Summer is my absolute favourite time of year in Texas. It’s no secret that I’m a hot weather fan, but there’s just something extra special about Texas in summer; drinking iced tea with lemon, sitting outside under the shade of an old tree with frozen cocktails (preferably while you wait for a seat at your favourite barbecue haunt), cooling off in one of Texas’ gazillion beautiful watering holes and enjoying a plethora of summertime activities.
Last Tuesday night, we went to an iconic dance hall in the historic district of Gruene and kicked up our heels (or cowboy boots) to rock-a-billy band Two Tons of Steel. Oh lawdy, we had a goooooood time. Perhaps the best in Texas ever. (It’s right up there with the tubing day Jamin!)
The night started with chicken-fried steak and chicken-fried chicken dinner at Gristmill. I’ve blogged about this place before (gosh, a year ago!) in my post ‘Tubing, Southern Food and Swing Dancing‘. That link has some more in-depth photos of food and Gruene.
Then, we went to Gruene Hall and paid $5 to get in (entertainment here is uber affordable). You had the option of taking a swing dancing beginners class for $8 first (which we didn’t, but probably should have). Anyway, it didn’t really matter, because you can get away with dancing pretty much anything at these things.
What I loved most about last Tuesday (and many dance spots in Texas) is that it attracted a really diverse crowd. We saw a father dancing with his little daughter, groups of young teenagers, young and middle aged couples, friends and even a cowboy who looked about 80 taking swings around the dance floor. I just love the idea that all these people come together simply to have a good time and enjoy life. It’s so special to be a part of.
Part of what makes dancing in Gruene Hall so special, is that you just know people having been doing it there for 136 years; sweating their butts off dancing to live bands, trying not to trip over the uneven wooden floor in cowboy boots, hoping to catch a breeze through the open side of the building and really, really looking forward to that cold Lone Star.
Gruene Hall, built in 1878, is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. By design, not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built. The 6,000 square foot dance hall with a high pitched tin roof still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden. Advertisement signs from the 1930s and 40s still hang in the old hall and around the stage (Gruene Hall).
I managed to snap a few photos; one with some cowboy and a couple of the hall.
Boy am I going to miss this place when we leave in a few weeks!