One reason to travel is to feel transformed. You want to visit a new place, and have an experience you could not have at home. In Hico, you get this experience right away. The minute you turn onto Pecan street, you know that you have come to a special place all its own.
The cowboy flair is everywhere when you stroll into town. Many landmarks stand out, such as: the Billy the Kid Museum, the Silver Spur Winery, and the Midland Hotel. These landmarks, as all buildings in Hico’s downtown, are preserved 19th century architecture. But that’s only a a sneak peak at what’s in Hico.
The Real Deal-Small Town business owners extending far beyond their city limits
Many small towns across the country are experiencing a resurgence. There are individuals that see the potential of beautiful old buildings and what a downtown area has to offer. Hico, is no different, because of its unique history, flair, and tenacious, enthusiastic business owners.
While speaking with business owner Becky Holt, I learned that in Hico, businesses working together spawned a big turn around in 2012. The turnaround started with Blue Star Trading.
A Downtown Story
A Dallas couple the McStays, purchased the current location for Blue Star Trading in the late 80’s, and the business opened in 1999. They added by expanding next door into “the Petty Building” in 2006. Turns out the Petty Brothers- who were running the business in the early 1900’s, were also supplying home furnishings to Hico, and surrounding ranches.
Back then the cotton industry was huge in Texas, and the Petty Brothers were selling textile goods. Now, Blue Star Home is continuing to serve the community the same way. The McStay’s took a risk at the time and “were patiently waiting for others to see how wonderful Hico is”( Becky Holt). Blue Star was a spark needed to build the fire now burning in Hico’s business community. Blue Star has grown considerably over the past twenty years, becoming a destination business. See the wonderful history of Hico and Blue Star Trading video here.
The story continues….
In the years that followed, several unique businesses started to take hold in Hico. Kevin Wentzel of Wiseman House Chocolates and his wife LaDonne, had a vision to offer Gourmet Texas Chocolate. Now after twenty years, Wiseman House is not just known in small town Hico, but all across the U.S. and has retail partners all over Texas.
Why are Wiseman House Chocolates so good? Is it chocolate from the Gods in Hico? Check this out: “The answer is simple: real chocolate from origins such as Belgium and Venezuela, fresh ingredients like whipping cream and chopped fruits, natural flavors like crushed coffee beans, all combined with unique liqueurs and spices. We leave out added sugars, glutens, sodium nitrates, and trans fats. The result is a full rich flavor profile, smoother texture, and an indescribable taste. Our fine handmade chocolates, including our dark chocolate truffles, ganache and almond toffees, will take you back in time, as you enjoy the same richness and flavor that inspired the Ancient Mayans to revere chocolate as the nectar of the gods.” (https://www.wisemanhousechocolates.com/).
The craftsmanship and quality you get at Wiseman House is unmatched. When visiting you can stop at their retail location, or sign up for a chocolate experience! Hungry yet, don’t worry, they ship! Click here for a fun video of chocolate making up close.
Tanks, Silos, and Meteorites
Would you have ever guessed that there is a place to drive tanks in small town Hico, Texas? Well you can at the Min Tank Battlefield Paintball Park. This place is uniquely Hico, and while My Town hasn’t been everywhere (yet), I would venture to say it’s pretty unique comparatively anywhere. You will have so much fun driving these tanks through the sixty six acres of different “battlefields,” and you will feel like a kid again.
Want to see what they look like in motion? Click here for the video. There are three courses to choose from: The Fury, Battle of the Bulge, and Vietnam, each set up for an epic paintball battle!
More Unique Recreation Creations
There is a new craze sweeping the nation, and it’s come to Hico, Texas- Silo Rock Climbing Walls! Yep, it’s as great as it sounds! Preservation of abandoned silos, re-purposed for recreation inside and out. You can have this experience at Silovillle Climbing Gym, Hico.
Another hidden gem in Hico, is the mysterious meteorite crater site. Mr. William J. McBride first discovered the site in Hico, while mapping the geology of Hamilton County in 1953 for Humble Oil and Refining Company. If you like to see geological wonders, it’s a fun way to spend a little time looking at the topography change in the Hico area. You can read more about this geological site here.
