Granbury, Texas


     What comes into your mind when you hear the words, “small southern town?” Do you picture pastel gingerbread houses with wide verandahs waiting to be the setting for ladies in cool, summer dresses drinking icy drinks in wicker chairs? Do you see gentlemen wearing white linen suits and Panama hats walking around the courthouse square on their way back to work after a leisurely luncheon at the tea room?


     Once upon a time, I’m certain these scenes played out in Granbury. The tearoom is there. The gingerbread houses with wide verandahs are there, many now converted to B&B’s. The courthouse and its square are there, too. Granbury’s Hood County Courthouse, sitting in the middle of the square, is a three-story limestone building in the Second Empire Style with a lighted clock tower. The buildings on the square are old, quaint and varied in their architecture. They house everything from gift shops and restaurants to an opera house and a hotel. It’s more of a tourist lure than a tourist trap. It has a certain magnetic quality that keeps people coming back week after week. Saturdays are very crowded on the square. At 2:00 and 7:00, older folks and families grouped in front of the black and white tiled entrance to Granbury Live, have come in busloads to see the weekly nostalgia show brought to them from the big city of Fort Worth. It’s hard to miss the building because of its canopy of bright lights. Others come to see the amateur and professional productions at the historic Granbury Opera House where, it is said, John Wilkes Booth once trod the boards – after he’d been killed, too. It’s a small, intimate theater and it’s possible to imagine Lily Langtree or Sarah Berhhardt playing to rapt audiences. The rest of the folks in the square are there for strolling, shopping, eating, and drinking.


     Granbury has excellent art galleries, and Tarleton’s Langdon Center, an adjunct of Tarleton State University, offers art exhibits, various concerts, culinary classes, and even belly dancing lessons. It is vital to the cultural heart of Granbury. The Langdon Center is housed in an ante bellum style home just a block or two from the square.


     Away from the center of town, Granbury becomes just another American town – in some senses. It is true that the sidewalks roll up at 9:00, but some brave venues stay open until midnight. If you need a cup of coffee and a chat at 2:00 A.M., you’d be hard pressed to find a venue unless you want to rough it at Wal-Mart. Granbury doesn’t even have a Denny’s! Nor does it have a K-Mart, a Target, or a Sears. Most astonishing of all, there is no 7-11. However, if you like to pack the kids, or your sweetheart into the car to see a film, you can still go to a Drive-In movie theater. They have not gone the way of the Dodo in Granbury, Texas.


     Have I mentioned Lake Granbury yet? If not, Granbury is situated at the edge of the lake, so water sports and fishing are two of the town’s great pastimes. The third would have to be golf, and since the climate is mild most of the year, many of those on the golf courses are retirees. Lake Granbury is oddly shaped and is fed by the undulating Brazos River. People are keen to live near or have weekend cottages on the waterfront. If you don’t have your own piece of the water, however, Granbury also has a fine public beach and boat ramp.


     Some parts of Granbury are quite hilly and some of the hills are as much as 1,000 ft. high. Homes in these areas have spectacular views of the town and lake or of Comanche Peak in Glen Rose.


     Granbury is where you want to live – or visit – if you like a quiet life that offers a number of alternative ways to spend your time. If you like cultural events, you can find them, and if you are more sports loving, there is plenty there for you. If you’re looking for Party Central, you will be disappointed. However, you may want to stop your forward progress for just a little while and listen to the gentle lapping of the lake, or even, if you happen to look up toward the sky at night, you could even contemplate the stars. Yes, you can see them in Granbury.


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