A festival vacation – colorful, energetic, and culturally immersive – is a terrific way to meet locals and enjoy a new experience. In New Braunfels Fall is festival season and the mild temperatures and scenic Texas Hill Country make it a perfect vacation destination. Get away with your BFF or enjoy a romantic holiday with the love of your life. It’s a vacation to remember!
There are art festivals, craft beer pubs and wineries to visit. There’s outdoor recreation like cycling, running, kayaking and stand-up paddling. It’s often still warm enough to float the two fantastic rivers in a tube. Check some of the “festival” fun you can have in the Fall in New Braunfels:
The Comal County Fair – Have a taste of Texas culture! There’s a barbecue contest and a washer pitching contest. There’s a PRCA Rodeo, Bull Riding, a tractor pull, and livestock shows. Enjoy scooting a boot to The Bellamy Brothers and a George Strait Tribute Band. Don’t miss the parade that kicks it all off on Friday, September 29. New Braunfels takes the day off and everyone is either in the parade or gathered to watch it!
Cycling – As the weather cools off, cyclists converge for the Bike MS Valero Ride to the River. The October 7-8 Bike MS: Valero Ride to the River, presented by H-E-B, offers a variety of one-day and two-day ride distances. There’s even a 161-mile option. The ride from San Antonio to New Braunfels includes celebrations overnight and at the finish line. There are fun-interactive themed rest stops along the route. Experience the beauty of South Texas and the Hill Country for a cycling experience like no other.
Bring your bike for the Tour de Gruene November 4, too. Choose recreational tours from ride lengths of 14, 29, 41, 49, and 63 miles. Enjoy the Hill Country scenery along the tree-lined banks of the Guadalupe River. Ride through the heart of Texas and enjoy a post ride lunch and party. Cap off your evening with dining and dancing to Bavarian entertainment at Wurstfest!
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Wine and Craft Beer – The Gruene Music & Wine Festival October 5-8, is a four-day celebration of Texas and Americana music. Sample Texas, German and New World wines. Enjoy specialty beers, food and handcrafted items. “Texas Tastings & Tunes” on Saturday includes more than 40 wine and food producers for tastings. There’s ‘Le Cordon Gruene’ food alley, too. Sunday’s “Texas-Style Musicfest” includes a Specialty Beer Tasting event, two entertainment stages and the big game on a big screen TV. There’s a Craft Market on Saturday and Sunday. The “Not From Texas” kickoff event on Thursday features German and New World wines, live music and door prizes! Add a tour of the Texas Hill Country wineries and craft beer breweries. Start with the wineries and breweries in New Braunfels!
New Braunfels Historic Modelers Society Train Show – If you’re into model trains, you don’t want to miss this great show October 28-29. It takes up the entire New Braunfels Civic Center Exhibit Hall – 11,789 square feet! There are additional exhibits throughout the facility, too. Special features include a huge exhibit of Lego Trains and traveling model railroads of various scales. More than 60 vendors have displays on more than 300 tables for buying, selling, or swapping. There are door prizes, a silent auction, a museum store, and a mini food court. Children will enjoy the free ride ticket for the Landa Park Miniature Train. Or, they can be a Junior Engineer at a ‘Kids Run the Trains’ layout!
The Texas Clay Festival – The Gruene Historic District hosts the 25th annual Texas Clay Festival October 28-29. It features the work of more than 60 Texas potters and clay artists. You’ll find a wide variety of pottery, from traditional to sculptural by the top clay artists in Texas. The festival also provides a unique opportunity to watch and learn. There are demonstrations in four tents throughout both days. From the potter’s wheel to hand-building to raku firing, there is something for everyone.
Dia De Los Muertos – This fun packed festival October 29 includes food, arts & crafts, shopping, live music, and entertainment, as well as educational info on the history of the day. Entertainment includes Mariachi Internacional Monarca, Compania de Danza Folklorica and Tejano star Patsy Torres.
