March 27, 2015

Top 10 Things to Do This Weekend (Mar 27-29, 2015)


1. Plant Sale, Book Sale, & Silent Auction - Mar. 27th 10am-6pm & Mar. 28th 10am-4pm at the Bastrop Public Library. All proceeds benefit the Bastrop Public Library.

2. Bastrop County Historical Society Annual Garage Sale - Mar. 27th, 6-8pm & Mar. 28th 7am-3pm at 915 Hwy 71 W in Bastrop. $10 admission to Sneak Peek on Mar. 27th. FREE admission on Mar. 28th!

3. Game Night & Open Mic - Mar. 6th, 7-10pm at The Owl Wine Bar and Home Goods Store, located at 106 N. Main Street in Elgin. FREE!

4. Joyful Horse Veteran's Program Kick-Off - Mar. 28th, 10am-2pm at Balance Point Equestrian Center, located at 245 East Clearview Cemetery Road in Bastrop. Pot luck lunch and open house for Veterans and their families, supporters, and horse enthusiasts.

5. Sherwood Forest Faire - Mar. 28th-29th, 10am-dusk at 1883 Old Hwy 20 in McDade. Enjoy tons of fun activities at this Renaissance Festival based on the tales of Robin Hood and his Merry Men... right in your very own backyard! This is the LAST WEEKEND of the season!!!

6. Pictures with the Easter Bunny - Mar. 28th, 12-3pm at the Sugar Shack, located at 114 Loop 150 W in Bastrop. Bring your own camera.

7. Jr. Ranger Activities - Mar. 28th, 2-3pm at Bastrop State Park. Explore nature and complete writing and drawing activities. Fun for all ages! Complete level 1, 2 ,or 3 of the new Junior Ranger Activity Journal to earn the different badges. Plus, there will be a ranger on hand to answer all your questions and swear in new rangers! FREE after park entry fees.

8. Rock N Roll Easter - Mar. 28th, 2-4pm hosted by the Pentecostals of Bastrop at 261 FM 20 in Bastrop. Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt, food, bounce houses, games, and more!

9. "Agnes of God" - Mar. 27th & 28th at 7:30pm at Playhouse Smithville, located at 110 Main Street in Smithville. Tickets are $12/person and can be purchased in advance online or at the door.

10. Sounds of the Night - Mar. 28th, 8-9pm at Buescher State Park. Explore the sometimes spooky sounds of the forest at night. Learn about different nocturnal wildlife and their special adaptations. FREE after park entry fees.

*But that's not all! There's even more fun to be had this weekend in Bastrop County! For even more events, visit our interactive online calendar here.

The Fork and the Photo: Neighbor's Kitchen and Yard


by April Haines, Photos by Cherie Haines

The Rules: We visit random eateries in Bastrop County searching for awesome food, amazing atmospheres, and excellent service. We have to ask a server what they suggest and whatever it is, we must try it. Then, we rate the restaurant using our five fork system (like stars, but better) based on service, atmosphere, food taste and presentation, and general cleanliness.



"It's all about heritage. My wife and I decided we didn't want to live or even work somewhere that didn't have a heritage,” says Chris Allcorn, the co-owner of Neighbor's Kitchen and Yard.

The restaurant is slightly tucked off of Main Street in Bastrop with a back patio terracing the river. Chris pulls up a chair. We ask him about how he got into the pizza business.


He smiles, shares a little bit of their story, and tells us that he and his wife just kind of stumbled into it but are incredibly happy to find themselves where they are.

Growing up in this little town and loving it like we do, it’s amazing to hear someone who values Bastrop, not just as a financial opportunity, but because of its story and rich history. He talks about the building and how much trouble they went to "un-renovating" it, even tearing down the sheetrock to reveal the antique beaded ceiling.


The restaurant is far from slow, but he still takes a good bit of his time to go through the menu, selecting the perfect choices for us.

Cherie chooses a soda, and I adventurously go for his suggestion of a drink named "The Skinny Dipper" which he promised to make himself so it would be "just right." To say we are blown away by the customer service is an understatement! We follow his suggestions and get the Texas bruschetta as an appetizer and a pizza charmingly named "The Grease Bucket."

He leaves to go put our order in and we soak in the brilliant atmosphere. I am in love with the Italian string lighting and the folksy background music. The perfect view of the river walk doesn't hurt either.

