Welcome to Cottage Dreaming, A Blog for Cottage Lovers...

Currently, with economic concerns impacting how we live and where we live, cottages will, I predict, have a comeback. They are usually smaller and more compact, but pack a lot of comfortable living space. A canvas wall hanging in the Spring 2012 "The Lakeside Collection" says it well: "Love grows well in Little Houses." This was true throughout the history of the United States, until the past 50 years, and it is true currently.

No offense, anyone, but a family of five in a three story, 10 room home has to work harder to keep in touch and to interact. That same family, in a five room, one story cottage or other small house, is closer, both in proximity, as well, I would suggest, as in emotional closeness. For this reason, as well as for economic necessity, small, cozy homes will be the prominent choice for middle income families in the future, as well as for empty-nesters and individuals who prefer a small home to an apartment or condo.

I love cottages of all kinds. My favorite cottage is one made of stone with a steeply pitched roof. I prefer a cottage that is close to water, whether it is a lake, bayou, coastal area or river. However, a cottage located close to the center of a commercial neighborhood is also appealing to me.

If you love cottages or other smaller homes, please join us in all things cottage, here at Cottage Dreamer. Thousands of small homes are out there ready to be custom-fit to your needs. They abound in small towns as well as in cities throughout the U.S.

To become a part of the regular happenings here at Cottage Dreamer, add your e-mail, to receive new posts. Welcome!

Pleasant day-dreams! Phebe

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Visit to Llano - Part Three

(There was quite a delay between blogging about Visiting Llano, part two and part three;  all because my little laptop was recalled by the manufacturer.  It is back now, and I am happy to have her back! )

On my day trip to Llano in March, 2012,  after touring the "railroad" historic area, we crossed the Llano River bridge and soon arrived at the Courthouse Square. 
Llano Bridge

 The Llano Courthouse,  is a lovely large old structure with a clock on top which was rebuilt in 1893.  The previous courthouse was destroyed by fire in January, 1892. 
Llano Courthouse Tower & Clock
Built of Brick, Granite, and Sandstone in 1893.
The old oak tree standing near the courthouse must be very old.  If we could only see the town grow as it has.  Imagine seeing the cowboys gathering for the cattle drives to Kansas, the saloons and town streets of the 1800's, and the ladies of the Woman's Culture Club attending their meetings in 1901. 

The beautiful tower and clock can be seen throughout the Llano town area.  The courthouse is built of granite, sandstone, and brick. 

The history of Llano is interesting.  It was the home of American Indians for centuries prior to the Spanish arriving and finding silver near Llano at Riley Mountain in 1756.  Llano County is a treasure-trove of minerals including crystals and according to some old sources, possibly the home of lost gold mines.  In 1838 a Mrs. Webster and her children were taken by Indians and she lived with them for two years before escaping.  She quickly reported gold and silver mines belonging to the Indians which resulted in many prospectors coming to seek the "lost" Spanish-Mexican mine and Indian gold which have never been located.  Some say silver and gold are located inside granite pockets in this Llano Uplift region of Central Texas.   Near Llano you can see rare brown granite with sky blue crystals and pink feldspar which can be found nowhere else on earth.  Rare pearls have also been found in fresh water mussels along the Colorado River which have been valued from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.   

Llano was settled by Germans beginning in 1844.  Cattle-rustling was a huge problem until the 1870's.   
Many early buildings remain such as the historically significant 'old jail', a solid looking beautiful old building - probably not so beautiful to those who were forced to reside inside.  The old jail, now known as "Red-top" because of its red roof, was built in 1895 of local granite at a reported cost of $11,500.  The first floor was the home of the "jailers" and the four cells and two drunk tanks were located on the second floor. Prisoners reportedly slept on the floor on cot mattresses, and there was no electricity on the second floor.  Their meals were prepared by the jailer's wife.   There is no third floor, and the top of the jail is where the gallows was located.  A hole in the floor allowed bodies to fall down to "hang".   Reportedly no one was hanged from the "gallows" although skeptics say there were hangings.  It was last used as a jail in the 1970's and was used as a "Headstart" building in the 1990's.  It is reportedly being restored by the Friends of the Llano Red Top Jail.   

Some old structures surrounding the town square are now home to restaurants, little intriguing shops, a jewelry store, and other businesses. (see below)
 Buildings on Llano Square

I was fascinated by the historical sign near the courthouse which tells about "The Woman's Culture Club"  which was founded by Jennie Clopton, local music teacher in 1901, originally called the "Woman's Literary Society".  This club established a public library, worked on beautification projects in public areas as well as other projects. 

Woman's Culture Club of Llano
My friend and I ate at The Acme Cafe, a restaurant in an old historic building on the square, where we had a delightful lunch.  She ordered crab cakes and I had a vegetarian sandwich and soup.  Here is a picture of the inside of the Acme. 

Acme Cafe
The Acme Cafe

There are several interesting restaurants in Llano and it is difficult to decide where to enjoy your meal. I look forward to trying breakfast or lunch next visit at The Berry St. Bakery (http://www.berrystreetbakery.com/) which is in an older home and has an outdoor eating area, on the corner across from the square.

During our visit to Llano, we also visited Jim's Jewelry on Main Street on the Square, a gift shop and Charlie's Furniture and Gift Shop. 

Llano is known as "The deer capital of Texas" and the density of deer in the Llano Basin is greater than any other area in the United States. 

