Cultural Exploration Destinations North America

A Day Trip to Southwest Texas

From Victoria we took off to Goliad, TX. Goliad is the third oldest municipality and oldest county in Texas. Although this little town was never as famous as the Alamo, Goliad was part of the Texas Revolution where over 350 men lost their lives in the war with Mexico. I knew our visit would lead me to some historical sites to photograph so I brought along my camera equipment ready to capture interesting images.  

If you’re a history buff like me, you could spend a full day reading land & building markers telling the stories of the past. Much of the history revolves around the Goliad Massacre and Presidio La Bahia, where you can take tours to see what life was like during the 18th century.

Most of the city’s restaurants, shops, and activities are “On The Square” where the Goliad County Courthouse still stands today. The empire style courthouse was built in 1894 where, for a short period of time in 1902, it served as a hospital and morgue during a terrible tornado disaster that whipped through Goliad. After renovation and upgrades to make the courthouse more functional, Goliad has restored its glory and beauty as many visitors come to admire it’s National Registry of Historical places in Texas.

It just so happens that on the day of our visit was the start of the Goliad Market Days where vendors set up tents around the square selling various homemade goods and crafts. This open air market has long been a tradition in Goliad, as it once served as a marketplace for locals and the surrounding communities to sell and buy goods. We stopped at a few of the tents to check out their specialty items. We met a man from northern Mexico who sold beautiful pottery. We have a weakness for pottery, so we purchased a few pieces to add to our collection.

If you like signs, we found a couple of tents selling metal and wood signs that could be decoration pieces for an outdoor area or fence, as well as in the house. I love messages such as “Laundry Room” or “Let’s Eat”.   

If you like plants, several vendors were selling garden plants or miniature succulent plants. Plants make great gifts for someone and can add life to an office space. We also came across a vendor selling pecan trees as well as other fruit trees. Although I don’t have a green thumb, it was tempting to purchase few of the plants and trees.

As we walked around, the aroma of fresh made soap at Takona Soapery could be smelled as you passed the stand. The owner of the company shared how all of the materials used in the product are natural and environmentally safe.  

T-Shirts, Mexican dresses and blouses, homemade canned food items, specialty knives, jewelry, etc., were available for purchase at Goliad’s Market Days. Kettle popcorn and snow cones made for a great snack and refreshment as you walked around checking out the Market. If hunger strikes, there are several restaurants and food trucks to choose from including one where you could build your own burrito.  

Around the square, various businesses such as a small boutique shops, gift and antique stores were also open for business. The Looking Glass and vintage clothing stores like Tia’s caught my eye and I quickly browsed the merchandise. Several restaurants were serving up delicious meals to customers.

The Dawg House Bar is a great place to cool off with a cold beer. I enjoyed capturing images of business signs like the Emperesario, as well as Goliad Dental Care that hung from the covered sidewalks as we wandered through the market.

As we got in the car ready for our next small town visit, we drove up on St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. This tiny little church was setting up for a funeral, so we didn’t have the opportunity to go inside but I couldn’t help but take a picture of the high steeple with the bright red doors. I admire the beautiful colors and unique designs of small town churches such as St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.  

From here we drove to Berclair, where the Texas Mile once held its annual car racing event. Here you will find the historical Berclair Mansion, which was built in 1932 with 22 rooms and is over 10,000 square-feet full of priceless antiques from the 16th and 17th century. The mansion is only open on the last Sunday of the month between 2-4pm. A small fee is required for admission.

As we continued on in our journey we noticed the Berclair Country Store and a vintage Chevrolet ambulance vehicle parked out front. We stopped to take a look at this antique car and take a few photographs. Although the store wasn’t open it was fun looking around at the antique items lying around. I must say this place looks like it has not changed with the times!

From here we drove through vast ranchland until we reached Corpus Christi. We drove down Ocean Drive, which runs along the boardwalk along the water. Many people were out enjoying the sun, socializing with family and friends. As we drove through the city I captured a few images such as a mural painted on a fence or the original Whataburger restaurant and its unique shape building.

Circling our way back to Victoria we drove through Port Aransas, Texas. This is a popular vacation spot for most South Texans. This community generates most of its revenue during the busy summer months. However, due to Hurricane Harvey, the community is still recovering as many hotels and resorts are still closed and some will likely never reopen.

Hurricane Harvey  truly hurt this community’s economy and I hope that they can get back on their feet soon. We stopped for a cup of coffee at Coffee Waves. This quaint coffee bar not only serves coffee but offers other beverages, ice cream and a few fresh baked items. Here I discovered interesting art pieces hanging on the walls.

Once we finished our coffee we headed to Rockport, another community that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Several of our friends own summer homes in this small town along the coast and we have been following the recovery of this devastating storm on Facebook. We were shocked to see so many homes still without walls and roofs just sitting there waiting to be dealt with by their owners, most of whom are still battling it out with their insurance companies to have their claims to be approved.

Slowly but surely this town will return to its splendor as it is loved by those that have been vacationing here for decades.  We had plans to meet up with some friends for dinner at Latitude 28 which is an excellent seafood restaurant in the heart of the city.

After many good laughs with friends and a great meal, we drove back to Victoria. We had no idea that today was going to be so eventful but we were truly blessed to have such a great experience exploring small towns in our area.

Take the time one day to go explore communities that are close by. You never know what you could discover!

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