TXAway: Remembering Goliad… Dwell, Explore and Restore

by Dana Maass on August 11, 2021 in Living Texas, Travels,

Located inside a two-hour drive from San Antonio and Corpus Christi, and only two and a half hours from Austin and Houston, historic Goliad offers the perfect escape for big city dwellers. 

Each year, thousands of residents and visitors from all over the world flock to San Antonio’s Alamo and Austin’s State Capitol to hear the stories that Texans begin learning about their state’s rich history at a young age. Many other settlements also paved the state’s road to independence from Mexico to become the Republic of Texas in 1836, before achieving the status of 28th State in 1845. 

Designed in Second Empire Style and constructed in 1894, the Goliad County Courthouse suffered major damage from the 1942 Matagorda Hurricane. Restoration was completed in June 2004. Photo courtesy Main Street Goliad

Among those settlements is the charming town of Goliad (est. 1749), site of the second battle of the Texas Revolution (1835) and eventually the tragic Goliad Massacre (1836) at Presidio La Bahia. 

Today, Goliad invites you to walk through history and experience the abundance of natural beauty, peace, and local hospitality that define this quintessential Texas town.

Dwell Goliad’s wall of windows overlooks the picturesque County Courthouse on Goliad’s town square. Photo John von Dohlen

Where to Dwell

Long-time resident and entrepreneur Amanda Morrow had a clear vision for Dwell, which she’s created in a historical building overlooking the courthouse square. Her new Goliad bakery and inn began serving bakery customers in December 2020, followed by hosting guests in the single upstairs suite in June 2021.

The Space

This spacious and thoughtfully renovated second-floor lodging (no elevator) has a creative collection of carefully curated Texas-inspired vintage finds and modern amenities. An ensuite bathroom (walk-in shower) and two super comfy queen beds make Dwell an ideal place for couples, small families, or girlfriends wanting to reconnect. Request delivery of fresh items from the downstairs bakery up to your room (a voucher is included with your stay), or use the complimentary Keurig to brew local coffee (provided).

The spacious loft at Dwell Goliad has customized ranch-style interior design and luxurious bedding that sleeps up to four, with plenty of room for R&R. Photo John von Dohlen

Use the Smeg mini-fridge to store your own smaller items, or help yourself to complimentary cold beverages. Open the rich velvet curtains covering two 16-foot arched windows to enjoy the panoramic view of stately live oaks lining Goliad’s 1894 courthouse and crown jewel of the square.

Nightly rates for Dwell start at $220.  

Bakery Below

Beneath Dwell, Sips and Sweets Bakery also radiates positive vibes. Delight your senses with the house-made maple-bacon cinnamon rolls, freshly baked muffins, and savory mini quiches. Visit with the friendly baker-barista as she carefully prepares your fresh hot latte or cold brew. The lavender syrup is also house-made and not to be missed. Indoor and outdoor seating invites you to slow down, pull up a chair, and just breathe in the cheerful atmosphere. 

At Sips and Sweets, pull up a chair for a hot cup of freshly ground coffee paired with a house-made maple bacon cinnamon roll and other savory bites to let your soul shine. Photo John von Dohlen

Pro Tip: Sips and Sweets is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Consider booking Wednesday through Sunday nights for the full Goliad experience, and mention Texas Lifestyle Magazine at Sips and Sweets for an extra treat. 

Here and There, All Around The Square

Within walking distance of Dwell, you can shop small at a collection of stores filled with character and charm. Step into The Soul Emporium, where you can visit the shop dogs and stock up on thoughtful gifts for the mind and body to bring back some Zen to all your friends. Classes (from meditation to drumming) are often held in the attached studio. Step into a world of colorful home decor, gifts, and boutique clothing at Tia’s on the Square, Remember When and Hello Darlin’. Satisfy your green thumb and gather landscaping ideas at The Garden’s Path Nursery & Gifts. Visit the local apothecary at Goliad Pharmacy and Gifts. With over 100 years of firearms experience, The Best Little Gun Shop in Texas also offers unique services and products for collectors, enthusiasts, and novices. 

