Looking for a land-locked island in the midst of all the madness, an enclave of silence and beauty just off the Interstate? Travel up I-35 from Austin and take the Salado exit. This reporter used to do it all the time as an undergraduate at the University of Texas. Saved my sanity.
This heart of Texas village nestled along Salado Creek is the self-proclaimed ‘Best Art Town in Texas.’ It’s home to places such as Salado Glassworks, where Gail Allard works magic with molten silica, and Mud Pies Pottery, where artisans fashion clay into creations both beautiful and practical. Then there are the galleries. Unlike most “works of art” you’ll find near the Interstate, these are not pained on black velvet and displayed in the back of a pick-up truck. Evidence? Just spend a while at Prellop Fine Art Gallery, which specializes in western motifs.
While you’re at Mud Pies, grab a bag of temptation at Sir Wigglesworth’s Homemade Fudge & Goodies. Savor it slowly as you wind your way around the village.
Want to set a spell? Since 1861 travelers have made their beds at the historic Stagecoach Inn.
Back then they called the place the Shady Villa. And so it is today, a good place to hunker down from the Texas sun and sooth your senses. In a state suffused with larger-than-life legends, the dining room is just that – legendary. Make sure you save room for a slice of chocolate fudge pecan pie for desert.
Then, a nice nap’s in order before hitting the links of the subtly-sculpted Mill Creek Golf Course.
Salado puts to rest the notion that you’ve got to go far off the beaten path to find peace and quite. This island of tranquility is just of I-35.
Story by Jerry Chandler
(Image: David Williams)