I’m taking part in the A-Z April Blog Challenge.
Join me every day (except Sundays) throughout April for the next letter in the alphabet and a look at one of the interesting small towns in Texas!
Something different on each Letter of the alphabet!
Utopia is a carefree little Country Town, a wonderful place to escape to for the weekend, week or for the rest of your life! Utopia’s a healing place that people come to relax and rejuvenate, to have their lives inspired and changed!
Utopia is in the Texas Hill Country River Region, located in the Sabinal Canyon on the Sabinal River about 80 miles WNW of San Antonio Texas.
Spanish exploration into the area is responsible for many of the area’s topographical features. In 1790 Juan de Ugalde (namesake of Uvalde) led united tribes of Comanche, Taovaya, and Tawakoni Indians to drive the Apaches from what is now Utopia.
In 1839 and 1841 there were reported battles with the Comanches in Sabinal Canyon, but it wasn’t until 1852 when Capt. William Ware settled here, bringing his son and six slaves to settle the valley. Other settlers arrived shortly thereafter and more still in 1853. The community was first called Waresville when the post office opened in 1856. A planned colony on 47,000 acres failed to materialize when potential colonists balked. While local Tonkawa Indians got along with settlers, the settlers were still plagued by the Kickapoos and Lipan Apaches. In 1876 a storekeeper named Kincheloe moved his family a mile north of Waresville. Kincheloe built a large house platted a town and donated land for churches, school and even a park. In 1884 the survey was filed in Uvalde under the name Montana, Texas. TheWaresville post office moved to the new town, but couldn’t open under the name Montana. Residents felt the name of Utopia was fitting – and so Montana was renamed and the post office granted. By 1880 the town had a population of 150 and weekly stage service connecting it to Uvalde and Bandera.
Life in Utopia was tranquil and uneventful. The years passed and by the end of WWII the population remained at the 1880 level of 150. The Sabinal River was dammed in the the 1950’s to help retain water during the bad drought but families drifted away and by the 1960’s there were only 60 people living here. The town rebounded after the mid-1960’s with the opening of a library, museum, and various community organizations.
Tourism increased with the opening of Lost Maples State Natural Area in 1979.
Utopia is in an untouched part of the Texas Hill Country with rugged canyons and cool, beautiful streams where Cypress, Live Oak and Pecan Trees tower overhead.While visiting Utopia, plan on a picnic, fish, swim or float lazily in the refreshing clear water of the Sabinal River. Breathe fresh air while you hike Lost Maples State Natural Area or bike our scenic country roads.
Utopia is known for wonderful birding year around; our area is a world – class birding & wildlife viewing destination! One of the best places to see many Texas specialty birds; including the Golden – cheeked Warbler, Black – capped Vireo, Vermilion flycatcher and all 3 King – fisher varieties! Nature Guides are available to take you on private ranches and properties.
‘Main Street Utopia‘ the French antique shop for antiques and Utopia Souvenirs, Heaven’s Landing for flowers, gifts & ice – cream.
Hill Country Nature Center
It is possible to experience the wild side of Utopia at ‘Hill Country Nature Center’ with animal, bird, bat, butterfly and insect displays of the many Critters that call Utopia home.
The Center is tucked away in the rugged terrain southwest of Bandera is Hill Country State Natural Area, an undeveloped and secluded retreat. Approximately 40 miles of multiuse trails wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb steep limestone hills. Equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy exploring the trails.
Lost Maples State Natural Area
At the Lost Maples State Natural Area you can enjoy picnicking,, backpacking, sightseeing, hiking, photography, bird-watching, fishing, swimming and nature study. Please stay on designated trails, because maples have a shallow root system, and soil compaction from walking can damage the trees. Also, many natural hazards exist due to the steep and rugged terrain. Do not hike or climb on rocks or hillsides.
There are many wonderful country Cabins, Vacation Homes and Bed & Breakfasts to choose from. Enjoy our local Eateries; the ‘Drive Inn’,‘Lost Maples Café’, and ‘Laurel Tree’ with its French cuisine.
The most famous is the Lost Maples Cafe is in an historic building built before 1904 has served many uses. As a Masonic Lodge, a doctor’s office, a drug store and a classroom. This is the kind of roadside diner that becomes a traditional stopover any time you’re in the area. This is where ranchers in sweat-stained Stetsons mix with bikers in black leather, and the waitresses call everybody “hon.”Built before 1904, the two-story wood building looks like an old stagecoach stop. The decor can best be described as funky chic with corrugated-tin walls and a wood floor scuffed smooth by decades of boots and flip-flops. The walls are covered with a collection of artifacts, vintage signs, farming implements, and the requisite deer head.The menu is basic roadhouse fare, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good eating. Every meal is big and hearty. The breakfast omelets and hot cakes give new meaning to the most important meal of the day.
The movie”Seven Days in Utopia” shot here last August in our small town can be purchased on DVD. Look for scenes of the cafe in the film starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black. The movie is based on the bestselling book, Dr. David Cook’s Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia which also features the Lost Maples Cafe. To visit movie’s official website click here Seven Days in Utopia
Tomorrow, we will driving to Virginia City, another small town that will become a favorite place to check out and visit often.