Newly Renovated, in Hico
Don and I recently enjoyed a Texas road trip with friends. First, we introduced Susan and Pat to a couple of hotels that we've enjoyed before. For the last night, we booked rooms at the beautifully renovated Midland Hotel, in Hico.
Yay, for exploring a new town and hotel, with new traveling friends! The afternoon sun was shining brightly on the corner entrance when we arrived. The wood column was impressive.
Across the Street
The hotel faced Pecan Street and its welcoming red sign. We had to help out, to create the missing letter.
Later, we wandered the street and enjoyed some wine at Silver Spur Winery and some popcorn at Hico Popcorn Works. I love a hotel with walkable stuff!
Rebuilt in 1896
Hico was a cotton and cattle town in its earlier years. The original corner hotel opened in 1893, but was destroyed by fire.
The new brick and stone hotel reopened in 1896. By 1907, the town was bustling with cotton sales and 95 businesses. This corner would have been jammed with wagons and horses. But by 1909 a boll weevil infestation ended cotton farming. The Midland Hotel was vacant for nearly 70 years.
Renovation and Restoration
I'd seen many photos and I'd read about the recent restoration.
But I was even more impressed when we headed into the lobby.
The beautiful wood floors and limestone walls, were accented by fun art and antiques.
I love curious chairs and I spotted 2 right away.
Reclaimed and Repurposed
Evidently the building had been empty since the 1970's. The interior had to be totally gutted, but much was saved.
The walls now reveal stone and brick. Reclaimed wood has created a beautiful ceiling.
Fixer Upper Style
The open staircase offered a closer look at the ceiling. The lovely lobby below, looked like a setting for a movie... or a TV show.
Actually, the hotel had a TV connection. Chip and Joanna Gaines (from the Fixer Upper show) were involved with this property. Their Waco home is just an hour away and their real estate company, Magnolia Realty, handled this hotel.
Playful Old West
Don and I have stayed in numerous, historic Texas hotels. There's usually a lot of cowboy and cattle decor... which means lots of taxidermy.
I loved seeing a little taste of Old West, in non-aged, art for a change.
Even the saloon had a fun-modern nod towards the Wild West.
The rounded bar was shiny and bright, with a beautiful brown and blue horse painting, above. The Texas longhorn on the wall, had no fur.
The Chop House
The Chop House restaurant was fairly quiet at 4. I took a peek from below and above.
The second floor had a sitting area, with an opening to the restaurant.
Thick, velvety curtains were pulled at night, so the sound stayed below.
Hotels get extra bonus points from me, when they have useable porches! The Midland's second story porch, had lots of sunshine at 4:30.
There was also a lounging porch in back. Later there was a pleasant evening glow, but there was too much wind for enjoying.
After checking in, we lugged our bags to the second floor. The stairway was wide and so were the halls. They seemed to go in all directions.
I was glad they were able to salvage the original doors. Some had clever coverage, for the old glass transoms. The room across from ours, used a woven rug piece, to block out the light. It also had a mailbox! I was jealous.
We found numerous little sitting areas, while roaming upstairs.
This one was at the top of the stairs.
At the end of hallways, we found more cozy lounging nooks.
Modern West Benches
Benches aren't usually very comfortable, but I love the idea of a shared bench.
I'm not sure if all these seats and benches get much use, but they all looked pretty fun.
Room 201 - Lynch Brothers Room
All 14 rooms are unique and named for historic figures or places in Hico. Our room was named for the Lynch Brothers.
The screen door that decorated the wall, framed an image of the hardware store that the Lynch Brothers owned.
Across the Street
When I opened the blinds, I saw the very building across the street. "C.L.Lynch Hardware" was painted on the brick.
The painted ad for Bright and Early Coffee and Tea, had faded over the years. I love old ads on buildings.
We were pleased with both of our rooms. Pat & Susan had a suite over looking the balcony and Pecan street. Exposed brick was framed like art.
Our room was smaller, but the high ceilings and large mirror made it feel spacious. The shape of the room was odd, but I like a room with more than 4 walls.
An old painted dresser held the TV. Our vintage "wardrobe" reminded me of a vintage refrigerator. The bathroom wasn't huge, but I liked the window light and nice bath products.
Near the door, there was a table holding a Keurig coffee maker. The orange-painted, metal table pleased me and I wasn't sure why. Don recognized the once common typewriter table.
I suddenly had memories of the gray metal table that held my family's typewriter. I could picture my mom typing away... sometimes late into the night! Extra points for a hotel that gives me a fun, deja vu moment!
Entertainment at 6!
We made sure to head down to the Saloon around 6, for live entertainment. In a town of less than 1,400, you have to be thrilled if there's anything going on. By 6:15, this cozy bar space was hopping.
The middle table was taken over by an extended family. Evidently the family reserves every Thursday, for music and burger special.
Music, Drinks and Food!
We grabbed a table not far from where John Young (from Stephenville, TX) was performing on guitar... and ukulele! He was a talented young man, with a smooth voice and a nice repertoire, that leaned mostly towards country.
We sipped wine and beer and downed some incredible tenderloin sliders, among other yummy appetizers. It was fun to see many locals enjoying the evening. A number of kids came through from the Chop House area, to add to the tip jar. It was a nice evening, that ended at a reasonable hour... for tired travelers.
The next morning, we had to hit the road at 8:30. There wasn't time for lounging on the porch, but we did snap a photo. We headed downstairs with our bags and left the keys on the desk.
The hotel has no attendants in the morning. But as we loaded the car, a young man walking down the street, introduced himself. He had been our chef last night and he hoped we'd had a nice stay. That was a good way to end our visit!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!