The jalapeno soup, fresh salads, and deli sandwiches on fresh bread shouldn’t be missed at the Blue Quail Deli on Goliad’s Commercial Street. Courtesy photo

The Blue Quail Deli on Commercial Street shouldn’t be missed. Locals have been gathering here for many years, so you know it’s a winner. After lunch, head over to the Market House Museum (open Tues-Fri 10-3) to feast your eyes on a varied collection of antique branding tools, bank safes, cash registers and even early diagnostic medical equipment. Before leaving, don’t forget to ring the ceiling bell from the museum’s prior life as the town’s first fire station. After a full day of activity, drive just a few minutes south of the square to dine on delicious Tex-Mex cuisine at family-run La Bahia Restaurant. Then head back up to Commercial Street Bar for cold drinks and live music.

Presidio La Bahia

Renamed Fort Defiance by the Texians, Presidio La Bahia was initially constructed near the San Antonio River by the Spanish Army in 1747. The Fort underwent restoration in the 1960s and remains open today for daily tours. Stand in the original Lady of Loreto Chapel, where those once stationed at La Bahia worshiped. The most fought-over fort in Texas saw six wars for independence and is now a National Historical Landmark. Visit the museum and walk the expansive grounds to visualize the stories of those who lived and died on this land. The fort often comes to life with reenactments. On the first Saturday of even-numbered months, the property is set up with displays of period clothing, weapons, and more. Each March, living historians recreate the Goliad Massacre and General James Fannin’s final days at the Fort. 

Visit the restored Mission Espiritu Santo at the scenic Goliad State Park. Campers enjoy overnight visits to these 276 acres to hike the trails and meander down the San Antonio River Canoe Trail. Photo courtesy Main Street Goliad

Goliad State Park 

Known as the birthplace of Texas ranching, Goliad State Park sits just up the road from Presidio La Bahia. Here, the restored Mission Espiritu Santo impressively marks the grounds lined with walls of natural stone constructed by the early inhabitants. Native Americans, Spanish explorers and missionaries once lived in peace on this property where they worked, worshiped and dyed their own yarn from the wool of their livestock and local plants. Tour the grounds and view a demonstration of textile fabrication. Take the 2.5 mile Angel of Goliad hike-and-bike trail for a little exercise, or set up camp with full hook-ups. Don’t forget your kayak for the 6.6-mile Goliad Paddling Trail to truly commune with nature and see why early settlers chose this land as their home. 

Running through Goliad, the San Antonio River is home to annual Spring and Fall Flotillas. A special Flotilla will be held on Sunday October 17th, 2021, in conjunction with the Missions de Tour Goliad Bike Ride. This year’s annual Fall Flotilla will be held on Saturday November 6th, 2021. Register online for all events. Photo courtesy Main Street Goliad

When to Visit

Held the second Saturday of the month, Goliad Market Days are the perfect time to visit.  Merchants gather together to promote their small businesses brought together by the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Goliad. Saturday, October 16 is the 30th annual Missions Tour de Goliad with bicycle routes of from 10 to 100 miles. Riders of all fitness levels can cruise the gentle hills of Goliad county. Scare on the Square offers Halloween festivities later in October. And, save the date for the 38th Christmas in Goliad on December 3rd and 4th, featuring food, live music, a lighted parade on the night of the 3rd and Santa riding on a Longhorn at noon on the 4th. 

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Cover photo John von Dohlen

Dana Kent Maass is living her best life in Round Rock, Texas, with husband Brian and rescue dog Chester. Descending in part from native (East) Texans, raised in Louisiana, and having earned her degree from LSU, Dana claims dual citizenship in both states. She practices occupational therapy at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, while getting outdoors and traveling to new places whenever opportunity knocks.