Texas Hill Country – 029
Texas Hill Country – 029
“Harvest Host” stopover in the Hill Country of Texas and the many types of Animal Services.
Intro to Episode 029
Good morning from San Antonio! This is episode 029 – thanks for joining us. Today’s episode is all about the Hill Country of Texas; some vegan restaurants in San Antonio and the animal shelters rescues in and around the city. It’s packed with information, so stay tuned!
Intro to the Podcast
Welcome to the “Two Vegans on a Mission” Podcast. I’m Louisa, and together with my husband Michael, and our dog Sugar, we’re traveling, and living, full-time in a Winnebago Class C motor home…visiting animals sanctuaries and animal rescues all across the country.
Each week we’ll share what new camping spots we’ve found, what great vegan meals we’ve eaten, and our latest vegan outreach activities. So please join us as we strive to inspire, educate and support you in your efforts to be vegan!
Fredericksburg, Texas (Hill Country)
First up, we’re going to talk about our visit to Fredericksburg and surrounding areas. So Michael, tell us what you thought about it.
A friend of mine had actually recommend going to Fredericksburg and actually buying a home there. He considered it an up and coming city in Texas and I found it quite different, to be honest with you. First of all, it is a quaint tourist town and we see these quaint towns all over the United States.
In our old San Diego area, we used to go up to a place called Julian that had a lot of shops where you could buy trinkets and eat their famous apple pie and drink cider. Here in Fredericksburg, however, it’s a quaint western town which has a history of having President Lyndon B Johnson nearby. So, that’s a big tourist attraction and then as you walk downtown, there must be a couple hundred stores selling all kinds of western gear, t-shirts, food, barbecue, et cetera.
The big draw is all the variety of wineries along the stretch, it must’ve been maybe 30 to 40 wineries, large, small, in between. I mean, you could really taste yourself into a drunken stupor, if you tried, but it was a big attraction for the city and real pleasant.
We will talk more about one of the wineries that we stayed overnight at and I would say if I were RVing across the country, stop there and try the wineries/shops downtown. There is support for RVs and a variety of different places you can stay there.
Fredericksburg KOA Campground
Speaking of the RV accommodations, we checked out several of the different parks through our Campendium app. We went first over to the KOA because we like a KOA. This one was a great spot. If you are so inclined to stay at a KOA, it’s not a cheap sleep. It was about $46 a night. That’s with our Koa membership, which gives you 10% off every night. But it was a nice gravel place. It has the usual amenities for a KOA but this one had some unique things.
It had some chickens running around! They were not just in a coop. They were running all over the camp ground, which was fun. Then we did expect to have some thunderstorms there. We were waiting out the rain and it didn’t really come but we did have a shower that was nice. Then there was also laundry facilities, which we always like to be able to use those.
Okay, so Michael, here’s my con about the place. The only thing I did not like about it was the fact that we arrived there on probably a Monday night expecting to have to pay for two nights because when we made the reservations, they said,
“Oh, well, usually we take two nights.”
We don’t usually like to commit to two nights until we see what the place is like because if it’s horrible, we don’t want to stay.
We acquiesced and said, all right, we’ll stay for two nights and then we’ll go from there. Well, they put us down at the end of a row right next to a trailer and then there were all these other open spots all along the row. So I thought, oh, they’re going to really fill up tonight. Maybe that’s why they want to make sure that we have a place for two nights.
Well, nobody else came for the entire three nights that we were there. Here we are huddled next to a trailer, which is fine except for these people don’t stay in their trailer. They stay outside on the picnic table, which is fine, but they smoke and then our dump was right outside their front door so it was a little awkward if we wanted to empty our tanks, but it’s just rude that they put us all clumped together.
I asked the guy on the way out, how come we were parked like that and he couldn’t give me an answer. He said,
“Oh, I don’t know.”
What that tells me, in the future, when they park as right next to somebody else, when there’s a wide open spaces all around, I will ask again where and why are we in that spot? Could we please have a little more space? I mean we like people but we also like some space.
I like that KOA, $45 a night is a little pricey for us, but it was right there on the road next to Fredericksburg, so it was in a good location. Michael, what do you think?
I liked that KOA also. I think it was well managed in terms of being clean. They clean the bathrooms, the facilities were modern and when you walked around the grass was cut. It seems as though in the RV world, this is a recurring theme. We talked to our friends and they show us pictures of them being the only one in the RV Park. Some of them, they will automatically line up people next to them instead of maximizing the spaces until they have to put somebody next to each other.
