Last weekend of January gifted us some awesome weather (70-80F during the day vs. 34-44F we had for the last few weeks) and it would have been a sin to stay home. So we packed our bags, bid on a hotel on Priceline, and headed to the Texas Hill Country. Our destination was Fredericksburg. It’s a 4 hour drive from Houston, so it was an early rise. Junk food – perfect breakfast on the go, especially when you get two free tacos!
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Our first stop was at the Hamilton Pool, a natural preserve just outside of Austin. We tried going once before, but the line of cars waiting to get in was not in our favor, so we had to skip. Luckily, this time around we made it to the park just before 11 am and were the last car to be let in without having to wait. Unfortunately swimming was not allowed due to high bacteria levels in the water, but it was still a beautiful scenery to enjoy.
There were plenty of sunbathers to keep company too.
The preserve also has a nice trail that leads to the Pedernales River.
We then headed to Enchanted Rock State Park. We’ve been here before and absolutely loved it, especially having lunch on top of the Rock. This time, however, we weren’t so lucky. We got to the park around 3pm and there was a huge line of cars waiting to get in. The wait was long and the food I had packed for us to have at the Rock was calling upon us. After 15 minutes of waiting in the car, the food sack came out from hiding and we were tearing into the Buccee’s sausage, cheese sticks, tomatoes, bread… Crumbs everywhere, but it made the wait time a little more entertaining. Our total wait time was a little over an hour.
But once we got in, we knew it was completely worth waiting for. The climb is steep, so take it slow!
At the top, relax and enjoy the views! (and food, if there is anything left).
We stayed at the top until sunset and got back to the car right before it got dark.
We spent the night in Fredericksburg, which is about 20 minutes away from Enchanted Rock. Fredericksburg is a cute little town in the heart of Texas that has been growing exponentially. It is very evident with new hotels, restaurants, and shops that were not around during our last visit 2 years ago. I didn’t come across any budget versions for lodging on airbnb, and the local bed & breakfasts are pretty pricey and require a two night minimum stay, so a bid on priceline at $77 before taxes got us a room at a newly built Fairfield Inn & Suites. And while it’s nice to stay in a clean new hotel, it does make me sad that it takes away the charm from the known German town.
Exhausted from all the hikes earlier in the day we managed to get ourselves ready for dinner and headed to Friedhelms Bavarian Restaurant. The portions are well sized for the price and the atmosphere has a potential to be nice, but either we were off, or the restaurant was, something just didn’t seem quite right. Regardless, I ate my schnitzel and moved on.
Next day, which was Sunday morning, we wanted to hang in the city, but most places were closed until noon (church day), and since we had to be at work on Monday, we decided to start heading back to Houston.
Just outside the city, there is a Wildseed Farm, which is absolutely worth a trip in the spring when the bluebonnets and and the poppy flowers are blooming. But even now, during a flowerless winter, it’s still worth a stop. They have awesome jellies, delicious wildflower honey, and a bunch of other fun stuff.
Grape Creek Vineyard
Continuing down the road we stopped by the Grape Creek Vineyard. We are not wine connoisseurs, but we just wanted to stop and check it out, sometimes vineyards have other awesome stuff. The vineyard is amazing. For a moment it felt like we were in Italy, even though we’ve never been to Italy and don’t know what that actually feels like. Even if you’re not a wine drinker, you would enjoy having lunch on their outside patio during a nice day.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Our final stop was at the Pedernales Falls State Park. Not much to say here, only that it’s an absolute must if you’re around Austin area. The water in the river was chilly, but after a long hike absolutely refreshing for me and a couple of other crazies, while our friends stood on the shore and rolled their eyes. The calming sound of water and the glistening reflection of the sun are the perfect recipe to help you find your zen.
Have you been to Texas? What has been your most favorite place to visit?