Bryan/College Station, Texas...
Bryan/College Station, Texas is the home to Texas A&M University; the third largest university in the United States. Although the campus itself is nearly identical to other campuses around the U.S.; the one thing that makes this destination so unique is the people/students...called Aggies. Their friendly nature, their strong sense of family and their respect for tradition makes these individuals the reason that Texas A&M is regarded not only a great educational institution, but also one of the most interesting places in the world.
Most people that travel to, or...
Most people that travel to, or through Bryan dont realize that there is a world famous winery located here. Messina Hof Wine Cellars located on Bryan's east side, has many activities every week, with villas on site for people who would like to stay overnight.
4545 Old Reliance Road
"We're not in Austin anymore, Toto."
Bryan, Texas, is located about 98 miles northeast of Austin and 98 miles northwest of Houston - and that's the best things it has going for it. It is a small town with nothing much going on. The demographics and socio-economic statistics are skewed by the large University (Texa A&M) in College Station (the adjoining town). If you are over 23 yrs old, you are probably married with kids (which at least gives you something to do and a way to meet people with common interests). If you are not married or do not have kids, your opportunities for entertainment and socialization are very, very slim. There are only a handful of decent local restaurants and they fill up fast. Most of the shopping and restuarants are chains and big box stores. There was one club that catered to an older crowd and offered a good selection of live music (mostly from Austin and Houston), but it recently closed down. Again, the best things about Bryan is that its less than a two hour drive to Austin or Houston and we have a great all volunteer community radio station - KEOS! That's 89.1 on your fm dial.
My 50th Birthday at Messina Hof
It is a tradition in my family as each kid passes 50 years, the family gets together as a surprise. Well, you would think it wouldn't be a surprise after a while, would you? ;-)
Anyway, my parents took my wife and I down to the Messina Hof winery just east of Bryan for a weekend of fun and grape picking...not telling me that the other kids would be there as well...
Each year, Messina Hof puts on a great scam - they invite people to come out and pick their grapes and make them pay for the privilege!
There is a nice building on the grounds that holds 8+ large rooms, so it's easy to spend the weekend there...
"The Family Shows Up"
Well, I should have expected it, but almost all of my brothers and sisters showed up by surprise...duh...so all of us went out the next morning to harvest grapes!
"Fun in the Fields"
Messina Hof has about 40 acres of Lenoir grape at the winery. This grape is used to create its Papa Paolo port.
About 6 weekends a year, a hundred peope or so arrive and - after a short instruction - start picking grapes...
After the harvest, the grape pickers - er, "guests" - are invited to attend a lecture or two on wine.
It's probably a good idea to do this AFTER the harvest!
Of course, at some point, everyone is taken through the winery...
The capstone of the day is when you get to stomp the grapes you picked! The Lenoir grape actually has red juice (many red wine grapes have clear juice), so after you wash your feet and stmp some grpes, the staff has you step onto souvenier T-shirts to leave two big footprints...we accidentally sent one of the T-shirts to to laundry but the stains held fast!
This photo is all of my family in the vat happily stomping the grapes!