It’s January 12th, 2012, and my first thought when I woke up this morning… WOW! No more corporate holidays until the end of MAY! Room spinning. Me screaming. And that eerie background music and feeling I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Reference too old? Oh well. This inevitably led me to my next question… Ever need a vacation from your vacation?
I was off work this Holiday Season from December 24th until January 3rd and I’m exhausted. That’s a long time away from work if you live in the USA. Of course, if you live in Europe… you’re probably laughing at the absurdity of our work/life balance ratio in America. Me? I work to live. Not live to work, so I’m always feverishly trying to figure out our next travel destination. I did about 2 hours of research on Geiranger & Norway in a Nutshell last night; but, any trip to Europe isn’t going to be until at least May for us this year. Nope. I need a quick getaway. 5 days. 3 days. Heck… ONE day would be fantastic!
I started thinking back to some of my best short getaways, and it always brings me back home. Or as I like to call it… “The Staycation”. Anything within a 2 hour radius of my hometown of Austin, Texas, I consider a Staycation. So what’s my favorite Staycation? If you live in Mozambique, Thailand, or Norway, you may not have heard of a small town called Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. One of the best Bed & Breakfast communities anywhere I’ve ever been in the world. Just a 2hr drive from Austin; yet, you feel… away.
It’s difficult to fathom that I had NEVER been to Fredericksburg until I was 36 years old. That was about 6 years ago. Now… we try to go at least once per year. I can’t say exactly why we like this place so much; but, relaxation, warm hospitality, fantastic cuisine would be a good start. Did I mention relaxation? Sometimes the place you lay your head at night makes all the difference as part of your travel experience. At least it does for me.
When we went to Jasper in Alberta, Canada (2009), waking up at 6am to the silence and beauty of Lake Beauvert from the front porch of our cabin was priceless. The same can be said about walking down the steps of Villa Bled at 5:40am and feeling, smelling, hearing and seeing Sunrise on Lake Bled, Slovenia (2011). Moments you just don’t forget. At least I won’t. In fact, sometimes when I feel like taking a vacation from daily life… It takes me less than a minute to feel peace once again. I just watch this video:
Whenever we go to Fredericksburg, it’s hard to imagine staying anywhere in town besides Hoffman Haus. This elegant and sophisticated Bed & Breakfast screams comfort and “WELCOME” in so many ways. A B&B classically positioned with names like Texas Star, Calico Cottage, Bluebonnet Suite, Indian Paint Brush, and Alamo. From the unique character and decor of each room/cottage to the incredibly delicious breakfast they freshly serve in a picnic basket on your doorstep each morning, this place is a gem you will be thankful you discovered. The owner of Hoffman Haus (and now our friend) Leslie Washburn is the key ingredient for this amazing hospitality and essence of home in the Texas Hill Country.
We have stayed here for birthdays, anniversaries, with family members, and “just because” occasions. Such a fantastic place. I’m not alone either. Click here to see what others have to say on Trip Advisor – my travel bible for hotel / B&B stays: Trip Advisor Reviews of Hoffman Haus. The crazy thing is that you are so secluded from noise and traffic, that you forget you’re just a short 2 block walk away from Main Street. And it doesn’t really matter what time of year you go to Fredericksburg. The quaint and charming store fronts invite you inside to browse (or buy) their crafts and goods that you just don’t get at “big box” stores in the large cities.
If you can bear the Texas heat, or happen to arrive in the Texas Hill Country outside of Summer, it’s almost a MUST to visit Enchanted Rock State Park. I’ve hiked in Slovenia, Scotland, England, New Zealand, Canada and Austria; but, there’s something uniquely gratifying about visiting Enchanted Rock and taking a hike right here in Central Texas.
By the time you’ve finished either shopping around town, or hiking in Enchanted Rock State Park, I’m not sure what could be better than WINE. No, we’re not in Tuscany or Bordeaux; but, let me tell you… a wine tour at Becker Vineyards is one of the most gratifying ways to fulfill your day. And I don’t usually even drink wine! Located between Fredericksburg and Stonewall, Becker Vineyards remains one of my favorite places to visit in the Texas Hill Country. There’s just something about the character of a vineyard. From the drive through the grapevines to the various shades of vino, cabinets filled with wine selections, and then I’m just absolutely fascinated by the strategically stacked big oak barrels. I just like the atmosphere. At some point, I’ll make my way to Sonoma and the California Wine Country; but, for now… I’m incredibly satisfied to have the Texas Wine Country right smack dab in my backyard. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Austin. Down the road over yonder. OK… I’ll ease up on the Texas talk.
Another great reason for visiting Fredericksburg… food and live music entertainment at Hilltop Cafe on North US Hwy 87 (about 15mi outside of Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country). Or as they like to say – “Inconveniently located in the middle of nowhere…”. About 3 years ago, we took my cousins and family on their Texas Family Vacation from England to Hilltop Cafe. The eclectic Texas ambiance throughout this converted gas station made for a wonderful experience filled with great cuisine, laughs, smiles, and lasting memories. To steal (or quote) Johnny & Brenda’s words… “Most of all it’s about LOVE: love of food, music, family and friends.”
Don’t get me wrong… there are PLENTY of other things to do, people to see, places to eat/drink in Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill Country. I just prefer to blog about what I have experienced in hopes that others may explore the same path, or even better… discover new adventures and pass along these experiences and stories to others. Find your Staycation. Or tell me/us about your favorite vacation. Because if you read my mission statement…
Austin GlobeTrekker is about creating an active, open, non-judgmental and vibrant community where my friends, friends of friends, (and even cool strangers) can share TRAVEL stories, photos and experiences with one another. In the process… hopefully discover new places, cultures, talk about food and beverages (preferably beer!), and meet new friends from around the world.
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