By Lisa Bell
Photography by McGowan Images (See gallery below)
The evening wind whispers through the town square, creating a magically charming atmosphere. In the side room of Granbury Live, a young couple celebrates the beginning of their life together. An older couple strolls along the sidewalk holding hands. An elderly gentleman tenderly guides his wife across the street. Something about Granbury sweeps over residents and visitors alike, creating a delicious sweetness that can’t help but enhance relationships. Even for those who aren’t half of a couple, hope or memories of love float along on the breezes. At the very least, a love for life dances along the sidewalks.
Not so many years ago, Granbury was for the most part a retirement community. During the last ten years, things have changed. Situated about 35 minutes from downtown Fort Worth, Granbury is a wonderful place for younger couples and families to move away from bustling cities while living close enough for work and trips to malls if desired. However, new business keeps sprouting, providing more opportunities for local shopping and replacing the need for a drive to the city.
In spite of growth in the area, the historical town square feels as though little has changed. Many of the buildings, created in the 1800’s and restored, have historical landmark status. History and legends boast some well-known figures, not the least of which was General Granbury himself. For instance, Davy Crockett’s family lived in Granbury. And legends say the town was also home to notorious figures such as John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James. Stories suggest Bonnie and Clyde picnicked on the city hall lawn—until someone recognized them and they quickly overcame any desire to make Granbury their home. Truth or legend? At least one thing is certain. Granbury has a wide array of interesting places attached to great history.
How can a growing community maintain a small town feeling? Perhaps that is the mystery of Granbury’s charm. Any given day finds people strolling along, stopping in shops, admiring artwork, sipping coffee and enjoying fresh baked goods. An amazing thing happens — time loses a sense of urgency as relaxation seeps deep inside a person. Whether looking for unique clothing, antiques or gifts, the shops on the square provide unique offerings.
Surprising for a town away from big cities, Granbury has a great deal of culture and entertainment. Live plays at the Opera House, music at Granbury Live, or catching a movie at one of the state’s few drive-in theaters provide unforgettable experiences. Art lovers can venture out on or near the square to visit galleries. Many local restaurants feature live music, but on the right weekends, classical notes drift across the square from the lawn of the Langdon center. It is the perfect backdrop for a romantic encounter and also provides a space to teach our children to appreciate a variety of music and entertainment.
Outdoor fun isn’t a stranger to this community. During warmer weather, people dot the city beach or enjoy the lake view from the boardwalk. Including the beach, Granbury is home to four parks—separate, yet close enough to literally start in one and visit all of them. Even during colder months, it isn’t unusual to see people walking, jogging, cycling or playing in the parks. As the holiday season begins each year, one favorite past time includes seeing the festive lights in Shanley Park. All year long, the parks host various activities from simple playtime to organized sports. Complete with the Moment in Time bike trail, disc golf course and dog-park, everyone can find something fun. The city park also contains the Dana Vollmer Municipal Swim Center, a 4,280-square-foot public pool ranging from four to twelve feet depths.
If the city parks aren’t enough outside adventure, nearby Fossil Rim and Acton Nature Center offer more activities in the sun. A short drive to Glen Rose opens the door to over 1,000 acres of Dinosaur Valley State Park for camping, hiking and playing in the river. For those who prefer indoor exercise, multiple facilities within the city provide opportunities for individual workouts, group classes and even dance lessons.
Multiple bed and breakfasts, a choice of hotels or RV parking spaces provide a variety of options for travelers. With so much culture, history, bustling activity and quiet areas for relaxation, Granbury truly is a town where one can enjoy a weekend getaway, or a lifetime.
Perhaps its the relaxed atmosphere that enhances relationships, so falling in love in Granbury happens naturally. It has become common occurrence that couples either living in or just visiting Granbury become engaged and begin to plan the perfect wedding. Two associations provide recommendations for vendors, venues and more. Both the Granbury Bridal Circle and The Bridal Connection strive to connect brides with local solutions for the beautiful wedding day without constant trips to the Metroplex. Complimenting much of our natural surrounding, an astounding number of venues grace the area. Traditional church weddings, hotel ballrooms, country clubs and nearby ranches offer brides a wide selection of the perfect setting for an memorable and special day. Those wonderful older couples celebrating milestone anniversaries or renewing vows have access to the same amazing services. With all of the amenities and activities available, Granbury makes a great location for love, weddings and all types of celebrations.
Why do people visit? Why do locals choose to live here? People love Granbury for the reasons mentioned and hundreds more. Those who have lived here for more than a few years see many changes, which can produce mixed emotions. At times, the town seems busy with more traffic than anyone wants. But when darkness falls, a multitude of stars appears. As residents, we easily forget the wonder of our community, taking for granted all the things visitors find marvelous. However, it seems that no matter how our community grows, its the people that maintain the charm and camaraderie common to small towns.
It doesn’t take much to remember why we love living here—and why so many visitors adore our town. The wonder of our town provides an atmosphere of love for others and life, with an ironic charm created by a small-town-feeling settled in a larger community.