some beautiful hotels overlooking the riverwalk that I would love to stay at on a return trip to San Antonio!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, visit my Texas Hill Country Road Trip Report! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

One Day in New Braunfels

Ducks in pond in Landa Park
Landa Park

After landing in Austin, we drove halfway to San Antonio and stopped for the night in New Braunfels. New Braunfels featured heavily in the inspiration for this trip, Samantha Brown’s Places to Love. One of the spots she highlighted was Naeglin’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in Texas, known for giant streudel. For a weekday, the bakery was busy and it was warm so we took our baked goods and sat outside to enjoy them.

  • Jelly Donut
  • Cheese Danish

After enjoying our pastries, we headed to Landa park (top) to enjoy the warm Texas air. Landa Park offers a lot to do with a family including a golf course, mini-golf, paddle boats, aquatic park, and even a mini train, many of which were closed either due to COVID or because of the time of the year. There is also an arboretum and nature trails to explore any time of year. It was overcast but much warmer than the frosty Michigan weather we left behind.

After burning off some calories from our pastries, we took a drive through Gruene (pronounced green). With our experience with Texas limited to Austin and New Braunfels, Gruene felt like what I always imagined Texas to be like. Greune is a small town full of businesses with green pun names such as a boutique named Gruene with Envy and the Christmas store Red and Gruene. It is also home to Texas’s oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall which was also featured in the above Samantha Brown special.

After our lunch in Gruene, we continued on the road to San Antonio. Be sure to stop back next week as I continue recapping our winter escape to the Texas Hill Country! Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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Wordless Wednesday: Fredericksburg

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

6 Ways to Get into the Christmas Spirit in Michigan

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. Christmas music is on the radio. I’ve already watched a few cheesy Christmas movies. Ribbons and garland decorate the lampposts. All we need now is snow (which it doesn’t look like we will be getting before Christmas). Here are some ways to get in the Christmas spirit around Michigan.

The most obvious place in Michigan I can think to celebrate Christmas is Frankenmuth. A charming downtown full of unique shops, you’re sure to be able to cross everyone off your shopping list here. Dine in one of two restaurants offering family-style chicken dinners. You will find every decoration you never knew you needed at Bronner’s, the world’s largest Christmas Store.

My presents are already wrapped and are waiting for Christmas under the tree.

Drive through the beautifully lit Wayne County Lightfest (top). This is a tradition for my family and even though we go through it every year, it is always so much fun to see the lights! The lights stay up until New Years Eve so there is plenty of time to make your way out to Westland to see them.

Stroll through downtown Rochester and experience The Big Bright Light Show. All the buildings downtown are completely covered in colorful lights throughout the month of December. It is really unlike anything else I’ve seen before and is worth a visit if you haven’t checked it out before.

Get some of your holiday shopping done at Christmas Market. Eastern Market in Detroit has 7 dates this year to shop for Michigan-made gifts for everyone on your list. On the west side of the state, check out Kerstmarkt in Holland. Open select weekends before Christmas, Kerstmarkt is reminiscent of a European Christmas Market.

Village Tree

Explore a mansion traditionally decorated  for the holidays. There are few beautiful houses around the state that are open for tours around the holidays. Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester is open for tours this time of the year. They even stay open later select nights so you can see the estate lit up in holiday lights. The Ford House in Gross Point Shores is open to tour all year, but it is especially beautiful around the holidays. If you plan to visit, be sure to get there are early as tours sell out fast. The Manor House at Concordia University Ann Arbor is open for touring one weekend a year. Its a unique experience featuring a festival of trees and a traditional Christmas Market.

My favorite has to be Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village (right). Walking through the Village at Christmas time is like taking a trip to Christmas past. Sing carols on a horse drawn wagon ride. Watch historic cooking demonstrations. Ride a Model-T down lantern-lit streets. Listen to carolers and musicians playing all types of music. And the night ends with fireworks and a Christmas Carol sing-along. I look forward to it every year now.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. What did I miss? Tell me in the comments! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Trainscape

Trainscape

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Tree

Christmas in Brazil

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Big Red Replica

Recently, we kicked off our Holiday celebrations with a trip to Meijer Gardens for their Holidays Around the World celebration. There were Christmas Trees decorated to represent cultures around the world, an outdoor light display, and my favorite part was the train garden. Throughout one of the Victorian greenhouse, beautiful, intricate, wooden replicas of Grand Rapids landmarks were put together around a model train track. I really liked the Big Red Lighthouse perched along a river near the base of a waterfall. Also represented were Fifth Third Ballpark, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and replicas of buildings in Grand Rapids’ sister cities:  Omihachiman, Japan; Bielsko-Biała, Poland; Perugia, Italy; the Ga District, Ghana; and Zapopan, Mexico.

All in all, Meijer Gardens puts on a beautiful celebration of the holiday season. If you are in the area, Holidays Around the World runs until January 7. I would recommend you go the week before Christmas when they have extended hours to best enjoy the outdoor lights. Be sure to bundle up so that you can check out the sculpture garden in its winter glory!

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about Meijer Gardens and Holidays Around the World, visit MeijerGardens.org. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Carolers

Village Carollers

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