Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“Gonzales, Texas”

Gonzales County Courthouse (1894-1896)
          For years, we drove from our home in San Antonio to my sister’s home in Bay City, passing through the quaint town square of Gonzales. Every time we slowed through this small town’s streets, we promised ourselves that we’d stop and check out the shops and historical sites. Once the trip to Bay City became too long for Mom, we started using Gonzales as a midway meeting point. My sister, mother and I decided after one rendezvous that we really needed to spend an entire weekend there.
Carriage House Belle Oaks Inn Bed and Breakfast
         A little research led us to the Belle Oaks Inn Bed and Breakfast. This splendid home, converted into a B & B by some Aggie alumni, offered a carriage house remodeled into living room, small kitchen, and two bedrooms and bathrooms weekend paradise. A mother-daughter weekend rarely happened for the three of us, so this memory remains one that I enjoy pulling out and reliving.
         Mom could still walk at this point, but she used a walker for longer distances. She could manage going from the carriage house to the main house for breakfast every morning, and the beautiful pool, gardens, and patios didn’t challenge her too much. I think we visited every store along the square, and we discovered a few local restaurants with fantastic food. However, at the end of each day we pulled into the Dairy Queen near our B & B to order a chocolate milkshake for Mom and MooLattes for Paula and me. The locals greeted us as though we’d lived in the area our entire lives.
         The respite from this brief visit lingered in my mind, and every time I started feeling grumpy or stressed, I’d remember the lazy days in the pool and the genteel grandeur of this wonderful place. It didn’t take long before I convinced David to take me back to Belle Oaks, and Gonzales, for a much needed anniversary escape.
         With our stay, we booked the Riata room in the main house instead of the Carriage House. We spent idle hours during the first evening lounging on the upstairs balcony and playing in the pool. The next morning, we donned our running shoes and took off on the “driving tour” on foot! We walked up and down streets carefully marked by the town to view splendid homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. With camera in hand, we snapped shots of the County Courthouse and local churches as we strolled along.

         We haven’t managed to return to Gonzales, but I think fondly of this oasis of rest situated just a short drive from home. I believe I’ve begun to think of it as an emergency haven, like our cabin in Leakey, that I can travel to when I need to recharge.  

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman            

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