Giddings – GoldWiser

Whether you buy or sell, make the WISER choice

Charm Bracelets-where excatly did they come from?




Believe it or not, charms have been around and enchanting people since prehistoric time!  Frequently referred to as amulets or talisman, the wearing of charms has bee associated with magic, mystique, protection, spirituality and love.   As early as the stone age, people have been making jewelry from clay, animal bones and shells as objects of adornment.


During the Bronze Age, jewelry making became more sophisticated along with the materials used.  Early charms were made of lapis lazuli, rock crystal, and other semi-precious gems.  Different civilizations including the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians made and wore charms.  The Babylonians are believed to be the first people to wear charms on a bracelet around 700 BC.





The Egyptians , as master goldsmiths, were the first to develop the ability to cast gold, using the lost-wax technique, which many jewelry manufacturers and dental labs still use today.


Only the wealthy  and affluent could afford custom -made pieces of jewelry.  Until the industrial revolution changed all that.  The machine age introduced the technology to mine precious metals and mass-produce them into affordable jewelry for the growing middle class, both in Europe and the United States.

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Charm bracelets reached their height of popularity in the United States after World War II.  American soldiers returned home with souvenir charms from the cities they had liberated.


If you have a charm bracelet you no longer wear and you daughter thinks,”eewwh”, get real…..the wiser thing to do instead of letting it sit around, is come in with it to GoldWiser!


Texas State Parks – Hill Country Part 5

Lake Brownwood State Park , located on the 7,300-surface-acre Lake Brownwood, attracts swimmers, boaters, and anglers. An atmosphere of rustic tranquility and beauty pervades this CCC park with its stone cabins, lodges, and historic recreation hall. The locally quarried native rock cast into the outdoor patios and stairs taking visitors to the lake gives the park a timeless feel. Many family reunions are held here in the large group facilities. Lake Brownwood State Park, our first stop in Hill Country Part 5.

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Up next in Hill Country Part 5 is Longhorn Cavern State Park. Located near Inks Lake State Park, this beautiful cave was cut long ago by underground streams. Cavern access is limited to tours and special programs, which are offered year round. Wear comfortable shoes to take the 1.25 mile tour through the cave, and remember the cave stays at a comfortable 68 degrees. The park offers a “wild” cave tour for the more adventurous. An off the trail adventure to test your physical and mental capabilities. Picnicking and hiking are also options on the surrounding park grounds, and the park offers a full service deli, snack bar, and gift shop.

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"Wild" Tour

“Wild” Tour


Our third stop today in Hill Country Part 5 is Lost Maples State Natural Area. Wildlife is everywhere, including the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler and Black Capped Vireo. 11 miles of trails up steep canyon cuts reach several dramatic overlooks. Along the course of the Sabinal River, springs flow through scenic and rugged limestone canyons, filling little ponds with grassy banks, perfect places to pitch a backpackers tent. However, the star of this 2,200 acre natural area remains a stand of uncommon Uvalde Bigtooth Maples, relics from the last ice age. Large weekend crowds journey here when the maples turn vivid reds and yellow in late October and early November, so it’s best to schedule a mid-week trip during peak season.

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Goldwiser in Giddings is still paying top dollar for your unwanted gold, silver, and gift cards. Remember, as always, we are located across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience.


Texas State Parks – Hill Country Part 4

A scenic and mostly undeveloped mosaic of rocky hills, flowing springs, oak groves, grasslands, and canyons, Hill Country State Natural Area is well suited for equestrian camping and trail rides, with walk in camping and backpacking for non-equestrian visitors. Our first stop in Hill Country Part 4 offers over 50 miles of trails. It covers 5,400 acres of the former Merrick Bar-O Ranch near Bandera. Overnight equestrian campsites have small corrals, water troughs, tables, and fire rings. There is also a group lodge that will sleep up to 9 people for those guest seeking more creature comforts. Horseback riding can be arranged with local dude ranches or you can bring your own mount. A negative Coggins test is required at check in!

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Inks Lake State Park is our second stop today in Hill Country Part 4. Inks Lake is one lake in the chain of Highland Lakes created in the 1930′s through a series of impoundments along the Colorado River. Beautiful outcroppings of ancient, granite like rock, called gneiss, make the park one of the state’s best geological wonders. There are guided canoe tours and nature hikes along lakeside cliffs and hilltop trails were white tailed deer and other wildlife make themselves at home. You can fish, swim, or boat in the lake, rent canoes and kayaks or browse for unique gifts at the State Park Store. There are also 7.5 miles of hiking trails. Longhorn Caverns is just a few miles away. Located within an hour of both Austin and San Antonio, Inks Lake is a popular park, so be sure and reserve campsites or cabins well in advance.

