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Georgetown’s Wonderful Life

Georgetown, the seat of Williamson County, lies 28 miles north of Austin via Interstate 35. For more information on the town, stop into the Visitor Center, on the Georgetown Square at 101 W. 7th St. (512/ 863-5598; 78626), where knowledgeable, friendly volunteers will answer your questions. Hours: Mon-Sat 9-5, Sun 1-5. Wheelchair accessible. Or write to the Georgetown Convention & Visitors Bureau, Box 409, Georgetown 78627-0409; 512/930-3545 or 800/436-8696. Georgetown's area code is 512.

Accommodations

The Inn on the Square is in an 1890s building with 4 guest rooms that echo Texas history. Rates: $85-$125. Not wheelchair accessible. Write to 1041/2 W. 8th St., Georgetown 78626; 868-2203 or 888/718-2221.

Claibourne House B&B is a charming, 103-year-old Victorian bed and breakfast outfitted with antique furniture and modern accouterments. Located 3 blocks from the square. Rates: $85-$125. Not wheelchair accessible. Write to 912 Forest St., Georgetown 78626; 930-3934.

Attractions

The Candle Factory, on the east side of I-35 at exit #259, sells hand-crafted and machine-made candles and offers free demonstrations for groups by appt. Hours: Mon-Sat 9-5:30, Sun 10-5:30. Closed New Year's, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas days. Not wheelchair accessible. Write to 4411 S. IH-35, Georgetown 78626; 863-6025.

Georgetown lays claim to three National Register Historic Districts. The courthouse district is bordered by Rock, 7th, Main, and 9th streets. Belford, a residential district, lies mostly along Austin Ave. and Main St. The University Ave./Elm St. district follows those two streets, among others. Write to the Georgetown Heritage Society, Box 1265, Georgetown 78627; 869-8597.

Inner Space Cavern offers guided tours of the prehistoric cave. Located on the west side of I-35, at exit #259. Tickets: $9. Hours: Daily 10-5 (summer hours: 9-6); closed for 2 weeks up to and including Christmas Day. Write to Box 451, Georgetown 78627-0451; 863-5545.

Events

The 20th Annual George-town Christmas Stroll takes place around the downtown square Dec. 4 from 3 to 9 p.m. Admission: Free, but toy donations for Blue and Brown Santa are encouraged. Wheelchair accessible. Write to the Downtown Georgetown Assn., Box 1766, Georgetown 78627; 868-8675.

The Art Show and Christmas Market, organized by the Williamson Co. Art Guild, takes place on the square Dec. 4-5. Write to the guild at Box 361, Georgetown 78627; 863-3263.

The Candlelight Service for the Season of Advent takes place at Southwestern University's Lois Perkins Chapel on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. Admission: Free. Wheelchair accessible. Write to Box 770, Georgetown 78627; 863-1487.

The Trail of Trees is a 30-year-old Georgetown tradition that's being revived this year. From Nov. 27 through the holidays, the front windows of restaurants and businesses around the square will glow with imaginatively decorated trees from the likes of the Garden Club, the Quilter's Guild, the Art Guild, and more. Write to the C&VB (address and phone given above); 930-3545 or 800/436-8696.

The Brown Symposium, held annually at Southwestern University, is a series of lectures and programs addressing a particular subject each year. The 2000 symposium, which will focus on the music of French composer Olivier Messiaen, takes place Feb. 3-4, 2000. The university also presents plays, concerts, exhibits, and lectures throughout the year. Write to Box 770, Georgetown 78627; 863-1902.

Market Days feature antiques, arts, and crafts on the courthouse lawn every second Sat. Mar-Dec. Wheelchair accessible. Write to the Downtown Georgetown Assn., or call 868-8675.

The first annual Red Poppy Festival (see sidebar, page 27) takes place Apr. 15-16, 2000, around the square. For more information, write to the C&VB (see address and phone above).

Viking Fest (April 29-30, 2000), held at San Gabriel Park in even-numbered years, celebrates Scandinavian heritage with a half-size replica of a Viking ship, battle re-enactments, music, dance, crafts, and food. Hours: Sat 10-8, Sun noon-5. Admission: 1-day pass $3, 2-day pass $5; free age 6 and younger. Wheelchair accessible. Write to Box 12108, Spring 77391-2108. Web site: www.vikingfest.com.

The Georgetown Air Show dazzles spectators at the Georgetown Airport May 5-7, 2000. (A nighttime airshow takes place May 5.) Admission: Price undecided at press time. Wheelchair accessible. Write to 209 Corsair, Georgetown 78628; 869-1759 or 930-3090.

