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California Dreaming in the Texas Hill Country

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Texas Hill Country Art

“This is just like Sonoma County,” I sighed. “Except … we don’t actually have to go to California.”

It was a perfect Spring afternoon. My husband, his sister, and I were sitting under the oak trees at William Chris Winery. A bluegrass band was playing. We had just taken our first bite of a hot, delicious artisan pizza, and taken our first sip of a clean, refreshing white wine. Where were we again? Oh right . . . Texas.

Sorry, Californians. Everyone it seems, it taking cheap shots at you these days. The truth is, we love Sonoma County. Many times over the years, we have wished that we could stay with you forever. Your dramatic scenery, mild weather, world-class wineries, and respect for farm-to-table products cooking are all a balm to our pale, chafed, Northern skins.

Texas Hill Country Sculpture
That’s why we came to the Texas Hill Country. Just over a year ago we escaped ruthlessly-cold Chicago, where we have lived for the past decade, at the invitation of a Wimberley friend who had been urging us to visit. “You’re going to love it,” she warned us. “You are not going to want to leave.”

Well, we didn’t. And not just because our return flight was cancelled by severe storms for several days, but because we fell in love. Not just with the Hill Country and its people, but with a ranch. Namely, The Sculpture Ranch and Galleries, formerly the Benini Sculpture Ranch and Gallery, just outside of Johnson City. The eminent Italian artist Benini and his wife Lorraine bought this place in the 1990s and turned into one of the country’s premiere outdoor sculpture gardens and art galleries. They were ready to move on, and we were ready to move in.

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