By: Malcolm Mayhew
Fredericksburg Herb Farm
Vibe: Organic Spa & Garden Hideaway
Wander through gardens of lavender, rosemary, and basil. Bliss out with a thyme massage and cherry facial. Wake up to an almond waffle with whipped cream and a flight of mimosas.
Welcome to Fredericksburg Herb Farm, a comfy Hill Country getaway whose classic farmhouse charm belies its generous amenities — including a 5,000-square-foot destination spa. Situated just four blocks away from Main Street in Fredericksburg, the peaceful retreat is away from the hustle and bustle but still close enough to walk to shops and restaurants. But many guests find everything they need within the garden grounds.
Owners Richard and Rosemary Estenson began renovations on the property soon after they purchased it in 2008. Their fine attention to detail is evident at every turn, as is their commitment to preserving the heritage and character of the farm. The oldest part of the property is a rock house built in the 1890s, which now forms the core of the Farm Haus Bistro. It’s a cozy restaurant with exposed stone walls, a fireplace, and windows overlooking the gardens. The fruits, vegetables and herbs grown here are used in the restaurant and in the products sold at Poet’s Haus Gift Shop.
For sleeping, the farm’s woodsy cottages are authentically styled after the Hill Country’s historic Sunday houses. Bungalows like these were built by German settlers to use on weekends when they came into town to stock up on provisions and go to church. The 14 “Sunday Haus Cottages” at Fredericksburg Herb Farm are based on three of the most popular traditional designs. Each one is unique. Inside, the cabins feature modern creature comforts that the German farmers never knew, like king-sized beds and flat-screen TVs. White jasmine flowers bloom by the rocking chairs on the porch.
Guests can also get a taste of Germany at nearby Das Peach Haus, a retail store and wine room at the edge of a scenic peach orchard, founded by the Wieser family in 1928. Visitors can shop the jams, jellies and preserves in the on-site warehouse, sample wine while sitting on the edge of a pond, or take a class at the new cooking school.
Stroll to Fredericksburg’s bustling Main Street to explore quaint boutiques and memorable restaurants, including Tubby’s Ice House and Vaudeville. It’s easy to spot Vaudeville’s iconic three-story building, which is home to an art gallery, wine cellar, gourmet market, design showroom and event venue. Browse the boutiques and then stay for lunch or dinner at Vaudeville’s bistro, where classic American comfort food is reimagined into something new and served with European flair. Crafted with seasonal ingredients sourced in the Hill Country, the menu features to-die-for French dip sandwiches, organic salads and wood-fired artisanal pizza.
Travel Tip: Spring and fall are the busiest times of the year at Fredericksburg Herb Farm; book well in advance, especially for weekend stays. Reservations are recommended for dinner at Farm Haus Bistro, which also serves walk-ins for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch.
fredericksburgherbfarm.com, rates start at $159
Tres Lunas Resort
Vibe: Off-the-Beaten-Path With Magnificent Hilltop Views
Escape into the middle of somewhere. Relax high on a hill overlooking the rugged landscape and rejuvenate your soul. See miles and miles of Texas from the hot tub and the vanishing-edge swimming pool. By day, the views stretch over a timeless scene reminiscent of a Western movie; by night, eyes turn upward as the Milky Way flaunts its spectacular sparkles across the sky. Perched on a historical hilltop in the Loyal Valley, Tres Lunas Resort is halfway between Fredericksburg and Mason for easy access to Hill Country wilderness, wildflowers, and wineries.
“The property is located on Meusebach Mountain, which was the retiring homestead area for the founder of Fredericksburg,” shares Kelly Kemp, who owns the property with her husband Brian. “It had been a working family cattle ranch for many years before being remodeled for the enjoyment of guests.” Like the 112-acre ranch, the Kemps’ roots in the area grow deep. “My husband and I were born and raised in Fredericksburg. My ancestors were one of the founding families that came with John Meusebach to settle Fredericksburg.”
The old ranch home has been artfully remodeled into a boutique “Casita,” with three bedrooms and special touches like hammocks and an outdoor fire pit. Two “Zen Suites” have been added on either side of the pool. Rounded archways, Spanish villa vibes, and southwestern décor give the suites the feel of a 19th-century Texas ranch house. Platform beds and free-standing, cast-iron slipper tubs enhance the luxury. Thoughtful details add big character, from the vintage chairs to the wooden Old-World shutters.
