February 23 - March 3, 2002: Our Winter Trip to Fort Lauderdale
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February 8-10, 2002
A Trip to San Antonio

 

Ruckman Haus Bed and Breakfast has been up and running for some time now, and I am working on a web site for Prudence and Ron. She has invited us down to San Antonio for the weekend so we can take some pictures and talk about the site. We left after Fred got off work on Friday, and we plan to stay until Sunday afternoon.

 

Getting to Ruckman Haus

You've probably seen a map of the route from Dallas to San Antonio before. It is pretty simple, for once you get on the Tollway south from my house, and merge onto I-35 South, it is a straight shot for about 280 miles all the way to downtown San Antonio. See the map below, left.


Once in downtown San Antonio, all you have to do is follow I-35 South until you come to the exit for San Pedro Avenue. Once off the expressway, you just take San Pedro Avenue north.


Finally, you just take San Pedro Avenue by San Pedro Park on your left, and, one block past the park, you turn left onto French Place. Prudence and Ron have their bed and breakfast at the end of the first block on your right.


Ron Ruckman's Mom and Dad are down from Streeter, Illinois, and of course Guy is here, now being the priest at San Francesco di Paolo Catholic Church in downtown San Antonio.


 

 

Breakfast at Ruckman Haus

One of the best things about visiting a bed & breakfast (and especially Ruckman Haus) is the breakfast itself. This is the only B&B that Fred and I have stayed at (although as of this writing in 2012 we have stayed in a couple of others), but we've seen the breakfasts at some others, and those that Ron Ruckman prepares are far and away the best of them.


The breakfast we had our first morning here was a French Toast with fruit, grapefruit and an egg/chicken casserole. There was a danish beforehand, but that isn't shown in the picture at left.

Before we were called in to breakfast, I had coffee in Prudence's living room. That is Ron Ruckman's mother sitting next to me.

When we all got into the dining room and seated, Fred set up his tripod and took a picture of all of us.


Click on the thumbnail at left to see Fred's picture. From left around the table are Fred, Mrs. Ruckman, Mr. Ruckman, Ron Ruckman, Prudence, myself and Guy.

 


And if you will click on the thumbnails at left, you can see a couple of additional pictures that Fred took during and after breakfast.

 

 

We Take Some Pictures at Ruckman Haus

One of the reasons that Prudence asked us to come down to San Antonio (aside from meeting Ron's parents) was to talk with her about some additional pictures for her evolving web site. I was looking for some accent pictures for some of the pages, so I snapped an image of the painting hanging in the dining room; it will do well on one of the pages. I also needed a couple of additional pictures of Callie and Misty, Prudence's two cats, for the "Staff" page, but I couldn't seem to dislodge Callie from her nap on an ottoman in the living room, or Misty from her perch on the back of "her" chair in the same room.

We also needed some pictures of the living room itself, now that Prudence has decorated it pretty much as it will be for a while, so I began just to the right of Misty's chair (looking west out the window past the front door) and took a series of pictures to capture the entire room- the bookcases on the west, the fireplace on the north, the French doors to the East Garden on the east and around past the large sofa in front of the windows on the south side of the room at the front of the house. The series ends back at Misty's chair (with Misty on it, of course). If you'd like to take a look around the living room here at Ruckman Haus, just click on the thumbnails below, from left to right in the two rows:

At the time the pictures above were taken, Fred's digital camera didn't have the capability to stitch pictures together to form a panoramic image, but as if this writing, I have software that does the same thing- with unlimited pictures as input. So I fed all ten of the above images into that software and, with some tweaking, was presented with a 360-degree view of the Ruckman Haus living room. That panoramic view is below:

I know the picture is small, vertically, and it is hard to see detail. So I've taken the same panoramic picture, made it larger, and put it in the scrollable window below. To see the living room in a larger size and in more detail, just use the horizontal scroll bar to move right and left:

 

 

A Saturday Afternoon Outing

Prudence and Ron like to get away from the B&B when they can, and they usually take an outing each weekend- usually going somewhere nearby. This Saturday, Guy was occupied at his church, and so the four of us took an afternoon drive, planning to meet Guy later for dinner.