Marathons – November 18, runners gather for the Chosen Marathon CHOSEN HALF MARATHON & 5K. It’s the “Prettiest Race in Texas” making it the perfect destination race to add to your calendar. The Half Marathon is a point-to-point course that runs beside the Guadalupe River. The 5K is an out-and-back course that starts and finishes at Rockin R River Outfitters in Gruene. There’s also a Kids Fun Run!
Thanksgiving in New Braunfels includes the opportunity to run off a few pounds on November 23 with the city’s “Turkey Trot.” Enjoy an exhilarating 5k run/walk through the Gruene Historic District to start the day. Children under 12 years old can participate by chasing a Turkey Mascot for ¼ mile through Gruene!
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Wurstfest – The food festival to enjoy in Texas according to National Geographic Magazine. Wurstfest is one of the two top “Oktoberfest” celebrations in the nation according to USA Today. You don’t want to miss this November 3-12 unique annual celebration rich in German culture and full of Texas fun! There’s great food including sausage on a stick to sausage tacos. There’s lots of music and dancing, carnival rides and games. Try the German, Texan and domestic beers. Enjoy special events and the finest in Alpine and Bavarian Style Entertainment. It’s the best ten days in sausage history.
It’s time for a festival vacation! Make your reservations in New Braunfels now!
New estimates released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving topped 3.2 trillion miles last year. It is the fifth straight year of increased mileage on public roads throughout the nation, and underscores the demands facing America’s roads and bridges, and reaffirms calls for greater investment in surface transportation infrastructure.
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report – a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – show that more than 263.6 billion miles were driven in December 2016 alone, which is a .5 percent increase over the previous December.
The December 2016 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which is conducted by USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics as a way to even out seasonal variation in travel and enable vehicle miles travelled (VMT) comparisons with any other month in any year. The seasonally-adjusted VMT for December 2016 were 269.3 billion miles. Compared with seasonally adjusted November 2016 data, December 2016 VMT fell slightly by .6 percent but rose 0.6 percent from December 2015. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
At 2.9 percent, traffic in the West – a 13-state region stretching from California to Montana, and including Hawaii and Alaska – led the nation with the largest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT, and continued an uninterrupted series of monthly increases that began in October 2013. Mileage fell slightly in the Northeast and North Central states.
At 33.9 billion VMT, California accounted for more miles driven in December 2016 than the combined 33.8 billion miles of 22 states – Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming – and Washington, D.C.
At 5.8 percent, Louisiana led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Utah at 5.2 percent and Nevada at 5.1 percent. At 6.2 percent, for the tenth month in a row, North Dakota led the nation with the largest unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.
San Antonio, widely recognized as a top travel destination, is introducing even more reasons to bring the whole family to the Alamo City. Interactive world-class exhibits, close encounters with dolphins and giraffes, and a high-rise ride at a one-of-a-kind theme park are just a few of the new attractions visitors can find in San Antonio this summer.
In a city filled with new and tried-and-true attractions, highlighted below are just five of the new experiences visitors can have this summer in San Antonio:
- Enjoy High-Flying Thrills: Six Flags Fiesta Texas‘ Fiesta Bay Boardwalk brings three new rides to the theme park. Guests will find themselves looping, spinning, and soaring as they experience the new high-adrenaline thrills on Fireball, featuring a massive 7-story looping frenzy; Hurricane Force 5, where riders take on the power of a storm and swirl round-and-round while soaring high into the air; and Spinsanity, the ultimate whirling adventure for daredevil riders.
- Reveal the Hidden Worlds of the Maya: The story of one of the most sophisticated and powerful civilizations of all time is being told in the largest exhibition to be brought to a San Antonio museum in the city’s history. The Witte Museum‘s “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” is the first exhibition at the museums’ new Mays Family Center and brings together hundreds of authentic artifacts displayed in more than a half-dozen immersive and hands-on environments.
