Lampasas lies in the region of Texas where the Hill Country transitions into the Great Plains. It’s packed with the best of both worlds, from gunslingin’ Wild West stories, to a crystal-clear spring, to platters full of steaming German schnitzel.
More than just a square surrounding the stately 1883 courthouse, the historic district stretches for blocks in every direction, showing visitors the town has many stories to tell. Local legend asserts there were once 36 saloons in this area of town, catering to working cowboys and the outlaws who roamed through. To dig deeper, visitors can head to the Lampasas County Museum—occupying an old sheet- metal shop—and read about the infamous Horrell-Higgins feud that rivaled that of the Hatfields and McCoys.
German heritage stretches all across the Hill Country, but it’s hard to find German food as good as Eve’s. After emigrating from the Old World decades ago, Eve Sanchez, with her husband, Steve Sanchez, now runs this authentic restaurant on the square, which serves up crispy schnitzel that will make you shout, ‘das beste!’ The bratwurst sausage is stuffed in-house every day, and the Black Forest cake is far better than anything that tempted Hansel and Gretel.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Lampasas became a preferred destination, attracting folks from all over the country to its natural springs, which were thought to have healing properties. Whether or not that’s true, it’s certainly good for the soul to take a dip in the Hancock Springs pool. The springs pump thousands of gallons per day into a human-made pool that’s cold year-round. But don’t let that stop you from participating in a century-old activity.
Hanna Springs Sculpture Garden
One might not think quirky modern art and small towns mix, but this park proves otherwise. Take a walk among more than a dozen sculptures ranging from a monstrous catfish in the bed of a rusted old truck to a concrete sofa complete with a mosaic afghan. They’re sure to leave you inspired, confused, and impressed, all at the same time. If you’re on the hunt for more sculptures, check out the “World’s Largest Spur” on the other side of town, standing 35 feet tall and weighing 10,000 pounds.
This is your stop for a meal of historic pro-portions. The small-town drive-in started as The Dairy Cue, and its old-fashioned burgers and fries taste just as good as they did 70 years ago. Even Elvis himself enjoyed Storm’s during his Army training at Fort Hood. Save room for dessert and order a Frosted Dr Pepper—ice cream blended with the famed Texas soda.
So whether you follow my footsteps or forge your own path,
I hope to see you on the road.
Chet Garner is the host of The Daytripper® travel show on PBS. To view the Terlingua episode visit thedaytripper.com. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @chettripper.