Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Great American Town Tour!!!

Welcome to
The Great American Town Tour!!

Welcome to my slice of America...
Kingsville, Texas!

"A Living Legend"

All of my pictures are "clickable" to be enlarged. I took a million and a half pictures and figured the best way to organize each "area or theme" of Kingsville would be mosaics collages. ;)
Hope y'all don't mind. :)

Kingsville, Texas is located South of Corpus Christi, with a population of 25,575.

The town is just 13.9 square miles, founded in 1904 and named after Richard King-the owner of King Ranch. In case you are unfamiliar, King Ranch is still the largest ranch in the United States. You may have heard of the King Ranch Saddle Shop Catalog or have seen the "King Ranch" Edition on Ford Trucks. This ranch boasts of over 825,000 acres (think 85% as large as Rhode Island) and at one point was the largest ranch in the world with 1.2 million acres. The story of how this ranch came to be is absolutely fascinating and can be found here. It involves a young mistreated indentured boy from New York City in the 1800s... escaping as a stow away on a steam ship and heading to the South. He eventually owned his own Steam boat line... and I'll let you read the rest to discover his journey into the ranching business. I won't spoil it for you. ;)

The King Ranch is still owned and operated by the same family line today! Everything in Kingsville is associated, dedicated or named after the King Ranch. It is the blood of our town.

Here are the gates that lead into the ranch. It is like the gates going into the great Oz. haha

King Ranch has it's own world famous breed of Cattle: Santa Gertrudis Cattle. Naturally, the headquarters are here in Kingsville. Here are some pictures of cattle on the King Ranch.

Now if you haven't seen or ever heard of the King Ranch Saddle Shop... you are missing out. I used to receive the catalog when I lived in California. I had never even heard of the King Ranch and I certainly didn't know how I was even receiving their catalog. I'm sure I saw it somewhere and signed up for something to receive it. Anyway, every time it arrived in the mail... I was like a kid in a candy store. I would mentally circle the items I just HAD to have (if I won the lotto, of course. haha... it's not a cheap catalog)... Seriously, do yourself a favor and check out their stuff online. It might not be your style... but one has to appreciate the craftsmanship of everything they make, especially the furniture. Hubby and I have already decided that if we ever win the lotto... we will be building a log cabin lodge in the mountains of Wyoming and filling the house with King Ranch furniture. ;)

The outside of the shop:

And the inside:

Everywhere you look... there is some serious eye candy...purses, furniture, home decor, boots, jewelry... you name it, they have it.
There are taxidermy animals all over... including a big ol' longhorn. I just HAD to get a picture of their tablescape... haha. Am I the only one or do you have such a great appreciation for tablescapes after seeing all of the great ideas on Susan's Between Naps on the Porch Tablescape Thursday??

The King Ranch Saddle Shop is in our "historic downtown" area. The building itself was built in 1904 and is considered a historic building.

There are some other cute little shops in the downtown area... a few antique and craft stores, a soda fountain shop, gift shops and a tea room... to name a few.

Another thing that puts Kingsville on the map... we are home to Texas A&M University, Kingsville. Go Javelinas! I had never even heard of a Javelina before my move to Kingsville. Evidently they are a hog/pig type creature. Hubby saw a whole wild herd of them crossing the road while driving home from work one day. ;)

Texas A&M, Kingsville offers the very first program ever to get a Masters Degree in Cowboy. haha... Ok it is a Master's Degree inRanch Management... but I would rather it be called Cowboy. THAT would certainly be a well earned education! I don't know about you, but I have some major respect for ranchers, farmers and anyone else that works the earth and tames wild animals. What a manly profession. ;)

Now that I have brought you ALL THE WAY to Kingsville... I better find something for you to do... here are your (very limited) options:

We could go to the Dick Kleberg Park...

It is a very large park... lots of shade trees and picnic benches that run along a creek. Very pretty. It also has some stables... festively painted red, white and blue!

After the park... we could go hit the links...and play a round of golf. Or go check out the old railroad depot and museum... or perhaps have a spot of tea at the Cherry Tree Tea Room.

This tea room is actually one of my favorite eateries in Kingsville. Everything is homemade... and let me tell you, they have the best potato chowder soup and homemade bread! And desserts!! What an array of homemade desserts they have to choose from!

Or... we could go to my favorite... SONIC. Who doesn't love happy hour??

Whataburger or Big House Burgers are also good choices. ;)

We could go through the DRIVE THRU donut shop aka my dream come true. I had never seen such a thing growing up in California!! A Palace of Donuts?? My kind of place.

