Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tiny "Sunday Houses," I love them!

Years ago, when I was on a long road trip that often followed in the tire tracks of John Steinbeck and his standard poodle Charley, I found the wonderful hill country town of Fredericksburg, Texas. I loved the vintage town and the old neighborhoods with their rambling homes, wide porches, and bountiful gardens. But what I really loved were the tiny, charming "Sunday Houses"nestled among the others. They stole my heart. 

Why were they called "Sunday Houses?" The history that was related to me came from an old Texas family that built their own replica to house their growing family of grandchildren. They told me that ranchers and farmers who lived far from town would build these tiny homes for their weekend visits to buy supplies, visit friends, and to attend social functions and church on Sundays. Thus, "Sunday Houses."

Some of these historic late 19th century-early 20th century homes are now vacation rentals.

My favorite. I don't know why, but maybe because of the sheltering arms of the ancient tree.

A book about tiny houses. 

While we were in Fredericksburg this trip, we stopped by the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, originally started by the Varney family years ago, but now tended by Rosemary and Dick Estenson, who have built a spa, a restaurant, and 14 "Sunday Houses" for overnight stays. They're charming. We were only in one of them, but it was beautiful and immaculate.

The new spa. The windmill pumps water into a koi pond. The raised bed with the pumpkins is the "cake garden."

The herb garden outside the restaurant.

"Sunday Houses" behind the herb garden.

The food was fresh, local (farm to table), creative, and perfect.

Rest in peace as you wait for your table.

Jeff's bison chili.

A view from the restaurant into one of the garden areas.

I loved this engraved stone.

Jeff and I look forward to visiting Fredericksburg again, hopefully during bluebonnet season, when the sky blue lupines make the bee-humming air smell sweet as honey.

We've traveled over 5,600 miles so far on this book tour, met hundreds of fabulous people, visited gardens, homes, and restaurants we'll never forget (some restaurants for the WRONG reasons). We're heading westward to Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, for a presentation this Sunday, and then home. Home to family, friends, and a little grandson who I've never had the chance to hold, but will soon. Luke now weighs six pounds–and if we're lucky, we will really have a wonderful and more thankful than ever Thanksgiving.

Onward and upward,


P.S. One of my favorite television shows (and blogs) is Central Texas Gardener on KLRU TV 18 in Austin, Texas. Solid information and inspiration are shoveled out in equal amounts. In this photo, host Tom Spencer looks like he is getting ready to fly out of his chair. This taped segment about birds will air in early 2013.


Sonia said...

I adore Fredericksburg!! We used to live in Austin and try to visit there every year. The herb farm is such a treat! I haven't stayed in the new cottages yet...but hope to visit in the spring! Shopping there is wonderful! Enjoyed your post! Your new bird book is on my shopping list for several of my friends for Christmas!
Miss Bloomers

Rebecca said...

I've wanted to visit Fredricksburg for a long-long time. This post makes it official :)

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I love all of those 'Sunday Houses'. They are sweet.

I also enjoy Central Texas Gardener, their little 10 minute or so segments on real people's gardens. I think I've seen them all more than once. I need to check again to see if there are any new additions. We grow a lot of the same plants.

Enjoy the rest of your tour.

FlowerLady Lorraine

Julie Marie said...

Oh my gosh Sharon, those Sunday houses are precious!... I love them all, but I would have to choose the first one with the red tin roof as my own... how I wish it really was!... that little town must be so delightful... it looks so peaceful, relaxing and welcoming... and the newer Sunday houses where you stayed are so charming too... that little book is cute... is one going home with you?... I am so happy for you to soon be holding your sweet little grandson Luke.. wow, another pound since you posted last!... yes, it will be a most wonderful Thanksgiving for you all... much love to you, hello Jeff~... xoxo Cousin Julie Marie

Pondside said...

Trying again to comment as I wait for a flight east to visit my tiny grandsons - your birdhouse and book in my bag! When I visited the part of Texas about which you've written, it was Bluebonnet time - lovely memories.

Nellie said...

Oh, I love the little houses! It is easy to see why you are "taken" by them.

What good news that your little grandson now weighs six pounds! Yes, this Thanksgiving WILL be a special time of giving thanks in your family.

I continue to send wishes for safe travels as you complete this tour and return home.

Sending my best,

Pat said...

Lovely photos and descriptions of Fredericksburg...we were there years ago while my husband participated in the World Skeet Shoot in San Antonio...we are planning on returning again - Fall of 2013. On my bucket list - The spectacular Herb Farm and those delightful Sunday Houses. Thank you so much for taking us along on your journey!

Unknown said...

Oh Sharon, those charming Sunday Houses are adorable... I love tiny houses of all kinds,but I think your favorite of this bunch is also mine... Love the cheery yellow paint and the country porch. It's so great to travel with you and Jeff...especially with the cost of gas these days! :)
Much love and wishing you the happiest of Thanksgivings with your family! Deb and Boz

Susan said...

I love tiny houses too! I've always wished to have one in my back yard to use as my "summer" studio. I think it goes back to my childhood of drawing and writing in the playhouses we made in the woods. If we ever move closer to the grands, I'm having one for them to nurture their creativity. Lovely trip my friend and the inns you stay in are perfect--especially the old proverb! XOXO

Fredericka said...