Altogether, it’s an alluring place to decompress. Or elope. A mission-style stone chapel stands against the sunset, a striking setting for a wedding ceremony — and the ideal companion to the resort’s Elopement Package. Packages with four-course dinners are also available, with specialties like wood-fired pork, “kitchen sink” pizzas, and signature Mexican bread pudding. Everyone gathers around the campfire on Saturday mornings for a big cowboy breakfast with homemade biscuits served from a chuckwagon.
If you can peel yourself away from the infinity pool, head to the Llano River to kayak or to Enchanted Rock for a quick hike up the pink granite. Pick up a bottle of wine in the Castell General Store and chat with the locals. Zip into Mason to find cool art galleries and into Fredericksburg for quirky history museums. Find fantastic restaurants all around.
Make your way back to Tres Lunas and embrace the true magic of peace and quiet.
Travel Tip: Book reservations 30-60 days in advance in the busy season.
treslunasresort.com, rates start at $239/Zen Suites, $249/Casita
Vibe: Rustic Luxury Retreat on the Open Range
Immerse yourself in the spirit of the Wild West and channel your inner cowboy or cowgirl at this wide-open ranch resort. Listen to true stories about Texas outlaws around a crackling campfire. Wake up for a morning trail ride through the wildflowers and mosey along the Brazos River. Practice your lasso skills and feed the longhorns. Return from your adventures on the range and relax in the rock-rimmed infinity pool. Be pampered with a massage at the spa.
Stretching over 1,500 acres on a gentle plateau, Wildcatter Ranch is blessed with views of the Brazos River Valley that go on forever. You’ll find the resort about 90 miles west-northwest of Fort Worth, just south of the city of Graham in Young County. It’s about 20 miles from Fort Belknap and the famous Goodnight-Loving cattle trail (of “Lonesome Dove” fame).
A trip to Wildcatter Ranch is a true escape to a remote, rustic landscape known for its stunning physical beauty and colorful frontier history. Comanche and Kiowa, cowboys and covered wagons, bandits, bank robbers and cattle barons — all have contributed to this prairie land’s storied past. Oil was discovered in Young County in 1917, creating overnight boomtowns and attracting industrialists who continue to shape local culture. The current owners of the petroleum company Echo Production are also the founders of Wildcatter Ranch.
Bringing the area’s rowdy history to life is a priority at the resort. Salty staff members tell stories and lead hands-on activities, often right at the location where the drama occurred. Books, films and videos are available in the library to further illuminate the past.
The ranch’s tasteful, Western-style accommodations are inspired by historical events that took place nearby. Décor includes buffalo heads, Native American headdresses, and beds made from logs and converted wagons. Back porches with wooden rocking chairs and sunset views make the cabin-suites highly desirable, but there are also hotel rooms and guest homesteads.
While you’re at Wildcatter Ranch, you can try canoeing, kayaking, skeet shooting and archery. Hike along 25 miles of trails or hop in a Jeep for a historical off-road tour. For supper, head to Dinner Bell for a mesquite-grilled ribeye, chicken-fried steak, or chuckwagon chili with cornbread. The ranch’s steakhouse has been named as one of the best in the state by Texas Monthly.
Travel Tip: Spring bluebonnet season and autumn are the most popular seasons at Wildcatter Ranch; book well in advance (especially for weekend stays) during this time.
wildcatterranch.com, rates start at $115
Sabor a Pasion Estate & Vineyard
Vibe: Global Cuisine, East Texas Charm
Follow a narrow, winding road to a secluded hideaway of oak trees and easy hills just outside of Palestine in East Texas. Effortless Tuscan elegance blends with rugged Texas beauty at this B & B and winery, which is also home to the acclaimed Restaurant Aubergine.
It’s all about personalized service at Sabor a Pasion. Owner and chef Simon Webster arranges wine tastings, hog hunting trips, and family-style pizza dinners from the outdoor oven. He even delivers desserts by plane.
“I live here, so you’re getting personalized service from the minute you arrive,” says Webster. “We can tailor anything to what people want.”
Webster has an award-winning resume and more than four decades of experience in the culinary industry. Born in England and raised in New Zealand, he found his way to Texas via England, Virginia and California. He’s worked for five-star restaurants, wine bars, pubs, and even an airline as a first-class chef. Webster brings unique international flair to Restaurant Aubergine, where the cuisine skews creative: Italian-New Zealand.
