In between bouts of rain, I decided to head up Hwy 281 and checkout Blanco, Texas. Now I go through Blanco on 281 on a fairly regular basis but it's been a while since I stopped and took a look around. Most small Texas towns are worth a look especially in the Hill Country. The centerpiece of most of these small towns is the courthouse.
And Blanco is no exception. Courthouses are usually large, anchor the middle of the town square, and are interesting as an example of Second Empire style architecture. This courthouse is a Texas Historic Landmark and is one of the finest examples of courthouse architecture from the late 19th century in Texas. Ongoing efforts to restore the former courthouse to the historic elegance of former years and provide a continuing role in the life of the community. At one time the courthouse served as a hospital. These days it is used for weddings and special events. From March through December, the courthouse lawn is the site of Blanco Market Days. You'll also find a Visitor's Center on the ground floor which is open every day.
They serve delicious sandwiches, soup, burgers, and salads that both look great and taste great.
They also serve beer from the local brewery. Friday and Saturday nights, they also have musical entertainment. They also have a huge wall showcasing local artists work which is available for sale right next store at the Brieger Pottery which has a lot more than pottery. Be sure to browse after you eat.
If you are more into BBQ, on the next corner you will find the Old 300 BBQ. Relax inside or out and come for Happy Hour.
Don't stop looking if you haven't found just what you are looking for in the way of eats. Another very popular choice is the Blanco Bowling Club Café. Surprised right? They are open very early for breakfast and late for dinner and have a pretty extensive menu including Mexican food, steaks, fish etc. I've heard their breakfasts are particularly good.
On around the square, you will find a pharmacy.....
A Tourist Bureau......be sure you stop here. They are very friendly and have lots to to share.
I picked up a Texas Hill Country Trail Passport there. Pretty neat.
You get them stamped at various places throughout the Hill Country just like a National Park Passport but they are free AND you can mail them in after you have 18 stamps to get a prize. I think my grandkids are going to love these this summer....but I got myself one too.
Another new spot in town is The Bean & Biscuit. The staff was great, it is a really nice looking little business with great looking baked goods. I ordered a regular cup of coffee and was directed to an enormous coffee maker on a table near the front. It looked like something a caterer would use to serve 100 people. I was there about 3:00PM and was out the door before I had my first sip. I was really disappointed because the coffee tasted like it had been percolating steadily since 6:00AM. With four creamers, I still couldn't drink it. To be fair, I checked Yelp after I got home and they have great ratings with lots of positive comments so I'm hoping I just hit a bad day. They need to move to a much smaller coffee maker and make it more often.
Not a great photos but here is an event worth attending in Blanco. Lavender farms are located in several places around Blanco.
This is the Municipal Court Building.
If none of the restaurants have tempted you so far, here is another...the Blanco River Pizza Co. Couldn't find a webpage for them but they have great reviews on Yelp and they serve a lot more than just pizza.
The entrance to this nice little park is right on the corner of the square. I have been here before when they had a musical group playing. There are also walking paths.
There some other businesses like this Antiques store. Also on the square but the photo disappeared is the Oak Creek Café. They are known for their free beans while you wait on your order as well as their "all you can eat" catfish and their burger. Now this is not a complete list of eateries in Blanco by any means.....only those on the town square. A few others that come to mind are Hacienda El Charro, Dairy Queen, and the Chess Club.
This is Uptown Blanco. It is a whole center of activity including restaurant, theater, courtyard, tavern. I think that it may still be in devlopment. The restaurant is not currently open but this whole arts and events complex has a lot of possibilities.
Stopping Blanco wouldn't be the same without a stop at Blanco State Park, This park had a lot of damage last year but work to fix the flood damage began immediately and was completed as quickly as possible. It is a small park but very nice. When camping, you feel like you are out in the country but it is an easy walk to the downtown square.
The entrance and day use area are on the north side of the river and the campground is across the way. There is a low water crossing to get there. As you can see, the river is once again up and there is a little water on the road. To ease your mind, they do have an escape route from the campground to 281 if the river rises too quickly.
Swimming in the river is very popular as is kayaking.
They have screen cabins for rent.
There is a nice pavilion.
The only problem is that many of the sites have branches hanging down too low for anything but tiny campers. There are branches low over the road too. Several RVers I know have passed on camping here this year due to the low branches. I asked the ranger about the problem and he said they were short staffed and behind on trimming. While I was there, they were working on getting the escape route branches trimmed....a really good idea with the constant rain we have had lately.
I would like to come back here so I hope they get things trimmed up. It is just too expensive to camp in a place you have to worry about damaging your roof. This may be the #1 problem in public campgrounds in Texas. Tree trimming always seems to be the first area hit when funds are tight.
They even have some animals for the campers to look at.
I could only find one other campground in Blanco. It is the Blanco Settlement.
It is a very pretty little place that I hoped might be a good place to have a Pink FlaminGoes GTG; however, they only have 20 sites and they stay pretty booked all the time. This is the office and little store.
I think they have 9 cabins that look really great from the outside....very cute with nice settings.
All in all, it was a great visit to Blanco and I saw lots of places I had never seen before and most of them were right around the town square.