Small Town Texas, Big Taste

On our Christmas trip to Texas I told my husband (the Artist) that I wanted to see more of Texas.

So we went to Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas with a fun name to say (the “g” is silent). We toured the outside of Stephen F. Austin State University, his alma mater.

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I thought these circular dorm buildings were particularly interesting. I was reminded of the round room we had in the turret of the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

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We walked through the arboretum along the creek where we took in some swinging benches, lovely bridges, and alarming student public art.

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The trail opened out onto a grove of pecan trees, aptly named Pecan Park.

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The downtown was small but charming with its cobblestone streets and red brick buildings. The 28 degree Celsius weather certainly didn’t make it feel like Christmas, but it was fun to see the decorations regardless.

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They sure know how to do their window displays.

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But what I’ll remember most about Nacogdoches are these Texas-sized onion rings my husband accidentally ordered, wanting to make sure the four of us had enough. After living in Canada for so long, he forgets what “Texas-sized” actually means. Oh we had enough alright. The pile was so high a table of eight looked at us incredulously when the waitress placed it in front of us.

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The other small town we visited was Lockhart. It has a beautiful courthouse but we went for their barbecue at Smitty’s Market.

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This unassuming place (behind the motorcycle) was named one of the Top Barbecue Restaurants in Texas, and my taste buds would agree. The smell that hits you when you walk into the barbecue pit is enough to get you salivating, and you’ll be salivating for a while as the line-up is long (for good reason, though it goes pretty quickly).

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You watch the apron-clad employees take the meat from the smoker and cut it on a table right in front of you, the walls black with decades of built-up grease (it opened in 1948). My father-in-law warned me not to lean up against the walls because you’d be taking some of that grease home with you.

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De-li-cious. We devoured brisket, ribs, and pork chops on the tailgate of his truck. A stranger walking by took in the sight of the three of us and said, “Ain’t that the life?”

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In that moment I felt like this bumper sticker I got in my stocking was not far off the mark.

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