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Souvenir shopping in the Highland Lakes

Included in the many Highland Lakes-inspired souvenirs at Ford & Crew Home Hardware are wooden wall maps of Lake LBJ and fish pillows. Staff photo by Jennifer Greenwell

Forget the shot glasses and collectible spoons. Souvenir shopping in the Highland Lakes has plenty more to offer in the way of memorable mementos. First order of the day is to shop outside the big box. Hit the small gift stores, visitors centers, art guilds, and even chambers of commerce for truly tempting tokens.

EAST LAKE BUCHANAN

Bluebonnets can be seen anytime of the year in Buchanan Dam. Just stop at the Buchanan Dam/Inks Lake Chamber of Commerce to check out its rock-solid granite bluebonnet paintings. You’ll find more locally inspired art just across the way at the Buchanan Arts and Crafts Gallery. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman


Two quick stops on Texas 29 on the east side of Lake Buchanan feature inexpensive, artistic keepsakes that include two of the area’s most prominent features: granite rocks and wildflowers. Priced from as low as $4.99, you can buy a chunk of polished granite with one smooth edge to stand on painted with bluebonnets and other local flora and fauna. The items are small but heavy and impart the region’s character as just about no other souvenir can.

You can find these sturdy souvenirs at either the Buchanan Dam/Inks Lake Chamber of Commerce or the Buchanan Arts and Crafts Gallery. The eclectic collection of paintings, jewelry, and more are all the handiwork of talented local artists who convey the essence of Central Texas through their works.

You have to time your visits to these two entities just right, though. The gallery at 17534 Texas 29 East is only open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. The chamber is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.

MARBLE FALLS

Another fun place to shop for the out-of-the-ordinary is Ford & Crew Home and Hardware, a True Value hardware and home store. The shop has not moved far from its home necessities roots, adding to its general store feel by featuring items with a local flair.

Buy a denim baseball cap with MFTX embroidered on the front, Lake LBJ cups, cactus-shaped mason jars, shotgun shell patio lights, Marble Falls-embroidered friendship bracelets, and a full array of locally branded T-shirts. Shopper favorites include a wooden map of Lake LBJ and fish pillows.

Located at 1400 Ninth St., Ford & Crew is open from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

DOWNTOWN MARBLE FALLS

Don’t forget to take a turn walking Main Street Marble Falls, where a variety of boutique and gift shops offer unique items just steps from each other. Plus, you can always grab a bit of fudge or ice cream while souvenir shopping at J&J’s on Main, 300 Main St., or homemade toffee at Choccolattes’s, 807 Third St. Both carry unique souvenir and gift items.

While shopping Old Oak Square on Main, stop to taste local wines at Fiesta Winery, 309 Main St. You get a FREE souvenir glass when you do. (You might want to keep it for yourself.)

BURNET

Everything at the Ritzy Texan, 103 Polk St. in Burnet, is made by local craftspeople. The finds are in every price range and reflect the culture and wildlife that make the Highland Lakes a souvenir showcase. Staff photo by Jennifer Greenwell


The Ritzy Texan features handcrafted items from artists across the Highland Lakes. Everything is locally made by master craftspeople and range in price, so anyone can afford to shop there. Take home a painted animal skull, jewelry, furniture, paintings, pottery, and more.

The Ritzy Texan is located at 103 Polk St. in Burnet. It’s open from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed on Sunday. Hoover True Value Hardware in Burnet is another great place to look for the local and unusual, often together. And if you don’t find something you like for a gift, buy a screwdriver. Everyone needs a new screwdriver.

Hoover True Value Hardware is located at 500 E. Polk St. in Burnet. It is open from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The store is closed on Sunday.

KINGSLAND

The brightly painted Kingsland House of Arts and Crafts at 2607 RR 1431 West is hard to miss. Stop by for a bargain souvenir that can’t be found anywhere else in the area. Courtesy photo


The variety of handmade crafts with a local panache overwhelms when you first drive up to Kingsland House of Arts & Crafts. The shop’s style is obvious from the outside, which is brightly painted and decorated with seasonal flourish.

Step inside for handmade cellphone cases, bowl cozies, gourd purses, and Highland Lakes-themed table napkins and shopping bags.

Kingsland House of Arts and Crafts is hard to miss at 112 W. Chamberlin St. right off RR 1431. The shop is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Also in Kingsland, Copper Kettle Ace Hardware brings to mind the Five & Dimes of old, with a modern touch of course! Along with hardware, housewares, and grillware, you’ll find handcrafted flatware, novelty aprons, pottery, and more.

The Copper Kettle is located at 2607 RR 1431 West in Kingsland and is open from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. It's closed on Sunday.

At Buddies 1 Stop convenience store, visitors soon learn that “Life is Better at the Lake.” You can say it on a T-shirt purchased at Buddies along with any number of other unique local gift options (not to mention local wines and gourmet goodies).

Buddies is not your typical convenience store. Just ask Santa Claus, who stopped to talk to the youngsters and do a little shopping himself last season. And, if you love Buddies as much as Santa and others do, then pick up your own Buddies travel mug.

Buddies is located at 1621 RR 1431 in Kingsland and open 24 hours a day.

For other unusual souvenir stops, check out our story on shopping at the local state park gift shops and more.

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