I feel like it's important to continue cataloging all misses in the search for my own Stars Hollow because maybe not quite right for me is perfect for someone else. On Friday evening, I drove through Mason, Texas en route from Austin to San Angelo. It was dusk, and as I rounded the central courthouse square, I was charmed by the bevy of shops lining the street. A banner strung across the street advertised an upcoming wild game dinner to benefit the community. Secretly, I vowed to convince my mom to come back with me, and true to my word, we were headed there Saturday morning shortly after breakfast at the Charcoal House.
Mason has a population just past 2,000, and like many small towns in Texas it is anchored by a central court house and square. We ended up haphazardly choosing a good day to visit as musicians and artists lined the square to hock their wares.
I hate to admit that the art was mediocre, but whatever, it was. I love bluebonnets and windmills, but I get tired of seeing so much West Texas art feature these symbols in such typical ways. What was truly heartbreaking (to me) was how hungry these guys were for sales. It was awkward to walk down the sidewalk and be pitched so actively. As I passed the work of one artist who caught my eye, I picked up the painting out of curiosity to find out what it was priced and felt so bad for the girl as she stumbled over herself to tell me the price was negotiable. She would have been so much more affective had she stuck by her price and been more confident.
The square itself is lined with an antique mall, a few gift shops, a museum and a couple of cafes. I got the impression the main street economy was geared toward tourists like us as the antique mall was way overpriced, and the other stores along the way had nothing really unique to offer.
Despite some of the Stars Hollow similarities I saw when passing through, I knew Mason wasn't for me when we walked within earshot of some local electioneering at the court house. I didn't linger to find out if the political leanings were right or left, but experience and common sense leads me to believe we would have been at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
In a region where cactus outnumber people, "cool" Fall temperatures are a balmy 82-90 degrees, and the politicians are likely conservative, my Stars Hollow I will not find.