There's a lot more to Rosebud than the crumbling red brick buildings that first catch your eye when you visit this small town, just 30 miles east of Temple, Texas.
Well, maybe not a lot more.
But it's not as empty as a handful of photographs might lead you to believe. A community of just under 1,500 people call Rosebud home, and its historic downtown main street teems (okay, more like "gently bustles") with both a few still-open businesses and the sort of run-down architecture that's a magnet for abandoned building seekers.
Surrounding the small main street is a neighborhood mix of homes with rockers on porches and long-forgotten houses slowly fading from the unforgiving and relentless Texas summer sun. See: Manicured lawns and out-of-control weeds. Roses. And some thorns.
Two spots in particular stand out. What was once a grocery market on the main street is now just a few brick walls, open to the sky, to the street. To passersby. It's a stage. It's a gateway. It's strangely welcoming.
The other empty shell also has no roof, but it's tucked away behind a fortress of walls and bars. You can only peek at the detritus within from the back through old windows. It beckons frustratingly. Two doors would be your entry point, if they were meant to be opened. One door is wood, the other metal. They're mismatched but effective.
Besides its name and the gorgeous (to those who drool over these sorts of things) red bricks making up a handful of the main street's buildings, Rosebud is wholly unremarkable. That's meant as a compliment. It's spectacular for how simple, serene and typically small town it is. There's no real claim to fame. Not much in the way of landmarks.
Rosebud pulls you in with her name, but you stay because it's a perfect place to wander around if you're looking to be alone, trying to stay ahead of heartbreak, attempting to forget the way someone used to whisper your name, or wanting to smooth the edges of whatever thoughts might be tumbling around your brain. You can meander around loner-like with a camera, or tuck into a business and say hello to a local. Small in size, there's plenty of room to bring your warring, internal dualities for a long walk (should you currently be saddled with any).
If clinched fists and hunched shoulders are your week and day-to-day stresses multiply by the hour and every day is a mountain of emails, traffic and disappointment. If your heart is breaking. Or if you just need to get away from life for a minute — you can head to Rosebud for red bricks or red roses.
(We highly recommend you take Highway 53 if coming from Temple and make a small pit stop in Zabcikville, Texas. It's basically just one business, Green's Sausage House, which has darn good meat.)