A few people asked for more Texas posts and I couldn’t help but oblige! A few weekends ago, a friend and I were feeling a bit jittery in Austin so, since we’re both travelbugs, we decided on a little daytrip into Texas Hill Country. In no time, we had envisioned the perfect schedule: a day of hiking followed by a few wine tastings at the vineyards.
Texas Hill country is made up of 25 South and Central Texas counties and is only an hour away from Austin. It’s probably the only part of Texas that isn’t as flat as the prairies I left behind in Illinois. What can I say? I really hate any type of leg definition. I’m also told that this part of Texas also features an odd number of caverns, which is weird because you never associated huge caves with Texas. Huge guns? Yes.
We decided to check out Balcones Canyonlands, official title Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and hopefully there were some vineyards near Marble Falls area. Apparently, it turns out we didn’t need to worry about that because Texas Hill Country is also prime real estate for vineyards. Something about the great weather all year round allowing both residents and plants to flourish and be happy, not that I’m bragging. But this is where I’ll mention that the temperature was over 80F/27C. In February.
Nothing about the place itself was distinguishable from other parts of hilly America—as you’ll see from the photos below—but I liked Balcones because I got damn tired of hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt and welcomed a change of scenery with all my heart. More so because of how little the city I could feel; it was literally in the middle of rolling hills and cities with so few people and businesses that I was worried there wasn’t going to be a gas station when my tank got near empty. Now I call that a rural retreat. Some of these photos of the drier parts also look like we could pretend we went on a Safari somewhere and our friends wouldn’t be any wiser.
Halfway through our hike, it turned a bit supernatural and horror-movie esque. We met up with this huge… tub of red. It looked disturbingly like blood so we hurried away and pretended not to have seen that. Best case scenario, it’s extreme rusting. Worst case scenario… well, the real Texas Chainsaw Massacre did happen about an hour from Austin…
You know when I do the hand-on-the-hip pose? Every time I take a solo photo, which means every damn photo.
Ultimate safari photo! A movie poster of when a girl goes Africa for a Wild-like backpacking trip (but with more human contact and humanity life lessons) and discovers the true meaning of happiness. Ends up staying in Africa, married to some local, forever. End scene: her laughing, freeze frame. White words depicting what she’s doing today reads: After narrowly surviving a harrowing lion attack, she still lives there, hobbling on her one leg.
One thing that’s remarkable about Texas Hill Country is the Colorado River that slices through it, Brita clean and icy cold. Seriously, if it weren’t for the ripples and reflections from the sun, I wouldn’t have known there was water there at all. It reminded me of that scene from any dinosaur movie when they’re all searching desperately for water after all their normal sources evaporated from all the meteor showers (man, what were we forced to watch as kids?) and then they find this insanely delicious magical water and save their tribe. They marketed that water so well that as a kid, I wanted that water so bad; I was convinced that it tasted like cocaine, or whatever made adults happy. That’s how delicious the water looked.
As we neared the end of our hike, I came to realize that I was hiking with a little monkey. This girl could climb, weave, and bob her way through anything. And that’s just at the dance club. Badum-shhh.
After walking around a bit more, we collectively agreed that it was time for wine—we had no time to lose! Our first and, as it turned out, only vineyard stop of the day was at FlatCreek Estate, an 80-acre vineyard that produced wines like the Super Texan. As we rounded the corner onto the vineyard, we noticed that the shrubs were all naked! Apparently February wasn’t the season for grape-growing, but who would’ve know with weather like this? We were just grateful wine tasting isn’t a seasonal thing!
A sommelier (?) came over, put down a plate carrying crackers and dark Hershey kisses, and introduced the process. I barely paid her any attention because I was eyeing those Hershey kisses so fervently. But the gist was: after starting with the first one, a pinot grigio, we needed to choose which out of the two we wanted to try next—and so on down the list. The tasting would only cost $10 and at the end, we were to be gifted one of their signature wine glasses! We got to feel fancy and it was budget friendly? Jackpot! Of course, the smartest thing to do was to split up the list so we could taste all of them, but when it came to Prosecco, we both opted for that one. My favorites were:
Drusian Brut Prosecco, imported from a small winery in Italy
Port V, made on the estate
Before you take my recommendations too seriously, I should tell you that my wine-tasting buddy was much more of an expert in this topic. Instead of the two phrases that I use to describe wine, “Ooh, yeah, I like this one! It’s a red,” and “Nope, not for me, this one’s a white” she would say things like “This wine’s a bit too dry for me,” or “This one’s really crisp and sharp!” The only time I could positively identify something in the wine—leather—was because it was written on the sheet in front of me.
“Have you ever played on of those games where you try to guess which wine is which?” she asked. Well, the answer is obviously a “no” here because I’d only be able to comment on what color the wine is.
At the end of the tasting, it was very clear that this was the only vineyard we’d be able to visit today. Our heads were fuzzy, but our hearts were happy.
Afterwards, we made our way up to the restaurant part of the winery for a bit of Creme Brulee. Perhaps we did a bit of menu Googling while we were sampling the wine. Because it was so nice out, we had to sit outside—and were rewarded with a dog and a sight! The Creme Brulee was heavenly and came so neatly arranged on the plate. Sounding a bit like broken records at this point, we said, “This day was SO perfect!!” between each satisfyingly crunchy bite.
We then walked off the remaining buzz and the Creme Brulee pooch by circling the estate, a bit sad that this day had to come to an end. And then we headed home, blasting songs that reminded us of happy times on the road in other countries. It was a perfect Sunday.
Have you ever been on a vineyard tour/tasting? What’s your favorite vineyard? White or red?
Welcome to this week’s Travel Tuesday linkup with A Compass Rose!
This week, I’m happy to feature Laura from Laughter is Catching and her post “Moments in Matera, Italy.” Oh my goodness, it looked like such a rustic place to stay and such a good time!
Ready to link up? Let’s get to it!
Here’s how it works:
1. Share a post about travel! From roadtrips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
3. Linkup goes live! Every Tuesday at 8 am GMT.
4. Hop around and meet new travel-loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!
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