Only months ago, Bastrop’s blazing landscape of wildfire and smoke shocked Texans everywhere. The images of the people who were affected, as well of the scorched lands that had been beautiful forests and homes, were truly scary and heart-wrenching.
The challenge of fighting the fire, and then of helping those who had been affected, was (as so often is the case) also an opportunity. People pulled together, setting up emergency shelters, raising funds and donating time and goods to the victims. These were wonderful things to be borne out of such bad luck.
However, there was also secondary fallout from the disaster. As a “once a week” resident of the town (it’s where my business’s commercial kitchen is located) I’m writing to remind everyone in the surrounding area that Bastrop is still vibrant, full of great people and businesses, and most importantly, is ready for visitors again.
As our hearts (rightfully) ache for those who lost their homes, there were also subtlely cruel effects on the businesses and livelihoods that were lucky enough to have been spared the flames. While they are clearly in an enviable position as compared to those who lost far more, many small businesses in Bastrop are deciding how to deal with the very real aftermath of customer loss and a less-certain local economy.
Naturally, however, there are many ways we can help. Here are a few, if I may humbly suggest them.
Visit Bastrop. Despite the devastation in parts of Bastrop, many forests and parks, such as Buescher State Park, are still beautiful and untouched. So feel free to revisit the wonderful place you remember camping, hiking, biking, and fishing.
Shop Bastrop. A few great places that stock lots and lots of local goods include the Downtown Historic District, the Bastrop Producer's Market and, on Thursdays and Saturdays, the River Valley Farmer's Market. For antiques and vintage, you can't get better than the well-curated (and still somehow reasonably priced!) selection at the completely charming Wyldwood Market.
Recommend Bastrop. I think those who visit Bastrop these days will be amazed to see, despite the loss, how much has remained just as lovely as ever. Making sure that lots of people know the area is still a terrific place to call home (or “home away from home”) is an important part of what will get the area fully back on its feet.