Georgetown possesses a thoroughly honest and authentic charm. The buildings that surround the large courthouse square are filled with stores and restaurants; exactly what visitors hope to find. It doesn’t feel touristy, it doesn’t feel synthetic, but rather continues to be the center of activity for its resident population, as it was in the beginning. It quite simply makes you feel at home.
A Busy Town
Almost all the parking spots surrounding the square are taken when we arrive. This is clearly a town that draws people. On a Sunday afternoon in July, it seems quite a feat.
An Inviting Town Square
Distributed around the square are flowering Crepe Myrtles and large shade trees, under which you’ll find well-placed benches. The landscaping and benches were installed in the late 1980s and contribute immensely to the inviting feel of the town.
The Texas Main Street Program was initiated in 1980. Georgetown joined the program already in 1982, although the town had been busy revitalizing the downtown since the early 70s. Considering how the downtown areas of small towns across Texas had been left nearly abandoned through the 50s and 60s, the residents of Georgetown showed an amazing amount of forethought by recognizing and acting to resuscitate their former center of activity. For those of you who love history, you’ll enjoy this 16 minute video about Georgetown’s history. It’s worth watching!
It’s Lunch Time
As we walk around the square, Georgetown moves right to the top of my list of favorite Texas towns. I’m enjoying getting an up-close look at all the beautiful buildings, but before long, I start becoming distracted by thoughts of food. Our plan is to eat at the popular Khun Kan Thai Kitchen, but the restaurant turns out to be closed on Sundays, so we return to Gumbo’s Bar, where we decide to sit on the large second floor balcony, overlooking the square. The restaurant is located in the old masonic building. If you watched the video, you’ll recognize the dome.
Georgetown is a university town. Southwestern University lays claim to being the oldest university in Texas, based on the fact that one of its predecessor universities, Rutersville College, opened in 1840. The university we see today was actually founded in 1873, from a union of four different educational institutions. The school is small, with an undergraduate population of 1,515, which makes it easy to get around. An added bonus is its location just east of downtown Georgetown.
San Gabriel Sunken Garden
The north and south forks of the San Gabriel river flow north of downtown. The two join immediately west of San Gabriel Park, not far from Interstate 35. I wanted to visit the park, which is currently undergoing extensive renovation work, in order to visit its sunken garden. Created in 1967 by the Georgetown Garden Club, this small garden is an unexpected gem. Apparently, the garden is often used to host weddings, and I have no problem understanding why. Take a look at the pictures and I’m sure you’ll agree!
Inner Space Cavern
This cavern is located just west of Interstate 35, to the south of Georgetown. After having seen Longhorn Cavern the day before, I was interested in stopping to see Inner Space. As happens much too often, we simply ran out of time. I can’t recommend it based on personal experience, but it looks amazing, and therefore worth mentioning.
Reflections on Our Three Day Hill Country Trip
It’s amazing how much you can see in three days! It might be fair to say that our round trip was somewhat rushed, but I like to see as much as possible when we do a trip. Summer time temperatures did somewhat restrict our ability to explore, but not as much as I had expected. The fact that we had so much on our agenda meant that there was a lot of in and out of the car, which left plenty of time to cool down as we drove from one place to the next. The unexpected realization after this trip is how interesting the geology of the Hill Country is.
I'll leave you with some pictures taken during our drive home.