November 28, 2015

Small Business Saturday - 2015

Small Business Saturday is a day to support small businesses, those mom and pop shops that are the backbone of our community. It's a day to celebrate one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques owned and run by your friends and neighbors. Bastrop County is full of amazing small businesses. Here are a few of the deals you can get today by shopping small.

Art Connections Gallery
908 Main Street, Bastrop, TX
Customers are invited to draw for gift certificates ranging from $1-100, good for purchase of one item Dec. 1st-24th, limit one coupon per customer.

The Carriage Stop
214 Main Street, Smithville, TX
10-70% off sale!!!

Eclectic Charm
175 Marlin Street, McDade, TX
All items marked $20 and over are 10% off!

G&M Drygoods
20 N. Main Street, Elgin, TX
Jewelry 20% off!!! Plus, get a free frozen lemonade and popcorn with any purchase!

High Cotton
922 Main Street, Bastrop, TX
10-40% off sale!!!

Lost Pines Art Bazaar
603 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, TX
Small Business Saturday Shop-and-Save Event - Cash rewards allowing you to shop now and save later on future purchases of $100 or more. Rewards must be redeemed between Dec. 11th-20th, 2015 and cannot be applied to consignment art or combined with other discounts or sales.

Small Business Saturday Rewards:
  • Spend $125, Earn $10
  • Spend $200, Earn $20
  • Spend $275, Earn $50
  • Spend $350, Earn $80
  • Spend $500, Earn $125
106 N. Main Street, Elgin, TX
Free wine-a-rita with any purchase of $25 or more; spend $100 or more and return in December to redeem a $10 gift certificate for every $100 spent, up to $100 value. Free live music at 7:30pm with Mark Ambrose.

Reachable Stars Resale
203 Olive Street, Smithville, TX
20% off storewide sale!!! (Tell 'em you heard about it on 365 Bastrop!)
116 N. Main Street, Elgin, TX
Storewide sale 15% off!!!
If you have any other #SmallBizSat deals to add to the list, please comment below or email us at Remember, if you don't buy local, it's bye bye local!

November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Dining in Bastrop County - 2015

'Tis the season for giving thanks. And for turkey and all the trimmings. And pie. Mmmm, pie! If you don't feel like cooking on Thanksgiving Day, there are several places in Bastrop County that will gladly serve you a delicious home-cooked meal...

Mission U-Too Smithville
Enjoy a FREE community Thanksgiving dinner courtesy of Mission U-Too from 5-6pm at 209 Prima Street in Smithville. Donations are accepted but not required.

Comfort Café
The Comfort Café, located at 111 NW 1st Street in downtown Smithville will be offering a buffet lunch from 11am-3pm. The best partit's donation only! That means you pay only what you can, and if you can't afford to pay anything at all, that's ok, too. The suggested donation is $20/person. All proceeds from the café go to help support the SerenityStar Recovery Center.

Baxters on Main
For a fine dining experience, Baxters, located at 919 Main Street in downtown Bastrop, will be providing a Thanksgiving buffet from 11am-2:30pm with a selection of salads, breads, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. The buffet costs $23.95/adult, $15.95/child age 4-10, and free for children age 3 and under. *Reservations are currently full. Please call (512) 321-3577 to see if there are any last-minute cancellations.

Hyatt Lost Pines
The Hyatt Lost Pines' Thanksgiving Feast will be served from 10am-2pm and dishes up holiday favorites such as roasted turkey and cornbread stuffing, along with nontraditional fare such as shrimp, Gulf Coast oysters, ahi tuna, stuffed pork loin, pecan-smoked prime rib, along with irresistible sides like sweet potato casserole, cranberry chutney, and more. Desserts abound, too, with apple, pecan and pumpkin pies, apple spice cake, various cheesecakes, a fudge bar, and "pumpkinpalooza" featuring pumpkin-flavored bread pudding, mousse, cakes, and more. The meal costs $56/adult, $27/child ages 6-12, and complimentary for children ages 5 and under. *Reservations are currently full. Please call (512) 308-4860 to be added to the wait list.

If you know of any other restaurants or nonprofits serving on Thanksgiving, please comment below or email us at Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks Guided Hike

We have many things to be thankful for, and Thanksgiving helps us remember to count our blessings. While Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park have both suffered some tremendous losses over the past few years, there is still a lot to be thankful for.

