Logbook entry April 16, 2017………….Trip #3 on my year long adventure of discovering my state was in Wimberley, TX. A little gem hidden in the rocks and hills of the beautiful hill country of Texas. It was an easy 4 hour drive from my little island and I drove straight to my first destination arriving about noon.
First stop Jacob’s Well. A natural rock reservoir that’s 35 feet deep and then takes a turn under the rock and goes out 135 feet. The reservoir is fed by under ground springs and is 66 to 68 degrees year round. It was a little hike to it, but nothing to steep or strenuous. It is well worth the trip. The water in the creek is as clear as bath water and the water in the “well” is the most stunning indigo blue. It was a natural beauty. Swimming is allowed by permit only and begins in May. Swimmers are allowed to jump from the high rocks into the “well”. I can only guess it must be exhilarating as the “well” is not that big in roundness! I will never know! LOL
That little hike made me a little bit thirsty, so off I go to find my first winery. Wimberley Valley Winery is a beautiful little winery that backs up to a farm that has miniature horses, miniature donkeys and miniature goats. The winery has picnic tables, swings and settees on the back property and they encourage the customers to visit the animals. The animals love the customers.
Gabrielle was my sweet hostess. When she was waiting on another couple I heard her say, “Oh MY Lanta!” My face lite up. My son’s sweet girlfriend is the only other person I have ever heard use this phrase. I knew Gabrielle and I would be fast friends. We were kindred spirits. She loved the beach and she loved wine. Young and beautiful, she is studying to be a sommelier and was inspired to run her own winery. If I had a tasting room, I’d recruit her to work for me. She’s bright and bubbly, educated and informative. I loved her. We had a grand time together. But I was on a time schedule. I couldn’t drink wine and talk to animals at one place. I had to keep moving. She recommended a restaurant for dinner, then sent me on my way.
I was off to find “Old Baldy”. I wanted to hike to the top and check out the view. After driving around and around this “hill” in a neighborhood, I realized I was making circles around “Old Baldy”. No parking lot. No signs. Only a set of stairs leading up to the sky. 236 stairs to be exact. 236 steps up to utter quiet peace. I spent 25 minutes on the top all by myself. Soft wind and sun. The butterflies my only company. It was complete bliss. And the view; well it was not to shabby either.
Evening was moving in and it was time to find my restaurant. I head downtown to find The Leaning Pear, the spot my girl Gabrielle recommended. Kindred spirits indeed! This little place had a farm to table menu that was right up my alley. Good wine and craft beer loaded the menu as well. It was a perfect choice for me. As I walked up to the restaurant, I noticed in the parking lot, a life sized cowboy boot (5 foot). It was all painted up by an area artist. I thought it was a rather odd place for a boot to be. It was a parking lot for pete’s sake!
After dinner I decide to search out some dessert. According to my little cellular device, there was a fro-yo place just around the corner, so off I go to find it. To my surprise, guess what else I find? Life sized cowboy boots! All painted differently! Of course I had to google it and see what was up with all the boots. It seems it was a project in 2014 started by the Wimberley Valley Arts and Cultural Alliance to bring recognition to the arts and enhance cultural tourism. It is lovingly called “Bootiful Wimberley” and there are 50 total scattered throughout the town. I found 23. If I had more time I would have made it a goal to find them all, but since it was not on my list of things to see, I was happy with the 23 I found. It was dusk and I could hear my momma calling………”time to come in, play time is over”. I was satisfied with my day and ready to relax in my hotel.
I had to start my day early. I had things planned to do and a 4 hour drive to make it home by dark, so every minute counted. It was dark when I arrived to my hotel the night before, so I didn’t get to check out the property. It was the first thing to do on my list the following morning. Nestled back in a subdivision is a jewel. Although a little older, the room was large and comfortable. To my surprise the property is surround by a beautiful creek with falls. It was quiet and serene. The Lodge at Cypress Creek is a place I would stay at again. It was much more than I expected for my set budget and wished I’d had more time to spend there. But…..adventure was calling, so check out I did and I hit the road.
Although Hamilton Pools was not on my list of things to do on this trip, I was only 30 miles away and decided to take a chance………………..
Word of caution to free spirits like me………..
Arrive before 9 a.m. or call before making the trip.
They have 72 parking spaces. When those parking spaces are full, they start a line; when they reach 72 in the line, they turn people away. No matter how far you drove…….they turn you away. Arrive very early if you plan on getting in. I guess you know…………
I did not get in. My mood was not dampened, it was not on my list this trip, so I turned around and headed for the wineries!
Driftwood Vineyard and Winery was on top of a vista; up a road so steep and windy, I’m sure when it rains they have no visitors. But oh; the grounds and view of the vineyards is spectacular. The wine was a little pricey and only a few actually were from the Texas vineyard. Most were from their sister vineyard in California. I guess that explains the price. None the less; the view was worth the climb.
My last stop was Bella Vista Ranch. This is a working Olive grove and vineyard. Producing Olive oil and wine. Thank goodness for GPS, as this ranch was several miles down a single lane road. A 2 hour lecture, tour and tasting of olive oil and wine. It was the most informative tour I have ever taken.
The owner……………masters degree in physics and financial accounting…….decided he was tired of the corporate world and left California and in 1998 moved to Texas to become an olive farmer. You go dude!!
Olive trees are hearty, sub-tropical, stone-fruit bearing trees. Texas is ideal and not so ideal for these trees. They grow well, but the sudden change in Texas weather can be detrimental to a harvest and can destroy a grove. The ranch’s first harvest was in 2003 and it’s been operating and growing on “a wing and a scotch” ever since. It is the first olive ranch in Texas and now one of 15 producing olives. Olives are harvested in September and they are hand picked from the trees on this ranch. If you were to eat the olives right off the tree, they pack as much heat as a jalapeño pepper; very different from what we know olives to taste like. This visit was well worth the $15 spent.
My time in Wimberley was over. It was to short as there was so much more to see.
Another time, another trip………..
My weekend ends Easter Sunday with a sunrise baptism of my son’s sweet girlfriend, Jessie, a visit with my mother and sister and an afternoon at the place I love; doing the things I love most………