Exploring Texas, Fayeteville & Round Top

This past weekend we embarked on a motorcycle adventure through small towns in Texas. The only condition was to "avoid highways"

Entering beautiful Cat Spring, TX

Leaving Katy, we took Old Katy Road west through small cities that are avoided by I-10 which are one prettier than the last. Roads are reserved to local traffic, with no rush other than enjoying scenery. It's a part of Texas that has remained in history and we're so glad it did.

Click to expand. Route from Katy to Round Top, TX

Some small towns that we passed through were Brookshire, San Felipe, Cat Spring, New Ulm, Fayeteville and Round top. Thin, winding roads with lot of elevations changes, crossing through farms and ranches. The best our large state has to offer. After some riding, both machinery and humans needed a pit stop, so with no more planning than this urgency we decided to pause in Fayeteville, TX.

Fayeteville's square with it's famous water tank in the background.

Orsak's World famous cafe.

While enjoying Orsak's food, perhaps as we were strangers in a small town of 200 souls, somebody approached to us asking if we wanted to go to jail. Our first reaction was to ask why. So, he kindly rephrased and asked if we wanted to tour the Old Court house that has the oldest jail in Texas. After catching our breath, we agreed to such a generous offer. So he opened the yellow telephone book, searched for a telephone number and said "gotcha, old town little secret" It happened that the last four digits of a telephone number are the code to open the padlock of the old Courthouse in town's square. Try to find that "online"!

This Courthouse was built in 1880 costing $600 (yes, six hundred dollars). Very simple building, single wythe cypress wood walls that allowed for cross ventilation (just for clarification, this was before LEED) The courthouse operated in the ground floor and is preserved in great conditions. The logbook read bailing bonds fines that were awarded to felons and that ranged from 20 cents to a whole dollar if the sins were too much to bear. For those unfortunate souls that had to pay with time, two cell "calaboose" were directly upstairs. Very convenient. Sentences were uttered and prisoners were just "raised" to the second floor. My partner in adventures was very kind to model inside the cell. A third free-less individual could be apprehended by simply shackling him/her to the ground. If you are wondering, no, there were no ADA restrooms in the premises. There were no restrooms, period. We didn't want to explore the mechanics of incarceration, so we didn't ask more about this subject. However, a cast-iron stove sat in the middle of the courthouse providing much needed heat to the jury/public and to prisoners on top via a steel chimney.
A four-faced clock mechanical tower still operational, reminded felons of their misery by striking on the hour and every half hour as well.

The Belle of Round Top, Bed and Breakfast

The Belle of Round Top, Bed and Breakfast

After enjoying Fayeteville so much, we resumed to our final destination in Round Top, TX. Promptly at dusk, we arrived to "The Belle of Round Top", a glorious Bed&Breakfast re-conditioned in an old Victorian house built in 1881. Run by their owners, Debbie and her husband, Doug. This place is a must, gorgeous setting and  mouth watering breakfast. 

On the following day, we diverted course through other small towns, Warrenton, Willow Springs, Industry, Nelsonville and Bellville

Click to enlarge

Windmill on route 159 just passing Industry, TX.

Stay tuned for more "Exploring Texas"...

Photographing LSU Hilltop Arboretum, Lake Flato architects

Last month, I've been asked by Lake Flato architects to photograph this beautiful project they did for Louisiana State Univesity in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. An addition to their original project was finished recently. I was struck by the beauty of this place and how perfectly the building blends with its environment. Users are constantly flowing through spaces and all kind of activities are going on, like wedding photo sessions, seminars for elementary students, families enjoying a break or people walking their dogs.

Pictures don't make justice to this place. This is truly a must visit project if you are in the area.

To see more photos click here: http://www.ayalavargas.com/lsu-hilltop/