Small Town Wine Bar in California’s Smallest Incorporated City

Updated 11/4/23, original post published 1/30/18   Whenever I hear about someone closing their business, it always makes me a little sad. Such was the case when I saw the following post on Instagram from Ginger at Small Town Food and Wine, formerly Small Town Wine Bar. The last few years have been tough for many businesses. Some were closed down for months and never reopened and recovered. Those who have been lucky enough to reopen have struggled with lack of help (people don’t want to work!), fewer customers and rising prices. These challenges have forced many business owners to reevaluate what is important. Ginger came to the decision that she no longer has “the desire to fight to stay open.” The good thing to…

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World Birding Center Locations and Best Time to Visit

The World Birding Center may sound like a single place but, in fact, it is a series of nine locations that stretch out 120 miles across the southern border of Texas. Each unique facility is a gem on the chain that forms the World Birding Center. The World Birding Center locations offer year round activities. Whether you are a casual nature lover with no interest in birding or an expert birder, you’ll love all that these centers have to offer. About the World Birding Center The World Birding Center is a $20 million development based on the joint partnership between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Rio Grande Valley Communities & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Each unique location is sponsored by one of the…

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Port of Brownsville Fiesta Cruise with Osprey Cruises

It was a while coming but I finally got to go on the Port of Brownsville Fiesta Cruise with Osprey Cruises. I purchased my ticket at the Winter Texan Expo in McAllen way back in January 2020, then everything came to a screeching halt that March. The cruise finally started operating again earlier this year. I watched the weather for what I hoped would be a beautiful day and made a reservation. I was rewarded with an almost perfect day of blue skies, warm but not too hot temperatures, and a mild breeze. Osprey Cruises Osprey Cruises may be best known for their fishing trips, both deep sea and bay fishing, but their six boats offer a variety of options. Deep sea and bay fishing…

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Tourist Day in Nuevo Progreso

Nuevo-Progreso Tourist Day

The border town of Nuevo Progreso, Mexico, honors tourists twice each year. Why? Simply put, tourists are essential to the economy. Early in December, usually on a Friday, they host Welcome Back Winter Texans. On March 21st, regardless of the day of the week it falls on, they host another big celebration for Tourist Day in Nuevo Progreso. Many winter Texans wait until after this event to return to their homes in northern locations. When I moved to the Rio Grande Valley the end of 2018, one of the things I really wanted to do was visit Nuevo Progreso. I was excited to make my first Progreso – Nuevo Progreso International Bridge crossing early in 2019. My friend Linda and I had a great time…

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Alpaca Ranch in the Rio Grande Valley

photos of Alpaquita Ranch

I had planned to make an alpaca ranch in Mathis, TX, the last stop on last year’s fall RV trip. It was disappointing that, in the end, it didn’t work out but I planned to visit there on another trip. I was absolutely delighted to discover that there is an alpaca ranch right here in the Rio Grande Valley, barely a 30 minute drive from my home! Of course, when I learned that, I immediately made a reservation to visit Alpaquita Ranch in Raymondville. If you follow me at all, you know I am a sucker for animals and any kind of up close experience, like the elephants at The Preserve and the Exotic Resort Zoo. Although I have horses, have worked with big cats,…

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What is There to do at Resaca de la Palma?

Resaca de la Palma State Park

Resaca de la Palma State Park is one of three state parks that are part of the World Birding Center. The park was acquired in 1977 by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and it was opened to the public in December 2008. First, What is a Resaca? A resaca is a phenomenon seen only in the southern part of Cameron County, Texas. Resacas are former channels of the Rio Grande that are now cut off from the river. They have no inlet or outlet. Without the flow from the Rio Grande, most resacas are dry and fill with water only after heavy rainfall. For centuries, prior to land development and water control in Cameron County, seasonal flooding of the Rio Grande from snow melt and…

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Downtown San Antonio Walking Tour

For my recent stay in San Antonio, I purchased a 3-day hop-on hop-off ticket that included the GoRio Cruise. On the third day of my ticket, I decided to walk to the Riverwalk from Tower of the Americas, which inadvertently ended up being a walking tour of downtown San Antonio. The route I took was quite a bit more rambling than the one I’ve laid out below. I kept forgetting to check the map and just walked, enjoying the beautiful sunny day. I had to back track several times! Highlights of a Downtown San Antonio Walking Tour This walking tour of downtown San Antonio is about 2 miles plus however much you walk on the Riverwalk. Of course, if you walk back to your car…

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Buckhorn Saloon and Museums – Not What I was Expecting!

If you ride the hop-on hop-off bus or look up things to do in San Antonio, chances are you’ll become aware of the Buckhorn Saloon and Museums. I didn’t really have any interest in the saloon or getting something to eat in the cafe, but I definitely was interested in seeing the Texas Ranger Museum. So, while I was doing a self-guided walking tour of downtown San Antonio, I decided to take the short walk to the Buckhorn Saloon and Museums from The Alamo. When I arrived at the Buckhorn Saloon, I went in to the gift shop which is where you purchase your tickets. The gift shop is large with lots of merchandise including plenty of Texas memorabilia. I spent some time looking around…

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Dripping Springs Distilling Tour and Tasting

copper pot stills with text overlay: Educational and informative tour Dripping Springs Distilling

When you visit Texas Hill Country, you can go wine tasting to your heart’s content. But did you know you can also visit distilleries, often for a tour and tasting? There are several spread out all across Texas Hill Country so no matter what your plans are while you are in Hill Country, you can add one (or more) to your itinerary. On my recent RV trip, I spent a few days in Dripping Springs and visited Dripping Springs Distilling for a tour and tasting.   I spent most of my life in California and a few years in Nevada. Both places have fairly liberal alcohol laws. You could buy alcohol pretty much anywhere – the corner gas station, the neighborhood grocery store, Walmart, Costco…

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The Alamo – More than a Famous Battle

photo of musket demonstration and map of the early mission with text overlay: The Alamo More than a Famous Battle

When I visited San Antonio in 2018, I knew there were two things I had to experience: the Riverwalk and The Alamo. On that trip, I really had no idea what to expect in San Antonio or from these two attractions. I enjoyed both of them so much that I wanted to see them again in more detail. When I visited The Alamo in 2018, I missed out on a guided tour so I made sure to work that in this time. I’m a big fan of guided tours! Misión San Antonio de Valero Guided Tour of the Alamo The guided tour of the Alamo is $40 but the group is small and the education well worth it in my opinion. History is always a…

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