Goliad, Texas is known for it’s rustic charm, rich history, and small town feel that almost resembles the set of Footloose. Goliad is loved by locals, but is unheard of by outsiders. This delightful town is so small that it is unfortunately overlooked. I like to see it as a hidden treasure of Texas.
Taken from the perspective of a local, Danielle Garza, what makes this town extraordinary is, “the history and the culture for sure. There is a historical marker probably within like every square mile. It’s a forgotten part of Texas history that is really neat to witness. The hospitality is very prominent too since it’s a small town culture. It just has the small town, cozy feel that is hard to experience else where.”
I visited Goliad as an outsider. I had never even heard of Goliad until I met Danielle. I am from the big city of Dallas, Texas. Imagine going from a city that has a population of over 1,000,000 people to a small town with a population of a little over 1,000 people. In Dallas there are skyscrapers and traffic. In Goliad, the biggest building is a courthouse and there is not even a highway to have traffic on. To say the least, it is quite a drastic difference.
However, I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the experience was despite the major differences between the two cities. After a weekend filled with sightseeing, good food, and meeting some locals, this place felt like home.
On Friday, Danielle and I left the hectic college environment and drove to the calm city of Goliad. When we got there, Danielle took me on a tour of the town which lasted a solid five minutes. As cars were passing by she told me, “I probably know everyone driving in those cars because that’s just how a small town is.”
The next day was Saturday where we spent the morning walking dogs on the trails of Goliad State Park. Just walking the trail, I saw many historical landmarks including the Presidio La Bahia, Angel of Goliad trail, and the Mission. That is where I learned the history of the Goliad Massacre. I got a history lesson in those two miles we walked from another local, Sami Garza. Luckily, she is a history major who knows Goliad, and all of it’s history, inside and out. She told me about the interesting facts and stories behind every landmark we passed.
After a nice walk, we enjoyed lunch at the Blue Quail Deli. I walked in and immediately inhaled the aroma of sour pickles and potato soup. For some people, this may be unappealing, but for me it made me excited to eat there. This place is a popular lunch spot for locals that serves delicious sandwiches, soups, and sometimes burgers (only on Thursdays) on their menu. I got a hot pastrami sandwich and a cup of potato blue cheese bacon soup which was delicious, as expected. However, they are known for their award winning jalapeno soup (which is perfect for dipping your sandwich in). Sami told me that every day in highschool she would go there for lunch because even though they only had thirty minutes to go and come back, it was worth it. She was right, it definitely was worth it.
After a busy Saturday, it was nice to have a relaxing Sunday that started off with yummy donuts from The Donut Palace and ended with finger-licking BBQ. I had a glazed donut and a strawberry frosted donut (with sprinkle, of course). Biting into that donut made it explode with flavor into my mouth. To say the least, my taste buds were very satisfied with that breakfast. The BBQ was not from a restaurant, but made from the kitchen of local people who were selling boxes of BBQ meals to support the relay for life. Let me be the first to say that the people who made that BBQ should have their own restaurant because the chicken was so tender that it basically fell apart in my mouth.
Danielle decided that she needed to show me the stadium where the rodeo is hosted every year, so we took a two minute trip from her house there. She told me all about the rodeo and how her and her friends are able to sit in the very front row, to where they can almost feel the sweat of the bull riders. This was interesting to me because the Fort Worth rodeo, a few minutes outside of Dallas, was so big that sitting in the front row was unheard of. She also said that everyone in town goes to the rodeo, including people from surrounding small towns. I loved hearing about how the entire community comes together for this event as well as so many other events held at the stadium such as concerts of local bands, two stepping, and BBQ dinners.
We also drove through the town square so we could pass by some more must-see landmarks. The town square consists of the courthouse in the center surrounded by restaurants, boutiques, and offices all in buildings as old as the town (which is very old). The famous hanging tree where lynchings used to be carried out is what made me feel like I was a part of history. The town square as a whole made me feel like I was inside a history book. It also made me feel like I was truly in Texas, mainly because there were some people riding their horse around for transportation rather than a car.
The town of Goliad is a town of friendly faces, historical sites, and tasty food. Whether you are a native Texan or a tourist looking for a place to visit, I highly recommend Goliad, Texas. Going to Goliad made me realize that just because a town is small does not mean it is boring. I also now realize why Danielle talks so much about this place because it truly is a special place that is well worth the trip.
This was originally written for a Free Lance Writing course at St. Mary’s University