After just a bit, my drink arrives. I am hit by a myriad of flavorsfresh cucumber and lime mingled with a bright basil note. It’s love at first sip and feels like the freshest margarita of my life.


The appetizer comes next. "I pulled an audible," Chris announces. He places in front of us, not the Texas bruschetta, but the beautifully plated caprese skewers and a bubbling plate of cheese-blanketed meatballs. He leaves us to start on what I really have to say are the best appetizers I have had the privilege to put in my mouth.


The meatballs, a combination of veal, beef, and pork, are phenomenally tender and flavorful. I could not love them more. The caprese skewers are magic itselfsweet cherry tomatoes and fresh basil with heavenly buffalo mozzarella, drizzled in a house-made balsamic vinaigrette.


After we take a few bites, he returns with another plate of garlic knotsbeautiful little rolls of honey sweet garlic Parmesan savoriness, served with warm marinara sauce and topped with more slivered Parmesan. I melt into the food and decide if I could, I would live in this moment for the rest of my life.


I change my mind when the pizza comes, because for once in my life, something actually has enough bacon, heaping with fresh and tasteful meats and cheese on a perfectly baked New York style crust. This is the pizza of our lives!


We gush to Chris about how amazing it all is and he brings out the makers of our feast, the kitchen staff. They are so friendly and excited about what they do. They use words like “passion” and “commitment to quality.” We could not be more impressed. The servers are equally amazing, popping in to make sure our every wish is granted.

Before we are done with the pizza, out comes my next adventure, a drink called Poncho and Lefty. It’s a spicy jalapeño mescal concoction that bites you with a smoky heat and then sweet talks you with end notes of sugary lime that put out the fire and entices you into another sip.


Words cannot describe the magic and brilliance of the entire evening, from the unbelievable service to the achingly good food, the warmth of the atmosphere to some of the most creative and delightful drinks I've ever had. The evening couldn't have been more perfect!

In our lives, there are moments that remind us of why life is beautiful, why food isn't a tool of survival but an art, and that people really can still surprise you with their generosity and creativity. Inside us all burns a spark of brilliance, and some people have the courage to let it catch flame into something altogether awesome and inspiring, like the folks at Neighbor's. And sometimes, if you're lucky, you get to see and taste all of that at once. This was one of those moments, and we are so honored and blessed to be given the gift of this experience.


As Chris said, "It's all about heritage," and he and his team are making one amazing piece of it at Neighbor's.



Location: 301 Chestnut Street in Bastrop (in the Crossing)
Rating: 5 out of 5 forks and my only sorrow is that I don't have more forks to give!

*FYI, they are also a live music venue, bringing musical acts every weekend on their delightful back porch which overlooks the Colorado River! Check out their music schedule here or visit them on Facebook here.

Letter to the Editor: New YMCA Recreation Center Will Help Build a Better Bastrop

by David Sartain
  

As Bastrop city leaders weigh the contents and size of a 2015 bond measure, the need to provide for basic services like roads, public safety and sanitation is clear. But let’s not forget initiatives that improve our quality of life.
  
According to the “Bastrop County Community Health Needs Assessment,” published by the Seton Healthcare Family and Community Health Coalition of Caldwell County (November, 2012), obesity rates in Bastrop County are the highest in Central Texas, and residents cite a lack of accessible recreation outlets and a need for nutrition education.
  
Furthermore, Central Health reported that Bastrop County ranks below the national average in available recreational facilities and programs in its October 2011 report, “Health and Health Care Trends & Innovations in Central Texas.”
  
In this light, any assessment of city priorities should support funding for a community recreation center. Such a facility will provide a community hub, a safe place for kids, for family connection, for young and old alike, where people can engage in healthy activities, develop new talents, learn about nutrition, build supportive networks and work together on volunteer service projects.
  
If city leaders don’t adequately recognize and support this effort, many of our city’s existing problems will only get worse. And as the saying goes, if we don’t have our health, in the end, we won’t have anything.
  
Here lies the challenge. Everyone loves the idea of parks and rec centers, but no one likes actually paying for them. Parks and Recreation services have long been a target of city councils and municipal budget-makers across the country, with funding cuts being less politically charged than those to emergency services and less immediately noticeable than, say, libraries.
  
But an investment in a new community rec center will yield dividends for years to come in a safer, more connected community and in better public health outcomes.
  
