In March 2019, I took a mini road trip to visit the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in Rio Grande City, as well as the historic downtown district of Roma, both located in the southern tip of Texas at the border of Mexico. I had passed through Rio Grande City once before but never been to Roma. Both are known for their historic buildings, their rich histories that include the Civil War, as well as the Grotto and Roma’s scenic overlook of the Rio Grande River. So, despite the sweltering March weather of South Texas, I grabbed my camera and decided to check it out.
The grotto sits caddy corner to the Starr County Courthouse in downtown Rio Grande City. I went during the week, so it was very quiet. I was the only one visiting the grotto, which is open to the public and sits directly next to the Immaculate Conception Church.
This grotto is a replica of the original that is located in Southern France. Construction of the Rio Grande City grotto began in February 1927 and took 14 months to complete. It is built with rocks from the nearby hills and natural materials from the petrified forest that once existed nearby.
The Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto was very peaceful and felt welcoming. It’s small, but full of character and spirit.
From Rio Grande City I continued west for about twenty-five minutes until I reached the equally small and historic town of Roma. The World Birding Center is located in a bright orange and yellow building in downtown, across the street from City Hall. The center was open, but there was no one inside. I wandered around to look at the books, maps, and historical facts that were displayed before taking the 2 minute walk over to the Roma Bluffs Observation Deck. The deck looks down on the Rio Grande River and the town of Ciudad Miguel Alemán located on the other side of the river.
After spending several minutes enjoying the beautiful view, I walked back over to the main downtown area to take some photos of the buildings.
The entire downtown area was pretty much deserted, except for a little bit of activity at City Hall. If the weather had been cooler, I would have walked up and down the surrounding streets to see the other historic buildings, but since it was so hot I decided to drive instead. Here are a few more of the many beautiful structures in downtown Roma.
Roma is a great town to spend a few hours in, exploring the history and nature. On my way home, I stopped in another tiny town called Hargill, to photograph an old church.
As I have mentioned in other blog posts, the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas is a fascinating and somewhat magical place. It is so full of history, color, culture, and spirit. It is also a great place to travel to if you don’t like crowds. Along the border with Mexico, Texas dotted with lots of little towns just waiting to be explored!