Off the grid in Columbus TX

| April 19, 2011 | 3 Comments

My father believes the best way from Houston to Austin is up Hwy. 71. He’s adamant about this as he is with just about everything else. In fact, there are three basic ways to get to Austin from Houston. All three have their merits and, to me, there is no easy way to get to Austin. Unlike Dallas and San Antonio, Austin is not a straight freeway shot into the heart of the city. You have to suffer through stop lights and slow driving before you finally get to where you want to go.  Personally, I prefer going 290 because it takes you through Brenham and Giddings. That way is especially delightful during wildflower season. No matter the way or the stop lights, Austin is always worth the trouble.

Our recent jaunt to the Lone Star capital was to see Shawn Colvin at One World Theater. What a wonderfully intimate venue to see any performer. The theater seats 300. We went to the second show, maybe 150 people were in the audience – almost like she was singing in our living room. Pure delight is an understatement.

To get there, I decided to take Hwy. 71 just because I don’t usually like to taking that way. Teenage rebellion? Maybe.  Really, there’s nothing to see except long stretches of nothing. But, I thought maybe I should revisit that route and something will pop up this time around. Lo and behold, the Universe speaks! We weren’t driving on 71 but 15 minutes or so before we passed the Industrial Country Market. The eclectic nature of the place speaks as you zoom past. I did a double take, turned to the queen and said, “Wanna see what’s up with that place?” She’s all for the serendipitous side trip. I turned the car around to check it out.

The Industrial Country Market is a fully sustainable, off the grid compound of green livin’. goodness It’s a general store, flea market, art yard gallery and overall funky place to warm the cockles of your eclectic heart. A solar panel park sits in front of the pre-fab buildings and greenhouses. A central power station harnesses that sun power to make everything go. It’s truly remarkable.

Behind the general store, there are four composting outhouses, two for #1 exclusively and two for  #1 and #2. All of the waste is used, I assume, in a feeding process for the plants around the toilets.

Across the pond is a mini industrial art yard next to the art gallery building.

There is so much more to see and learn here. Classes are offered on sustainable living and the general store is full of groovy, fun stuff. We did our fair share of shopping. Among my shopping picks were two small journals made out of cow poop. It was a great find for us and nice break from the road. This fabulous farm of crunchy granola fun totally puts Hwy 71 on the map!

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Category: Folk Art, RoadsideAttraction, Texas

Comments (3)

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  1. Sporks says:

    Awesomeness. I’ve driven from Houston to Austin once. It didn’t seem nearly as daunting as Austin to El Paso was mind-numbing. Bottle trees=fab.

  2. Profile photo of eb says:

    I know! I love the bottle trees. That’s such a southern thing. Yes, Austin to El Paso is a lot of nuthin’ until you reach Big Bend country around Ft. Stockton, then the landscape starts to get interesting.

  3. e says:

    You know, it’s amazing what you can find on the side of the highway, if you’ll only look… Thanks for sharing this charming surprise!

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