“I was told if I didn’t do a chicken-fried steak, I wouldn’t be here very long,” he says. But Webster has been running Sabor a Pasion since 2004, attracting a steady stream of foodie fans from Houston, Austin and Dallas. The focus is on fresh. “We have nine raised vegetable plots where we grow vegetables in the spring and summer. As much as we can, we produce our own food. It’s pretty close to farm-to-table. We also have probably the only outdoor wood-fired pizza in East Texas.” Guests can arrange leg of lamb feasts, Italian-themed cooking classes, and even “Chopped”-style competitions (modeled after the TV show on the Food Network).
For dessert, Webster loves to serve New Zealand pavlova, a dreamy meringue cake topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. “No one gets it anywhere. Everyone when they’ve had it, they just crave for it. So, they’re always calling me, and I’m baking pavlova and delivering it to people. I’m actually a pilot as well, so I deliver food by plane. It’s kind of crazy. People have ranches around here, so I’ll fly and drop off the food for them.”
Sabor a Pasion’s winery is still young, producing just 60 gallons per year. It’s enough for an annual grape stomp every fall and for the brides who take their wedding pictures strolling through the vines. Besides wining and dining, guests can tee off nearby at Pine Dunes golf course, rated No.1 in Texas by Golfweek Magazine. Weekend warriors can also book hog-hunting and gar-fishing adventures. For an old-fashioned ride through the Piney Woods, board the Texas State Railroad for a four-hour journey between Palestine and Rusk in a refurbished vintage train car.
Back at Sabor a Pasion, sleep well in one of the cottage-style rooms or quaint cabins, complete with porches and rocking chairs. Customized packages are available, including a two-night romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day with flowers, Champagne, and a couple’s massage.
Travel Tip: Make reservations at least a month in advance during the busy season for the B & B and several weeks in advance for Restaurant Aubergine on the weekend.
saborapasion.com, rates start at $150
Vibe: Unplug at a Hidden Hill Country Hacienda
Hushed and secluded, the ambience at this intimate boutique hotel near Kerrville is one of total relaxation. Cradled in a quiet box canyon, the Hill Country retreat backs up to the wooded rise of Medina Mountain. Escondida means “hidden” in Spanish, and indeed it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon a secret treasure. Built as a private residence in 1969, the adults-only hacienda evokes an elegant hideaway in colonial Mexico. It almost seems like you’ve crossed the border. Springs bubble up among the limestone bluffs and rock formations, feeding the crystal-clear creek that runs through the property.
The hotel is built around a dramatic courtyard with colonnades, palm trees and a carved stone fountain. If you’re looking to party – this isn’t the place. While there’s complimentary wine and beer at dinner (and you are also free to bring your own), the mood is romantic and serene. Put your smartphone away, because there’s no cell service or Wi-Fi here. It’s the perfect place to unplug and de-stress for those who dream about untethering themselves from today’s 24/7 connection (a landline is available for emergencies).
The 125-acre property was purchased in 1999 by Bob Phillips, executive producer and host of the iconic Texas television show “Texas Country Reporter.” Phillips originally intended to retire here, but plans changed. A spa was added, the hacienda was extended, and the estate was converted into a luxury hotel that opened in 2006.
Casual and unpretentious, the rooms feature warm colors and Saltillo tile floors. Their rustic-chic design skews masculine, with metallic tones and heavy wooden furniture. Bathrooms are beautifully customized with intricate, hand-painted Mexican tiles in the shower and bath. You can also rent out the Owner’s Retreat, a private wing of the original hacienda with a full kitchen and Jacuzzi patio. Accommodations include daily breakfast, plus happy hour and supper on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Follow a stone footbridge to find the outdoor swimming pool. Steep yourself in the hot tub or warm up by the crackles of the outdoor fire. Wander the property and watch for wild sheep, turkeys and white-tailed deer. Climb to an abandoned hilltop cabin for unbelievable views. Bliss out at The Spa at Escondida with a customized package of treatments, including sea salt body scrubs, fire-and-ice stone massages, and signature Pevonia caviar facials.
Once you’re feeling rejuvenated, cruise out on the twists and turns of scenic Highway 16. Go kayaking or rafting on the Guadalupe River, just 14 miles away. Explore nearby Hill Country towns like Bandera, Comfort, and Boerne. Find bluebonnet trails in the spring and blazing red foliage at Lost Maples State Park in the fall.
