Sage Hill Inn Cactus

3 Days in the Texas Hill Country

The Perfect Escape 

The Texas Hill Country is like holy ground for Texans who need an escape from their fast-paced lives.

From the moment you leave the concrete jungles of Houston, Dallas or Austin and drive to the Texas Hill Country, your state of mind changes. You begin to relax and breathe. Everything slows down once you turn onto a two lane, scenic country road. The transition happens ever so slightly that you won’t even notice it. A Texas drawl sneaks into your speech, a craving for smoked meats tugs at your belly, and a Country tune playing on the radio instantly connects you to the sweet spot of Texas. The place we like to call home.

Texans love the Hill Country because it doesn’t require any fuss. No long airport security lines. No need for passports or extra luggage. Just a few hours of drive time to transport you to serenity. All you really need to pack are the essentials: boots, jeans, a shirt and a hat. The Texas Hill Country can take care of the rest.

Get set, Go!

The hard part about visiting the Hill Country is deciding what to do. With so many options, three days is never enough time to experience everything. The Texas Hill Country offers wineries, barbecue joints, and dance halls. It is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream filled with dude ranches for horseback riding, state parks for camping and hiking, and designated areas for hunting. The area is surrounded by lakes and rivers which makes the Hill Country the perfect location to enjoy water sports like boating, fishing, tubing, and water skiing. You can also spend a day exploring craft shows, festivals, farmers markets, antique shops, and luxury boutiques. If sightseeing is your thing, the Texas Hill Country is home to several historical sites, museums, and art galleries.

This is one place where you will never be bored. You can choose your level of engagement from a jammed packed adventurous weekend to a relaxing spa retreat. It’s up to you how you want to vacation, but I suggest planning multiple visits to truly experience the beauty of this Texas treasure. Remember, it’s just a hop, skip, and throw down the road from the major Texas cities. So let’s get set, and go! Here is the Taste and See Life itinerary to help you plan your own Three Days in the Texas Hill Country.

Texas Hill Country

DRIVING INSTRUCTIONS FROM HOUSTON TO ROSE HILL MANOR (The Scenic Route)

There are many destinations in the Texas Hill Country area and several ways to get where you’re heading. I suggest finding a route that aligns with your time schedule and your planned activities. I also recommend researching your route to avoid any road closures and construction areas. For this reason, consider driving during daylight hours in case you need to reroute on an alternate path. Plus, you don’t want to miss the scenery! The directions for this post are sourced from Google Maps.

  • Take I-10 west to the Luling exit.
  • Go into Luling and take Highway 80 to San Marcos and follow signs to Wimberley.
  • Continue onto TX-80 and turn right onto Ranch Road 12 North.
  • Turn left onto Farm to Market 32 and drive for 23.1 miles.
  • Turn right onto US-281 North.
  • Turn left onto 4th St/Farm Road 1623 follow signs for Stonewall.
  • Turn left onto Upper Albert Road and follow entrance to Rose Hill Manor.

DRIVING INSTRUCTIONS FROM FREDERICKSBURG TO SAGE HILL INN

  • Follow US-290 E and W Hwy 290 to Ranch Rd 12 S/Loop 64 in Dripping Springs for 30.6 miles.
  • Turn left at the 1st cross street onto US-290 E/E Main St for 5.5 miles
  • Continue onto W Hwy 290 for 18.4 miles
  • Turn right onto Ranch Road 12 S/Loop 64 for 1.7 miles
  • Turn left onto Ranch to Market Road 150 for 12.2 miles
  • Turn left to stay on Ranch to Market Road 150 for 3 miles

3 Days in the Texas Hill Country- Taste & See Life Itinerary

EAT. SEE. DO. {The Winter Edition}
DAY 1

Driving through the Texas Hill Country is part of the experience. With your Texas Hill Country Trail Region map on hand and Google Maps navigating, you begin your adventure on the open road. You spend an hour exploring and stop at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It’s early December and the gardens are flowerless, but you continue your hike through the peaceful trails and mediate life. A swing strung from an oak tree draws you in and you succumb to your childlike instincts and swing. Next, you return to the education hall to learn about the LBJ Wildflower Center’s 288 acres of land that preserve the Texas native plants, trees, and wildlife.