Fortunately, the YMCA has an answer. Across the country, including in Austin, cities are finding YMCAs to be perfect partners in their recreational investments. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, YMCA ensures that facilities and programs are accessible to all, thus providing the services residents want. But, because YMCA assumes long term operational responsibilities, cities are able to save millions of dollars in their ever-tightening budgets. It’s a clear win-win.
  
The Bastrop YMCA began in late 2010 as a collaboration between the City of Bastrop and YMCA of Austin, in which the organizations co-funded a recreational program specialist position with an office in Bastrop City Hall.
  
Under the direction of Program Director Terry Moore, Bastrop YMCA programs quickly grew in popularity by offering a variety that appealed to all ages, from group exercise and dancing to youth programs such as soccer clinics and cooking.
  
Initially, Bastrop Y programs utilized area parks and church facilities. In May of 2012, the Bastrop Y opened a 1,400-square-foot facility on Main Street with space for group exercise, youth programs, art classes and more. Programming has continued to grow, with the addition of aqua fitness classes and swim lessons at the historic Bastrop State Park Pool, which the Y manages.
  
Since opening in Bastrop, the YMCA has invested more than $500,000 to create “Y Without Walls,” which has helped build thousands of strong kids and families.
  
All the while, the Bastrop Y has planned to collaborate with city, county and other partners to acquire land and build a full-facility YMCA similar to Y branches found throughout Metro Austin. The dream has not yet begun to materialize, until now.
  
Such a facility could include a state-of-the-art health and wellness center, gymnasium, indoor pool, sports fields, multipurpose community rooms, locker rooms, computer lab, child watch center and more.
  
But to make the dream a reality, the Bastrop YMCA needs the city’s help.
  
So join me in urging our elected officials to support this initiative with adequate funding for a full-facility Bastrop YMCA. I ask our mayor, city manager, city councilors, and neighbors to consider the Y’s long-term impact on Bastrop, especially the impact on our working parents and vulnerable kids.
  
This is a rare opportunity to create a lasting legacy that will make Bastrop better for all. But it will only happen if we make our voices heard, as citizens.

The Ultimate Bastrop County Easter Guide - 2015

Hippity, hoppity, Easter's on it's way! From Easter Egg Hunts and pictures with the Easter Bunny to where to buy Easter goodies and more, here's the scoop on Easter in Bastrop County and beyond...


Easter Egg Hunts


  • Rock N Roll Easter - Mar. 28th, 2-4pm hosted by the Pentecostals of Bastrop at 261 FM 20 in Bastrop. Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt, food, bounce houses, games, and more!
  • Elgin Public Library - Mar. 31st, 11am & 4:30pm at 404 N. Main Street in Elgin.
  • Golden Age Home - April 3rd, 10:00-11:30am at 1505 S. Main Street in Lockhart. Carnival games, moon bounce, and hot dogs!
  • Silver Pines Nursing Center - April 3rd, 11am-1pm at 503 Old Austin Highway in Bastrop. Easter Egg Hunt, games, refreshments, and more!
  • Bastrop YMCA - April 4th, 8-11am at Bob Bryant Park in Bastrop. Crafts & activities from 9-10am. Easter Egg Hunt: preschool and under 10am, K-2nd grade 10:20am, 3rd-5th grade 10:40am.
  • Cedar Creek United Methodist Church - April 4th, 10am-12pm at 5630 FM 535 in Cedar Creek.
  • First United Methodist Church - April 4th, 10am-12pm at 1201 Main Street. Easter Egg Hunt, face painting, crafts, the Easter Story, and more!
  • Blue Bunny Easter Egg Hunt - April 4th, 9:45am hosted by the Smithville Police Association at the gazebo in Railroad Park located at First and Main Streets in downtown Smithville.
  • Elgin Community Easter Egg Hunt - April 4th, 10am-1pm at Thomas Memorial Park, located at 411 Madison Street in Elgin. Ages 2-5 10:15am, ages 14-16 10:30am, ages 6-9 10:45 am, ages 10-13 11:00am, ages 17-24 11:15am, ages 25+ 11:30am.
  • Easter Egg Hunt & Bake Sale - April 4th, 10am hosted by the McDade Historical Society at the Museum, located at the intersection of Main Street and Loop 223 of Highway 290 in McDade.
  • Walgreens - April 4th, 10am-2pm at 4201 Hwy 71 E in Bastrop (Tahitian Village location). Easter Egg Hunt around 10:30am, raffle, cake walk, games, health info, and more!
  • Jersey Barnyard - April 4th at 3117 State Hwy 159 in La Grange. Four Easter Egg Hunts: ages 0-2 at 10:30am, ages 3-4 at 10:45am, ages 5-7 at 11am, and ages 8-12 at 11:15am.
  • Neighbor's Kitchen and Yard - April 5th, 2pm at 301 Chestnut Street in Bastrop. Games and live music from 12-5pm.