Travel Tip: Reservations are a must at Escondida, which is a gated property that requires a code to enter. Book at least six weeks in advance during most of the year, especially during special events like the Murder Mystery Weekend in April.
escondidaresort.com, rates start at $199
The Antlers Inn
Vibe: Authentic Railroad Resort With Train Car Accommodations
Be transported to the heyday of the railroad era at The Antlers Inn in Kingsland, where you can sleep in a converted train car or caboose that once cruised the rails across the country.
The railroad has long defined this Hill Country town, which was put on the map in 1892 when the Austin and Northwestern Railroad connected through Kingsland to Llano. Boasting a beautiful location at the confluence of the Llano and Colorado rivers, Kingsland soon became a travel destination in its own right — and it needed a hotel. The Antlers Hotel was opened by the railroad in 1901 to accommodate the new tourists arriving by train. An icon of fashionable modernity, the elegant, Victorian-style resort offered conveniences like gas lights and even a telephone in the lobby.
By 1923, automobile vacations had eclipsed rail travel and The Antlers Hotel was shuttered for use as a private home. Austin couple Dennis and Barbara Thomas purchased the property in 1996 and resurrected it to its former glory after two and a half years of renovations. Today, The Antlers Inn is listed as a Texas Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now a centerpiece of Kingsland’s historic railway district, the resort is surrounded by contemporaneous railroad structures including a crew bunkhouse and the Section Master’s House. Other genuine railroad elements have been brought to the property and restored, including a depot and four colorful train cars.
Guests can stay in antique suites with original wood flooring or in private cabins with screened-in porches — but the true attractions here are the train car accommodations. Three cabooses and one wooden train car have been refurbished into snug, modern retreats with air conditioning, TVs, private baths, and small kitchens. Each caboose is brightly painted and includes one queen bed, two child-size bunk beds, and the original cupola — a fun perch for watching the sunset. The McKinley Coach wooden rail car is larger and includes one king bed, two twin beds, and 1 1/2 baths.
The Antlers Inn rests on the waterfront of Lake LBJ, which was created by the construction of a dam at Granite Shoals in 1950. Shady woodlands, calm gardens and grassy lawns surround the vintage resort. Launch your fishing boat from the dock or borrow the property’s row boat, paddle boat, or kayaks. Nearby, you can sunbathe with the locals where the Llano River runs over granite boulders on “The Slab,” and explore the Hill Country’s numerous wineries, golf courses and hiking trails.
Be sure to stop by the hotel’s Grand Central Café, which is located in another Victorian home right by the train tracks with a spine-chilling past. It’s the house where the 1974 movie “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” was filmed, which was brought to Kingsland from Round Rock and renovated into the restaurant.
Travel Tip: The train car accommodations tend to book up before the suites and cabins, so make reservations in advance, especially on summer weekends.
theantlers.com, rates start at $112
Elm Creek Manor
Vibe: Old-World Farm-to-Table Getaway
Discover a fairytale slice of Bavaria at this true farm-to-table inn, where 100 percent of the cuisine is produced on-site by owners Brad and Marcia Scarborough.
Once upon a time, this romantic retreat was their private home. Towering pecan trees, two gurgling creeks, and 14 acres of gently rolling landscape made it the perfect escape. Inspired by Europe’s old medieval inns, the couple created a secluded sanctuary for themselves just outside the German community of Muenster (about an hour north of Fort Worth). Then tragedy struck.
In December 2003, a fire destroyed half of the building. “We were going to tear the remaining structure down and just sell the property,” Marcia Scarborough explains. “But then we had the idea to restore the remainder and build it back as an inn.” The new inn opened in 2004.
Fourteen years later, Elm Creek Manor is a renowned spa and culinary getaway. A master Italian culinary chef with award-winning dishes, Marcia handcrafts every bite. In addition to extensive gardens and an aquaponic greenhouse, the estate is home to honeybees, dairy goats, chickens, rabbits, tilapia and cattle.
“I love to see people surprised by a wild greenbrier and dandelion salad with my curried pear vinaigrette,” says Marcia. “I want people to eat things they have never tasted before.”
European antiques and architectural rarities give the inn a distinct personality, including 16th-century Italian doors and 18th-century British stained glass. Each boutique-style suite and cottage features a unique regional flair: Tuscany, Alsace, Austria, Provence and the Scottish Highlands.
“Having lived in Europe as a child, I am a stickler for authentic buildings and not the faux look that often occurs,” Marcia says. Great effort has been made to ensure all rooms are authentic to their region. The color on the plaster in the Tuscan cottage was created by mixing crushed rock and water (the way it was done 300 years ago).