Kent Black's Barbecue

Hunger pangs awaken your belly, and you get a hankering for smoked meats. There are a number of places to choose from, but you set your navigation app for Kent Black’s Barbecue in San Marcos because it’s on the way to your bed and breakfast. You arrive after peak hours and settle in with a sampler’s feast consisting of a tasting of beef rib, two slices of brisket, a link of jalapeño sausage, and a pork rib. You compliment your tray of meat with a side of mac and cheese, coleslaw, bread, and a glass of sweet tea.

You return to your car, eyes heavy and glazed from an onset of a food coma. You drive with the windows down to stay alert by the cold air. The sun is hidden by clouds. It feels late in the day. The weather is perfect for lounging.

Rose Hill Manor Main House

As you pull up to Rose Hill Manor, you see a beautiful plantation home surrounded by acres of open land. One of the flags on the front porch displays, “Liberty or Death” and you know this is your kind of place. The halls are decked for the holidays adorned with lights, Christmas trees, and wreaths. The innkeeper greets you and escorts you to your luxurious suite called the Primrose that is just off the main house. The chill in the air mixed with the large amounts of consumed meat, encourage an afternoon nap. You snooze for 30 minutes then take a walk around the grounds to stretch your legs. You noticed a winery next door on your drive in and decide to get happy before dinner.

Pedernales Cellars Texas Dry Rose

At Pedernales Cellars Tasting Room, you sample the Texas Tempranillo, TX Hill Country Tempranillo, Viognier, Texas Dry Rose, and Texas Moscato. Last on their tasting menu is a seasonal Stonewall Glogg paired with a gingersnap cookie. It’s sweet and festive, perfect for a little holiday cheer. You want a case of it, but you buy a bottle instead.

Feeling refreshed, you retreat to Rose Hill Manor for dinner at 6:30 p.m. When you arrive, the waiter sits you at your candlelit table set with fine European linens. The 3-course chef prepared meal starts with green salad with fig vinaigrette. It’s light and flavorful, exactly what your body needs this time of day. Next, a beautifully plated grilled pork chop with a peach pecan sauce and potatoes is added to your day’s meat consumption. It’s delicious, you can’t stop now. What’s one more bite? You’ve been informed by Patti Vanderlyn, the owner of Rose Hill Manor, that she works with a chocolate company in Houston. So you can’t decline the chocolate espresso pot de crème. It’s gourmet chocolate! Besides, you are on vacation and you can work off your indulgences in the morning.

Rose Hill Manor Primrose Suite King Bed

As you step outside, you take a glance at the open sky and thank God for a wonderful day. You end your evening relaxing in your suite and you finally find yourself dozing away in the comfort of your luxurious king-sized bed.


DAY 2

You wake up refreshed and eager to start the day with a brisk walk around the Rose Hill Manor grounds before breakfast. Remember all that meat you ate yesterday? On your way back to your suite, you pay a visit to Peanut, the miniature horse, and the two residential llamas. You turn to the main house and notice the kitchen activity through the glass windows which reminds you it’s breakfast time. You run back to your room to clean up and join the other guests for breakfast in the main dining room.

Rose Hill Manor Breakfast

The combination of exercise and fresh air, spark your appetite and you feast on French toast with maple syrup, a sausage link, a side of fresh fruit, and homemade apple crumble coffee cake. Breakfast finished, you socialize with the other guests for a bit and snag a cookie from the refreshments bar on your way out.

You pack your bags and head for Fredericksburg to do some window shopping. With over 150 shops featuring upscale contemporary home décor, local artisan creations, and antiques, you manage to complete most of your Christmas shopping on one trip. You drop your bags off at your car and scope out a place for lunch. It’s only fitting to eat German food while you are in a Fredericksburg. You decide on the Old German Bakery & Restaurant on W. Main Street and order their famous bratwurst with sauerkraut and fried potatoes.

Driftwood Texaco Building

There is no rush, but you want to arrive early for your 3 p.m. check-in at the Sage Hill Inn in Kyle, Texas. The scenery is irresistible. You can’t help yourself from stopping along the way to take photographs of the Texas landscape and vintage buildings.

