Friday, October 15, 2010

Linda Shows Us Blanco, Texas - A Small Town Center of Excellence

Not long ago I accompanied my wife, Kathleen, on a visit to Blanco, Texas, while she researched an article about this unique town in the Hill Country. Her point-of-contact was Linda Sullivan, Director of Marketing for a brand new hotel, Blanco Luxury Suites. Linda knew that if more people discovered what makes Blanco a cool place to visit, more people would stay at her hotel. So she hosted our stay and made arrangements for us to see the best that Blanco has to offer.
Linda Sullivan
Linda not only created a terrific itinerary, she prearranged each visit in advance. And to get us started right, she accompanied us on each stop the first day. In business attire, she stood most of the time. Impressed with the way she facilitated our visit, I noticed that she was always fully engaged. Even though we got caught in the rain a couple times, she never once seemed annoyed, tired or bored.

I thought to myself, Now here's a true professional. 100% thoroughly prepared and 100% dedicated to quality in the execution. I also thought, Blanco Luxury Suites is going to be very successful.

Linda showed us several examples of excellence around the town...

The Deutsch Apple Bakery and Coffeehouse, where I tasted the best cake of my life - their praline dipped apple cake. They make a kick-ass apple pie, too.

The Real Ale Brewing Co., where we sampled most of the varieties currently in production. I loved the Oktoberfest.

At the Redbud Cafe, eight Real Ale brews were on tap. Their kicked-up Texas cuisine featured some really different dishes, all tempting. I loved the lavender lemonade, an amazing drink. The owners are potters and their adjoining store features their work and a diverse variety of lavender products. Surrounding Blanco are more than half a dozen lavender farms; one of them, Hill Country Lavender, is owned by their daughter. It's not the lavender capitol of the U.S., but its where you go for lavender in Texas.

That night we enjoyed a really different venison burger and a wild boar burger at The Sunset Restaurant, while Nelson Broyal sang bluesy Texas country ballads from his latest CD, "It's What I Do."

The next day we were on our own, but everywhere we went, they knew were coming. It was as if Linda were there with us.

At Blanco State Park, just a mile from downtown, we saw twenty species of birds as we walked next to the Blanco River.

The Uptown Blanco Restaurant is a gourmet restaurant across the street from the old courthouse, where scenes from the 2010 remake of the movie "True Grit" were filmed. I had a killer omelet at their brunch.

And there was a lot more. My impression of Blanco is that it's a small town where everyone is thinking big. They're embracing the traditions of Hill Country ranching, but at the same time they're passionately taking a creative approach while doing it as well as it can be done. And to make sure we discovered all this excellence, Linda Sullivan was our excellent guide.

It's easy to be ordinary. It takes an amazing effort to do what these folks are doing. When traveling I don't encounter this spirit all that often, but I love it when I do.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Photo by Kathleen Scott, used with permission.)


Sarcastic Bastard said...

It sounds like a great place, Denny.

Please send my love to Kathleen, and y'all have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

Like you, on those rare times when I encounter the spirit you describe, I love it, too. It's a great big "Yes!" to life.