Guests can arrange artisan cheese-making classes, gather vegetables for supper, or seek out one of the shady pocket gardens. You’ll also find a swimming pool and outdoor amusements like the French ballgame pétanque.
The Scarboroughs still live on the property on the second and third floors. After discovering structural damage in November 2017, the couple took another leap of faith inspired by their honeymoon in Germany and Marcia’s German heritage.
“We decided to jump ‘all in’ and completely redo the exterior to an ‘authentic’ Bavarian Haus. Brad says the authenticity is in the details. He hand-cut and chiseled the corbels. We used 100-year-old beams and posts and hand-carved German balusters. Brad and I did all the work ourselves in 26 days.”
Travel Tip: Book early, especially on the weekends. Reservations are accepted two years in advance.
elmcreekmanor.com, rates start at $279
Vibe: Historic B & B with Chic, Postmodern Style
Forget the dusty doilies and fussy florals. Airy and inviting, this Abilene B & B is a design-driven getaway with impressive updates that enhance its original historical character. It’s also absolutely gorgeous.
Every room of the Queen Anne Victorian has been meticulously reimagined. Vintage clawfoot tubs share space with modern subway tiles and Carrara marble vanities. Crystal chandeliers shimmer above creatively repurposed antiques. Each of the six guestrooms in this sophisticated boutique hotel features a private bath and a special theme that speaks to the history of the home. A stained-glass headboard adorns a bed crafted with church pews in the “Heavenly Rest” guestroom. The “Judge’s Chambers” is a manly oasis of rich woods and supple leathers. A Civil War-era canopy soars 14 feet over a bed with ultra-high thread count sheets in the bridal suite “Luxe,” which is billed as “the nicest hotel room between Fort Worth and El Paso.” Contemporary comforts include keyless entry locks, USB ports, and flat-screen TVs.
Built in 1889 (just eight years after the town of Abilene was founded), this flashy Victorian was the prominent home of Judge Henry Sayles and his family. Even though electricity and indoor plumbing hadn’t made it to Abilene yet, the luxurious home was hailed as a masterpiece and featured in several publications including the Dallas Morning News. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 3,500-square-foot house was thoroughly revamped in 2014 by its current owners, Terry and Laura Browder. The Browders also own the Sayles Ranch Guesthouses, an enclave of private cabins and upscale homes to rent in the Abilene area.
Sayles Landmark showcases the couple’s love of West Texas and its history — and their dedication to aesthetics that speak to the soul. Discover cozy lounge spaces to chill out and chat with other guests, including a formal parlor in the front of the home and a gentlemen’s parlor in the back. Introverts can relax, because there’s no obligation to socialize with strangers over your morning coffee unless you want to. Opt for a private table at breakfast, which is served between 7:30-9 a.m. (instead of one set time for everyone like many B & Bs). Extroverts can make new friends at the larger communal table.
Steal away through gothic French gates to the heirloom rose garden, and sit for an easy swing under the pergola. Sip wine with a friend on the front porch, which overlooks Sayles Boulevard. Go for a swim or cool down on the shady patio of the 100-year-old, tin-roofed carriage house. With décor made of 18th-century jailhouse keys, book bindings, and an iron cemetery fence, Sayles Landmark is truly a unique Texas treasure.
Travel Tip: There’s no front desk or check-in here; everything is handled prior to your arrival. With only six rooms, be sure to book in advance during the holidays and graduation season.
sayleslandmark.com, rates start at $195
Update: Shortly after this article was published Sayles Landmark closed and is now indefinitely closed under new ownership. However, Sayles Ranch Guesthouses are still in full operation.
The Cell Block
Vibe: A Funky Clink in Clifton
Escape to a place that most previous guests have wanted to escape from. Send yourself to the slammer at The Cell Block in Clifton, a one-of-a-kind, one-bedroom hotel converted from a city jail. Built in the 1930s during the era of Bonnie and Clyde, the lockup was a holding tank for disorderly ruffians and town drunks. Now you can snooze in the space where they once slept it off, listening to the same lonesome rumble of trains rolling through in the night.
Revamped with high-end style in 2014, the mini-hotel oozes undeniable character between its original steel doors and heavy window bars. Two cells have been transformed into the bedroom and bath, connected by a cozy living area. There’s also a cool “Prison Yard,” a rooftop patio with lounge chairs, a gas fire pit, and twinkle lights above. The Cell Block’s location adds to its hideaway feel; it’s tucked away on a backstreet painted with colorful murals known as the Clifton Art Alley. Both The Cell Block and Clifton Art Alley were the brainchildren of local entrepreneur and former high school English teacher Kay Calloway. Some of her students have work featured in the Alley.
