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Norse, of Course!

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A stop on the Norwegian Country Christmas Tour last year, the Goodnight Station B&B  features a farmhouse setting with panoramic views of the Hill Country.
Today, the area around Norse, Clifton, and Cranfills Gap, along with a stretch of Texas 219 called the Cleng Peerson Memorial Highway, is known as the Norse Historical District. The Old World language has all but vanished, but descendants of those bold pilgrims here in "Norse Country" still carry on many of their forebears' customs. Two celebrations touting the area's heritage–Clifton's Norwegian Country Christmas Tour and Cranfills Gap's Norwegian Lutefisk Dinner–coincide here each first Saturday in December (December 4, 1999).

Clifton is 40 miles northwest of Waco on Texas 6. From Dallas or Fort Worth, take Interstate 35 south to Hillsboro. Turn right on Texas 22, and drive approximately 25 miles (past Whitney and Laguna Park) to the FM 219 intersection. Turn left on FM 219, and proceed 8 miles. For information on area restaurants, lodging, and events, write to the Clifton Chamber of Commerce, 115 N. Ave. D, Clifton 76634; 254/675-3720 or 675-2732. Web site: clifton.centraltx.com. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Clifton's area code is 254.

Norwegian Country Christmas Tour

Come early and stay late for the Norwegian Country Christmas Tour, which kicks off at 10 a.m. on Sat., Dec. 4, 1999, in downtown Clifton, "the Norwegian Capital of Texas." Enjoy Norwegian folk dancing, Norwegian arts and crafts, and other activities extolling the region's heritage.View specimens of early Norse masonry during the tour of historic homes and churches (tour hours: 10-4). Take your choice of tasty foods from vendors and local restaurants. Santa arrives downtown at 6 p.m.

Advance tickets for the Country Christmas Tour cost $6 each, $8 the day of the event. For tickets to this event, as well as ticket information about next November's Smorgasbord, contact the Clifton Chamber of Commerce (address and phone number listed above).

The Bosque Memorial Museum is at 301 S. Ave. Q in Clifton. Hours: Tue-Sat 10-5. Admission: $1, 50¢ age 12 and younger, free age 4 and younger with adult. School groups 25¢ per student. Wheelchair accessible. The museum houses the largest collection of Norwegian memorabilia and artifacts in the South and Southwest. An 1859 log cabin is on the grounds. The museum offers a map of the Norse Historical Dist. for 25¢. Write to the Bosque Memorial Museum, Box 345, Clifton 76634; 675-3845.

The Bosque County Conservatory, at 1701 W. 9th St. in Clifton, houses an art gallery, theater, and cultural center. Hours: Mon-Fri Noon-5. Admission: Free. Wheelchair accessible. Write to Box 373, Clifton 76634; 675-3724.

The Nordic Nook, at 102 N. Ave. D in Clifton, opens Tue-Sat 8:30-5. Wheelchair accessible. The shop offers gourmet coffees, baked goods, domestic and imported gifts, and specializes in rosemaled items. Call 675-2667.

Norwegian Lutefisk Dinner

The Norwegian Lutefisk Dinner (advance tickets required) takes place Dec. 4, 1999, in the Cranfills Gap ISD cafeteria. To get to Cranfills Gap, take FM 219 west from Clifton 19 miles to its intersection with Texas 22. Turn right, go 2 blocks, and take another right to the cafeteria. The dinner is served family-style from 4:30-8 p.m. Seasoned "lutefiskers" prefer the fish swimming in drawn butter and white sauce on a bed of boiled potatoes, with lots of salt and pepper. For "landlubbers," there are also turkey and dressing, green beans, and delicious homemade breads and pies. Young folk dancers entertain guests as they're waiting to be served by hosts and hostesses arrayed in Norwegian finery. Tickets: $12, $6 age 12 and younger. Orders must be postmarked by Nov. 20. Seating is limited (first-come, first-served). Make checks payable to the Cranfills Gap Booster Club, c/o Barbara Epley, Box 69, Clifton 76634. Call 675-2265.

Resources

To contact the Norwegian Society of Texas, write to the president, Lila Grossinger, 1713 Dean Martin Dr., El Paso 79936-4905.

Look for the following books in your local library: Norway in Texas (Norge i Texas) by Odd Magnor Syversen and Derwood Johnson (Stange Historielag, 1982) and The Norwegian Texans (Institute of Texan Cultures, 1985).

Books for sale at the Bosque Memorial Museum include Three Months with the Wild Indians by Ole T. Nystel (1994); Norwegian Settlements in Bosque County, Texas by Oris E. Pierson (1979); The True Saga of Cleng Peerson by Norwegian author Alfred Hauge (1982); and The Heritage Collection, a museum-produced regional cookbook.

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