Travel Tuesday: Gorgeous Georgetown Is Full Of History

by Babs Chandrasoma on April 19, 2016 in Living Texas, Travel,
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Georgetown, Texas is recognized for having the most beautiful town square in Texas and is the first Texas city converting entirely to renewable energy. The eco-friendly city offers a plethora of features beyond the scenic square as well. The town name was derived from the acquisition of the land from George Washington Glasscock to settle the community. Mr. Glasscock, known as the Donald Trump of his time, only had one condition: that the town be named after him. And so the city of Georgetown was born.

This close-knit community is very welcoming, and you will want to come back. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma
This close-knit community is very welcoming, and you will want to come back. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma

Historical and culturally rich, Georgetown, shares its story through museums, entertainment venues, cultural events, festivals and a wide variety of dining establishments and should be on any traveler’s list of must stop locations. The Red Poppy Festival, a musical celebration of spring, is held annually in April, and draws visitors from all over the state.

The Williamson Museum is home to the historical exhibits of the county. Located in the former Farmer’s State building, the museum maintained the integrity of the original structure by preserving the flooring, molding and original skylights. Uncharacteristic of many museums, the museum offers visitors, particularly for children, a hands-on experience including an old west chuck wagon kitchen and rotating art, photo, and historical exhibits.

In the heart of the square sits the regal courthouse complete with Lady Justice atop the copper dome. As the county seat of Williamson County, the courthouse has been witness to countless historical events. Perhaps the most memorable was the legendary trial of then Ku Klux Klan leader Murray Jackson, in 1923, which resulted in the first successful guilty verdict in Texas and forever changed the political stronghold of the organization. An interesting bit of trivia I learned on my tour is that 1952 was the first time a woman was allowed to serve on a jury in Texas. It’s hard to believe that was just 64 years ago and look how far we have come as a diverse society.

If these walls could talk I believe they would have some stories to tell. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma
If these walls could talk I believe they would have some stories to tell. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma

Throughout the parameter of the town square a collection of shops and restaurants await tourists. Home to the largest collection of intact Victorian buildings, business owners would order the store fronts from Mesker Bros., were delivered by train and then placed on the building facets. A stroll around the square is a testament to the city for maintaining the integrity of the city roots.

The local business owners encourage and support each other’s endeavors and I was awestruck by the outpouring of praise between proprietors. One common thread is the ghost stories. Apparently, several of the buildings have friendly ghosts and each October, Ghost Tours on the Square, celebrates these friendly town members.

If you stop in, be sure to try the spinach artichoke dip. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma
If you stop in, be sure to try the spinach artichoke dip. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma

Roots Bistro, a renovated 1890 general and feed store, is a welcoming venue for lunch and dinner. The menu offers an extensive selection of craft beers, salads, sandwiches, pizza, and desserts. Roots host several events throughout the year and offers live music every weekend.

Looking for a fun-filled experience and tap into your creative side? Register for a class at Pinot’s Palette. Owners, Chris and Becca, opened their doors in March 2015 with the franchise motto, “Paint. Drink. Have Fun” and they certainly deliver. Offering painting classes, private and corporate events, the couple also had a vision of giving back to their community and hosts fundraising events including Paint It Forward to benefit St Jude’s and local non-profit organizations including but not limited to Williamson County Animal Shelter. Pinot’s Palette combines creativity with a social experience including music, artistic advice, wine, beer, coffee, sodas and bottle water.

Paisano’s Trattorio and Pizzeria has been part of the Georgetown community for more than 20 years. The restaurant specializes in southern Italian cuisine; all from recipes that were created in their kitchen and made with love. Chef Karim’s affection for the Southern Italian regional flavors is shared with customers through each entrée created and served. The combination of vibrant flavors, fresh produce, an extensive list of Italian wines and the decadent desserts make for a palatable experience. I recommend the Panna Cotta, a delightful Italian variation of the flan or crème brule, a unique feature of Paisano’s is the gluten free menu choices which allow customers with nutritional limitations to experience and enjoy customary Italian dishes. A rarity today, Paisano’s takes reservations, however, they are not necessary.

With the restoration complete, The Palace Theater is a Georgetown landmark that connects the past and present. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma
With the restoration complete, The Palace Theater is a Georgetown landmark that connects the past and present. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma

The Palace Theater opened its doors in 1925 as a silent movie show venue and continued operations until the large multiplex theaters in the late 80s became popular. A group of Georgetown citizen’s purchased the building in 1990, and launched a capital campaign to restore the theater to the original majestic glory. The restoration was complete in 2000, and the Palace was once again a thriving part of the Georgetown cultural scene. Blending the past and integrating the new, the theater provides features for every patron including the special needs community offering inclusion audio inscription for the blind and sign interpretation for the hard of hearing communities. The typical season produces about five live productions, each with a run time of five weeks and a summer Children’s production.

Looking to learn something new or improve your craft? The Palace offers production workshops, voice, dance, music and acting classes in addition to spring break and summer camps. As a non-profit organization, the theater operates with a primarily volunteer staff, from the actors, costume and set designers, all the way to the ushers.

The Palace Playhouse, located across the street from the Palace, focus on cabaret style programs with an intimate setting. The shows run weekends only and highlight a live band, bar and dancing. The next scheduled performance, An Evening of Classic Hank Williams Sr. music, starring Robert Banta, operating April 29 – May 1 and May 6 – 8th.

Fine dining in this Texas town is comparable to some of the best around. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma
Fine dining in this Texas town is comparable to some of the best around. Photo by Babs Chandrasoma

The Hollow is a family owned and operated chic restaurant in the heart of Georgetown. Owners Jeanne and Bobby Davis establish a welcoming rapport with the guest the moment you walk through the threshold of the quaint brasserie. Featuring a farm to table menu, sourced locally as much as possible, Chef Jacob Hilbert skillfully creates unique dishes to please every palette. Trained in France, he adds the French flair to each exceptional dish.

The 3-course fixed menu changes each day, designed entirely from the daily delivery. Since there is not a freezer in the restaurant all the food is prepared daily from farm fresh ingredients, never frozen. The Hollow American Brasserie is Monday through Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch.

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