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Containing nearly 6,400 acres, Kickapoo Cavern State Park, our last stop in Hill Country Part 4, is relatively undeveloped. This newly renovated park has a network of caverns, including one large enough for guided tours. Visitors can enjoy spectacular flights of Mexican Free Tailed bats during evenings in warm weather months from the Stuart Bat Cave. The park also contains 20 limited campsites, great bird watching, and miles of undeveloped trails for hiking and biking.

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Remember GoldWiser in Giddings, across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience, is still paying top dollar for your unwanted gold, silver, and gift cards.



Texas State Parks – Hill Country Part 3

Welcome to Hill Country Part 3. We begin today with Government Canyon State Natural Area. Located 16 miles from downtown San Antonio and within the city limits, this is a truly unique landscape dedicated to the recharge of the Edwards Aquifer. This natural area is an 8,622 acre undeveloped stretch of land protecting a portion of the aquifer’s recharge zone. Nearly 40 miles of trails from remote, rugged canyon land to gentle, rolling prairies, let visitors explore the rich ranching heritage of the area, as well as the many live oak savannahs, old growth ashe juniper trees, and Spanish moss overhangs. Be sure and listen for the rare sound of the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler. The visitor’s center complex includes a store, several classrooms, an exhibit gallery and a covered pavilion.

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Our next stop in Hill Country Part 3 is Guadalupe River State Park. Visitors to the park can enjoy a full complement of outdoor recreational opportunities ranging from picnicking and camping to hiking and horseback riding. The scenic Guadalupe River, complete with bald cypress lined banks, dramatic limestone bluffs, and natural rapids, flows through the park. It is a favorite destination for swimming, fishing, tubing, and canoeing/kayaking. The park offers excellent put in and take out spots for float trips. The park’s Discovery Center provides visitors with wonderful educational opportunities.

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The last stop today in Hill Country Part 3 is Honey Creek State Natural Area. Accessed through Guadalupe River State Park, this 2,000 acre natural area is home to four protected wildlife species including the Golden Cheeked Warbler. Towering bald cypress and sycamore trees envelop Honey Creek in an oasis of amazing beauty. Spanish moss drapes overhead branches while dwarf palmetto and maidenhair fern adorn creek banks.

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GoldWiser in Giddings is still paying the most for your unwanted gold, silver, and gift cards. Remember, as always, we are located across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience.


Texas State Parks – Hill Country Part 2

With the cold, icy weather this morning we need to go someplace enchanted! So lets go to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area to begin Hill Country Part 2. At 1,825 feet above sea level this unique pink granite dome rises 425 feet above the surrounding countryside. Covering 640 acres, it is one of the largest batholiths, or exposed underground rock formations, in the United States. Tonkawa Indians named it, believing ghost fires flickered at the top and that a Spanish conquistador had cast a spell on it. Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1970 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the park is popular with rock climbers,  bird watchers, stargazers, hikers, tent campers and for picnicking, and geological study. Mid-week or off season periods offer smaller crowds, and visitors are encouraged to reserve campsites months in advance.

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Second today in Hill Country Part 2 is Garner State Park on the Frio River. A summer ritual for some families going back five generations. Some of the tradition began in the 1930′s when the CCC “boys” constructed a stone dance pavilion and invited local girls to the dance. The park now host the oldest outdoor dance in Texas with jukebox music filling the valley each summer evening. During the days, enjoy tubing in the cool waters among the cypress trees and many scenic views. A visitor center, seasonal store, miniature golf, and pedal boats are available. Summer weekends are busy, with parking lots filling quickly, day users may be turned away. Best advise: Visit during mid-week or off season. Reserve cabins, shelters and campsites months in advance.

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There are many parks in the Hill Country of Texas and I have only covered two of them in Hill Country Part 2. Join me tomorrow as we look at some more of these wonderful parks, natural areas, and historic sites. Remember, located across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience, GoldWiser in Giddings is still the best place to sell your unwanted gold, silver and gift cards.