Tell me that Squirrel doesn't look like it is holding a gun. Seriously, am I losing my mind? Don't give me a Rorschach Ink Blot test... I will come up with some wild interpretations. haha The Wheely Clean is a automated Car Wash. Who comes up with these names? ha! The Sirloin Stockade is always a running joke between hubby and me. If we are ever needing to celebrate... the Sirloin Stockade is always a viable option. (We have never actually been... we are saving it for a very special occasion.ha!) Gotta love the ginormous cow.

And, when all else fails, we will head to Wally World... the center of our thriving town. ;)

Doesn't that SO look like a typical Walmart moment? A shopping cart just haphazardly hanging out in the middle of the parking lot aisle... no cart attendant to be found for hours... no baskets inside the store to use either. ;)

What is that, you say? You would like to see our town's water towers? Well ok! Who am I to deprive you of these beauties?

Brahmas tower at the high school... Javelinas tower at the college...Navy tower on base... and the living legend tower in the middle of town.

Our pretty Courthouse.

Want to see a little piece of odd?

Check out this "Flea Market"... very colorful... filled with "things" inside... problem is... I've never, ever seen anyone go into or come out of this place. I drive by every now and then to work up the courage to go check it out... but then the ginormous metal eagle heads out front scare me off and I leave. It kills me to know there are treasures to be found in there... one day I will work up the courage to get to the bottom of this place. ;) Now tell me that those eagle heads don't look like Sam the Muppet?

Seriously! Don't they?? And that is more than fine by me!

More Kingsville fun...

A caboose parked in the middle of no where off the highway...
A reminder of where Dr. Pepper comes from... just in case any out-of-state visitors needed a reminder. ;) I'm a Dr. Pepper fanatic... and, yes, I've even been to the birthplace in Waco...seen the Museum and all. Next on the list... Dublin! Have to visit the factory! ha!
And, of course, it isn't Texas if you don't have at least one barn painted with the Texas flag in your town. ;)

Now that we've gone through town... let me show you my favorite part of Kingsville! The beautiful South Texas countryside!! (Yes, I CAN say that with a straight face! I found VERY pretty landscapes on my expedition to get town tour photos.)

Scenic Kingsville:


Walking single file to the watering hole!

This little guy got out. Apparently he thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. I apologize. ;)


The corn is growing and it is BEAUTIFUL!! Such pretty colors everywhere!

There are no shortage of birds here. It is one of the bird watching capitals in the entire universe. Don't believe me? Why don't you Bird the Bend and find out for yourself? haha... LOVE these ridiculous names for everything out here!

A pretty country road. These are EVERYWHERE out here.

And a cute little creek.

I think this is where the country kids go swimming... at least that is what all the movies about country folk that live by creeks would have me believe. ;)


I love these big ol' puffy white clouds!! They are here almost every single day. I mean, we had cumulus clouds in California, don't get me wrong, but never this puffy, this white or this low!! They are my favorite and what I think of when I hear "Texas Sky".

BUT!!! Lets get to the REAL reason that we are in Kingsville!!

We are stationed here while hubby finishes the rest of his training. This is what he flies...

Some shots around base:

The tower where they "request fly-bys"...right after they get finished playing a shirtless game of volleyball. haha Again, I apologize.

The track that I am training for my half marathon on... and the pool!

The Number One Reason Why I Love Kingsville:

The People.

Yes, everyone is friendly. But more than that, they welcome and support the military here... even with their loud jets. This gracious attitude is a HUGE change for a girl that was raised in Southern California. I can recall hearing complaints time and time again from people wanting Miramar to be closed because of jet noise. Seriously, you buy a house at the end of an airport runway and then complain about noise? Here's your sign. How about a little support for the people who keep you safe? Thank you Kingsville for your support and kindness.

However, the most memorable experience that I will always take with me... is our church... Bay Area Fellowship.