“Kay has always looked for creative ways to renovate her hometown. She came across the old jail cell and an idea blossomed, “The Jailer” Kristen McKinney explains.
Fun little touches bring the vintage jailhouse experience to life. Indulge your inner jailbird and play a round of 42 with the handmade wooden dominoes; you’ll find them in the cigar box. Throw some vinyl on the retro record player from the collection of prison-inspired albums. Snap your mugshot on a Polaroid camera and pin it to the wall, then add your crimes to the comment book. Contain rowdy traveling partners with authentic police-issue handcuffs (just don’t lose the key). And in case you forgot, the shower soap is branded as “Don’t Drop.”
No breakfast is included, but how about booze? Guests can imbibe complimentary alcoholic libations, including an unmarked flask of single malt whiskey from Waco’s Balcones Distilling. If the hooch is too heavy for your taste, try the bottle of Tempranillo from nearby Red Caboose Winery.
Situated about 90 minutes south of Fort Worth, Clifton is a historic railroad town known as “The Norwegian Capital of Texas.” It’s also a vibrant artistic community with a quaint, nostalgic vibe. The Cell Block is situated in the heart of the downtown neighborhood for easy exploring. Catch a movie at the oldest continuously operating cinema in Texas, the restored 1916 Cliftex Theatre. Browse cute shops on Main Street and linger over a lazy brunch at Corner Drug Cafe, a former drugstore known for home-cooked comfort food like biscuits and beef stew. For dinner, enjoy modern steakhouse fare with a Nordic twist at the restaurant Sinclair, which is also owned by Johnson and housed in a former Sinclair gas station. She renovated the building and transformed it into a farm-to-table restaurant she co-owns with her husband and well-known Chef Sonya Cote — owner of Eden East and Hillside Pharmacy. Cote serves creations like chicken-fried quail legs and tenderloin, shrimp and jalapeño cheesecake.
Travel Tip: The Cell Block books three to four weeks in advance normally and even further in advance during Clifton’s numerous cultural events, including the Norse Smorgasbord, Boots and Brew, and Clifton Swirl wine festival.
stayatthecellblock.com, rates start at $225
River Road Treehouses
New Braunfels, Texas
Vibe: Childhood Dreams in the Cypress Trees
Discover a Swiss Family Robinson-style escape above Jacob’s Creek — a wet weather creek located just across from the Guadalupe River — complete with hammocks and elevated walkways. Six custom cabins are peacefully perched between New Braunfels and Canyon Lake, with towering cypress trees running through decks built 20 feet above a seasonal creek bed.
To be fair — the cabins are not complete treehouses; only one side is attached to the trees high above the ground. But this makes them accessible for all, and the mood of a quirky forest retreat is still there. Wild mustang grapevines, raised footbridges, and a leafy overhead canopy add to the quiet, hideaway feel. Deer wander by in the morning.
Soaring windows bring the outdoors into the treehouses, which are set up for family-style vacationing with open floor plans and full kitchens. Each cabin features a king bed in the master bedroom plus two queens in the loft, and most include a private outdoor deck with grill. Unlike the Swiss Family Robinson, guests here enjoy air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and satellite TV. While all six treehouses feature a similar design, “Mockingbird Lodge” offers the most secluded experience. “The Whippoorwill Haus” and “The Morning Dove Haus” share a deck and are best for small groups or families.
Just across the road is a grassy, 1-acre waterfront park with exclusive access to the Guadalupe River. Roast marshmallows by the fire pits and relax with a riverfront barbecue. Feel like a kid again on the rope swing. Borrow kayaks and tubes for river adventures; you’ll find plenty of nearby outfitters to arrange trips. Don’t forget the ice-cold Shiner Bock.
When you’re ready to venture further afield, hit the scenic roadways to explore the charms of the hilly river region. Drive the twisting route to Gruene to eat at The Gristmill and the Gruene River Grill. Rent a boat on Canyon Lake and catch an outdoor blues jam at the River Road Icehouse.
Travel Tip: Staying in a treehouse for tubing on the Guadalupe River adds a new twist to an iconic Texas adventure — just be sure to make your reservations early. During the summer season, it’s recommended that guests book as far ahead as possible.
riverroadcabins.com, rates start at $99
By: Malcolm Mayhew