Newman's Castle & Colony Cellars - September 17, 2009
-Israel Morales

We headed to Bellville. Our first stop was Newmanís Bakery where we got coffee and sweet rolls and met Mike Newman, owner and builder of the Castle.

Driving thru narrow country roads about 8 miles from the Bakery we arrived at the Castle and were greeted by 2 collies as we got off the bus. They wanted to play fetch with everyone and anyone who would throw their ball or a stick into the moat that surrounded the castle. Estella Garcia was the first to give them the attention they wanted.

Mike was waiting for us at the draw bridge where he told us that the foundation was poured in 1998 by a crew, but that he has done all of the rest by myself with one helper.

The draw bridge assembly is a stroke of genius using an enormous squirrel cage that takes a 200 pound person to get inside and basically walk to lift the gate that weighs close to 3000 lbs. The walls are made of Cinderblock construction with a masonry stucco finish on the outer walls. Five 24 ft tall corner Turrets, a Gatehouse and a 42 ft. Central Tower keep everything secure. The outer walls are 18 ft. tall and a large courtyard in the middle. As we entered we saw the Chapel in one of the round Turrets that was very unique.

As we entered the Living quarters we saw a living room with black leather sofa and hand make furniture. All the woodwork done from scratch with his own design including table and chairs, floors, walls, stairwells, the sink, bathtub and faucet knobs and all the beds. It is a very unique design everywhere you looked. Going up the narrow swirling stairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors were guest bed rooms. The top floor had a balcony where Mike had a huge telescope where the view was awesome.

The master bedroom, kitchen and dinning room were all large and very inviting. We enjoyed huge sandwiches, chips, tea and all the cookies, donuts and cakes we wanted. Eddie Dickey caught 5 fish in the lake that surrounded the castle.

As we headed back to Bellville we stopped again at the Bakery to pick up goodies to take home and then went across the street to the famous meat market, where we sampled summer sausage. Charles brought a cooler so we all had a place to keep our meat cool until we got home.

Our next stop was the Colony Cellars Winery in Monaville about 17 miles from Bellville heading towards Waller. Rick took us on a trolley ride to the vineyards and told us all about the different type of grapes he raises.

Returning to the main building we took a tour of how the wine is processed there. It was a small set up since they only make 15 cases a day (90 bottles) it was quite interesting to see how simple it can be to make wine. After the tour we were Greeted with fresh bread, secret dipping oil and cheese to cleanse the pallet between the 12 samples we tasted. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. Ralph and Carol each won wine glass charms and Sally got the 2 wine glasses and a bottle of Sparkle water.

We hope that you will join us soon on another great Day Trip.

Attendees were: Ralph & Estella Garcia, Israel & Nora Morales, Eddie & Gwen Dickey, James & Dorothy Wade, Sally Anderson, Gayle Steele, Marie Kucera, Patsy Seay and her guests Carol and Ruth, Margaret Slanina and Charles & Sylvia Slanina.