Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A visit to the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture ...

We had a really interesting trip to New Braunfels recently that I want to share with you.  NB is pretty close to us -- about 20 miles.  And there's lots to do there.  For one thing, there are at least four great antique shops downtown, not counting lots of other interesting shops in the same area.  And a few decent restaurants.  Like lots of towns, most of the everyday shopping is now in the suburbs, but we really like New Braunfels.  If we 'had' to choose a town to live in around here it would be NB.  (But I wouldn't move here unless someone gave me a house, then I'd sell it and move elsewhere.  Just too many people ......)

But anyway, we enjoy visiting this area.  There's a lot to do and see.  We enjoy visiting the town of Gruene, which is really just part of NB.  More about Gruene later maybe (we were there again just last week).

So anyway, we took a day and went to NB.  Had a great lunch at a place called the Fork & Spoon that was recommended to Wendell.  It was really pretty nice and surprisingly so.  It was in a large strip center and when you walked in you could see that they had lots of business!  So we figured the food must be good and it was.  Plus they have a bakery in the next room and had a couple cases in the front of the restaurant.  Then we went on to the Museum ...

When we arrived a docent was just starting a tour.  There was only one other couple and us.  It's a house museum and when you first drive in it doesn't look like much.  But it's bigger than you think ...  Anyway, the docent gave a really good and extensive tour of the house which took about an hour.  The house had been moved to that location decades ago and the entire story of the house was interesting.  As I've mentioned before, this is a German area and most of the histories around here involve Germans.  The furniture, which is the centerpiece of the museum, was all handmade.  When you first walk in, in the large center hall, is a huge wardrobe!  Almost all of the furniture was made of walnut, which we found surprising considering we haven't seen any walnut trees around here.  I guess they're all gone now ...  She allowed us to go upstairs on our own and it was great!  The back part of the house was added at a later date and I loved it because it had lots of windows and was very light and airy.  She wouldn't let us take many pictures and I actually 'snuck' a couple besides the few she would let us take.  They are worried about people copying the furniture (like I would be able to do that!). 

After we left the house we visited the woodworking shop, an old dog-trot log cabin where one half was furnished in primitive pieces (more my style), a cabin they called a line shack (stone and log), and the detached kitchen which was fully stone.  It was a full afternoon and I could have looked around a lot more on my own if they would have allowed it.  We toured with a very nice couple from Alaska who were staying at an RV park nearby.  Another interesting thing -- they had a few college students there that day doing yard work and I was encouraged by their willingness to volunteer to help keep the grounds there in shape.

Here's some pictures I took that day .... Enjoy!

Now I know this is a weird picture, but I took this in the bathroom.  I have NEVER seen fixtures that looked like they were made from copper tubing!  This bathroom was carved out of a closet in the main house and it was long and skinny.  I think there was an outhouse in the back yard originally ...
Now back to the subject at hand ... Here's the front entrance of the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture, a house museum in New Braunfels, TX.
I was especially taken with this walnut kitchen cabinet with screen wire on the doors. This was my favorite piece on the tour. Most of the furniture in the front part of the house were more formal pieces.
This is the back dining room. There was a large collection of ironstone in this room! That on the table and in the cupboard on the left is just a small part of it. To my back was an entire wall of it! But I wasn't allowed to photograph it ...
This is one end of the upstairs, which was the son's dormitory back in the day; they had 7 sons.  It was unfinished but fully furnished.  There were lots of woven rugs which especially interested me ... Below are just a couple of the chests up there.  The beams were amazing! 

This was the dog trot cabin; the log end was primitively furnished and I really liked it.  The flower bed on the left had bluebonnets coming up already!

Here's one wall of the woodworking shop. I took lots of pictures of some really old tools; too many to bore you with here but I have some neat pictures of some unusual tools!

Here's the summer kitchen. It was fully furnished in period (mid to late 1800s) kitchen furniture. There was a wonderful long work table in there! Believe it or not, at one time this building was turned 90 degrees. It's cut stone! Awesome!


Here's the line cabin which was part cut stone and part log. It was of course moved here from the original ranch. Also on the grounds was an old, large school house, but it was not on the tour. The school is used for special events now. The grounds are beautiful and I could see weddings here with the 'school' used as the reception area.

I just liked this picture ...