Texas State Parks – Hill Country Part 1

Welcome to Texas State Parks – Hill Country Part 1. Kicking off Hill Country Part 1 is Blanco State Park. This park is well known as a small, peaceful, family oriented park. Interpretive and educational programs are offered year round. Just four blocks from Blanco’s charming, historic town square, the park borders one mile of the spring fed Blanco River. Relax in the sun, swim, tube, fish, or camp. Bring your own volleyball and net, horseshoes and floats to make the most of the facilities. Spend a quiet weekend picnicking under the trees and watching stars at night. Shelters, campsites and a CCC built group facility make this parks popular with both tent campers and RVers. The State Park Store rents tubes, kayaks and canoes.

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Up next in Hill Country Part 1 is Colorado Bend State Park. Located in rugged Colorado River country, this pristine wilderness location is suited to primitive tent camping. The drive takes you through beautiful Hill Country landscapes down into the river valley, the last seven miles are on a winding gravel road. Fishing on the river from January to April includes the legendary spawning run of the white bass. The park offers 30 miles of hike and bike trails, spring fed creeks and swimming holes, limestone bluffs and canyons, and abundant wildlife. Visitors can take the hike to Gorman Falls, a breathtaking 65 foot travertine waterfall that cascades down to the Colorado River. Guided tours are also offered on Saturday afternoons. Guest can also reserve a weekend Crawling Cave and Karst Tour to explore the tight passages and large chambers found beneath this unique piece of the Texas Hill Country.

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Our final stop in Hill Country Part 1 is Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area. After peering into the depths of Devil’s sinkhole visitors can watch as millions of bats emerge into the evening sky. The natural area is home to the largest single chambered and third deepest cavern in the state. Evening flight tours are offered Wednesday through Saturday during the summer. Birding tours are also available. Access to the natural area is limited to tours, and reservations are required.

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Remember, located across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience, Goldwiser in Giddings is paying the most money for your unwanted gold, silver, and gift cards.


Texas State Parks – Gulf Coast Part 4

Gulf Coast Part 4 is the last installment for the Texas State Parks of the Gulf Coast Region. The first park that we will look at today in Gulf Coast Part 4 is Sea Rim State Park. “Sea Rim” refers to the portion of coastal shoreline where marsh grass and wetlands intersect with the gulf surf waters, formed by silt deposits from the Sabine River delta. Fishing, birding, nature study, and other day use recreation activities are popular along the more than 4,000 acres and five miles of Gulf of Mexico beach. Although the park is still rebuilding following hurricane damage a few years ago, much of it has been redeveloped and opened to the public, including a new west dune boardwalk, a primitive beach camping area with 75 designated tent campsites and the Gambusia nature trail. Other facilities such as a cabin, RV campsite loop and dump station are being planned and set to come online soon.

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Hurricane Damage

Hurricane Damage


Our last stop in Gulf coast Part 4 is Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center. Located only 15 miles from downtown Houston, this 3,200 acre “green and blue island” is surrounded by the highways, railroads, and industry of the Bayou City. Sheldon Lake provides excellent wildlife viewing, paddling, and fishing. Open for day use, the Environmental Learning Center Features a fish hatchery “gone wild”, plus wheelchair accessible trails, LEED certified facilities demonstrating “green architecture” and alternative energy at work. This outdoor classroom for all ages provides programming for schools, groups, and individuals by reservation. Free catch-and-release fishing is permitted on weekends at two stocked ponds. Don’t miss taking a bird’s eye view of Sheldon Lake, and the restored prairie and wetlands from the John Jacob Observation Tower.

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Join me again tomorrow as I begin a look at the Texas State Parks of the Hill Country. Remember, as always, GoldWiser in Giddings is paying the most money for your unwanted gold, silver and gift cards. Located across the road from Buc-ee’s for you convenience.


Texas State Parks – Gulf Coast Part 3

Number one in Gulf Coast Part 3 is Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site. In response to request from sea captains for help in navigating around the low lying Texas coast, this light house was built in 1852. At one time there were 16 lighthouse on the Texas coast. However, with changing technologies, the coming of the railroad and the consequent drop in commercial shipping, these lighthouse became obsolete. Now, only one of the historic structures is open to the public. A museum, a replica of the lighthouse keeper’s cottage, and picnic tables sit in the shadow of the Port Isabel Lighthouse, which is operated by the City of Port Isabel.

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Number two in Gulf Coast Part 3 is San Jacinto Battleground-Monument State Historic Site. This site preserves the proud history of the state of Texas and the United States. The battle of San Jacinto, fought here on April 21, 1836, secured independence from Mexico. This site’s National Historic Landmark status attest to the battle’s importance to state, national, and international history. Visitors can tour the 570 foot tall San Jacinto Monument, the tallest stone column memorial structure in the world, 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, or follow a trail and boardwalk through a wetland where native prairie grasses, marshes, and bottomland forest are being restored to their 1836 appearance. This area will provide habitat for a variety of wildlife.