When you arrive, you check-in at Sage Hill Inn and refuel with their homemade cookies and iced tea. The day is clear and perfect for exploring the lodging amenities of your new surroundings. You grab a walking stick and bottle of water from the trail head and begin your trek to Onion Creek. The 2 plus mile hike extends along the creek, into the woods, and through some open pasture. It’s almost dusk so you head back to the inn to watch the sunset from your balcony rocking chair while you enjoy a refreshing beverage. Tired from your day’s activities, you relax in your room by the fire before dinner.

Sage Hill Inn Porch View

Dinner tonight is at 6:30 p.m. at the Sage Hill Inn. It’s a 3-course meal featuring local sustainable products and produce from the gardens. You arrive on time since it’s been a few hours since your last feeding and you are hungry. Seated at your table, you order a glass of wine and dig into the freshly baked rosemary bread served with sweet cream butter. You warm up with a hot cup of vegetable soup with roasted pork and wild rice. The perfect starter for a chilly December evening. You socialize with your table mates until your main entrée arrives. It’s a Czech feast just like you remember from your visit to Prague: a char-grilled pork loin, walnut basmati rice, kale cream, and sweet and sour cabbage.  You know you should say no to dessert, but you polish off the cinnamon spiced fritters with banana foster nearly licking the plate clean.

Pork Loin with Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Full from dinner, you bundle up and waddle to the outdoor fire pit and lounge for a bit.  It’s a clear night and you can see the stars shining brightly. With a few deep breaths of fresh air, you release your cares into the night sky. At that moment, Google Maps’ navigation voice pops into your head saying, “You have arrived!”

You retire to your room, and end the evening with a hot soak in your in-room whirlpool tub.


DAY 3

Sage Hill Inn Chef

It’s your final day. You decide to sleep in and enjoy every minute in your luxurious king-sized bed. Activity on the property, gets you out of bed. You make a shot of espresso from the in-room Nespresso maker and get dressed for breakfast. You take a detour through the gardens for your morning mediation and catch a chef gleaning herbs from the gardens. Before heading to the dining room, you take a peek at the Garden Spa and inquire about services.

As the chef prepares your made-to-order breakfast, you nibble on fresh fruits and homemade muffins from the continental breakfast nook. Your waiter delivers a hot plate of French toast with maple syrup and handmade sausage patties and scrambled eggs. You think to yourself, I’ve died and gone to Heaven! You pair your delights with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup coffee. You take one last bite and promise to start training for a marathon tomorrow.

Sage Hill Inn Main House

Technically you know you should stay one more night, but you have work to do. So you pack-up and check-out. The innkeeper, an enabler, gives you a zip lock bag to take homemade cookies for the road. You plan to give them to a friend but end up eating them before you get home.

On your way home, you make one last stop in Bastrop. And place an order to-go for Southside Market & Barbecue jalapeño cheese sausage. You contemplate ordering a pound of brisket too, but remember all the meat you ate over the last three days in the Texas Hill Country. You pass and save the thought for your next visit.

 Rose Hill Manor|A Select Registry Inn

2614 Upper Albert Road
Stonewall, Texas 78671
830-644-2247
877-RoseHill
www.rose-hill.com

Rose Hill Manor is more than a traditional bed and breakfast, it’s a sanctuary of solitude. Remote, yet 15 miles from Fredericksburg and surrounded by wineries, museums, and shopping. It’s a retreat for couples wanting a romantic getaway, an elegant cornerstone for mother-daughter trips, and a safe haven for anyone seeking a bit of peace and quiet.

When you check-in to Rose Hill Manor, you seem to check-out of the grind. It’s the simplicity of life that makes this place so special. And it’s easy to see why guests return here year after year. They restore harmony by strolling the grounds or reading books on the porch or riding bikes on country roads. No work is required, except to work up an appetite. You will want to come hungry too! Rose Hill Manor chefs prepare each meal from scratch in their state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen and use locally sourced foods.

While Rose Hill Manor’s tranquil atmosphere is a key highlight, it is their understated elegance that caught my attention. The high quality of standards that combine luxury, comfort, and relaxation. Their well-appointed, English Country cottages feature king-sized beds, sun rooms, fine linens, handicap accessible bathrooms, and a coffee bar with a mini refrigerator. I stayed one night in Rose Hill Manor’s Primrose cottage and fell in love with the panoramic views from the sun room. It’s simply stunning.

