Things to Do

7 Must-Do Stops on the Road Between Houston and Austin

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Are you driving headlong from Houston to Austin without pausing along the way? Stop! Get off the clock. You’re missing too much. From Houston and Interstate 10, take Highway 71 at Columbus and travel toward the renowned Texas Hill Country.

1. Make your first layover at the Quirky Country Market.

7 Must-Do Stops on the Road Between Houston and Austin

Photo: Facebook/Quirky Country Market

You’ll want to tour this peculiar place. The aerial view gives a broad glimpse but from ground level, the vision is more like a jumble of mishmash. Solar panels and odd gadgets are strewn about the area.

If you’re lucky, owner Dan Brectch will show you his off-the-grid home. The 1,400-square-foot, comfortable, residential space behind the commercial retail area has no utility bills. In fact, everything built on this location is off-the-grid. All power is generated by solar.

Dan collects rainwater in a water barn that holds two 5,000 gallon swimming pools. Dan and his wife bought the property in 2005, began construction in 2007, and opened in 2011. He expands his business daily. Summer hours are Saturday and Sunday. If you want an unusual gift, yard art, or just some plain old quirky fun, you must include a visit to this establishment.

2. Indulge in  a kolache or two. 

7 Must-Do Stops on the Road Between Houston and Austin

Photo: Facebook/Hruska’s Bakery

The second stop gives you an opportunity to stretch your legs. Hruska’s in Ellinger is a short distance from the Quirky Country Market. Everyone enjoys a delicious  burger, kolache, or cookie. This famous bakery uses hundreds of pounds of flour each week for their various kolaches. Browse through the gift center after you sample the baked goodies. Wine is next.

3. Don’t forget the wine!

7 Must-Do Stops on the Road Between Houston and Austin
Photo: Rosemary’s Vineyard and Winery

The third target of interest is Rosemary’s. The vineyard and winery sit off to the right about five miles past Ellinger and Hruska’s, but if you blink, you’ll miss it. Slow down when you see the Fayette Electric Plant’s smoke stacks.

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