For some reason I am obsessing about the holidays already. I have always wanted to have a gorgeous retreat in the Texas Hill Country where we would all gather for the perfect Norman Rockwell-esque holiday, Texas style, of course — for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Here is what I envision: arrive a day or two before Thanksgiving, get the fixings, take a hike, go horseback riding, start a little dinner prep. On Thanksgiving you send the boys off to golf while the girls cook. Maybe we hop in the pool or hot tub after a day of chopping before dinner. Next day, all the cooks get a massage at the spa, the guys can golf again or skeet shoot. At some point we all climb Enchanted Rock for a 2.5 mile hike to work off the pecan pie and stuffing.
Well, Boot Ranch in Fredericksburg is my newest obsession: glorious spreads from multiple acre ranches to shared ownership Sunday Houses. You can get in for as little as $300,000 for one of the Sunday Houses, and they are exquisite: huge kitchens with granite counters, Viking appliances and plenty of table space for all your cooking and serving. Each room is separate, so you have to walk outside to get there, but the main gathering area has a great room, huge kitchen and laundry. It’s the kind of place where you will be eating Thanksgiving dinner with the deer right outside your window! I actually think the room separation increases privacy and relaxation. There are Overlook Cabins, situated on approximately one-half acre sites with these price points starting at $239,000 to $449,000 including club membership, for dirt. Homes ranging from 1,800 to 4,000 square feet are going up as I write this, many pre-sold. Pricing for the lot and completed cabin ranges from $700,000 to $1.4 million. Then there are the big time homesteads, which range in price from $300,000 to $2.5 million for as little as 2 acres up to a whopping 18 acres, including club membership. These are 5500 to 12,000 square foot homes that take your breath away. Many of these are permanent resident homes.
We visited Boot Ranch recently and I fell in love. Here is the whole story on SecondShelters.com. There is absolutely everything to do there, and all the comforts we are used to in our upscale homes, but with nature surrounding. Let’s face it: this girl doesn’t camp, not without a hell of a lot of granite around her. In fact, at Boot Ranch, or nearby, there is 640 acres of granite! Well, the guest lodges not only had granite and jetted tubs, they had kitchenettes with granite and microwave and iceboxes, private patios, office areas, and were steps away from a 55,000 square foot clubhouse that is a cross between Vaquero and the Dallas Country Club. Maybe it’s because the clubhouse was designed by Mike Marsh, who recently completed the rock-laden remodeling of the Dallas Country Club. He maximized terrain and view, and the structure is built like an ancient fortress with great outdoor terraces for dining, fire-watching.
Then, too, there is the brand new lagoon-style infinity edge swimming pool that must be 100 feet long. It’s a serpentine flow and a beach-type walk in, the latest in pool styles. In Hawaii, some of these pools actually have sand bottoms! There is a spa and a food/bar pavillon, two elegant dressing rooms and baths, and a tennis court under construction. This is what you do while hubby and the boys golf, and then they join you for a drink. Dinner is available at the Clubhouse, which is more like a country club than a ranch, but still doesn’t feel stuffy. Get bored, there’s Fredericksburg which has evolved from a quaint German town known for it’s peach ice cream and German food — I think everyone in Texas has eaten at Auslander at some point, or the Altdorf Biergarten. But try Vaudeville on Main, and you will find yourself as happy here as you are at Fearings or the Mansion. (Maybe more!) The gourmet food/retail experience was enchanting. You eat in an outside courtyard garden warmed by a massive fireplace, with the showroom and gallery of fine home furnishings, decor accessories and contemporary giftware is next door and wanderable. There are lunch specials, home-made, freshly baked pastries and breads, specialty meats and cheeses as well as an extensive and sophisticated wine and beer menu. The Supper Club at V” offers a three course menu with wine pairings – excellent wine pairings –by reservation on Monday nights only. I have never enjoyed such wonderful Butternut Bisque. There is also an oyster bar, seafood tower, martini cart and lattes. All of this sophistication in the heart of Fredericksburg. And you can wear your boots! Casual and easy, that’s Boot Ranch. Then there’s Enchanted Rock, about 15 miles north of Boot Ranch on Milam or Farm to Market Road 965. This road gets you to Llano. This is the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area that is an easy hike on this beautiful enormous pink granite pluton rock formation located in the Llano Uplift. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area spans 640 acres and rises approximately 425 feet above the surrounding terrain to an elevation of about 1,825 feet above sea level. It is the largest such pink granite batholith in the United States, a batholith being an underground rock formation uncovered by erosion. Enchanted Rock is loaded with history of Indian battles and settler tales. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
Anyhow, it’s starting to look like winter out there, and Thanksgiving is next week. Check out Boot Ranch and this video and tell me if the guy talking doesn’t sound like George W. Bush?