A Blacksmith, a King, and a 1950s Diner

A couple of friends and I decided to venture to Bellville, Texas, just one hour outside of Houston, for a day of small-town fun and exploration. What drew us to this destination? A castle. Yep, you heard me right. A castle in Texas. I was extremely excited, having traveled all over Europe viewing the incredible castles and cathedrals, and I couldn’t wait to learn the history of this castle. When was it founded, who lived in it, was it still owned by the same family? We got to the castle, which at first appearance was an exciting and picturesque sight, but then things took a turn.

Across the draw-bridge appeared a middle-aged man, poorly dressed in what looked to be “traditional clothing” to include a leather belt tied just below his bulging tummy and a cheap costume crown on his head. His first action was to call all the kids over for a knight dubbing ceremony. We figured this was all apart of the $20.00, a little something extra for the kids. Gimmicky, yes, but understandable, sure. This quickly turned into roughly thirty minutes of him talking about himself and how he lives in this castle and how there are dragons and damsels in distress. Again, for the kids, but we were just ready to get to the history and the tour. It was hot, and this man could talk! My friend and I began slowly making our way to the draw bridge, determined to get inside. As we neared the bridge I began noticing little things, like how the cement on the outside of the castle looked fresh, and how the stones were not actually stones but just etchings. I also noticed the A/C unit protruding outside of the castle wall. This is about the time that I did a quick google search to find out some more details. With the king proudly talking to a group of about thirty people, I found what I was looking for and couldn’t help but bust out laughing. Unable to find the words in my hysteria, I motioned to my friend to look at my phone screen. and she quickly joined me in a fit of laughter. The castle was not founded two-hundred plus years ago by a European family as I thought. This self-proclaimed king in front of us wasn’t just putting on a show but he had started building this castle to be his home in 1998! That’s right, the same 1998 that the song Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) by The Offspring came out and theatergoers bought tickets for the Big Lebowski. It is okay to laugh now if you haven’t already!

Certainly less interested in this outing, we walked in for a quick look around. One room on display was the royal chambers, a.k.a. his bedroom, complete with a bedside table containing his contact case, shoes on the floor, and unfolded clothing scattered about. Behind the armoire was a television, oh, and the best part; this beautiful hand-painted image of “His Majesty” hanging above the mantle.

Long story short, this was not what we signed up for, and feeling slightly creeped out by the display of this odd man’s personal space, we quickly escaped to our car, eager to salvage this day trip! So is Bellville still worth the trip you ask? We were a bit concerned ourselves at first, as our luck continuously lead us to closed establishments due to COVID-19, however with a bit of research and some helpful townspeople, we found our fun, and this small town was redeemed.

A Legitimate Blacksmith

Feeling deprived of our history fix having been disappointed by the castle, we visited the local Phenix Knives blacksmith shop. This shop, established in 1891 has been operated by the same family of blacksmiths for over 100 years, with minor changes to the interior preserving the integrity of this historical space. If seeing this space wasn’t cool enough, the owner and blacksmith himself, Cowboy, will teach you how to create your own knife the traditional way. This shop provided not only the history we were after but a fun interactive experience.

A Local Farmer’s Market

Next up, we ventured out to the local farmers market! Tons of local vendors gathered to sell jams, salsas, dips, seasonings, fresh fruits and vegetables, handmade scrubs, and even milkshakes! We had a blast shopping around and talking with the locals, and even had our picture taken for the Bellville Chamber of Commerce website.

Boutique Shopping

A trip to any small town wouldn’t be complete without a bit of boutique shopping! There were two stores that stuck out to us. Alternatives, an adorable shop with tons of unique Texas themed items, clothing, cookware, vegan skin products, and mugs galore, as well as, Coco & Duckie, a vibrant shop containing uniquely crafted beaded jewelry, fun cards, stationery, candles, and brands such as Tokyo Milk and Lollia. I scored some great items, including this cute apron that I just couldn’t pass up.

A 1950’s Diner

Looking for a bite to eat, we took the advice of the locals and visited The Hill, a diner established in the 1950s serving up American classics from burgers and milkshakes to corn dogs and Frito pie. The fun and original black and white checkered flooring and decor felt like it came straight out of the movie Grease, and we were there for it.

An Antique Shop

I’ve been to my fair share of small town anique shops, which often feel the same, however, Nothing Ordinary was a special treat. This store, which seemed to never end, was full of antique tea sets, vintage clothing, and nostalgic sports cards, toys, and old tin lunch boxes. This shop was certainly not your typical antique spot. We found out that the owner travels to the UK once a year to hunt for the perfect items to fill her space.

A Local Coffee Shop

As most of you have probably gathered by now, I am a sucker for a local coffee shop, and always hunt for one on any trip I take! The Perk was a quaint spot in Bellville serving delish roasts and custom flavored lattes.

After a few wrong turns, we finally found our fun in Bellville and ended up having a great day, complete with a few memories that we will laugh about for years to come. If you have small kids, the castle would still be a good time, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! All-in-all, Bellville, Texas was an odd place, but a cool and funky town nonetheless! xxx

One Comment

  1. Jacqueline Todd

    HHAHAHAH I LOST IT when you were talking about the castle! And the picture of the “knight”! I died. Glad to hear that the whole day wasn’t a waste though hahah

    Liked by 1 person

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