I think it’s incumbent upon all of us too, since we’re paying our money for these places to insist that hey, if there’s an opportunity to have a little space in between, please allow us to do that.
Good point. After we spent three nights at the KOA, we did a little bit more driving around and we decided to stay at the Harvest Hosts spot, which was only about 10 miles south of Fredericksburg. It was “Messina Hof Winery“.
I always love going into these Harvest Hosts spots because we don’t have to pay for it, (the spot for the night, we already paid for a year membership). In fact, we paid for a lifetime membership, so we get to go for the rest of our lives for free, but what they expect you to do is to go in and do a wine tasting and then maybe buy a bottle of wine or two.
Well, this winery was wonderful! It had a great wine tasting, a little expensive for our tastes. It was $14 a person, but they let you share, which is good. Then we could have one little taste of white and the little taste of red and then a little taste of the port. I loved their port wine! I loved it so much that I bought some more later in the week at another place. Michael, what did you think of this winery?
I thought the wines there were delicious and this winery was really large. The park and accommodations were fantastic…level. They could accommodate, looks like, up to six RVs. Matter of fact, this is the first time in our Harvest Hosts experience where there were three, including us, RVers there. They’re used to folks coming in.
The only drawback was the weather. It was really severe rain and wind! We couldn’t get out the RV and meet the other RVers. Other than that, definitely, if you are a Harvest Hosts person stop by that winery in Fredericksburg.
Potter’s Creek Corps of Engineers Campground
For our third review of the camping spots for this week, we stayed at another Corps of Engineers Campground park called Potter’s Creek. It was at Canyon Lake in the Hill Country of Texas. Now, we had not known about the Hill Country before this trip. We had heard of it but we had not known it, meaning we had not been through it to visit.
We did go with our son and his girlfriend to a winery in the Hill Country last visit, but this time we actually stayed in a Corps of Engineers Park right on Canyon Lake and I am really loving this Corps of Engineers Park. First of all, it’s only $15 a night when you use your Senior Pass, but you do have to reserve online or you can call and then they can help you. I recommend that you go online. That way you can look at the map of the lake and of the different spots.
That way you can pick out ones that have lots of space around them if that’s what you like, or lots of trees around them. Or like us, we were next to the water but we had no trees, but it was nice. It was spot 104. I would recommend in the future though, you look at maybe spots 45 and 44 or number 70 which is a really nice spot, as well. If you’re so inclined…go to Potter’s Creek at Canyon Lake. It also had a nice walking trail all the way around. You could go visit the other parks or the other RV spots.
I really enjoyed all the trails at Potter’s Creek and also when you’re walking on these trails, you’re just surrounded by a beautiful large lake and it was just quiet. Deer running around. We saw a fox, cats, birds flying all over. People were fishing, if that’s your thing.
The Hill Country of Texas is really impressive. Matter of fact, as we drove around we were thinking, maybe one day we’re not going to be RVers and I have to put that on our list of places potentially to look at if we ever settle down. I like the hill country and also I would tell you that the Corps of Engineers did a very good job in this facility.
The toilets and showers are actually usable. They were clean, the water was hot and we hadn’t found that at the other Corps of Engineers facilities. Definitely choose this one!
Let’s hear it for the corps, and then stay tuned for the next section when we talk all about the restaurants we found in San Antonio.
“Snooze” Restaurant with Vegan Options
Welcome back and thanks for being here with us! We’re going to first tell you all about the restaurant we found for breakfast! We got up early enough to do that since we had to take our RV over to the Cummins dealer because they had to fix our generator, which they did. Warranty covered that. Wonderful news, but first this new restaurant and it was wide open for breakfast at the time we got there.
“Snooze”, I guess, is a chain restaurant in Texas, California, I think, Colorado, also. They have vegan options. It’s a breakfast place and of course they have all the normal things, standard American diet breakfast. Our waiter went out of the way to accommodate us and make sure that we understood what the vegan options were.
I had a tofu scramble with cilantro, onions, mushrooms. Also I had hash browns, which they made sure they didn’t have any oil, any dairy products, any butter or anything like that. It was so delicious! I’d definitely recommend if you’re in San Antonio, stop by and visit “Snooze” for a nice breakfast.
