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Five Questions: Meet Susan Smith, Visit Bastrop CEO

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By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

Susan Smith, President/CEO of Visit Bastrop, recently sat down with the BEDC for an interview at her cozy office in the City’s historic Laake House, next to the Convention Center. Smith said Bastrop felt like “home” when she was first interviewing here for the job, a key factor in her moving to the Lone Star State from wintry New England.

1) What brought you to Bastrop? 

“I was presented a career opportunity to join and grow Visit Bastrop. During the interview process I spent time becoming acquainted with the area and it quickly felt like a place I could call home. It was very similar to my hometown of Saint Albans, Vermont,” Smith said. “I was also impressed with the people of Bastrop – they have a deep bond with their community that is very genuine, and the southern hospitality is so welcoming.” Coming to Texas was also an opportunity to escape the challenging winters of New England. “No, I don’t miss the winter. And I don’t miss shoveling snow...and scraping salt off my car,” Smith laughed.

2) What’s a typical day like for you?  

“Visit Bastrop has a staff of five employees including myself. We all work to grow the organization and make a positive impact on the economic growth of Bastrop,” Smith said. “Some of my duties include creating, communicating and implementing the organization’s vision, mission and overall direction.” Smith said that staff has been busy with nine “fluid logos...we will use as we market to appropriate segments...plus a corporate logo which will be our overall brand.” 

3) What are your favorite things to do in Bastrop? 

Smith said she likes to “listen to some music at Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard (in The Crossing). The 602 On Main also has great music on the weekends.” She recently enjoyed hearing local band Possum in the Fridge. “I do enjoy the great music the area offers and walking along the river walk in Fisherman’s Park. I’ve walked the river walk many times. I saw an entire family of turtles lined up on a log along the riverbank,” Smith said. She also praised the exquisite local cuisine. “I’ve eaten at all the restaurants. The food in Texas is amazing,” Smith said. “My favorite food is chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes – there’s nothing I don’t like about it!”

4) Why is Bastrop a must-visit destination? 

“Bastrop is a unique hidden destination. We offer so much to the traveler. With our quaint downtown and with the outdoor options, there is literally something for everyone. Why miss it?” Smith said. She also recommends just strolling around downtown for visitors. “You can feel the history, the richness of it...and there’s gorgeous architecture,” Smith said.

5) With Spring Break coming up next month, what do you recommend for a ‘fun staycation’ in Bastrop? 

“That is tough, because there is so much to do. The Hyatt Lost Pines offers a great staycation, with lots of activities to offer families. There’s golf, longhorns, a spa, children’s activities – just a lot of things to do,” Smith said. She also touted again the fine restaurants and music scene in Bastrop, as well as visiting Bastrop State Park.