An Afternoon In Smithville, Texas ~ Hope Floats and SO Much More!

Updated: Jul 17, 2018

Hey there, Gadabout Gal Kelly here. I have a question for you: Have you ever walked 'around' one of your favorite movies? I did. In Smithville, Texas.

Smithville is the setting of one of my all-time favorite flicks, Hope Floats. The 1998 movie with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr. was filmed in and around Smithville, and the town is quite proud of that fact.

In March 2017, we 3 Gadabout Gals were all together ~ Michele and I were visiting Tiffany in her sweet town of Burton, Texas. One afternoon, Tiff took us on a fun drive about 45 miles southwest to Smithville. She said she was takin' us to see the ‘Hope Floats House.’ I have to be honest, I love that flick...but I had no idea it was a real Texas town and with that house sittin' in a real neighborhood. I was thrilled!

Tiffany and I pose in front of the Hope Floats House

The Trousdale Home, as it’s known by locals, is named for a descendant of a prominent Smithville family. This stately, neoclassical-style residence sits at the end of Olive Street. It’s where Birdee Pruitt ~ Sandra Bullock’s character in Hope Floats, returns with her young daughter to live with her mom after Birdee’s marriage has ended. If you’ve seen the movie, you will definitely recognize this big, beautiful home.

For a fun behind-the-scenes look at Hope Floats and the filming they did in & around Smithville, check out this KPRC-TV Austin news piece from 1998, when the movie first opened. It sure shows how one movie can help put a sweet, small town on the map.

Link: KPRC-TV Austin, TX ~ News Piece About Filming Hope Floats in Smithville

It was so fun for us to visit the actual house that featured so prominently in the film, but it was the town of Smithville that was the real treat.

I’ve since learned that this sweet small town has served as the backdrop for over nine feature films and a variety of shorts, commercials and web series. Many filmmakers choose Smithville because it’s just close enough to the hustle and bustle of Austin (about 45 miles), but with a quaint small-town feel and a good mix of old and new.

In Smithville, you’ll not only see a lot of '50s-era architecture, but also many Victorian, '60s, '70s and contemporary suburban streetscapes as well. It was so cool to drive around the town a bit and see such an eclectic mix of interesting homes and cool old buildings.

Apparently, filmmakers aren’t the only ones to appreciate the charms of Smithville. Since 2014, there has been an exciting local business revival there as well. A fun crop of new locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, galleries and the like have opened in town and people from all over Texas and beyond are realizing what a gem Smithville really is.

Link: Texas Highways ~ Smithville The New Marfa?

Visiting Smithville and seeing the Hope Floats house...and all of the charm of that sweet small town was fun, but it definitely wasn’t the best part of our visit that day.

Nope, the best part for all three of us happened late in the afternoon, right before we decided to head back to Burton. We had already eaten lunch earlier, but when we saw the cool old building with the Honey’s Diner sign, we decided to pop in and check it out (Honey's Diner is also prominently featured in Hope Floats).

Honey's Diner turned out to actually be Honey's Pizza, a very cool wood-fired Neapolitan pizza place.

Link: Honey's Pizza

We loved the fab, artistic decor and fun vibe the minute we walked in.

Being mid-afternoon, the restaurant was fairly empty. We walked over to the bar, sat down and were greeted by the friendliest bartender...ever. He introduced himself as Scott and told us that he just happened to make a fabulous Jalapeño Margarita (Yes, 3 please!).

What happened next was completely unexpected…and the most fun the three of us have ever had sittin' at a bar (and yes, we’ve sat at more than a few in our time).

You see, we just lucked out that afternoon to have Scott mixing up our Margaritas. He’s a very busy guy. Turns out our fun and friendly barkeep just happened to be stand-up comedian Scott Hardy. He is BIG-time, seriously funny. He’s performed all over the world and opened for Jimmy Buffett, Dolly Parton, Mel Torme, Chicago, and many more. But wait, he is also a volunteer fireman and he and his wife Christine founded the nonprofit dog rescue in Smithville, Hardy-Hayes Refuge.

Link: Hardy-Hayes Refuge on Facebook

Scott didn’t tell us any of that, mind you…he's much too modest. We just very quickly figured it out. Especially the funny part. Oh my...did he have us laughing that day. He also does a few other fab things as well, I’ll get to that in a bit.

Having the good fortune to be his only customers at the bar that afternoon, Scott entertained us with stories and impressions while he finished some of his bar ‘clean up’ duties.

Some of the stories were about his funny and sweet Nana Gladys. Turns out we had heard of her, you may have also. His Nana Gladys has shared many memorable phone calls with Ellen DeGeneres on her TV show.

Her famous line, ”I’ll be honest with ya. I love Jesus but I drink a little" famously sent Ellen into a fit of laughter. It also became a YouTube sensation and led to many more fun Gladys and Ellen calls over the years.

If you’re unfamiliar with sweet Nana Gladys, you must click below and watch this hilarious video now:

Link: Gladys and Ellen’s very first call

Gladys also has a Facebook page and a website dedicated to the love and humor she brings to others.

Link: Nana Gladys on Facebook

Link: Nana Gladys Website

Such funny stuff. While we enjoyed a second round of his delicious and spicy Margaritas, Scott also told us about his Uncle Mullet videos and the website he created around the wooden kindness coins that he regularly gives out to people he meets. The website is a way to track positivity by following wooden coins as they traverse the world. These coins are a token that represents an act of good and there are thousands scattered around the globe.

Click below to learn more about the very, very funny Scott Hardy and his cool and truly awesome kindness projects ~

Link: KVUE-TV News Piece on Scott and Uncle Mullet Project

Link: Uncle Mullet ~ The Currency of Kindness

Link: Uncle Mullet on YouTube

Yep, we definitely got SO much more than just cocktail chat that afternoon at Honey’s Pizza in Smithville, Texas. We 3 Gadabout Gals of course wanted a photo to remember it all…so Scott himself snapped our pic (with the tasty Margaritas he made for us!).

We all reminisce quite often about that awesome afternoon in Smithville, Texas and our chance encounter with a very special bartender, who we feel very lucky to have met.

Cheers to you Scott Hardy.

With a lot of laughter...and are truly making this world a much better place.

Travel Tip: If you do visit Smithville, Texas (and I highly recommend it) ~ time your trip around a lunch or dinner. We missed the chance to try Honey's Pizza that afternoon, and we've now read the reviews. We will NOT make that mistake twice!
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