"Phebe - Cottage Dreamer" blog would be incomplete without at least one cottage picture from Llano.  This little cottage, near the old jail, intrigued me.  The "Llano resident" that came out to greet us on our visit April, 2011 appeared to be part of the "neighborhood watch program." 
Small Llano Cottage
Chicken in Llano in April, 2011.
Note:  Many readers may be surprised that chickens are allowed in some Texas towns.
However, they are even legal in the city of Austin, which boasts some amazing chicken coops.
Finally, a visit to the granite yard shows this granite "outhouse" with Dish Network receiver on top.  They boast they can build anything out of granite - and this shows their sense of humor. 

On Rt. 29 near Llano, hundreds of people each year stop to photograph and enjoy a "Bald Eagle" pair and their offspring.  The adults have nested for the winter for several years beside the Llano River close enough for visitors to view the baby eagles growing, eating, and learning to take flight.  Last year the couple had one baby eagle; in 2012 they had "twins." 

 (Last year's bald eagle in the nest (above photo) -I'm guessing this is mom or dad sitting on the eggs - I visited several times last year and enjoyed watching "Junior" grow and fly.  It is a thrill to see the parent sitting over on another branch or tree as "Junior" begins to leave the nest and spread his wings.  Babies do not develop the traditional white head until they are older. Eagle couples reportedly mate for life.)
Parent in 2012 Watching Baby Eagle from Afar.
Until next time, Wishing you happiness and hoping you visit a small town near your home!  Hugs, Phebe

(My thanks to the Llano Chamber of Commerce, and three websites for information about the Llano area.  http://www.texfiles.com/llanotexas/aboutllano/yesterdaytoday/index.htm and
http://www.truewestmagazine.com/jcontent/living-the-dream/living-the-dream/true-western-towns/4254-llano-texas, and http://www.llanomainstreet.com/Redtopjail/Redtop.html.

Note:  All photos in the Llano blogs were taken by Phebe and may not be copied without permission.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Visiting Llano (Part 2) - North side of Llano River

Llano is 65 miles northwest of Austin and 102 miles from San Antonio.

The Llano River, flows through the middle of the town of Llano. According to the website, llanoriver.com. the Llano River is one of Texas' few remaining wild rivers, and is located more than 100 miles from any major city.  It originates as a spring-fed river and therefore its clear, clean water is great for fishing and canoeing.  
Above, the Llano River's view of the dam in Llano. 


The Dabbs Hotel in Llano
The Dabbs Hotel, (above) located on the north side of the Llano River bank was built in 1907, and is the last of the railroad hotels.  It is still open and it may be rented for weddings or family reunions.  It also has a sleeping porch that sleeps six in twin beds that may be rented for #365 a night. Reportedly Bonnie and Clyde visited this hotel in the 1930's.   (Information from the hotel's website:  dabbsrailroadhotel.com.) 

In the same area there are other renovated homes, and a small log cottage that has been moved to the site which sits near the museum. 

The plaque at the steps tells a bit about this very old cottage.

I've seen lots of log cabins in several states and the chinking in this one is unique, at least to me.  It contains some stones, wood, and other items.  Another room, made of boards and batten, is apparently a later addition to this cottage.  

Another very small cottage sits near the train tracks.  It appears to have only one room and doesn't appear to have a bathroom.  It had a "For Rent" sign on it.  (below)

The third part of "Visiting Llano" will cross the bridge and visit the shops and buildings on the "South" side of the river.  Until then, please do find some ways to put a little fun in your life.  

Hugs, Phebe........................


Friday, March 16, 2012

Day-Tripping in the Texas Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country abounds with small towns that are wonderful places to explore one's love of cottages, to see what local life is like in the "Hill Country," and to sample the fun events of each town.

Today, March 16, 2012 was such a trip for me.  A friend and I went to Llano, the county seat of Llano County, west of Austin.  Many of you know about Llano and have been there.  Those of you from outside of Texas may not know about Llano.
  Llano, A Main Street City


Before I tell about my trip, let me share with some folks who are local about tomorrow's fun
event in Llano.  Tomorrow from 1-3 p.m. in the historic business district there is an event: 

"Sample Delectable Desserts and Enter to Win a Gift Certificate" . 

This event is sponsored by the Llano Main Street and the Llano County Journal. 

You may:
Pick up a ballot at LanTex Theater.
Visit each of the 9 restaurants and sample a dessert. 
Have your ballot initialed at each location. 
Choose the ONE restaurant whose dessert you liked the best.
Return your ballot to the LanTex Theater by 3:30 pm. on 3/17/12.
At 4 p.m. a drawing will be held for a gift certificate.  You don't have to be present to win.

This sounds like great fun on a Spring day.  Hope some of you are able to attend.

Below is the "Berry Street Bakery" one of the "sample sites".

Today the spring flowers were wonderful:  miles of Texas Bluebonnets on Rts. 1431 and  29, and spring trees, flowers,  and bushes in full bloom in Llano. 
Beautiful Bridal Wreath
Blue Bonnets near the Museum

Our first stop was at the Llano Visitor and Tourism Center housed in the Railroad Depot Building. 

Llano residents appear to have an appreciation for their town's history and they have preserved and re-purposed many of the early buildings.  

Nearby the Railway Depot Building  is the museum, some renovated homes, a "Hotel" overlooking the river, and a rustic cabin, all on the Rt. 29 side of the Llano River. 

Over the next two blogs we will look at some of the quaint buildings, businesses, and the Llano Courthouse Square.  

Hope you enjoy the tour of Llano half as much as I did today.

Remember...Allow a little fun into your life.

                                                    Until Next Time, 

                                                    Hugs, Phebe