RV Space Still Available for Winter Texans

Most Winter Texans who plan to spend all or part of the next two to four months in campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts have already made their reservations.

"Remember Goliad"! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But for those who have waited to the last minute, the task of locating a park that still has room for short or long-term winter visitors just got a little easier: The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) has surveyed its members and assembled a list of parks that still have room for Winter Texans.

As of early January, the association had identified 20 campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts that had yet to fill up for the season.

“Generally speaking, our parks are busier this winter than last winter, but there are still a number of parks that have room for snowbirds,” said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners. Parks that still have vacancy for short- and long-term winter visitors include:

Advanced RV Park in Houston-Pearland: This park offers hot showers, a tree at every campsite, a clubhouse, playground, swimming pool and spa and shuffleboard courts.

Bay View RV Resort in Rockport: This park, which features two outdoor swimming pools and an activities director, is walking distance to Copano Bay and Aransas Bay fishing piers.

Rockport-Fulton! The Charm of the Texas Coast © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Columbus RV Park and Campground in Columbus: This quiet park offers its guests free cable TV and wireless Internet service as well as a video and book library. The park is popular with Winter Texans who want to be in a central location for day trips.

Corpus Christi RV Resorts in Corpus Christi: This is a network of parks in the Corpus Christi area, including Colonia del Rey RV Park, a Best Parks in America affiliate; Padre Palms RV Park; and Greyhound RV Park.

Dixieland Mobile Home and RV Park in Harlingen: This Rio Grande Valley park has a heated pool, billiard tables, shuffleboard courts and a recreation hall.

Fig Tree RV Resort in Harlingen: This park, purchased by new owners last year, has undergone remodeling in the pool, laundry and bathroom areas. Wi-Fi service has also been added throughout the park.

Explore the historic homes of Galveston. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hidden Valley RV Park in Von Ormy: This park near San Antonio has sites available with 30- and 50-amp service as well as dry camping areas and sites with partial hookups.

Jamaica Beach RV Park in Galveston: This park offers free wireless Internet service, free cable, free Continental Breakfast with homemade waffles, and a free daily newspaper. Other amenities include pull through sites, an exercise room, a swimming pool and hot tub, a splash pad for the kids, a game room and planned activities.

Koyote Ranch in Medina: This Hill Country park offers RV and tent sites as well as cabin rentals. Other amenities include a restaurant and grill with “all you can eat” fried catfish on Friday nights; a camp store; a beer and wine garden; and an infinity edge swimming pool.

Magic Valley Park in Welasco: This Rio Grande Valley park has 24 shuffleboard courts, a pool hall, swimming pool and hot tub and numerous activities, including morning exercise classes, square dance lessons, painting classes, a quilters group, a golf group, a wood carving group, a computer group, bingo and potluck suppers. The park also has a dance band and organizes tours to nearby points of interest.

Mission Bell and Tradewinds RV Resorts in Mission: These resorts are 55+ retirement resorts with numerous activities, classes as well as live entertainment.

Palmdale RV Resort in San Benito: This Rio Grande Valley park has a 6,000-square foot recreation hall, shuffleboard and horseshoe courts and a full-time activities director.

Rollin Homes West RV Park in Donna: This Rio Grande Valley park features pull through sites and wireless Internet service.

The Old Hildalgo Pumphouse and World Birding Center in the Rio Grande Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Spring Branch RV Resort in Spring Branch: This Hill Country park features ADA compliant family restrooms, onsite propane delivery service, pet walking areas and a recreation hall with a large kitchen. They are just minutes from San Antonio.

Valley Gateway RV Park in Edinburg: This park offers organized activities in its clubhouse, including card games, shuffleboard, ping-pong and billiards as well as occasional dances.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Canyon Lake: This family friendly Hill Country park has both RV and cabin accommodations available during the winter season. Park activities include gem mining, hayrides, laser tag, arts and crafts, horseshoes, pedal carts, karaoke and themed weekends.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Details

Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO)

The Texas Association of Campground Operators (TACO) publishes and distributes the Texas RV Travel & Camping Guide each year.

