This past Saturday, a group of friends and I drove up to Bastrop for a belated birthday trip. I’d never been to Bastrop State Park before, and I’d learned that there was an indie bookstore in Bastrop as well, so that’s what I wanted to do with friends for my birthday.
Things I did not anticipate: Bastrop was a much larger city than I expected. I thought I’d be going through some mostly rural podunk town of 2-3k people, with a single main street where we could get lunch and visit the bookshop. No. It’s a city of 10k folks that’s near enough to Austin that its part of Austin’s metro area. It has several major highways going through it, though the bookstore was indeed on the old main street. The other thing I didn’t anticipate was that it would be over 90 degrees with bright, intense sun on that Saturday. The cold front that was supposed to make the day beautiful got delayed by a few days. Despite sunscreen and parasols, there was a lot of sunburn going on! Didn’t help that there was almost no shade at the park. Bastrop State Park had a major fire about a decade ago, so much of its tree growth died out and is still regrowing.
My plan for the park was to hike (walk) one of the small loops for maybe 1-1.5 miles on mostly-flat paths. I also wanted to take a few photos, planned and impromptu, while along the route. That part all went to plan. Also, I worked up the courage to ask several strangers if I could get photos of them, which honestly turned out to be the most exciting part of the day. It was completely nerve-racking and I expected folks to be annoyed, but they all seemed surprised and delighted that someone wanted to take their photos. There were two women in ren-faire dresses with hiking boots, another another woman with close-shaved blue hair and almost full-body tattoos. All the shots came out gorgeous, especially one in particularly of the third woman.
After our walk and pics, we got to have FunDelivered excitement. If you haven’t heard of this, look it up, it’s amazing! You can buy unclaimed packages through FunDelivered, and have no idea what will be inside. The fun is in the experience of opening and seeing what you ended up with, and trading stuff around if you’d like. It’s a big trend on Tiktok right now and I thought it looked awesome, so Jason and I ordered a box a few weeks back. We opened a few packages, and I had the rest left for this day in Bastrop. Gifts ranged from a pair of (off-brand) running shoes to a spool of fishing line. My favorite – and so I’m really glad I’m the one who opened it – was a “Relaxolotl” pocket hoodie that was just my size!
The four of us had lunch at a bizarre (but delicious) Lebanese-Italian combo restaurant, and then Stephanie had to return home while the rest of us drove over to the bookstore. The Painted Porch Bookshop was a lot smaller than I expected with a limited selection – a lot more like I’ve seen in indie bookshops over the years. (I’ve grown spoiled with Nowhere in the last two weeks, heh.) But they also had some really fun items, and I did buy a few things, including a Furbi pin that says “Take me back to the 90’s” ha! Across the street from the bookshop was a bakery/cafe, so we decided to get some pie before making the two-hour drive back to San Antonio.
It was a lovely day. Did I end up burnt to a crisp? Yeah, pretty much. Was it worth it? Definitely.