Austin, Travel

Exploring the Americana of Small Town Texas (pics)

Geoff and I took a lovely trip to Gonzales, Texas this weekend (60 miles due south from Austin on Highway 183); he was acting in a movie and I was happily reconnecting with nature after becoming a complete workaholic recluse.

Acting is something that Geoff has gotten into recently (he acted in two movies last year) and disconnecting with reality and working on the couch is my current hobby. Needless to say, the short trip was advantageous for both of us (though I had a mini-meltdown when I realized that the SOLE coffee shop in Gonzales closed down over two years ago).

Gonzales, like similar old towns dotted over the state of Texas, is small and quaint. A sign proclaiming, “Pocketknives are IN! Pick up yours today!” greeted us as we drove in. Like rings on a tree, you can see the decades of wear on the semi-deserted downtown. On the smallest ring, you see the strong, granite buildings from the 1800s  with beautiful tin tile ceilings and floor to rooftop windows. The next ring you can spot the expensive modifications from the 40s and 50s, and the next ring, cheap modifications from the 70s and 80s. In the youngest ring you see empty storefronts, banners nailed in front of the original store signs and empty parking. It’s both inspiring and humbling to stumble into the past.

We were acquainted with the former majestic stature of the city by the bed and breakfast we stayed in. When we pulled up, I couldn’t believe we would be slumbering at such a stately manor, but there we were, standing before a beautiful 100 year-old plantation with a carriage house, multiple fountains, pool, greenhouse and a city-block acreage. The bed and breakfast is called Belle Oaks and if you ever find yourself out near Gonzales way, I highly recommend staying there.

The movie Geoff acted in was filmed in the Gonzales countryside. Since the film is still in production, I dare share much, but I will say that watching the dead winter grass sway below the cold, blue-gray sky was quite the picture. I think periwinkle and golden amber are two of my favorite colors right now.  Due to the subject matter of the film, we met several ancestors of the Indigenous People of Texas and learned a great deal about their history. It was quite eye-opening and reminded me how much I want to learn more about the Native cultures of America…aaaand what a bunch of f’ing assholes we were.

This trip also reminded me that you don’t have to travel far out of your hometown to have an adventure.

Waiting for Guffman Lockhart courthouse

Can you guess what movie(s) this courthouse was featured in?

sign fail

Ok…I won’t wear a shirt or shoes in your restaurant then.

luling artistic pumpjacks texas oil

The town of Luling, TX got creative with their unsightly pumpjacks.

gonazales bed and breakfast belle oaks

The beautiful bed & breakfast we stayed at in Gonzales, TX. Isn’t this place gorgeous?

geoff marslett acting

Geoff gettin’ his acting on.

geoff marslett acting

And more acting…

indigenous people of Texas

A reenactment of a Native ceremony.

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  • Reply Tara January 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I love, love, LOVE tiny Texas towns. I grew up riding with my brother & parents up through the middle of Texas from Houston to Lubbock through all manner of them (there are no major roads that will take you directly from Houston to Lubbock). Gonzales is cool, it’s one of the earliest Anglo-American settlements in Texas, and the first west of the Colorado River.

    It has a major place in Texas History. Gonzales is famous as the “Lexington of Texas” because it was the site of the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution. The infamous flag with the words “Come & Take It” came from the Battle of Gonzales.

    PS. Jerry Hall, of Mick Jagger fame, was born here. 🙂

  • Reply carissajaded January 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Aw man, I need a weekend get away! I am obsessed with quaint little towns as well… and we have a lot of them! A few weeks back I went to stay in a family member’s house in a town called Wesphalia. I asked how to get there and she said “after you see the sign saying you’ve entered Westphalia, it will be on the right after a blinking light.” I loved that I could get to a place with such simple directions. Glad you had a good weekend!

  • Reply rl reeves jr February 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    maybe I missed it but where did y’all eat?

  • Reply Kearstyn June 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Love living in Texas. I have traveled alot in this state and also have many pictures of my travels in Texas and beyond.

  • Reply Shay February 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Check out a historical tour in Austin via Segway!

  • Reply Tera July 17, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Hard to believe that at one point these small towns were completely self sustaining. There were good doctors, dentist, grocery stores etc…. I’d really love to see them become more liveable. As Austin expands and housing costs rise it would be nice to be able to live in a smaller town. But quaint isn’t for families or the elderly who need good medical care, schools, resources. Would be nice to strike a balance between self sustaining and working with the sweet landscape of older towns. Vision! We need vision!

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