Lost Pines: Bastrop, Alum Creek, Smithville, and La Grange Professional Review and Guide
"Unlike the juniper-dotted hills to the west or the rolling farmland to the east, the Bastrop area is surrounded by a pine forest called Lost Pines. Here grows the westernmost stand of loblolly pines in America. Scientists believe that these trees were once part of the forests of East Texas, but climactic changes over the last 10,000 years account for the farmland now separating the Lost Pines from their cousins to the east. Bastrop is a popular day trip for Austinites looking for a chance to shop and savor some quiet country life in a historic setting. Outdoor lovers can enjoy two nearby state parks and also the Colorado River, which winds through the heart of downtown.
Today all that’s left of the community of Alum Creek is a collection of over a dozen antique and junk shops. It’s a fun stop for avid collectors. Smithville gained national attention as the site of the filming of the Sandra Bullock movie “Hope Floats.” Many local citizens had small parts in the film. For generations La Grange was a quiet town in the center of a farming region. In the 1970s, however, La Grange caught the attention of the public with the unveiling of the Chicken Ranch, a brothel that became the subject of the Broadway musical and movie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Today the Chicken Ranch is gone, but La Grange still has other sights to see."