In honor of Thanksgiving, Bastrop State Park is offering a Giving Thanks Guided Hike to reflect on how this landscape brings us hope for the future. Join a park ranger on Nov. 26th or Nov. 27th from 10:00-11:30am for an easy hike through the forest. Free after park entry fees. Click here for more info.

Here are a few more fun activities going on this weekend at Bastrop State Park:

Nov. 28th, 10:00-11:30am, Bastrop State Park
Join a Master Naturalist for a mile long hike on our trails at Bastrop State Park.
Nov. 28th, 2-3pm, Bastrop State Park
Join us for a easy walking tour to explore the amazing hand crafted buildings and structures that the Civilian Conservation Corps men built in the depths of the Great Depression.
Nov. 28th, 6:30-7:30pm, Bastrop State Park
Connect with generations past and meet a Ranger for a demonstration about how to make a campfire!
Nov. 28th, 7:30-8:30pm, Bastrop State Park
Reach back to a time where people gathered around a campfire for warmth, survival, communication, and entertainment. Join us around the fire for an hour of Ranger-led campfire stories.
And click here to find out more about the Top 5 Hiking Trails in Bastrop County.

November 24, 2015

Local Boy Scout's Amazing Transformation

Brandon Lai is a 16-year old junior who holds a first degree black belt in Karate. But his true passion is Scouts. In 1st grade, he was sitting in the cafeteria at Bluebonnet Elementary School in Cedar Creek, gathered with all the other boys, when he first learned about the Scouts. After hearing the presentation, he immediately wanted to join and rushed home with the flyer to show his parents. They said yes, and the rest is history. 

In 2010, Brandon crossed over into Boy Scouts when his family, along with several others, started their own troop. Currently, Brandon is a member of Troop 2010 with Mr. Randel Brown as his Scoutmaster. Having been a Boy Scout for 5 years, Brandon felt it was time to spread his wings and fulfill his dream of becoming an Eagle Scout.

"Personally, becoming an Eagle Scout is just something I had always set out to do," Brandon told us. "When I was much younger, I had the opportunity to attend several Eagle Courts of Honor. I thought those Eagle Scouts were awesome. I wanted to be just like them."

Now, he sees becoming an Eagle Scout not only as a great honor, but also as a step to prepare himself for the future.

To become an Eagle Scout, one of the things that must be accomplished is a special service project. For months, Brandon tossed around ideas, but nothing struck him as the right project until one of his friends on the Bastrop Youth Parks Activity Committee (YPAC) suggested asking the City of Bastrop's Parks and Recreation Department if they needed any help. They did.

Over the next couple of months, Brandon raised funds and recruited volunteers to help him transform Ferry Park. Brandon and about 25 volunteers worked together over Halloween weekend to make the changes. They reroofed and painted the gazebo, fixed a damaged portion of chain link fence, repainted the white parking lines, trimmed the brush around the stairs, and touched up the mortar on the limestone borders around the flowerbeds. Here are some of the before (left) and after (right) pictures:

This time, it will be Brandon who the younger Scouts will be looking up to with awe at the Eagle Courts of Honor. We applaud him for his accomplishment and wish him the best of luck in the future!

Knitting Chicken Sweaters for a Good Cause

Bastrop, Texas is known for many things—being the most historic small town in Texas, our sense of community and resiliency in the midst of disasters, Bastrop State Park, the Colorado River, the Society of Bridge Spitters, and... our love of chickens. We love chickens so much, in fact, that we decided to protect them in the Historic Farm Street Chicken Sanctuary, where chickens can roam free and cross the road whenever they like.

Photo credit: SWNS
We found kindred spirits in Nicola Congdon, 25, and her mother Ann, 58, from Falmouth in Cornwall, England. These two lovely women knit sweaters (they call them jumpers) for battery hens, which are rescued chickens who have spent their lives in cages to maximize egg production. Battery hens often have fewer feathers than free-range chickens and therefore, have trouble acclimating to living outdoors during the cold winter months.
Photo credit: SWNS
"It's important to make people aware of the poor conditions the hens live in and the fact that they have no feathers when they are retired," Congdon told Mashable. "The tank tops are also something really different that provide some fun for the chickens. They keep them warm and makes the chickens easy to identify."

Photo credit: SWNS
After going viral, Nicola and Ann are receiving requests for their knitted chicken sweaters from all over the world, but instead of selling the sweaters for profit, they are donating the funds to an AIDS orphanage in South Africa.

Texas isn't known for its cold weather, but how cute would our historic chickens look in these adorable knitted "jumpers" from across the pond?