I have found it rather difficult to find a church that feels like "home" in the past. Upon moving to Texas...I was excited to find a good ol' fashioned, little white church to attend. The kind any good Southerner attends. I wanted to find a small church with a family-feel; something simple. However, God had different plans. ;) He lead us to THE BIGGEST church that I've ever been to... both square footage-wise and congregation-wise. On our first visit... we were a little skeptical... it seemed like a "production"...contemporary music played by an incredible band with the best singers I've ever heard sing for a church. Coordinated lights to the music... big screens... tv cameras...in a ginormous auditorium. The pastor delivered a fantastic "relevant" message. It was the complete opposite of where I thought I belonged, setting-wise. And on our first visit, with these doubts... the pastor explained that there are places like Vegas that have all of the production in the world... the best talent, the best of everything... but delivers no message (or worse, a sinful message). We (as Christians) have been given the greatest message in all time, in all of humanity, but often times, don't honor it with any production or talent at all. My outlook has completely changed. It is so awesome to see people with unconventional "church" talents (such as media and production) being allowed to worship and glorify God through the gifts that God has given them. Having gone to this church for almost a year now... I have never seen anything so exciting as the work that God is doing through this church. It is life changing and amazing. And I will be sad when we have to leave Kingsville because of it... but feel very fortunate that I will always be able to watch the sermons online. If you are "in between" churches or haven't found a good "fit" yet...I invite you to watch some of Pastor Bil's messages. They are certainly food for the soul! And don't forget to check out the band either... they are awesome! ;)

I took this picture right outside of church... as the sun was setting. The sky was just a breathtaking backdrop to the cross.

I will leave you with some Texas Sunset shots... taken here in Kingsville. :)

Thank you for letting me share "my slice of America" with you... I can't wait to see your slice!


Dawn said...

Hey Melissa, great story on your town. I grew up in an Air Force town and actually miss the sound of the giant fuel tankers overhead. I wish I had more time to say more about this area. I hope you get lots of participation. I think this was a great idea.

Stacie said...


I really enjoyed seeing your town. I can really see why you love living where you do. It looks like such a sweet community. You must LOVE the sunsets - how beautiful!

I have an award for you on my blog. I hope you'll stop by.

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Melissa, I'd never heard of Kingsville, but now I'd love to visit. What a wonderful all-American town! I love how they support the military. And, yes, I think that squirrel is packing heat! :-) Beautiful sunset pics! Love your town! Susan
P.S. Check out the flea market (don't go alone...just in case) and report back...we wanna know what's in there! :-)

mbkatc230 said...

Melissa, thanks so much for hosting this! I love your post about Kingsville. What a great place - of course I've heard all about the legendary King Ranch, I would love to visit one day. The squirrely liquor sign just cracks me up! And Sonic - I've told DH I could never leave Texas because I'd miss my Cherry Limeade fix! Oh, and that giant cow - did you know that you can crawl in that thing (you'll never guess where the access is - I'm NOT joking). Loved your post and thanks again for hosting this. Hugs from Central Texas Kathy

blushing rose said...

You outdid yourself, Melissa! This was well presented, beautifully photographed & enticing for the reader ... makes one desire to 'run right over' ... the sunsets are exquisite. TY for sharing such a lovely history of a darling little town. TTFN ~ Marydon

ellen b. said...

Oh I'm so sad I'm missing this event! It really is a fun one!! Wow you really live way down south in Texas! One of my brothers is in Dallas. The one thing I thought about when seeing your town on the map is the fact that my son is in the middle of trying to become part of the border patrol. Happy trails to you :0)

Gwen said...

Now I HAVE to go to Kingsville. What a beautiful place, so charming and your pride comes shinning through.

You know, I really wanted to do my town because I love it here, but I just couldn't figure out what to take pictures of. We are small, very little history (except for the Chumash Indians) and no cool buildings, like you have. Maybe next time:)

Grannyann said...

This is a great idea. I am looking forward to seeing every ones Great American Town!!

Jadehollow said...

Great Tour Melissa.. Love everything from that Christmas tree covered in antlers, to the Caboose. My daughter would love it too.. she's a Pepper too lol. My husband was stationed in Texas for years when he was in the Service.. he mentions often what a beautiful state it is. Thank you for hosting this event.. My daughter and I had a blast traveling around our town taking pictures and prepping for this party. Normally she doesn't like it when I stop in the middle of what we're doing to take pictures so this time I let her do most of the photo taking and she got a lil addicted lol. Once again.. Thank You for hosting and Y'all have a wonderfully blessed 4th of July Holiday.

Michelle@Fromhousetohome said...

What a fun idea! You gave us a great tour. I only wish I had found you earlier, I would have played along as well.

The Stylish House said...

You know how to throw a great party, thanks for the invite. Kingsville, has some great history, but I am a little leery of those gun packing squirrels and wild half pig/hog creatures roaming around! I lived in Texas when I was a little cowgirl and have a soft spot for it since I met my wonderful hubby there. I have moved around a bit and enjoy seeing different places and meeting new friends. I live by the motto “Bloom Where You Are Planted” and I see you do that also.

amariaf2000 said...

