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Simply Thankful in the Heart of Texas

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Simply Thankful in the Heart of Texas

By Spring Sault

The adage “less is more” never seemed to be a truer statement. In a time when our entire lives can be encapsulated in a tiny electronic piece of hardware not much bigger than the palm of our hand, but our hoarding habits are made larger than life on reality T.V., it often begs the question, “When is enough, enough?” If you’re partial to experiences as opposed to things, and your thankfulness extends well beyond a turkey dinner with a few family and friends, perhaps you’ll be spending your holidays in a minimalist fashion – and the Texas Hill Country has just the ticket.

Simply Thankful in the Heart of Texas

Photo: jefflynchdev.wordpress.com

For most people, a road gets you from Point A to Point B, but in Texas Hill Country you might wind up sightseeing at Points C, D and E, antiquing at Point F, eating at Point G, and the next thing you know, you’re all over the map! With moving panoramas, expanses of rolling farmland, vineyards, dense wildflowers, and inviting towns to set a spell, you might get beautifully lost in the details (and we all know what happens when you start out on a ‘3-hour tour’!)

The Old Tunnel is just such a drive – twenty-three miles through Hill Country back roads (paved) from Comfort to Luckenbach along the former Fredericksburg and Northern Railway route. It’s doubtful you’ll see “Willie and Waylon and the boys…” but this trip mimics much of the old San Antonio-Fredericksburg Road and the rail system as it ascends the separation of the Guadalupe and Pedernales River watersheds. At the uppermost point is a long railroad tunnel which, at one time, conveyed trains under the watershed divide, but is now home to a bat colony with one million-plus residents!

There are many more such dramatic drives to be had in Hill Country, and if you’re so inclined, visit Trails.com for some of the most scenic in of Texas. They highlight several great road trips in Hill Country specifically, from canyons and rivers to the Willow City Loop, and the likes of Lost Maples (Kerrville to Lost Maples State Natural Area.) They also recommend the unparalleled Farm Road 337, from Medina, through Vanderpool, into Leakey, with flora and fauna that barely has a foothold on rock cuts and ledges!

Simply Thankful in the Heart of Texas

Photo: felixtruvere.com

The Doobie Brothers said it best when they sang “Listen to the Music!” Lilting melodies, tunes that could bring a tear to your eye, and heart-lifting harmonies are such a large part of Hill Country culture. Take a spin around a dance hall floor this Thanksgiving and you’ll be thankful you did! The Longhorn Saloon in Bandera is anything but under-the-radar and fits the bill for an experience to write home about. Here they offer dining and dancing with live country and western music featured on Friday and Saturday nights. If that’s not enough, they also provide trail ride opportunities around town every Sunday at noon! You can bring your own horse or rent one and when the ride’s done, Longhorn pulls out all the stops with homemade chili and some serious guitar pickin’. The trail ride is an all-ages opportunity with several local stops along the way. This is just one of the many musical gems you’ll find in Hill Country over the holidays. If you’re looking for a similar experience and would like a list of places to visit, check out Hill Country Portal for more details!

Simply Thankful in the Heart of Texas

Photo: jefflynchdev.wordpress.com

If the great outdoors beckons you, then you won’t want to pass up the chance to hike into Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park. A scheduled hike is planned for Sat., Nov. 28th leaving promptly at 2 p.m., and for more information you can contact the park by calling 325-628-3240. Reaching the falls requires a 1.5-mile-long hike through some rugged terrain, so plan ahead and come prepared, but the trip is worth it! The final rocky descent is one hundred yards into a vaporous haven of a half-dozen chutes pouring into a moss-covered grotto from a 60-foot limestone precipice. Many that have experienced the falls call it mesmerizing and have said it actually leaves them speechless. Sounds like an experience that will make you thankful you made the trek!

Simply Thankful in the Heart of Texas

Photo: Gino (Flikr)

And when we’re thinking about all of the things we are thankful for this holiday season, our place in the universe may come to mind. How is it that we lucked out and were put where we are on this earth? Why is it that people differ so much from one to the other in interests and attitude? And why do 24-hour grocery stores bother to put locks on their doors? This and so many of your most important questions may be answered when you take the time to go star-gazing at the end of a hectic holiday.

High on a ridge, with very little light pollution to detract from the view, the Tres Lunas Resort sits on 112 Texas Hill Country acres between Fredericksburg and Mason. The resort goes that extra mile to reflect a Zen that you so greatly desire in times of thankfulness and appreciation. They offer wellness weekends, Yoga classes and massages in a place where you can’t help but marvel at the celestial beauty that is a Texas night sky. The nocturnal nuances, the focus on Hill Country hospitality, and the resulting relaxation will have you humming along with Gene Autry in no time…deep in the heart of Texas!