Henry David Thoreau ran off into the woods to find peace of mind. Maybe he was on to something, because the weekend getaway is popular even today for doing just that. While most of us can’t and don’t want to go off into the woods, there are getaways within a day’s drive from any point in Texas.
Texas Hill Country
Just recently, my daughter and I traveled to the Texas Hill Country for a quick weekend getaway. Bucolic, with a terrain marked by wooded canyons rolling hills and natural springs, the area is laced with endless miles of two lane black top roads. The landscape encompasses towns both sprawling and quaint. The roadsides are full of wild flowers. Early in the spring, red poppies, Indian paintbrush and blue bonnets are just about everywhere, but in late May and early June, most of the wild flowers are daisies, and red lupines. In almost every small town we visited, there were antique shops and diner style eating.
The Oasis On Lake Travis
One of the loveliest views is from the Oasis Restaurant which sits atop a high hill overlooking Lake Travis. The place is known for its sunsets. The water level has changed somewhat since the drought of last summer and small islands have emerged in the middle of the lake. If you’re ever in the Hill Country, it is certainly worth a visit.
Our next stop was Alexandra’s House just east of Wimberley off of RR12. Located on 5 acres among Live Oaks and wild flowers, it is a well designed bed and breakfast. With a wrap around porch it gives access to views of meadows of wildflowers and a meandering waterfall ending in a pool.
During our first few hours there we saw a fox cross the driveway.
The owners Rosemary and Reed Lyday offer a two course breakfast as well as homemade snacks. For more information visit their website www.alexandrashousetx.com/
We had a quick supper of the most delicious pizza at Brewsters Pizza.It is a family run business. The owner is a former linebacker who played with Joe Montana.
We stopped at Wimberley Glass Works located just down the road from Alexandra’s House. The showroom is full of unique metal and hand blown glass art and lighting. While there, we watched a glass blowing demonstration and viewed one of the owners make a glass vase.
Just before we crossed the Blanco river we visited Jade Gardens Bonsai Nursery which is home to over 160 species of trees and more than 1000 containers of specimen trees.
Crossing the Blanco River we drove into the quaint little town of Wimberley. The area sits on an aquifer. Jacob’s Well a perpetual Artesian spring is one of the significant geologic treasures in Texas. The well surges up thousands of gallons of water per minute and has one of the longest underwater caves in Texas. It is the main water source for Cypress Creek which flows through Wimberley and sustains the Blue Hole and the Blanco River. It recharges the Edwards Aquifer and replenshies estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico.
We got our bearings at the Wimberley Visitor Center and received directions to various sites along with maps and brochures. From there we walked around the town and visited the shops. We walked into stores with the usual Texas gifts, and picked up lavender soap gels, and soaps from the Rough Creek Lavender Fields store. The town is full of interesting signs. One minute you see “Cowboys for Christ Silent Auction”, next you see “Hired Killers”, and then “We Don’t Dial 911″ over a rifle.
We had a late lunch at the “Leaning Pear tree” where we enjoyed ribs and roasted sweet potato and pecan salad.
After lunch we went to the Bella Vista Olive Ranch and Vineyard. The vineyard is small and they have a nice size olive grove. We tasted their wines which, while nice, were very young.
On the way back through Wimberley,we stopped at the Wimberley Pie Company for an afternoon break and purchased some desserts for the next day. One of the unique stores was Jean’s Antiques on RR12 and we shopped there for an hour or two. For supper we went back for a quick meal at Brewster’s Pizza.
The next day we had a leisurely breakfast, packed up and made our way up 281.
Other activities in or near Wimberly:
Wimberley Zipline Adventures (www.wimberleyzipline.com) which has lines that travel more than a mile in the air are located on the Four Winns Ranch just south of Wimberley.
The Blue Hole. Wimberley’s swimming hole is fed by the water from Jacob’s Well. Learn more at http://friendsofbluehole.org