 

Pictures with the Easter Bunny

 

  • Sugar Shack  - Mar. 28th & April 4th, 12-3pm at 114 Loop 150 W in Bastrop. Bring your own camera.
  • Jersey Barnyard - April 4th, 9am-6pm at 3117 State Hwy 159 in La Grange. Bring your own camera.
  • Walgreens - April 4th, 10am-2pm at 4201 Hwy 71 E in Bastrop (Tahitian Village location).

Easter Baskets & Gifts


  • Living Room Bookstore - 301 Hwy 71 W in Bastrop. Bibles, Resurrection eggs, Easter books, stuffed animals, toys, candy, and more!
  • Sugar Shack - 114 Loop 150 W in Bastrop. Easter baskets, candy, stuffed animals, toys, and more!
  • Liberty Glenn - 1011 Main Street in downtown Bastrop. Easter baskets, décor, dinnerware, and more!
  • Second Chance Childrens Resale - 804 Water Street in downtown Bastrop. Children's Easter outfits, Easter bonnets, toys, and more!

Easter Crafts


  • Bastrop YMCA - April 3rd, 2-3pm at the Kerr Community Center, located at 1308 Walnut Street in Bastrop. Ages 5-10. $8/child for YMCA members, $15/child for non-members.

Easter Dining


  • Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa - Their lavish Easter Brunch takes place on Sunday, April 5th from 10am-2pm and offers a myriad of tasty offerings for all to enjoy. Feast on breakfast favorites, fresh seafood, local cheeses and sumptuous offerings such as smoked prime rib, bourbon baked ham and more. Desserts abound, too, with chocolate raspberry Texas cake, strawberry shortcake minis, s’mores cheesecake, blueberry lemon bread pudding, assorted cupcakes and our crowd-pleasing chocolate fountain. Easter Brunch is $55 for adults, $24 children 6-12, and complimentary for guests ages 5 and under. Reservations are required. Call (512) 308-4860 to make a reservation. (They also have lots of fun Easter activities for overnight guests including an Easter Egg Hunt, pictures with the Easter Bunny, and Easter-themed recreation activities.)

Easter Sunrise Service


  • Bastrop Christian Ministerial Alliance - April 5th, 7-9am at Bastrop State Park behind the Refectory. Pastor John Eason of Celebration Community Church will conduct the message. Music by Terry Lyne Moore and Dale Burke. Bring a lawn chair. Park entrance fees will be waived for those attending the service. If it's raining, the service will be held at Calvary Baptist Church, located on Loop 150 across from the entrance to the State Park.

If you have an event to add to the list, please email the event details (including name of the event, date, time, location, and any other important information) to info@365bastrop.com.

March 26, 2015

Tecolote Farm CSA Delivery

Located just minutes outside Bastrop County, Tecolote Farm is a small family farm that has been growing vegetables since 1994. They are a Texas pioneer in certified organic produce and nurture the Austin area with more than 150 varieties of high quality vegetables through CSA delivery, farmers markets, and restaurant partnerships. Plus, they were the Austin Chronicle Critics Pick for Best Local Produce Delivery and the downtown Austin Farmers' Market's "Favorite Farmer" in both 2010 and 2012!



One of the best things about Tecolote Farm is their CSA delivery service, which is the longest-running CSA in Texas. CSA = Community-Supported Agriculture. It's basically fresh produce delivery right to your door (or to a delivery hub near you). This direct farm-to-plate relationship is beneficial for the eater because of the freshness and flavors inherent when eating farm-fresh produce. CSAs help farmers because members invest in the upcoming season’s crops at a time when costs are high and income is low.


Now, for the first time, you can get Tecolote Farm CSA delivery right here in Bastrop, Texas! Their new CSA delivery hub for the Bastrop area is located at D&A Counseling, located at 909 Pecan Street in downtown Bastrop. CSA subscriptions are only $33/week (for hub delivery). Click here to learn more about the CSA delivery service.



Tecolote Farm is located at 16301 Decker Lane in Manor, Texas. For more information about Tecolote Farm, go to www.tecolotefarm.net or visit them on Facebook here.