Delicious and Delectable of Hico
There are so many surprises in Hico, when it comes to food and beverages. For a town of about 1,300 residents, Hico, has great offerings.
Flacas Fitness and Brews- Flaca’s has been in Hico, for 3 years, and offers a fun and funky atmosphere. With great food, entertainment, and fitness classes, it’s a diverse, friendly business that’s bringing the community together. If you are in Hico during the week, stop in on Taco Tuesday!
After dinner and dessert, make sure to stop at the Silver Spur Winery– They have a great tasting of their award winning dry wines. My Town would recommend the Tempranillo, it’s amazing!
There are also great local finds like Giovanni’s – this was such a surprise. My Town was given a local tip, and wasn’t really in the mood to eat hot pasta in 90 degree weather. But I went, and have been craving this amazing Italian food ever since!
My Town ordered Giovanni’s version of Little Italy, and they have hands down the best alfredo sauce anywhere! By the way, the restaurant is also BYOB- so My Town made a stop at Silver Spur Winery first.
When your’e all finished with all the delectable food and wine, pop on over to Hico Popcorn Works– Another business that ships all around the country, so don’t worry if you don’t have room in your travel bag.
The Unique, Interesting, Yours, of Hico
What is it about a town that makes its special? A local attraction, a family-owned business that has been there forever? A piece of history you can’t find anywhere else, or a bookstore with just the right vibe? Here a few of the Unique, Interesting, Yours of Hico.
The Midland Hotel– Beautiful, historic, restored! Original hotel since 1896. Also features 1896 Saloon, and The Chop House. The Midland delivers on small town charm, history, and comfort. Large rooms and common areas make for a comfortable stay.
Here’s a little more about the Midland: “the Midland Hotel was vacant for many years. The last known date of Hotel operation is unknown. In 2014, the building was purchased by Les and Amber Branson of Les Branson Companies out of Lipan, TX. The vision was to restore the building to the original time period of the “Turn of the Century” hotel, and provide a wonderful, historical piece of art for the town and all to enjoy” ( https://www.historicmidlandhotel.com/about.htm).
Billy the Kid Museum- Was Brushy Bill Roberts actually Billy the Kid of the Wild West? One claim to fame for Hico, is a gentlemen named Brushy Bill Roberts, who before he died in the 1950’s claimed to be Billy the Kid. Many historians and media publications have covered the story, and you can decide for yourself at the Billy the Kid Museum. Check out this link to read more on the local phenomena, and commentary from the museum’s director-Sue Land.
Sloan Brands- Second generation husband and wife team, making wonderful mini branding irons, completely custom, for over fifty-five years. These make perfect gifts to give something special hand-made on a Texas Ranch!
MTT Antique and Market Finds
Great Antique Shops and Farmers Markets are familiar sights in small towns. This includes Thrift Shops, Local Eats, and the like! Here are some great MTT Antique and Market Finds from Hico.
Two Clay Birds- Farmers Market style establishment with homemade breads, jams, fruits, veggies, and so much more.
Sugar Moon Antiques is another unique Hico business. Sugar Moon has been on Pecan Street for twelve years, and has one of the the most wonderfully decorated stores you have ever seen. A fun aspect of shopping here, is that the owner travels twice a year to Europe, and brings back containers for the store. This gives the customer a truly unique experience!
Need a break? Stop in at The Wooden Indian for hand-rolled cigars, gifts, and a local aficionado to guide you!
Hico Mercantile– Two words- massive and awesome, because everything is bigger in Texas! Located on Elm Street, the two story historic building has been turned into an eclectic shopping experience. With over forty-five unique vendors, you can find anything to fit your antique, rustic sheik, or artisan style!
Hico, Texas is truly a place all its own, given its unique past and very bright future. Texas may be a big place, but it’s small town’s like Hico, that are unique, interesting, and worth visiting.
My Town Today has started a referral section of each article. It’s based on visiting a town, and finding out what town the majority of its citizens would recommend My Town visit next.
The referral for this entry is: Mason, TX. Stay tuned for My Town to pop up there soon.
Hico Photo Gallery Click Here: