Growing up in Texas, I often listened to ZZ Top and was always curious about their song La Grange. News reports in the early 70’s featured the closing of the Chicken Ranch. In my late teens, I saw both the movie and broadway production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Aside from these references, I really had no idea what the community of La Grange was all about. During a recent visit, I learned just how limited the references to this incredible town were. I assure you, La Grange is so much more!
Starting with the rich history, La Grange’s first settlers arrived in 1822. Wonderful reminders of the town of around 5,000 residents are found in the bustling downtown, including an old oak tree known as the Historic Muster Tree, which has been reinforced by concrete and still lives. According to history, recruits from six military conflicts have mustered around the tree prior to leaving for battles.
In addition, the former Fayette County Jail (1883) is home to the La Grange Chamber. The Fayette County Courthouse is stunning, surrounded by beautiful oaks and a dedication to service men and women from the county.
Weikel’s Bakery, located at the edge of the city limits, features baked goods and a reminder of the founding Czech and German residents who first settled the town. http://www.weikels.com
One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises in the community for me was the Texas Quilt Museum, located in the heart of downtown La Grange in buildings constructed in the 1890’s. Because my Grandmother was a quilter and I am the proud owner of several of her creations, my curiosity peeked so I knew I’d have to step through the doors. For those who are not familiar with quilting, enter this gallery and you suddenly recognize the art that is quilting. While many of the pieces I saw looked nothing like those my Grandmother made, the stories they told were a variation of what I know her loving hands created in her day. More than 10,000 visitors walked through their doors since opening last year. Adjacent to the building is Grandmother’s Flower Garden, a place to sit, enjoy nature and view the Texas-sized mural of hanging quilts designed by artist Duana Gill and painted by muralist Brent McCarthy. Definitely worth seeing. http://www.texasquiltmuseum.org
Trust me. This is only the tip of the iceberg of what to see and do in La Grange. The rest will have to come another day.
EAT IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
Located in downtown La Grange, Bistro 108 is a small but fabulous restaurant across from the historic former Fayette County Jail, now the Chamber of Commerce. I’ve actually visited the place twice now. Offering daily specials including homemade Chicken Pot Pies until their gone, the menu’s variety blew me away. Aside from the pot pie that I was unable to order because practically every table had beat me to it, Shrimp and Crawfish Bisque is a great starter that goes nicely with the sourdough bread they bring to the table. I’ve enjoyed the Bistro Burger on toasted sourdough with Oven Roasted New Potatoes, Roasted Poblano Pepper stuffed with Sautéed Vegetables, and Chicken Rosemary Ravioli filled with ricotta, chicken and served with basil pesto Alfredo topped with Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. Food at its finest in an unassuming location.
For more information on Bistro 108, go to http://www.bistro108.com.
Categories: Travel Texas