A Farmers' Market takes place along Main St. on the square every Thu. afternoon May-July and Oct-Nov. Hours: 3:30-6:30 p.m. Wheelchair accessible. Write to the C&VB (address and phone given above); 930-3545.

Handcrafted Goods

Handcrafts Unlimited sells quilts and other crafts hand-made by area artisans over the age of 50. On the square at 104 W. 8th St. Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-4. Wheelchair accessible. Call 869-1812.

The Escape displays the work of Texas artisans, among others. On the square at 102 W. 8th St. Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 1-5. Wheelchair accessible. Call 930-0052.

Ironstone showcases hand-crafted items for the home and garden. Just off the square, at 612 Main St. Hours: Tue-Sat 10-5:30. Wheelchair accessible from the side alley. Call 930-2129.

Restaurants

Wildfire is an upscale restaurant featuring Southwestern and grilled specialties. On the square, at 812 S. Austin Ave. Hours: Mon-Sat 11-10, Sun 10-9. Live jazz and blues Fri-Sat 9 p.m.-midnight. Wheelchair accessible. Call 869-3473.

Patti-Cakes Old Town Bakery & Pub serves baked goods, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Just off the square, at 812 Church St. Bakery hours: Mon-Fri 7-5. Pub hours: Tue-Fri 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Sat 1 p.m.-10 p.m. (live Irish music Fri-Sat). Wheelchair accessible. Call 869-2253 or 800/517-2253.

Monument Cafe, at 1953 S. Austin Ave., is an old-style diner offering "home cooking" and mouth-watering desserts. Hours: Sun-Thu 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Wheelchair accessible. Call 930-9586.

Karen's Courthouse Cafe and Creamery offers ice cream treats as well as sandwiches, soups, and salads. Just off the square, at 805 S. Main St. Hours: Mon-Sat 11-6, Sun noon-6. Wheelchair accessible. Call 863-9755.

Orient Square Chinese Restaurant, at 701 S. Main, is housed in the 1900 Masonic Lodge; you can't miss the distinctive onion dome. Hours: Mon-Thu 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4:30-9, Fri 11-2:30 and 4:30-10, Sat 11-10, Sun 11-9. Not wheel-chair accessible. Call 863-6104.

City Parks

Blue Hole is a peaceful swimming hole just blocks from downtown Georgetown, off 2nd St. Open year round. Write to the Parks and Recreation Dept., 1003 N. Austin Ave., Georgetown 78626; 930-3595.

San Gabriel Park, bordered by Austin Ave., Stadium Rd., and Morrow St., is a city park hugging the banks of the San Gabriel River. Picnic pavilions, a swimming pool (closed in winter), a community center, a hike-and-bike trail, and the children's Playscape are all open to the public year round. Contact the Parks and Recreation Dept. (address and phone above).

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Parks on Lake Georgetown

For information on any of the Corps of Engineers parks, write to 500 Cedar Breaks Rd., Georgetown 78628; 930-5253.

To get to Cedar Breaks Park from I-35, take Andice Rd. (FM 2338) 4 miles west to Cedar Breaks Park Rd. The park offers picnicking, camping for tents and trailers, boating, and hiking trails. Hours: Daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m. and overnight for campers.

Jim Hogg Park is on Jim Hogg Rd. From I-35, take Andice Rd. (FM 2338) 7 miles west to Jim Hogg Rd. The park offers camping for tents and trailers and a boat-launch area. Hours: Daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m. and overnight for campers.

Russell Park, with the only beach on the lake, is on County Rd. 262. From I-35, take Andice Rd. (FM 2338) 8 miles to FM 3405, turn left on FM 3405, go 1 mile, and turn left on CR 262. In addition to swimming, there are picnic sites, 5 group shelters, a boat ramp, and hiking trails. Hours: Daily, Apr-Sep, 6 a.m.-dusk; park closed Oct-Mar.

Tejas Camp, the smallest of the 4 lake parks, is at the westernmost end of Lake Georgetown on County Rd. 258. From I-35, take Andice Rd. (FM 2338) west for 8 miles to FM 3405, turn left on FM 3405, go 8 miles to CR 258, and turn left on CR 258. The park offers picnic facilities, primitive camping, and hiking trails. Hours: Daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m. and overnight for campers.

Books

Look for the following books in your library or bookstore: Land of Good Water: Takachue Pouetsu by Clara Stearns Scarbrough (Williamson County Sun Publishers, 1976), which recounts the history of Georgetown and Williamson County; Georgetown's Yesteryears, Vols. I-IV, edited by Martha Mitten Allen (Georgetown Heritage Society, 1985-1987); and Southwestern University 1840-1961 by Ralph Wood Jones (Jenkins Publishing Co., 1973).

From the December 1999 issue.

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