Okay. I had the “Bravocado” toast, which was avocado on toast and it was very tasty as well. But I thought I had some kind of tomatoes on it, but there was no tomato. I took some of Michael’s pico de gallo and put that on top. Otherwise it was just avocado on top of avocado and it was blah! I liked it though because I like avocado toast. But, I do think that we really had to be specific about what to put on it because it was not a vegan only restaurant.
Even though our waiter was very outspoken and outgoing and went out of his way to make sure we didn’t have any animal products, I was a little leery because we did have to ask for this and that. He did say this chef went out of his way to make sure that I didn’t have any animal products in the dressing that was on my arugula.
That went right on the side of my Bravocado toast. I like the Snooze restaurant for breakfast. It was a good change of pace.
Miss Chickpea Bakery
Then quite by accident we stumbled upon Miss Chickpea Bakery, which was next to the Sprouts. We found that they had all Vegan options in their bakery! They had donuts, they had pop tarts, and then they had what are called “Kolache”.
We had never had a Kolache…we saw those were for sale in Fredericksburg. Apparently it’s some German pastry thing that has a very soft outer dough, but then it was stuffed with some vegan sausages and some Jalapeno popper stuff. I thought we should try all that. So we did and it was pretty yummy!
Pharm Table Restaurant Review
Then the next day we went for lunch again, this time to a place called Pharm Table. It’s only open from 11 to 3pm and that’s a very short timeframe.
We made sure we got there right around 11:30 and Pharm Table is spelled P-H-A-R-M. I know that’s a very cutesy way to say farm, but when I see it, I think pharmacies. I don’t know how good that works, really, for people who are vegan-like and trying to avoid going to the pharmacy and to the doctors. But anyway, we went there and I love the ambiance of the place!
It was very “artsy-fartsy” kind of a place. It had some books on the table. It looked like it might’ve been an old library setting or convention hall of some kind in the past. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it had some very interesting decor and we sat outside on the patio because we had Sugar Girl with us and we always need to sit outside when that happens.
I had a wonderful three-taco meal, which was beautiful and there are pictures on our Instagram @heaven in a class C, if you’d like to see those, but it was very tasty as well. It was only $9 for my three tacos, which was amazing!
Now Michael’s going to tell you what he had. It was called the Mexican huarache, which means “sandal”. The sandal part was the base of his meal, which was a kind of toast thing. He’s going to tell you what he thought of it.
The restaurant was very eclectic looking and clean and very pretty inside. The meal on the other hand, for me, came up a little short because the chef burnt the base of my meal. The toppings were delicious! They had a black bean paste and beets and Cilantro and those were okay. But, unfortunately, the base was overcooked, burnt and probably should not have left the kitchen.
Unfortunately that took away from my whole experience there. Otherwise I would tell you give them a chance. It was… Most of their items were plant-based and you know these restaurants are competing against hundreds of restaurants that don’t offer Vegan options. I would give them a chance and visit it when you’re in downtown San Antonio!
Senor Veggie Restaurant Review
Finally, our favorite vegan restaurant that we found in San Antonio this time around is called Senor Veggie. It was so yummy! We went there today for lunch and we sat again on the patio, because we have the Sugar Girl with us, but I had something called Aztec bowl and it had some tempeh. It had lots of greens, it had black beans, lots of spice, very flavorful!
The one thing that I loved about this restaurant, it was all vegan! We didn’t have to wonder if we got anything that we weren’t supposed to eat.
Okay. First of all, shout out once again to Happy Cow app. It’s the app we use to find the vast majority of our vegan eats. I’m not sure what we would do. I guess you could Google it, but this is all in one place and we really love that APP so please download it and it’ll help you find those vegan option places.
I had Tacos, which actually were very southwest spicy. Some people complained that their food wasn’t spicy enough, but I really felt it had great flavor. Also I had a chef salad and these portions were huge. Good size portions. The waitress was really helpful and accommodating and really enthusiastic about serving us. I liked the ambiance of the place.
As you drive by, you’ll see a bright yellow small old building and it’s just fun and 100% plant based, healthy but didn’t have to worry about what we were being served. Definitely one of our favorites here in San Antonio!
We sure do get to eat out a lot, don’t we, here in San Antonio? That doesn’t mean that’s all we do. We actually get to work. When we return to the podcast you will hear what we do in between eating.