Fredericksburg is definitely a jewel in the crown of Texas. But, there are more idyllic small towns & I happen to live in a very special one - Brenham, TX. We are halfway between Houston & Austin on U.S. 290 West. Besides contented cows and Blue Bell Ice Cream, we have a wonderful downtown/square area, the Antique Rose Emporium, Unity Theatre and a wonderful book store, The Book Nook. You really must put us on your list for the next time you are wandering Texas!

Vicki Boster said...

Hi Sharon- I'm glad that your book tour is going well. You are seeing some wonderful places! I love the pictures of the little houses as well as the stories about them-- if only those walls could talk!

I know you must be SO anxious to see your new babe!! It will truly be a wonderful Thanksgiving for you--

Blondie's Journal said...

The little houses ooze charm...I love the little yellow one, too! I've never been to of the few states I haven't seen. I know you are adding to your travel diary left and right!

I'm thrilled that you will be heading home soon and holding that precious baby! Home for the holidays!


Lorrie said...

I've read of Fredricksburg but never visited. Some day, I hope. Those Sunday houses are so charming.

You must be so antsy to get home and hold that sweet baby. Soon.

Bonnie K said...

Thank you for letting me live through your eyes. I just adore those little houses. Such a great story about why they are. It looks like you have been able to enjoy many things on your trip. The garden is amazing. I'm glad your grandson is gaining ground. My nephew was the size of a coke can when he was born and now he is just going 100 miles an hour. I wish you great joy when you get to hold him for the first time.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Bonnie K,

Thanks! Our Luke looked like a tiny, tiny doll, but bigger than a coke can. He fit inside the palm of my son's hand. Scary small and so fragile, but a real fighter.

Happy weekend,


Casa Mariposa said...

Those little houses are so clever! I always learn something when I stop by your blog. :o)

Lori ann said...

thinking about luke brings tears to my eyes, happy tears now. six pounds is great! wonderful news dear sharon.
i want a sunday house!! must go find that book too.

farmlady said...

Well, I sure didn't know what a "Sunday house" was but I think I need one in town... and one in Sacramento.. and one in the Bay Area. Yes!! I could have my grandchildren over for tea and have a place to rest when I got tired and didn't want to drive all the way back into the hills.
What a wonderful idea. I must visit Fredericksburg, TX some day.
Lovely post...

Unknown said...

Love the Sunday houses, the blue and yellow one suits you...

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I remember long ago when HGTV had some wonderful decorating shows (I don't even watch the station, anymore), one of them would feature this town every once in awhile.

They showed the Sunday Houses and the history behind them, so cute!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

These houses are delightful; thanks for posting about them. I've always wanted to visit Hill Country and Fredericksburg, you've lit the fire once again.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

P. S. May I suggest you put the links to your books on your side bar buttons? I click but it led no where.

LindaCTG said...

Oh, dear one, you've now inspired a new trip to Fredericksburg! Here you are, traveling across country and exploring the wonder that's practically in my backyard. I'm planning a return to the Herb Farm and to see the Sunday houses myself. Safe travels as you head west. Love, Linda

Lori in Indiana said...

Hello Sharon! Wow,after seeing those charming "Sunday" houses, I have a new respect for my little 900 square feet abode.So glad to hear that Luke is six pounds. Blessings as always. <3

Anonymous said...

These houses are fantastic....what special little places. We need them here in California........Sharon, your venture has been so much fun to follow...How lucky all these people were to have you in person...
travel safely home...

kj said...

hello sharon honey, so the journey is just about complete. what a finale! these little houses could not be more charming. i've always known i could happily live in a small cozy place. i would make little spaces even in a little space.

i've heard from a precious little bird that kayaking is in your future. i surely wish i were paddling along :^)


Online RSA said...

What a tiny house but it’s terrific! I've started to like Fredericksburg. Everything is really awesome!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Brenda,

Yes, I used to love HGTV when they had usable segments on decorating, gardening, and crafting. I did many, many projects for them and even flew to Florida for four or five segments. The shows were very user friendly, but now it is about professionals showing homes to people that they like, but can't afford, and then fixing up a bad one. I like it when REAL people are on camera. REAL people with REAL projects.

I've heard from many people that they've given up on HGTV.

I don't remember seeing the little "Sunday Houses,' on tv, but I'll bet it was a fun feature.



Lydia said...

Absolutely charming. Since I saw you I've been to Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. I was beginning to feel I've been everywhere when you remind me- I've missed Texas.

jerilanders said...

What a marvelous little "town" of Sunday houses, a wonderful place to pass day or two or three. I hope your book tour was successful, it looks like it was!

Kathryn/ said...

I have never in my life heard of a Sunday house and I'm grateful you have brought them to our attention. They are precious and exquisite. So glad families are seeing their value and maintaining them! Lovely!

Lili said...

The Sunday houses are adorable. Love that you and Jeff are enjoying and seeing so much of the country on your tour. So glad that by now you have held your sweet little Luke. xo