Friday, March 15, 2019

Historic Goliad

A few weeks ago, when Tom and I were relaxing in the hot tub at the RV Resort, another couple we were talking to told us about the small historic town of Goliad.  It was about an hour drive inland from Port Aransas, but there was a Mission and a Fort, and on the 2nd Saturday of the month they have Market Days.

I put it on the calendar, and thought we’d take a drive if it were a nice day.  Saturday started out with the typical clouds and fog, but it was promising to warm up, especially inland, so we loaded the bikes on the Jeep and got an early start.  Our drive took us through ranch land, with lots of cattle along the side of the highway.  Not much else besides cattle . . . and grass!

Goliad is an old, small town, with the businesses around the town square with the County Courthouse in the center of the square.

In front of the courthouse is a huge, old Live Oak known as the Hanging Tree . . .

From Roadside,

An official Texas Historic Landmark, the Goliad Hanging Tree is a symbol of justice, Texas-style. For 24 years the court trials of Goliad County were held under this big oak tree. Death sentences were carried out promptly, usually within a few minutes, courtesy of the tree's many handy noose-worthy branches. The tree also served as a gallows for a number of impromptu lynchings during the 1857 "Cart War" between Texans and Mexicans.

No tally was kept for how many men died in The Hanging Tree, but some estimates range into the low hundreds.

The businesses surrounding the square were historic and really quaint,

and there were several cool murals on the brick walls, too,

including this old advertisement that is now the backdrop for a trendy outdoor seating area of a local restaurant.

The vendors for Market Days were set up on the sidewalk surrounding the courthouse square, and there were a couple of musicians on two sides of the square.

We walked through the booths, and then around again, walking through the shops on the opposite side of the street.  It was a pretty typical Farmers Market type atmosphere, with various local artists and craftsmen selling their products.  We enjoyed looking around, but didn’t buy anything.

There were a few restaurants in town, and we decided on lunch at the Empresario Restaurant, a historic structure on the square.  Our lunch was yummy and very filling!

In researching Goliad, I had read that there was a bike trail that runs between downtown, Goliad State Park (home to the Mission Espiritu Santo), and the Presidio Bahia (Fort), so we had brought our bikes with us.  The trail was supposed to be 2.5 miles each way, which isn’t long, but what we didn’t know is that it would go down to the river, and then back up again!

The trail was blacktop in many areas, and wooden boardwalk in other areas, including these crazy switchback ramps down to the river and back up again in two different sections of the trail.  Climbing the ramps was actually easier than going down them!

We arrived at the State Park, and stop in at the Ranger Station to get our entrance permits, and then walked up to the Mission de Spiritu Santo.

We toured the Museum, as well as the Chapel and other buildings, and the grounds.

Inside the Chapel,

and around the grounds.

The museum tells the story of the Franciscan monks who served the Indians of this area with education, farming and cattle ranching.

One of the remaining original walls.

Leaving the Mission,

we got back on our bikes and rode through the campground (they have one loop of nice 50 Amp FHU sites), and then crossed the San Antonio River,

to the Presidio la Bahia.

The Fort was built on top of a hill next to the river, the perfect location to provide protection for the Mission.

There are nine flags placed in front of the Presidio – representing the progression of occupancy of the Fort.

There are tours available of the grounds and the barracks, and there is still an active Catholic Church on the premises.  It was getting late in the afternoon, so we didn’t take the tour and just headed back to town on the bike path.

It had gotten well into the 80s on Saturday (much different than the weather we had been having out on the island!), and was extremely humid, so the bike riding was taking a toll on both of us – especially after that filling lunch!

Once we got across the river, rather than riding back through the state park, we just followed the highway back to downtown Goliad.

It gave us a great view of a field of Bluebonnets in front of the Mission!

Pretty – Spring is in the air!


  1. So much History to see and learn that you don't learn in school just by going to the right places. Another Fun Day.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. We really enjoyed Goliad when we were there a few years ago. That bike trail is CRAZY!


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