Ron and Prudence have a friend who runs a restaurant and bar in Boerne, TX, about 35 miles northwest of San Antonio along Interstate 10, and that will be our first stop where we will have some lunch. After that, we were going to head another 15 miles or so north to the small town of Sisterdale, and a visit to the Sisterdale Winery; apparently, Prudence had seen some of their wine at the Candlelight Restaurant where they go fairly often do sample different wines.

So Ron drove the big Tahoe and we headed north, reaching Boerne in about an hour.


We took the Boerne exit from I-10, and this put us eventually onto Main Street, heading north into the small town. Just after entering Boerne, we found the Boerne Vistro on our right.

The Boerne Vistro is Boerne's most sought-after location for fine and informal dining, accommodations and entertainment. The upstairs hall in the Vistro, with capacity for 180 persons, hosts wedding receptions and rehearsals, and all manner of parties. The elevated deck has a view of the landmark Catholic church across Main Street. There is also a small inn that is part of the complex on the south side, and the patio between the restaurant and the Inn has a pond dotted with goldfish and a waterfall. Music acts perform on the patio during season.


As soon as we entered the restaurant, Ron's friend Dennis came over to greet us. I am not sure where they met, but I assume that they met as a result of their both being in the hospitality business. Dennis, and his wife, were outgoing, friendly folks, and made us feel very much at home as we had lunch in the beautiful dining room.

As we ate, Dennis told us some of the history of the restaurant and Inn. The wood over the fireplace mantel is salvaged from a Louisiana Army Barracks. (Construction workers gasped at first glimpse of the tarpaper-marked side of the wood displayed to the public, but later recognized its rare beauty). The 6" x 16" laminated ceiling beams hail from an old San Antonio mansion, torn down because the family could not afford the taxes. The hewn 8" x "9" vertical beams supporting the second floor come from a South Texas hay barn. The bordering bookcases contain a collection of priceless leather-bound law books from the 1800s, given to Dennis by a dear friend. The base of the serving bar that presides over the center of the room is made of rocks from the Texas Hill Country between Comfort and Fredericksburg.


The food at the Vistro (a play on "vine" and "bistro") is hearty American and German fare. They specialize in schnitzel and other German dishes, but they also have burgers and the like. It was also the first time that I'd been offered a mixture of balsamic vinegar, oil and spices to use instead of butter with the loaves of sourdough bread. I was pretty impressed, particularly since I'd always used butter before. It was so good that now, whenever I have the choice between butter and the oil/vinegar/spice mixture, I choose the latter (mostly in Italian or higher-end restaurants).

We had a really great meal, and Dennis was very entertaining. Just before we left to head to Sisterdale, Fred had Ron and Prudence and Dennis and his wife to gather out in front of the restaurant for a picture, and you can see it at right. That's Ron and Prudence, of course, on the right, and Dennis and his wife on the left.

We took our leave of Dennis and his wife and headed north on Main Street through Boerne and up Ranch Road 1136 towards Sisterdale.


We drove about fifteen miles and presently found the Sister Creek Winery on our left.


Since 1988, Sister Creek Vineyards has been located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country in Sisterdale, Texas (Pop. 25). Bordeaux and Burgundy wine-making techniques are employed to produce Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot wines. These traditional wines are aged in 60 gallon oak barrels for up to three years. In combination with their barrel aging, minimal filtration methods are incorporated so the wines will retain their fullest flavors. In addition to these wines an Italian style Muscat Canelli is also produced. The winery is located between the cypress lined East and West Sister Creeks in a restored 1885 cotton gin.

We walked around the winery for a while, going inside the sales area (and meeting a fluffy white cat) and the winery itself. Fred took a few more pictures as we walked around, and you can have a look at them by clicking on the thumbnails below:

When we were done at the winery (and Prudence had bought a couple of bottles of wine to take home), Ron drove us back by a slightly different route, and we returned in time to have dinner with Guy.

On Sunday afternoon, Fred and I drove back to Dallas after a pleasant weekend at Ruckman Haus.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


February 23 - March 3, 2002: Our Winter Trip to Fort Lauderdale
Return to the Index for 2002