- Ride on a One-of-a-Kind Ferris Wheel: Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first and largest theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment, unveils its new Whirling Wonder Ferris wheel this season. This five-and-a-half story ride along the shoreline of the park’s catch-and-release fishing lake can accommodate guests with and without special needs.
- Swim with Dolphins: SeaWorld San Antonio‘s added attraction, Discovery Point, is the only interactive dolphin experience in the state of Texas. Discovery Point is the largest single capital investment in the park’s 27-year history, doubling the size of its former dolphin habitat. The attraction transports guests to a lush, tropical setting with opportunities to swim with the dolphins and also see them swim and play in a new way through a floor-to-ceiling, panoramic underwater viewing area.
- Watch The Battle of the Alamo Come to Life: One of the most pivotal battles in American history comes to life through “Battle for Texas: The Experience,” a 22,000-square-foot “edutainment” adventure in the Shops at Rivercenter. This interactive experience features more than 250 never-before-seen Alamo artifacts and heart-racing multimedia re-enactments of the 13-day battle – allowing visitors to experience the Battle of the Alamo from the perspectives of the mission’s defenders and the Mexican army.
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For more information on San Antonio‘s summer attractions and events, visit www.visitsanantonio.com.
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Not all of us will be home for Christmas, or comfortably seated with friends and family for a Christmas feast… some of us will be on the road.
Highway travelers looking for a holiday meal can find it quite difficult. You’re tired and hungry so you jump of an exit only to find that every restaurant is closed.
An increasing number of chain restaurants are choosing to remain open during the holidays, or at least opening for limited hours to meet customer demand.
Here’s out list of chain restaurants open for business on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2015. (This listing will be updated as additional information becomes available.)
Restaurants located at Interstate Service Plazas and Welcome Centers may be required to stay open.
– Updated 12/18/15 –
- 99 Restaurants – Open Christmas Eve Day. Closed Christmas Day.
- Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar – Most locations will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Arby’s – Company owned locations will close Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Franchise locations may be open.
- Bakers Square – Open Christmas Eve day. Open Christmas Day.
- Bonanza Steakhouse – Open Christmas Eve Day. Closed Christmas Day.
- Bonefish Grill – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- Boston Market – Some locations will be open on Christmas Day.
- Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant – Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Buffalo Wild Wings – Most locations will be open on Christmas Day.
- Burger King – Most locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day
- Carrabba’s Italian Grill – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- Cheesecake Factory – Most locations will be closed Christmas Day.
- Chick-fil-A – Open Christmas Eve Day and Closed Christmas Day
- Chili’s Grill & Bar – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- Corner Bakery Cafe – Open Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.
- Country Buffet – Most locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day.
- Cracker Barrel – Close Christmas Eve Day at 2 pm and closed on Christmas Day.
- Del Taco – Open Christmas Eve day. Most locations will be open Christmas Day.
- Denny’s – Open Christmas Day.
- Dickey’s Barbecue Pit – Open Christmas Eve Day. Closed on Christmas Day.
- Domino’s Pizza – Open Christmas Eve. Some locations will be open on Christmas Day.
- Dunkin’ Donuts – Most locations will be open on Christmas Day.
- El Torito – Most locations will be open on Christmas Day.
- Fire Mountain Buffet – Open Christmas Eve Day. Most locations will be open on Christmas Day.
- Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- Friendly’s – Open Christmas Eve Day and Closed Christmas Day.
- Golden Corral – Most locations will be open on Christmas Day
- Ground Round Grill & Bar – Some locations will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- HomeTown Buffet – Most locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and open Christmas Day.
- Hooters – Some locations will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- IHOP – Most locations will be open Christmas Day.
- Jack-in-the-Box – Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Legal Sea Foods – Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Logan’s Roadhouse – Closed on Christmas Day.
- Longhorn Steakhouse – Open Christmas Eve Day. Closed Christmas Day.
- Lone Star Steakhouse – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- Luby’s – Most locations will be open Christmas Day.