This really is Southern living at it’s best. I can’t wait to visit Rose Hill Manor to enjoy this Texas gem again!

 


 Sage Hill Inn|A Select Registry Inn

4444 W FM 150
Kyle, Texas 78640
512-268-1617
800-579-7686
www.sagehill.com

Sage Hill Inn is like a vacation for the soul. A compound of simple pleasures, good food, and modern luxury. It’s perfectly located– slightly off the beaten path, yet within close proximity to attractions, towns, and wineries.

The 16-room boutique inn offers several mind and body restoring amenities:

  • A garden spa
  • An outdoor pool and hot tub
  • An outdoor fire pit with lounge seating
  • A horse shoes and bocce ball area
  • Hiking trails
  • A library and game room
  • Flower and vegetable gardens
  • Hammocks
  • Balcony seating
  • Refreshments
  • In-room fire places
  • Stocked mini-refrigerators with complimentary beverages
  • Free wi-fi

The lists goes on and on. At Sage Hill Inn, you can have it all: the luxury of a spa resort and the intimacy of a bed and breakfast. But what makes this place so special is their attention to details. Everything is first-class. Service. Accommodations. Cuisine.

I fell in love with the gardens, the well-marked trails, and the restaurant. The staff is attentive and highly skilled. The food is unforgettable. Breakfast and dinner are chef prepared using the highest quality of locally sourced products to ensure an incredible farm-to-table dining experience. Sage Hill Inn grows most of their vegetables. And, they plan to implement a chicken coop, a compost bin, and an expansion of the gardens in the near future.

From couples’ getaways to girls’ weekends and corporate retreats to weddings, the Sage Hill Inn is the perfect environment to create memories. Book for a night or make reservations for the Garden Spa or the Restaurant at Sage Hill, but make sure you experience a taste of what Sage Hill Inn has to offer.

I can’t wait to go back!

The Texas Hill Country is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s beautiful and so relaxing. I consider this the soul of Texas. The time to visit is during bluebonnet season between late March to mid-April. Each Hill Country town offers a unique experience. Try to visit them during a festival or a special event. If you are not from Texas or can’t tolerate high temperatures, I suggest avoiding a trip during the summer months. However, the 4th of July weekend is pretty darn fun.

Here a few tips for the road:

  • Mind the speed limits.
  • Respect the right of way and passing of cars.
  • Watch for cyclists and motorcycles on the roads.
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife crossing the road, especially deer.
  • Make sure your spare tire is in good shape.
  • Take a cooler with ice and water with you.
  • Don’t drink alcohol and drive.

Most importantly have fun!

txhillcountrytrail.com – Offers detailed information for the Texas Hill Country Trail Region and events by city.

Texas Hill Country– The official Texas Hill Country website. Learn about upcoming events, activities, and more.

www.visitfredericksburgtx.com – Learn the in’s and out’s of what to do, see, and stay in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Travel Texas–  The official site for Texas travel planning.

Select Registry–  An association of luxury bed and breakfasts, inns, and small hotels that offer exceptional accommodations and unforgettable experiences.

Texas Pit Quest– Everything about Texas BBQ is found here. My friend Scott Sandlin is an expert in smoked meats and provides all the details where to eat on his blog. He gave me the BBQ places to visit for my post and he was spot on!

J.C. Reid– Houston Chronicle Barbecue columnist reporting on the in’s and out’s of everything smoked, grilled, and fired up! He’s a talented writer with great insight.

The Best of Texas Barbecue– The blog to plan your BBQ crawl.

When you leave the Texas Hill Country, it’s never a goodbye. It’s a “I’ll see you next time!”Because you know, you will be back soon for rest and relaxation. In the heart of Texans, or at least for me, the Hill Country is my home away from home. I’m blessed to have friends and family who live in the area that invite me frequently for visits. But, now that I’m aware of Rose Hill Manor and Sage Hill Inn, I know exactly where to stay to getaway on my own. So gas up the car, and plan your own taste and see life adventure! I hope you love the Texas Hill Country as much as I do.

Thank you Rose Hill Manor, Sage Hill Inn, and Select Registry for providing the luxurious suites and meals for my three days in the Texas Hill Country.

Michelle Carr

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