Things to Do

Jonestown is the Gateway to the Texas Hill Country

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Once a sleepy little lake town nestled on the Sandy Creek Arm of Lake Travis, Jonestown, Texas, the gateway to the Texas Hill Country, has been steadily waking up and becoming a destination all its own.

Here are 5 reasons why you should make it one of yours!

1. Jones Brothers Park

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Photo: Barbara Shallue

At the end of Park Drive you’ll find a fabulous 32-acre park on the Sandy Creek Arm of Lake Travis, featuring three boat ramps, covered picnic pavilions, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, and fields just made for lakeside festivals.

Rent a kayak on the weekend or explore more of Jonestown via the Canyon Hiking Trail any day. It winds from Jones Brothers Park to Fireman’s Park, at the corner of Crestview and North Park.

2. Chimney Swifts

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Photo: Barbara Shallue

For decades, a historic cistern in the middle of Jonestown has been a second home for hundreds of chimney swifts. Arriving in mid-March and staying through the end of September, the birds consume mass quantities of insects all day before converging and swooping into the cistern for the night. The town appreciates their insect-eradication efforts so much, they partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge every year for Swift Fest to draw attention and respect for chimney swifts.

This year the festival will be held on Saturday, August 27th from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Fireman’s Park with nature-themed vendors, fun activities for all ages, live music, and more, including a swift-counting contest.

3. Jonestown Cajun Festival

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Photo: Barbara Shallue

It may seem strange to hold a Cajun festival in the Texas Hill Country, but Jonestown does it anyway. The Jonestown Cajun Festival is another family friendly festival held each spring in Jones Brothers Park. There’s a gumbo and etoufee cook-off, live music, crawfish eating contest, crawfish races, vendors, and much more.

4. Good food and live music

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Photo: Aegean, by Barbara Shallue

For a small town, Jonestown has plenty of good food and live music all the time. Your choices include: Rolling Thunder Roadhouse, a converted gas station with a professional, mobile kitchen; Parrain’s Louisiana Kitchen, serving fresh Cajun and creole specialties made from scratch; Hometown Pizza, with live music every Tuesday and Thursday evening; Tugs Boathouse BBQ; and a Subway sandwich shop with a fireplace and a terrace with a gorgeous lake view.

Besides Hometown Pizza, you can listen to live music at the Lone Star Bar, a vintage Texas “beer and setups” joint, or smoke-free Rumi’s Tavern, which offers “upscale pub grub”, fructose-free cocktails, and microbrews.

Villa Antonia, a Mediterranean-style villa with an awe-inspiring view of Lake Travis and the Texas hill country, hosts The Twilight Concert Series one evening a month from September through February, featuring live classical musical entertainment. Concerts are $35 at the door, or $150 for a season pass.

5. Artists in action

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Photo: Barbara Shallue

Not surprisingly, many artists call Jonestown home.

Jim Thomas, of Jim Thomas Bronze Studio, has been a professional sculptor for more than 40 years, winning the Texas Cowboy Artists Association Gold Medal three times.  He has created monumental bronze sculptures that now reside all across the United States.

You can see an example of his work in Jonestown’s Veterans Memorial Park: a bronze statue of a young soldier, entitled “Going Home”.

Stop by his studio at 10809 Crestview for a tour, then check out IronWaves, located at 18568 FM 1431.

Chicago-born artist/sculptor Mark J. Ansier creates custom iron art in IronWaves, an interactive studio and gallery.

Clients, including home and business owners, builders, architects and designers, can envision unique pieces in the design studio and then view their progress.

Local artists’ work is also for sale in the IronWaves Art Gallery.

(Unfortunately, a small fire recently caused enough smoke damage to temporarily close IronWaves until early August. But it will be a new and improved studio and gallery when it reopens, so be sure to check it out!)