Friday, July 2, 2010

Field Trippin'

What's a girl to do on a rainy Friday?

Yea, yea. I get that most folks find more conventional ways to blow off some steam after a rough week of work. Happy hours, pedicures, movies: just not my style. After a tiring week of constant schmoozing, the only thing that sounded relaxing was a long solo drive, a country road, and antique shops. To be precise: salvage shops. I grabbed my purse this morning and headed out to Gonzales which, as you TX history buffs are aware, is the "Birthplace of Texas Freedom." I vaguely remember a story of a cannon and a flag above it saying Come and Take It. And whoever They were (Mexico), couldn't come and take it. And TX won. And we were free. And God Bless TX. 4th grade state history class escapes me.

The reason Gonzales is significant to me is because it's home to my two favorite places; a high end salvage shop and a low end junk shop. The best of their kind in the same old town in the middle of nowhere but near the state's watermelon and BBQ capitols. (Apparently, the watermelon capitol, Luling, recently crowned its watermelon queen, affectionately referred to as the "thump queen." Judging by the signs strewn around the town, the thump queen's name is Brittany. Go get 'em Brittany). A trip to Gonzales means lots of gorgeous country views and lots of gorgeous BBQ in Lockhart. Can I get a what what? If you've ever stopped by Black's, Smitty's Market, or Kreuz's then you know what I'm saying.

But back to all that old house stuff.

This is the Hall of Doors. Sounds like something out of a J.K. Rowling book, no? It is, literally, a museum of doors although, of course, each artifact is for sale. Most periods from the mid-18th century to retro 1960's are represented here. Don't know why but doors have always held a certain intrigue for me. I've taken a few trips to Europe and while my traveling companions bring back grand pictures of cathedrals and castles, I seem to only photograph the old doorways on side streets. Something about the mystery of what's going on behind them? Haven't seriously considered my obsession, and not about to start now, but I really do love an old creaky door.

Rooms to the left of the Hall of Doors house the Hall of Tubs and Sinks (and assorted bathroom accessories). Sigh. Cast iron encased in baked-on porcelain. They don't make 'em like this anymore. And although it's not represented here, there was a certain attention to the aesthetic in earlier pieces that doesn't exist now. We can't blame it on mass production, because this stuff was relatively mass produced. What was it then? Have we modern consumers lost our taste for careful style (and quality)?

Street view of this glorious shop.

Even the gas stations in this town are vintage and, therefore, awesome. Take note of the Hurricane Alex-related ominous clouds. Driving south towards the remnants of a tropical storm was probably a little stupid. But then, when one has their heart set on picking through junk and eating BBQ, one cannot be deterred.

The next shop is my hands-down favorite junk shop destination. I have found more outrageous deals at this place than any other, and its location inside an incredibly creepy 1880's building is a bonus. It's the kind of place you enter and are suddenly certain that at one time it was a brothel. It's got that kind of vibe. It's also got a snowman for sale near a picture of Jesus.

The second story is haunted. I have no proof but I've now been here four times and have officially felt something watching me from a particular doorway up there each time. I suppose it's my own greed and curiosity that forces me to walk up those creaky stairs despite the distinct feeling that ghosts lurk up above.

The day would have been incomplete without a stop for, as I've repeatedly mentioned, BBQ. Let us pause for a moment and give thanks for BBQ.

You complete me. Or you completed this field trip, at least.

The grand square in Lockhart, BBQ capitol of TX:

This particular dining establishment expertly achieves Feng Shui with the assorted antlers, photography, and local diners.

Pretty perfect day in terms of pickin'. I scored a gorgeous old marble slab, a metal shelf/stand from the haunted second floor of the junk shop, and 4 antique school house lights - all pieces needed for the house build and purchased for a fraction of new ones. Oh, and a chopped beef sandwich (needed to help keep up my strength to think about the house build). Absolutely worth the long drive in hurricane force rains. Absolutely.


Anonymous said...

So cool. I really need to find a place like that around here (the salvage store).

Anonymous said...

next time, try either of the two main bbq joints in Luling. can't remember their names, but they're both highly regarded. one is no nonsense, order while standing aside the smoker pits, meat menu limited to traditional bbq staples and the joint is largely side- and explicitly utensil-free. other is cafe style, sides galore, full meat menu, clean, smoke-free dining area. each reputedly master strokes from either side of the bbq coin. when you're headed back to Austin, immediately after turning right from 183 onto 183 at the railroad tracks in Luling, look to either side of you on the far corners of the first cross-street you see. or just park and follow your nose. oh, also, the locals in Lockhart eat at Chisholm Trail bbq - its blasphemy to have ignored them :)

jennakl said...

Oh no! I am a blasphemer! Thanks so much for the suggestions. I will definitely be making a trip out there soon to try out the Lockhart and Luling place(s). Any excuse is a good one, right? And I bet you have some amazing salvage shops in your area. Everything I've found online in the north, on both coasts, make me very jealous. Just get online, you'll find some.