WOW - you make me want to visit Kingsville now!!! Love this blog party!! Thanks for hosting!
~angela @ peonypatch

ps - can you delete #10? I accidentally put your link instead of mine...

printersdevil said...

Melissa, this was wonderful! I will be showing this off to some friends. I think I am headed to Kingsville for a convention next April. I think that is the host place for us.

I signed up to participate, but had to back out. I planned to spend time today to pull my post together, but lost my focus this morning when we had to have my precious Blackjack put to sleep.

Thanks for hosting this. I can't wait to see the other posts.

If you love Christmas and the holidays, visit my holiday blog and sign up for the weekly Christmas in July giveaways. This week is a silly elf costume for the car. The deadline for the first signup is Wednesday, July 1 at midnight. Since I just got this blog up and going again, there may not be much competition for the first giveaway.

Other week's items will be listed on the blog beginning July 2.
Come visit.

Robin said...

Delightful post Melissa! Your photos are breathtaking and your love for Kingsville shines through every word. You painted a picture of a lovely town full of wonderful people.
Thank you for hosting this fun red, white and blue blog party~
Happy 4th~
All Things Heart and Home

Joyce said...

Would love to see inside the tea room one day. Lots of cows and open areas and I had to laugh at the Muppet:) I am still on R&R and so I could not participate here but it was fun to look at all the posts. Happy 4th of July to you and your husband.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

What a wonderful idea this party is! Last night, when I linked to your blog, it was soooo late, I couldn't read your post. I have enjoyed reading about and seeing your town. How nice that you have been able to adjust so well to such a change in lifestyle. My husband was in the military, so I know that's not always an easy thing to do. I am definitely going over to check on the Kings Ranch website. That store looks fabulous! I guess I need some psychiatric help too, because that squirrel definitely looks like he's pointing a gun! A flea market that nobody visits? No way I could drive by that without going in to check it out! Loved the way you talked about your church. It sounds like such a wonderful place to worship, and how great that you found it. Beautiful post. I hope you don't mind that I, a new reader of your blog, crashed your party today. I couldn't resist showing my town on my blog. Thanks again for hosting this. laurie

Kristal said...

Hi Melissa, I'm new to your blog. Fell in love with it the second I saw your wonderful banner. However,I only saw the blog party just a few days ago and didn't have time to throw together a great post about the little town I live in right now. But I thoroughly loved your post about Kingsville and the pictures were great! You had such a wonderful idea! I still might do a later post, linky back to you! Thanks so much for sharing!

Connie said...

Melissa, I too just found your blog from Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and would love to do my town but am leaving out of town for the 4th. I grew up as a military brat and loved it! What a great life...wouldn't trade my growing up for anything. You need to host this again for all of us that want to do it....I love seeing where everyone lives and enjoyed your tour. I guess I am a country girl at heart but always lived in the city!

By the way...great blog! I'll be back! Connie

Blondie's Journal said...


I so wanted to join, but of course, I put everything off. And... I didn't know whether to do Chicago or Cassopolis, Michigan, as I live in both. So you have big & little and you know, when I knew that I would probably do the post on Cass, that is when I truly realized where my heart belonged. Of course, I could have done both, but gosh~I didn't get around to one! LOL!! Don't be surprised if I make the deadline though. Blondes can be that way!!

Kingsville!! You have sold me, girl! Life there just seems to get under your skin, huh? You have such a funny way with your story telling, I laughed over the squirrel, the cow on the greener side of the fence and pig/hog creatures!! The story about your church touched me to the soul and although I am super catholic, I feel a strong desire just to go online to see how you felt the first time you experienced your church. And finally, the sunsets. I had a lump in my throat. I may be a midwestern girl, but I would have to be living under a rock not to know about stubborn Texas pride!! Your state rocks!! And you go girl~let those planes roar and soar beccause they are covering our a****!!

Much love to you, Melissa!!! :-)


Marie said...

Hello Melissa - thank you for allowing me to join you in the town tours! What a fun party. I'm looking forward to seeing where others live! Thank you for sharing your photos - they're beautiful.


its so very cheri said...

Love all the houses. I told my hubby I want to move there-where ever THERE is.

Hayley said...

Thank you thank you thank you for doing this.

I have this small obsession with everything American, and the one think I love is the small little towns. And now I get too see them....

Amy@RunnersLounge said...

What a wonderful slice of America! Thank you for sharing and what a fantastic idea!


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