Website: texascampgrounds.com

Note: This is the first of a 2-part series on RV space availability for Winter Texans

Part 2: Fewer Winter Texans at Valley RV Parks

Worth Pondering…
Wasn’t Born in Texas, But Got Here as Fast as I Could

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Po Po Family Restaurant: A Texas Tradition

Bright neon letters spell “CHICKEN, STEAKS, SEAFOOD” across the rock exterior of Po Po Family Restaurant, just off I-10. A notice posted on the front door warns: “We are not fast!…For fast, go to New York….” The neon and the notice tell you what to expect at Po Po’s: a menu that requires no translation, featuring traditional American and Southern fare, cooked to order.

Bright neon letters spell “CHICKEN, STEAKS, SEAFOOD” across the rock exterior of Po Po Family Restaurant. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Po Po is not just your ordinary restaurant. This eatery has a unique history with a cast of unique characters and circumstances, a matchless plate collection, as well as some of the best food in the Texas Hill County. It is located about six miles north of Boerne and about ½ mile off I-10 at the Welfare exit #533, 37 miles west of San Antonio.

The warmth and hospitality are hard to beat. If you have ever been to Po Po’s, you will never forget the outstanding food and the nostalgic experience.

The structure was first built as a dance hall in 1929 by rancher and dairyman, Edwin Nelson. There were just gravel roads in the area then. First he built a gas station and then the dance hall. Nelson City was put on the map at that time.

Edwin’s son, Harold, said he was twelve years old at the time and his job was to cook hamburgers at 5 cents.

Since it was during prohibition no alcoholic beverages were allowed inside the dancehall. That didn’t seem to be a problem however outside the building, because bootleggers peddled moonshine for 25 cents a shot. You could buy larger sizes of moonshine up to $3.00 a gallon.

The Nelson Dance Hall started out with a dance every two weeks. The orchestra—when there was one—played from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and was paid $25.00. Sometimes there was just old-time music with a violin and a guitar and the two were paid a total of $5.00.

A notice posted on the front door warns: “We are not fast!…For fast, go to New York….” © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Admission started out at 25 cents but as the Great Depression worsened, the price dropped to a dime and then finally just to the passing of a hat. People didn’t have the money to buy gasoline to get there and the dance hall failed.

The dance hall was sold in 1932 to Edwin “Ned” Houston, a colorful rancher across the road, who was well known for his large export operation of cattle, mules, and other animals to Latin America. His children Rena and “Fritz,” have said that he sold to Pancho Villa in Mexico, Batista in Cuba, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, and Somoza in Nicaragua.

Ned Houston started a restaurant and named it Po-Po Cafe. “Po Po” might seem like a child’s pet name for “Grandpa,” but tradition tells that Ned named his café after Popocatépetl, the great Mexican volcano. This was well known to him from his Mexican ventures and it is said that he wanted a short, punchy name.

Houston sold Po Po to Willie Reinhard in 1934. It changed hands several times and had some hard times until it was sold to Luther and Marie Burgon in 1950. This is the time that the great restaurant days of Po-Po began when it became a family restaurant.

They began operating Po Po, developing the reputation of its being one of the finest restaurants in the area. It was the place to go for the well-known families in San Antonio and residents of the Hill Country alike.

Luther and Marie traveled one month a year and were not satisfied with photos as a reminder of their many travels. They began collecting plates which now adorn the walls of the two large rooms of Po Po. They now number more than 2,200 on display, many of which were donated and each with a special story behind it for their patrons to see and enjoy.

More than 2,200 plates are on display, many of which were donated and each with a special story behind it for their patrons to see and enjoy. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Burgons kept Po Po as a family restaurant until 1981. In 1983 it was sold to Jerry and Jenny Tilley and son, David, and is now open as a fully operating family restaurant. With the addition of a sound stage and covered dance area, outdoor patio area, and a complete kitchen, Po-Po is capable of serving up to 200 people outdoors for private parties.

As of June, 2004, the restaurant was sold to Sam Bournias and Mark Admire; with “the hope and desire to continue this Texas Tradition for another 75 years.”

Details

Po Po Family Restaurant

Po Po Family Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner

Location: 6 miles north of Boerne, ½ mile off I-10 at the Welfare exit #533

Address: 829 FM 289, Boerne, TX 78006

Contact: (830) 537-4194

Website: poporestaurant.com

Worth Pondering…
The only tome to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.

—Julia Child

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