SALADO — Texas is known for small-town-charm, the Great Plains, barbecue, the Alamo, hot weather and cowboys.

Located in south-central Bell County sits a small town with a population of less than 3,000 people. If you’re looking to spend an afternoon sipping on coffee, wine tasting, drinking craft beers, antique shopping or eating, Salado is only half an hour from Fort Hood.

Every time I visit Salado, I always have lunch at the Stagecoach Inn. My absolute favorite entrée to order is the SCI Burger (with the works). Also, we can’t forget dessert. The Strawberry Kiss is a sweet sensation made with fresh strawberries, vanilla ice-cream and pink candy shaped Kissses. The Strawberry Kiss is my go-to-dessert. I love taking my family to eat at the inn when they come to visit. Not only is the food great, but the inn is a Texas relic.

The Stagecoach Inn, established in 1861, is the oldest known inn and restaurant in Texas. The inn sits on seven acres, adjacent to the south bank of the Salado Creek. The inn was closed for a short period of time to be renovated, then reopened in 2018. The inn has a restaurant, a full service bar, 48 guest rooms, a heated swimming pool and a large private party room. The inn was built around an oak tree, believed to be more than 500 years old, which sits in-between the lobby and the full service bar. Each guest room bears midcentury décor, with Spanish tile and a balcony or private sitting area. Clark Lyda, an architecture developer, is the current owner of the inn and is responsible for the recent renovations.

“Stagecoach Inn has been a sacred retreat for locals and travelers and we’re thrilled to welcome everyone to the renewed and restored restaurant,” Lyda said. “This project has been such a gratifying experience and we’re anxious for guests to see how our team has preserved the property’s history while improving its atmosphere of gracious hospitality.”

Across the street from the Stagecoach Inn are the Salado Museum and College Park Inc. and the Salado Lone Star Winery & Chupacabra Craft Beer. Then, down Royal Street are the Barrow Brewing Company and The Shed. The inn is located in the middle of Salado, right on Main Street, within walking distance from various local businesses.

Salado is one of my favorite places in Texas to visit. Throughout the year, the town sponsors hundreds of events — big and small. My favorite annual event in Salado is the Sirena Festival and Mermaid Parade, which takes place every October. The small city of Salado offers a variety of art, history and culture.

The Stagecoach Inn is located at 416 S. Main St. in Salado. To book a room, make restaurant reservations or for more information, visit https://www.stagecoachsalado.com/stagecoach-inn-rooms.