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LLANO:  The first, second and third pictures are of the Granite-O-Bar; next, the Llano Bridge and then a pic taken downtown where you'll find the Stonewall Pizzeria on the corner.

Llingering in Llano
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

If you're thinking just cause I lived in Llano County for nearly a decade I'm partial to the place, you'd be right.  And seeing as how I posted three pictures of the Granite-O-Bar you might think I'm partial to it too.  Well, there ain't nothing partial about that. 

As we pulled into Llano, the red neon OPEN sign on the Granite-O might have triggered some phenomena like magnetic attraction; but most likely it was just the chance to meet up with old friends and cold longnecks.  Seeing a few familiar pick-ups parked out front cinched the decision.


 

 

You might as well know now, I put in all those bar pictures so I'd have something handy to look at when I get homesick -- or would that be barsick -- no, that doesn't sound right either -- anyway, when we walked in we were greeted like we'd arrived at some family reunion, or as if we hadn't been away at all.  Like when Bart Freeman picked up on a conversation he'd started with Ms. Intrepid the last time he saw her, three years ago.
       The GO Bar is like the TV program Cheers, except instead of a postal worker and psychiatrist, you have construction workers and cowboys.   It's not a place where everybody just knows your name -- they know most everything.
       In fact, it wasn't long before one ol' boy standing next to me said to another, "Listen, if I ever forget anything I've ever done, I'll just ask you or phone Darlene." 
       Now, you'd think that living in a small town like this, were no act goes unobserved or unreported, might be a handy behavior-modification program that would inspire everyone to hold to some strict standards.  You'd be wrong on that score.
       I mean not just anyone in town would ride their horse into the bar.  But Bart Freeman did.  I don't know why, and I never asked cause it didn't seem that unusual -- least ways not for Bart.
       It's not that this is some kind of rowdy honkey-tonk like in the movies where fights are more common than the two-step.  It's just that this bar so laid-back a feller can show off his horse indoors without getting crossways with the law.
       And if you need a helping hand all you gotta do is ask.  Like the time one of my hens stowed away in the back floorboard of my vehicle.
       I'd just pulled into the parking lot when I heard this clucking noise.  Seems my fine feathered passenger had just laid an egg.   Even though the back window of my 4x4 was left in shattered pieces in the next county where I'd backed into a telephone pole a year earlier, I assumed Hen would keep her progeny warm while I did the only responsible thing I could -- support my local watering hole.
       I should'a known better. On the way out I saw Hen wandering around amongst the parked trucks.  Despite our longstanding relationship she did everything possible to avoid capture. ( Female.  Need I say more?) Being fully alive to the situation I went back inside to recruit a few hands for a round-up.
       Soon there were five of us hen wranglers in the parking lot running around all bent over and reaching for feathers with no success.   Finally Hen took to the air and flew into a neighbor's yard behind the bar.   With that we gave up the chase.  It was a sobering experience to be sure so I went back inside to ponder.  Why did the chicken hitch-hike to the bar?
       I learned a few days later that every now and again a patron in the bar would attempt a little hen rustling.
       "I reckon you heard," I was told, "someone caught that hen of yours.  Said that if you want her back, she's yours."
        "No," I said. "Besides, how can you keep them down on the farm once they've seen a honkey-tonk?" 
              Ms. Intrepid and I didn't stay as long as I would have if left to my own devices, but we did have more miles ahead of us than we had time for.  But just so you won't think that my only favorite place in Llano is the Granite-O let me cover a few others.
       For eating establishments you can't beat Cooper's Old Time Pit Barbeque just up the road on Hwy 29.  It's one of the best BBQ joints in the state, and President Bush's favorite.  If you're looking for a real hamburger or an authentic chicken fried steak turn left at the light and look on your left for the Burger Bar.  For the best pizza and deli sandwiches in the area check out Stonewall Pizzeria on the square.
       And while in Llano take the time to visit the Llano Museum near the bridge, or the Hill Country Wildlife Museum on the square.  But whatever you do be sure to visit Llano on the 4th weekend in April.  That's when they hold the Annual Crawfish Open.  For my money it's the event in TurnA.jpg (4971 bytes)the Hill Country.  There's a   golf tournament, skeet tournament, rodeo, live music day and night, and -- my favorite part -- crawfish.

PAGE 1:  WIMBERLEY  /  PAGE 2: PACKSADDLE COUNTRY
PAGE 3:  LLANO /  PAGE 4:  CLICK ROUTE   /  MAP & ROAD RULES


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