by Anna Eby ’05
Destination:  Georgetown, Texas
Population:  63,716
 
I come from a Texas town with 1,300 people. When I arrived at Southwestern in the fall of 2001, I thought Georgetown was a pretty amazing place. Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it was not too big, not too small, but just right. And H-E-B wasn’t 20 minutes away!

Not surprisingly, I stayed.

Even when I attended Baylor Law School after Southwestern, I lived in Georgetown and commuted. Georgetown was the place I wanted to be.

I have expanded my horizons a little in the years since. I have visited Europe and Asia, so I really do know that Georgetown is not the center of the universe, geographically speaking. But I have never found a better place to come home to.

Georgetown has changed in many ways since I graduated in 2005. We are now the fastest-growing city over 50,000 in the country, and you can see evidence of that everywhere. The Square is booming, new residential and commercial construction is going crazy, and there are a lot more things for the 20- and 30-somethings to do than there used to be. If you haven’t been back in awhile, you can grab a pizza at 600 Degrees Pizzeria, a coffee at Cianfrani’s, wine at Georgetown Winery or Grape Creek Winery (both with storefronts on the Square), a freshly-made juice at Hydrate, a beer at Rentsch Brewery, a steak at Brix and Ale in the brand-new Sheraton Hotel, and those are just a few examples. You can find live music at Roots Bistro, Ken’z Guitars, the wineries, and Hardtails Bar and Grill, among others. We now have an Art Center and several art galleries. San Gabriel Park is being extensively renovated, and we are about to break ground on Garey Park, a beautiful property on the San Gabriel River west of town on Leander Road, that will be 1.5 times bigger than Zilker Park. Want to go stand up paddle boarding on Lake Georgetown? There’s a local company for that. Want a hipster t-shirt or a custom hat? The Square isn’t just antique stores anymore!

Oh, and did you hear that our city-owned utility uses 100% renewable energy, from wind and solar farms in West Texas?

Yes, a lot has changed. In important ways, though, Georgetown has remained the same. There are still lots of beautiful old homes near campus. You may very well run into your friends or neighbors at the store or on the beautiful hike-and-bike trails. The Square is bustling, but it still has a small-town feel.

Having served on the Georgetown City Council since 2015, I have seen a lot of these things up close and personal, and the ways in which Georgetown both changes and stays the same are very important to me. It is a challenge to manage growth responsibly, but city leaders are working hard to do that.

I became involved with the city when I bought a little house in Old Town and a friend suggested I apply to serve on a city commission. That introduced me to the workings of the city, which are actually pretty fascinating. Two years later, when my councilperson decided not to run for another term, she suggested I run for her seat. I am about to complete the second year of my three-year term. Council continues to be a learning experience, and a good one!

And what about Southwestern, you ask? I have it on good authority from current students that it is still “the Bubble” we all know and love. But the University and the city have both been working to strengthen the “town-gown” relationship, and there is a lot of local pride in Southwestern. People in the community are always excited to hear that I am a Southwestern alumna, and they talk about what a great school it is.

Of course, we all know that. But if you have forgotten what a great town Georgetown is, spend some time exploring next time you are here for a Southwestern event. I think you will like what you see.
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Georgetown has received national attention too. Read the latest online articles about our college town. 
“The South’s Best College Towns” featured on SouthernLiving.com
 

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