December 23, 2011

Small Town Profile: The Texan Style

 

It's been my fifth year in a row spending Christmas in College Station, Texas - a town that I would have never thought I'd end up going to more than I do to any other places in the world. [How many times I wished my parents settled in places like Paris, London, Florence, Split, Berlin, or at least - in San Francisco and/or Washington, DC - the places that I'd be more than happy to visit them at more often!] So, it's a true battle when the holidays or vacation times come - to go visit my parents in Texas or to go to Paris, Amsterdam or Tokyo - or places I've never visited before? - a battle that I often loose in favor of my parents, and, thus - in favor of the little Texan town, College Station...

So, I do it again, and again - I go to College Station to be with my parents - [like in old good childhood times]. Unfortunately, one does not choose a place for your parents to live, but rather one then finds the means to make certain accommodations to visit the family, wherever they happen to be living...

I must admit that I'm not a big fan of Texas overall, neither I'm a big fan of College Station, TX. However, my family and I were all quite surprised, when a few years ago, College Station topped the Top Towns list in USA as the town that has the largest amount of restaurants per capita and which hometown university - Texas A&M - is rated the sixth among the best U.S. public universities. Well, I hardly notice them, actually. 


For me, every time I come to College Station, it seems as the town looks the same from year to year, the same cafes and restaurants sit around and the same way the locals do not know how to drive. It's all the same for me, but I do not mind it as much because I come here for my family, not for the nightlife, which there's -really - none, despite the fact that College Station is the hometown for one of the largest universities in the country - Texas A&M.


I just do not see many bars (or lounges, per say) and the only few times I've been in and around campus, I visited the 'bar strip' street, which had about three bars, a Mexican food cafe and a souvenir store, where the big purplish-red letters of A&M (as of Texas A&M) - the locals call themselves Aggies - graced everything from magnets to baseball bats. 

So much for the metro life...


I take College Station for what it is - the town, where my parents live, thus - for the place, where my family is 'based'. I take it as my 'home' - for my parents' cozy house with lake views, fishing and biking with my dad, my mom's delicious cooking, family traditions of watching old movies, discussing politics and economy with my dad, lounging in my pajamas on a living room's couch, where I catch up on my Vogue, Wired, Fast Company and Travel + Leisure magazines, browsing through family old photo albums, writing my blogs, taking walks in the neighborhood... I take it for the rare special time with my parents that I only get once or twice a year. The rest of College Station matters less...

So, what is College Station, TX?
  • The town is located within the most populated region of Texas, near three of the 10 largest cities in the United States - Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio - [and the closest most decent shopping area and the malls are about 1.5 hrs away from my parents' house, not that I come to Texas to shop]
  • The population is about 95K - [but it really feels to me like 100 people because no one really gets out of their cars here, so I can spot no people on the streets, with an exception for the college campus]
  • The home to the main campus of Texas A&M, which in 2006 was named by Money magazine as the most educated city in Texas, and the 11th most educated city in the United States - [the campus is humongous, but that does not make it more appealing and/or diverse, but it does make it for a large college memorabilia of the city - I've never seen so many students wearing and/or using things with the memorabilia on it...]
  • The origins of College Station date from 1860, when the Houston and Texas Central Railway began to build through the region - [yep, I spotted like one building that looked rather 'old']
  • In the 1990s, College Station and Texas A&M University drew national attention when the George Bush Presidential Library opened in 1997 and, more tragically, when 12 people were killed and 27 injured when the Aggie Bonfire collapsed while being constructed in 1999 - [last year my dad dragged my mom and I to this library/museum, which really looks like a 'Bush worship' place and offers the memorabilia and collections of absolutely everything that the Bush family members ever touched and/or laid their eyes on. The graves of some of the family members are located in the backyard / garden of the library].
  • All main and small streets of the town carry the name "Bush", which makes it - [in my humble opinion] - too 'Bushy', too Republican for me and my family...
Here's a visual tour of College Station - the way I see it:


















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