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Salado and Shopping...a story

Okay, everyone. As you know, I’m in the midst of one of my infamous series. This one is about our recent trip to the little town of Salado, which is just north of us by a few miles. I had just finished up talking about our visit to Fletcher’s Books and Antiques and St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, which is right behind it.


Now, I’m going to get into shopping...and eating...and, eventually, how those things saved Salado.


After our book purchases, we got in the car and headed back into town. We needed to get lunch, and we wanted to hit a few of the stores in the area.




About the photo: As per norm, nothing to do with the story, but I just liked the picture. This is Martha in front of an art gallery in Santa Fe, NM, in 2019. Honestly, I didn’t much care for the art, but I thought it made for a good photo. She looks so bemused…


There are, by the way, a whole bunch of shops and eateries in Salado, and rather than try to describe even a tenth of them, I’ll point you toward the website of the Chamber of Commerce, which is here: https://www.salado.com/. It is an interesting site in its own right, with lots of history and local info, and it has an excellent directory of local shops (https://business.salado.com/directory/Search/shopping-specialty-retail-245607) and another, equally helpful, of local restaurants and cafes (https://business.salado.com/directory/Search/restaurants-food-beverages-245606).


The last time we visited, which was just under a year ago--I think it was October of 2021--we went to the Barrow Brewing Company (https://barrowbrewing.com/). This is just off Main at 108 Royal Street. It is a microbrewery with a Tap Room -- a large comfortable place with big tables and a bar. I can honestly say the beer is very good, indeed.


You can’t get food at the Tap Room, or at least you couldn’t last time I was there. But there is an open space and parking lot in front of the place where food trucks gather. You can get meals at the trucks and take them into the air conditioned comfort Tap Room to eat. Last time I was there, I got a barbecue sandwich and finished that with a “Tipsy Vicar” stout from Barrow. I’m a great fan of stouts. Not to be confused with stoats. Which is another kettle of weasels entirely.


This time, however, the heat was absolutely brutal and Martha felt the need to sit and rest sooner rather than later. So, she suggested we try something new, specifically, a Mexican restaurant across the street from Barrow Brewing, the Rio Salado Cocina y Cantina (https://riosaladotexmex.com). This proved to be a wise choice. The food was good... and the air conditioning was superb.


Actually, that proved to be the theme for our visit. The heat determined what we did and how long we did it. As I said before, this was no leisurely, stroll along the block and check out the windows kinda visit. It was a step outside, say “Holy-Freaking-Bach-Fugue-On-Roller-Skates!” and then run as quickly as possible to the next shop or whatever that had air conditioning. I also think I mentioned that when we got to Salado, we’d had three weeks of triple digit temps. Well, as I write this, several weeks later, the heat wave has finally shown some signs of breaking, but only after 60+ days of temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit...oh, and if you’re morbidly curious, and not in the U.S. of A., that’s 37.78 Celsius and 310.928 Kelvin...and just awful by any measure.


Oh, and just in case you’re considering a western vacation, there are lots and lots of great reasons to visit Texas...but none of them apply in August.


Anyway, we left the restaurant and hurried to a couple of spots where Martha wanted to do some shopping. I think I recall our stopping by Sofi’s At The Stagecoach (https://www.facebook.com/19Ingknutsson42), which is a gift and other stuff shop of which Martha is fond...I think, partly, because the shop has a number of 1960s-themed items. She is a 60s-chick at heart, and always will be.


We didn’t manage to get to “The Shops On Main Street,” (https://www.facebook.com/ShoppesOnMain), which is a shared space for a number of different vendors, though we have been there in the past and rather enjoyed it. By like token, we didn’t get to the Salado Glassworks (https://visitsaladotexas.com/places/salado-glassworks/), mostly because of the heat (“Say, I got an idea. It’s hotter than blue blazes, and we’re being steam-baked like a lobster going face first into a stockpot. So, let’s go to a place where they’re pouring molten glass at an average temp of 2800º F.”), but it is worth a visit. Maybe we’ll get there again next Autumn. Or maybe winter. December might be nice. Assuming there’s a blizzard.


Anyway...we did our best, but then the heat and the problem of standing for long periods began to take their toll. We had just decided to call it a day when we noticed the that Chamber of Commerce was open and that it had tourist information available. There was also a small museum attached to it. Well, we figured, let’s check it out before we go. So we slipped on in.


And there...there!...I discovered something.


To wit, an answer to a question which had been nagging me for quite a while.


As in, why the heck does Salado exist at all?


More to come.





Copyright©2022 Michael Jay Tucker


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~mjt



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