The Vegan Mission
As Two Vegans on a Mission, part of our “mission” is to go around and visit the different organizations that are actually hands-on working with animals; trying to keep animals safe and free from disease and from reproducing other animals that don’t have homes.
We’re going to first talk about the three places we visited here in San Antonio, but we’re just going to give an overview because we could spend an hour about each one because that’s about how much time we spend at each place. There is a hierarchy to the different ways that people take care of animals here in San Antonio.
San Antonio Animal Care Services
The first is run by the city. It’s called the “Animal Care Services of San Antonio”. It’s really “animal control”. These are the people that drive around in those trucks that have the containers on the side. When you see an animal running through the streets and you are saying,
“Hey, that animal needs to be taken care of. What do we do?” You either call animal control or you pick up the dog or the cat yourself.
Well, animal control will come out and pick up the animal and then they take them to this facility. This facility is not a “no-kill” shelter. It is a facility where they house these animals and hope that they can reunite them with their owners. If they can’t, then they try to adopt them out. But there is a time limit.
Eventually they have to euthanize the dogs or the cats if there is no more room because they need to keep making room for more animals that are out running around in the streets of San Antonio, which is very sad. But, that’s the true nature of their business. Now they also do things like spay and neuter for a fee and then they have adoptions from their facility. The day we went they were able to have the adoptions for $15 for a dog and $5 for a cat!
Come on guys. If you want an animal and you need a pet and you’re going to take good care of them for the rest of their lives, then go visit the local animal shelter in your city because these places are doing the best they can and they just don’t have enough room for all of the needs that’s going on right now!
The Humane Society of San Antonio
Then we went over to the Humane Society, which is a nonprofit organization! This, you might say, is just like Animal Control, except for the big difference here ,I thought, was… not only did this one look more “humane” as its name states, but they were able to have more volunteers that could come in and actually get to walk these dogs and pet these dogs and cats and actually become familiar with them so that they could help adopt them out to somebody who would really take care of them!
They are a “no-kill” shelter, so when they are full, they have to have people take the animals to the Animal Control facility, which is not a no-kill facility. It’s one of those places where you say,
“Oh my gosh, could people please adopt out of these places so there’s more room so they don’t have to kill any of the animals?”
The city facility feels like an animal prison just because they have a gigantic job! They’re doing the best they can with the resources they have and they really need people to step up and adopt these animals! They need people to really step up and treat your animals humanely! They really need people to have your dogs neutered, spayed and just be kind to all animals!
In the humane society, you could tell there was a little different atmosphere. It was really clean, really beautiful. There were a ton of staff and it just looked like a lot of love and care was going into making sure that a home was found for all these animals. Both places are important. Visit all your shelters around and see if he can find a spot in your home for these beautiful cats and dogs!
The last place that we went to visit here in San Antonio is called SNIPSA. It stands for S-N-I-P-S-A which is “spay, neuter, inject and protect” San Antonio. What a great name for a great organization! But you might be saying, why do they need three different organizations? Which was my question when I went in there. I said, why didn’t you guys just join up with the Humane Society or go volunteer your time over at the Animal Care Services place?
This is what I was told: There is such a need to have dogs spayed and neutered that these veterinarian’s decided to come up with an organization where they can provide low-cost spay and neutering services to people who can’t afford it. This is one of the problems here in San Antonio. People have too many animals and they do not have the resources to get them spayed and neutered. Then there are just more animals running free. They get picked up by Animal Control or they get dropped off at the Humane Society and it’s just a vicious circle!
So SNIPSA goes out into the community and provides these low cost spay and neuter clinics so that they can help curb the pet population, which is a great idea! I love this organization! They’re a nonprofit. They need your money, they need your help, they want you to volunteer and I highly recommend checking out SNIPSA here in San Antonio!
Okay everyone, there we go. Another 25 minutes has flown by as we get to tell you all about our activities and travels as Two Vegans on a Mission! We’re trying to help educate, inspire, and motivate you to get out and be vegan!
So please, go to our website at www.vegansonamission.com to check out all of the great posts we have going on there. Or you can look at our pictures on Instagram @heaven in a Class C, but please remember to join us each week as we share our adventures and we try to “be Vegan!
We are a retired teacher, Louisa, and a retired physician assistant, Michael, married for 39 years, who want to help busy travelers begin and maintain a healthy life-style while on the road.