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Gulf Coast Part 3 has five parks and historic sites that at one time were under the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department but that are now operated by other organizations. They are: 1. Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, operated by the Texas Historical Commission. 2. Lake Houston Wilderness Park, operated by the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department. 3. Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, operated by the Texas Historical Commission. 4. Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site, operated by the Texas Historical Commission. 5. Walter Umphrey State Park, operated by Jefferson County.


Located across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience, GoldWiser in Giddings is paying top dollar for your unwanted gold, silver, and gift cards. Thanks for joining me today for Gulf Coast Part 3, of Texas State Parks.


Texas State Parks – Gulf Coast Part 2

Today in Texas State Parks – Gulf Coast Part 2 we begin with Goose Island State Park. This was the first coastal state park in Texas. Visitors are drawn to the brown pelicans, rare whooping cranes, and fishing in the bountiful waters of Aransas, Copano, and St. Charles Bays. Located on the southern tip of the Lamar Peninsula, the park is protected from coastal storms. Dominated by dramatic wind sculpted trees the park is home to the “Big Tree”, a massive coastal live oak estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. This tree is one of the natural wonders of Texas. The park features camping areas overlooking Aransas Bay as well as beneath the shade of live oak groves.

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The "Big Tree"

The “Big Tree”


Moving on in Gulf Coast Part 2 we come to Lake Corpus Christi State Park. Swimming, boating, water skiing and sailboarding are popular during the summer months while angling for black bass, striped bass, crappie, and catfish are year round activities. The CCC built an impressive caliche open air refectory with arched walls and a tower that affords excellent views over the lake. Located nearby is the Lipantitlan State Historic Site. This is a day use only site. Named for the Lipan Indians and the 1835 battle between Texian insurgents and the Mexican Army, this site also offers picnicking and nature study.

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Lake Texana State Park in now under the management of the Lavaca-Navidad River Authority. The park is open and ready for guest under the new name, Texana Park & Campground.


The last stop today in Gulf Coast Part 2 is Mustang Island State Park. With five miles of seaside beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, this park offers the perfect summer at the shore experience. This is truly one of the best places to see coastal marine life, from green sea turtles to blue herons. Primitive beach camping is on a first come, first served basis, but reservations are recommended for campsites with water and electricity. The park also has rinse showers, bulk water , and portable toilets in convenience stations along the beach.

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GoldWiser in Giddings, buying all your unwanted gold, silver, and gift cards. Located across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience.


Texas State Parks- Gulf Coast Part 1

Our tour of the Texas State Parks now moves to the Gulf Coast.


The Battleship TEXAS State Historic Site leads of Gulf Coast Part 1. Battleship TEXAS is the last surviving Dreadnought type ship in the world and is the only battleship to have served in both World Wars. Commissioned in 1914, the vessel was considered the most advanced military weapon on the planet. Battleship TEXAS was modernized many times with the latest in cutting edge technology. She was the first U.S. battleship to launch an aircraft, mount anti-aircraft batteries, and have radar installed. She is located at San Jacinto Battleground.

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Next in Gulf Coast Part 1, we have Brazos Bend State Park. This park includes almost 5,000 acres of lakes, prairies, and bottomland hardwood forest. Spanish moss draped live oak trees provide shade to three day use areas. Thirty five miles of trails offer viewing of alligators, whitetail deer, and more than 300 species of birds. Fishing spots can be found at three small lakes and a winding tree lined creek. Visitors can touch a baby alligator at the nature center , which is open daily. The George Observatory located at the park has four large telescopes for star parties on Saturday nights.

Lake Walk Alligator Pink Bird


Our third stop today in Gulf Coast Part 1, is Galveston Island State Park. The park sustained extensive hurricane damage in 2008. Camping and day use have been restored to both the beach side and the bay side. Both areas have restroom facilities, and the beach side also has tables, grills, and showers. Plans are to eventually rebuild a redesigned Galveston Island State Park.

Hurricane Damage

Hurricane Damage

Camping 1 Galveston Island Beach


Join me again on Monday for the next installment of Texas State Parks. Until then, remember that GoldWiser in Giddings will buy your unwanted gold, silver, and gift cards. Located across the road from Buc-ee’s for your convenience.