To say I love Austin would be an understatement. The reality is I’m in LOVE with it and have been since I was a little kid. We use to get up on the weekends and drive to Austin just to go shoe shopping or to have lunch. A tradition that I proudly continue today. So when presented with the opportunity to spend 48 hours in the Hill Country area, a part of Austin I don’t frequent as much as I’d like, I jumped at the chance! The hill country area is made up of rolling and rugged hills that are in the western part of Travis County and ends southwest of the downtown area. Besides the hills, this area is full of lakes, rivers, canyons, parks and trails.
For my time in the Hill Country area, I would be staying at the new Sonesta Hotel in Bee Cave, Texas. Unlike the mammoth Sonesta in Houston or even New Orleans, this location is more of a boutique style hotel. Making it perfect for business travelers and folks like me who want to explore the hill country. Now that you have the what and the why let the trip begin…
Sonesta Bee Cave (Image by Dominique McGhee)
Since Urban Girl would not be able to join me because she was on another Urban Swank adventure, click here to see what she was doing that weekend, I invited another lifestyle blogger to join me. On our way into Austin the plan was to stop and have lunch at Truth BBQ in Brenham, Texas, but to our dismay, once we arrived they had sold out of everything! Good for them, but it basically sucked for us. Do yourself a favor if you are heading to Austin through Brenham or just find yourself in Brenham period, make a stop and grab you some cue!
Once we arrived at Sonesta Bee Cave, we were very excited to see that it was centrally located which meant easy access to most of the things we wanted to do. Additionally, it’s right next door (they are on the same property) to the Hill Country Galleria of Bee Cave and just 20 minutes from downtown Austin. The historic Texas towns of Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Johnson City and Wimberley, and the Texas Wine Country are only a scenic drive away. Did I also mention that Lake Travis is pretty much in their backyard?!?! Before heading out for the evening, we decided to drop our bags and head upstairs to the rooftop terrace bar and lounge, Meridian 98, for a few cocktails and to take in the view.
Cocktails at Meridian 98
Next, we made our way to Lake Travis because we rented a boat for the evening. Since we just wanted to relax and chill, we opted for a pontoon instead of a ski boat. This was by far one of the best ways to take in the views of the area. Our initial plans also included hanging out and visiting Hamilton Pool Preserve for a little swimming and hiking, but they now require reservations and even with a week’s notice we couldn’t get anything on the weekend. The preserve’s pool and grotto were formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. So add it to your list.
Visiting a winery and/or a distillery should be on your list if you are into the spirits since there are so many in the area. We headed to Dripping Springs Vodka & Gin Distillery and Solaro Estate Austin to sip some Texas wine and enjoy Texas vodka.
Vodka & Gin tasting at Dripping Springs Vodka Distillery
For lunch, we made our way into the city for some grub at the famous Noble Sandwich Co. Then on Sunday we had brunch at Jacoby’s. The impressive thing about Austin is there are a ton of great restaurants, and many are not too far from the Hill Country area. Here are a few others that you should consider adding to your list: Jack Allen’s Kitchen and Lucy’s Fried Chicken- On The Lake.
PBLT from Noble Sandwich Co.
Each morning we got our day started by taking in a hike or enjoying the stillness of the morning at one of the local parks. You can just head out the door of the hotel and start walking. If you want just to walk and look around you can stay on property and walk the Galleria area. Head across the road and that’s where you will hit a few trails that will give you a great workout and a good view. Keep going and you will stumble upon Bee Cave Central Park and Bee Cave Sculpture Park. The Bee Cave Sculpture Park weaves throughout a 7-acre natural setting showcasing a combination of permanent and rotating sculptures. And there is also a spring-fed pond on site. I found myself just sitting out there and enjoying my surroundings.
“Is 48 hours enough time to enjoy yourself in the Hill Country,” someone asked me as I was leaving Houston? My response was, “darling it is just enough time to get my adventure started – there is always next week, the week after, or the following month to continue it”!
~Felice “Swanky Girl” Sloan