A plot of land 15 feet from an active stretch of railroad tracks is not generally considered a prime location upon which to open a fledgling restaurant. And in fact, when Don and Lynn Forres launched the Huisache Grill in New Braunfels in 1994, few had confidence that they would succeed.
Last year around this time, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in New Braunfels celebrated the birth of twin reticulated giraffes, the first successful twins in the United States. The park named the giraffes Nakato and Wasswa, and they’re still thriving, and growing, and revealing their personalities as the ranch itself celebrates its 30th anniversary this spring.
On March 2, 1836, 59 delegates gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence, setting in motion a series of battles that would lead to Texas’ independence from Mexico. Cities and towns throughout Texas will celebrate the occasion on March 2 (see “Events” at texashighways.com for a lengthy list), but two caught our eyes for their unusual nature.
Catch a fish on a fly rod once and chances are you’ll be “hooked.” But just like fishing with a traditional rod and reel, starting with the right equipment is key for landing a big one... or any fish at all.
In a matter of hours in July 2002, flooding rains unearthed eons of history beneath a swath of Hill Country landscape near New Braunfels. Nearly three feet of rainfall in one week pushed water over the emergency spillway of Canyon Lake for the first time since its 1964 creation, reaching a peak rate of roughly 67,000 cubic feet per second. By contrast, tubers on the Guadalupe River typically enjoy 350 cubic feet per second, and the Canyon Dam floodgates top out at 5,000 when wide open.
There’s renovation the way most of us do it—repainting the front door, updating the fixtures in the bathroom, hanging new window treatments—and then there’s renovation the way it’s been done in New Braunfels by the engineers, architects, and civic leaders behind the Comal County courthouse makeover. A decade in the making, the meticulously executed $8.6 million project has restored the stately limestone structure to its original 1898 glory.
In the September 2013 issue, writer Michelle Burgess delves into the history and restoration of the beautiful Comal County Courthouse in New Braunfels, a German-flavored town between Austin and San Antonio. You can visit the New Braunfels Chamber's website to gather dozens of ideas for things to do during your visit, but here are some of our favorites:
The largest group of artesian springs in Texas, Comal Springs includes at least seven outlets that flow through limestone fissures, along a fault of the same name, into the 2.5-mile-long Comal River. Locals claim the Comal is the world’s shortest river, but it had sufficient length to attract Tonkawas, Spanish missionaries, and German settlers who used the springs to power mills, and, in modern times, swimmers, tubers, and other water worshipers. The average flow from the exceptionally clear springs tops 8 million gallons per hour, at a brisk 72 to 73 degrees year-round.
The city pool where I hung out as a youngster had a blue plastic slide, the kind that adorned most swimming pools in the 1960s. This one turned a complete 360 degrees before spitting me out like a watermelon seed to land with a satisfying—and refreshing—splash. I couldn’t get enough of it. Well, water slides have come a long way since then. For proof, just visit a Schlitterbahn water park in New Braunfels, South Padre Island, or Galveston. The original location in New Braunfels has been voted “The World’s Best Waterpark” for 10 consecutive years by Amusement Today magazine, which surveys amusement park fans around the world.
Most months out of the year in Texas, you’ll find a full plate of festivals celebrating everything from fire ants to sweet potatoes. But in February, the calendar looks less busy. Pondering this phenomenon five years ago, a group of devoted musicians and music-lovers came up with an annual Polka Fest. Held February 19 and 20 this year at the Knights of Columbus Hall in New Braunfels, this festival will heat up the chilliest of Central Texas evenings.
In what organizers call a "10-day salute to sausage," New Braunfels' Wurstfest (Oct. 31-Nov. 9 this year) brings thousands of revelers annually to its festival grounds on the Comal River banks.
The shortest river in Texas played a key role in the state's early settlement. In 1842, a group of German noblemen, led by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, formed an organization called the Adelsverein (German for "society of nobles") to encourage and expedite German immigration to Texas. When he landed at the Texas coast in 1844, the prince faced two immediate needs: a port to receive new arrivals and a suitable parcel of land on which they could settle.