January 2, 2023

Spending the Holidays in Fredericksburg, Texas


Spending the Holidays in Fredericksburg, Texas

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 2, 2023

Christmas Eve brought Avery and I to US Bank Stadium to watch the Minnesota Vikings take on the New York Giants.  We were asked to dress in white to commemorate the holiday.  I really didn't think many people would participate, but was impressed that the crowd  mostly looked like snowflakes as was intended.

It was yet another nail biter for the home team.  The Vikings led for most of the game, but again found a way to tie it up at the end.  It took a heroic 61-yard kick to seal the deal and give the Vikings another win to take them to 12-3 for the year.  Let's hope they can take that momentum into Lambeau Field for their next game against the Packers!

We were supposed to fly to Texas on Christmas morning to spend time with my family, but the "Bomb Cyclone" travel chaos had other plans for us.  Our Delta flight was canceled at the last minute and options for re-scheduling wouldn't have given us much time with the family.  So we did a quick pivot and decided to drive the 19 hours from Prior Lake to Fredericksburg, Texas with Grandma Linda and the boys.  It wasn't much fun, but we persevered and made the trip.

We arrived at 3:30am, but after a few hours of sleep we hooked up with my family and headed out to lunch in downtown Fredericksburg.

I hadn't seen my sister, Tammy, or her husband, David, for 2 years so it was nice having the chance to re-connect with them during the trip.

We had gone on a vacation to the Ozarks with my other sister, Tracy, and her husband, Dave, during the summer of 2021 so it had been a little more recently that we'd seen them.  It still was too long and we gotta look at figuring out a way to see each other more regularly in the future.

The boys always love seeing their cousins.

The cousins always love seeing the boys.

My niece, Bailey, and her husband, Justin, only were able to spend 1 day with us, so we turned up the volume and made sure that day was a whole bunch of fun. 

Grandma Linda loves seeing her Grand Children.

I always love seeing my sisters.

Christmas is a big deal in Fredericksburg.  Every night they do a special Christmas Night display complete with this Merry Go Round looking kind of thing.  I was skeptical at first that it would be anything special, but I was actually pretty impressed with their event.  I even created a TikTok to commemorate our experience which can be seen here:

@toddswank Christmas Light Show in Fredericksburg, Texas. #christmas #fredericksburg #texas #lightshow ♬ It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas - Michael Bublé

We spent three days exploring Fredericksburg and discovered it's mostly filled with places to drink.  We enjoyed visiting a variety of wineries and breweries scattered throughout the town.

One of the most unique places we visited is called The Rhinory.  It mixes a Rhinoceros Preserve with a winery which I had never really considered as a combination before.  They only have 1 Rhino for now, but have plans to eventually bring 4 females into the mix so they can start breeding them.  Which means this guy is going to feel really lucky at some point in the near future.

The wine was pretty good also, they were just kind of stingy with it.  We all signed up for the tastings which featured 5 different samples, but the waiter must have thought we had shot glasses rather than wine glasses.  Feeding that rhino must be pretty expensive, so I'm sure they're just cutting corners in other parts of the business.

We found ourselves having wine tastings throughout the week which feels like a pretty good way to spend the holidays.

We did find a Karaoke Club which made for a very fun evening.  I'm not sure the rest of the people in the establishment were as excited as we were, but my family was able to get a lot of loud singing out of our systems.

On Wednesday morning, we woke up and drove to the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area to go hiking.  

Enchanted Rock is a pink granite mountain that covers about 640 acres.  We did the Summit Trail which is only about .8 miles, but that's pretty much straight up to the top of the summit.  Needless to say, I found it challenging.

It did get a little bit windy at the top.

I had to take several breaks along the way but eventually arrived and connected with the other fellows.  Then we turned around and went down again.

On our final evening we celebrated Grandma Linda's recent 80th birthday.  It was so nice we could all be together for this momentous achievement for my mom.  I've been through a lot with these ladies in my 52 years on this planet.

Unfortunately not all of her grandchildren could be there to celebrate, but we got a little crazy with the ones who were able to make it.

We had a lot of fun together while we were there, but none of us were looking forward to the 19 hour drive back to Minnesota.

Before we knew it, it was time to say our goodbyes again.  We love seeing our family and one of these years we'll have to figure out how to be able to do it more often.

On the drive home, we had the chance to drop by in Austin, Texas and have dinner with Uncle Cliff and Cloe.  It's always great seeing these fun people!!

We made it back to Minnesota just in time to ring in the new year at the Zitzewitz house with a bunch of other cool people.  
Happy New Year, everybody!!

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