- Maggiano’s Little Italy – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- McDonald’s – Most locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day.
- Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- Old Country Buffet – Most locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and open Christmas Day.
- Olive Garden – Open Christmas Eve Day and closed Christmas Day.
- Outback Steakhouse – Open Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day.
- Panda Express – Many locations will be open on Christmas Day.
- Pie Five Pizza Company – Open Christmas Eve Day and closed Christmas Day.
- Pizza Hut – Most locations will be closed on Christmas Day.
- Ponderosa Steakhouse – Open Christmas Eve Day and closed Christmas Day.
- Red Lobster – Closed on Christmas Day.
- Ruby Tuesday – Open Christmas Eve and some locations will be open Christmas Day.
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Open Christmas Day.
- Ryan’s – Most locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and open Christmas Day.
- Schlotzsky’s Deli – Most locations will be open on Christmas Eve.
- Shoney’s – Open Christmas Day.
- Sizzler – Some locations will be open Christmas Day.
- Sonic – Some locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day.
- Starbucks – Open Christmas Day.
- Steak ‘n Shake – Open Christmas Day.
- Subway – Some locations will be open Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day.
- Taco Bell – Company owned locations are closed on Christmas Day. Franchised locations may be open.
- Texas Land & Cattle Restaurant – Open Christmas Eve Day and closed Christmas Day.
- TGI Friday’s – Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Waffle House – Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Wendy’s – Most locations will be closed on Christmas Day.
This list reflects information gathered from various sources. We are not responsible for it’s accuracy. This list will be updated as additional information becomes available. Open locations may have limited hours of operation.
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Winter weather is here – just in time for many Americans to embark on holiday road trips. According to an online survey commissioned by Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) and fielded by Harris Poll in October 2015,* Americans log a combined national average of 25 billion miles on the road to visit family and spend a combined average of $52 billion on travel during the holiday season.** Although many will be taking holiday road trips, only a quarter (26 percent) of drivers in Snowbelt states already have installed or plan to install winter tires this year.
“Many Americans are traveling for the holidays, but most haven’t fully prepared their vehicles to take on challenging winter driving conditions,” said Chris Welty, Bridgestone tire education specialist. “Winter tires are built specially to give drivers better grip, stopping power and more control in snow, slush and ice. The thin layer of water on the road from ice or melting snow can be very dangerous, and winter tires are designed to clear that icy water and grip the road.”
Although they’re planning to drive 147 miles on average to different family members’ homes this holiday season, many Americans are troubled by the freezing temperatures and treacherous driving conditions that accompany the start of winter. Seventy-one percent of drivers admit they are nervous to drive when it’s icy, and many also are nervous to drive during heavy fog (52 percent), heavy rain (48 percent), sleet (47 percent) and snow (45 percent). In fact, when Americans were asked what they dislike in general about the winter season, driving issues topped the list, specifically icy roads (59 percent) and other drivers who drive dangerously (55 percent). Other major dislikes include heating bills (47 percent), removing snow and ice from their vehicle (43 percent), and even cold feet (38 percent).
“It’s clear from our survey findings that Americans are worried about driving in winter weather,” said Welty. “Making the switch to winter tires can help ensure that drivers feel confident in every winter driving condition – whether they are headed to Grandma’s house this holiday or sticking closer to home. The holiday season can be stressful, but hitting the road in winter weather doesn’t have to be.”
To make sure their vehicles are road trip ready, most of those who currently own a vehicle (74 percent) prepare for winter by checking tire pressure (48 percent), windshield wipers (46 percent) or fluid levels (45 percent). When it comes to preparing a vehicle for winter weather, Bridgestone encourages drivers to remember the four B’s – battery, brakes, blades and Blizzak winter tires.
For information about Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires or to find a Bridgestone retailer, visit www.ConquertheCold.com.
On the road for the holidays? Why not take us with you. Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide, I-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!