Texans love their historic courthouses, early structures of order in unruly lands. Even if the courthouse is no longer the courthouse, as in the little town of Blanco where the seat of county government moved to Johnson City in 1890.
Today the classic 1886 Old Blanco County Courthouse designed by Austin architect Frederick Ernst Ruffini is owned by a community group and rented out for events. No word if ghosts remain from her years as a hospital. If you want to see for yourself, the building is also the town's visitor center, open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday noon-4 p.m.
As in most county seats, the courthouse has pride of place in the center of a downtown square populated with local businesses. Among my favorites is Liz on the Square, a shop specializing in an only-in-the-Hill-Country combination of lavender products and Harley Davidson leather-wear. If you're lucky, Liz's husband Nelson Broyal will be there when you go, or you'll be able to catch him playing somewhere that night around the square. Click his name for a sampling of his soulful tunes.
Another favorite is Redbud Cafe on the other side of the courthouse. Simple food deliciously made. Don't miss the homemade soups. And get a sampler of Real Ale, locally brewed and changing with the seasons. The Redbud pours more varieties than anyone, including the brewer.
When you're through at the Redbud, you might want to walk or swim it off at the Blanco State Park.
A little further afield and if we've been blessed with timely rains, a spring-summer Hill Country drive may find the fields colored with petals.
If you go in June during the Blanco Lavender Festival, you might also find rows of fragrant purple blooms. Check the link for locations.
Then check into the Best Western Plus Blanco Luxury Inn & Suites and smell the roses. Really. About 700 bushes surround the building in a floral rainbow. Inside, every room is a suite, more than comfortable, with free breakfast downstairs in the morning.
Texas is a big state of small towns and Blanco is one of the sweetest.
Copyright 2009-2015 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.