Bluebonnet Fields Forever
Mar 07, 2017 11:27AM
● By Ashley Pape
Before long, bluebonnets will embellish our medians and embankments, beckoning Texans and tourists to pull over for children’s portraits and impromptu selfies. But to truly experience our celebrated wildflowers—Indian paintbrushes, bluebells and primrose, to name a few— immerse yourself in Hill Country.
SLOW DOWN AND RELAX
Whether you camp in a motor home or pitch a tent, find respite at a resort or lounge at a lodge, accommodations in Hill Country range from being one with nature to all-inclusive stays.
Burnet, Texas, is home of Canyon of the Eagles, a resort that offers campsites and cabins with views of Lake Buchanan. Nestled in a 940-acre park, the resort features over 60 guest rooms in 16 separate buildings. Expect to reconnect with nature and disconnect with technology during your stay. Wi-Fi is spotty and cabins do not have televisions, which leaves plenty of time to hike, fish, swim or bike and be on the lookout for rabbit, deer, bobcat, feral pig or armadillo.
Featured on-site programs include guided hikes, campfire conversations, owl prowl, live music, storytelling, movies under the stars and stargazing at the celebrated observatory. The resort also features a gift shop, Eagles Nest Lounge with a full-service bar and covered front porch plus the award-winning Overlook Restaurant. Enjoy signature dishes and housemade desserts or request a box lunch or picnic for meals to-go. CanyonOfTheEagles.com
Also on Lake Buchanan you’ll find Painted Sky Inn and Thunderbird Lodge and Event Center. Both are situated on the water’s edge and offer a kickback vibe for those in the mood to relax and unwind—without giving up the finer things in life like running water and electricity. Other area accommodations include B&Bs, vacation homes and more camping. HighlandLakes.com
ABOUT THOSE WILDFLOWERS
The best blooms can be found from now until early May and right in the middle of the madness lies The Bluebonnet Festival, April 7-9, in downtown Burnet. The self-proclaimed Most Exciting Small Town Festival in Texas has been going strong for 34 years. Expect to enjoy your typical small-town celebrations with local bands, a parade, plenty of food vendors, a carnival, car show and just a bit of off-beat fun. Ever watch wiener dogs or rubber duckies race? How about an old west shootout? You’ll see all this and more at The Bluebonnet Festival.
Head to the Burnet Public Library to grab a map to the most flower-covered roadsides for viewing and picture taking. Local master naturalists and native plant personnel from the Wildflower Society will answer questions relating to local flowers over the weekend.BluebonnetFestival.org
BEYOND THE BLOOMS
We love bluebonnets as much as the next Texan but know that life is more than a photo op, so make sure you take time to explore the area’s wineries and outdoor adventures.
Tour and taste at Flat Creek Vineyard, an 80-acre estate that offers tastings from an extensive portfolio of Texas-grown grapes. Pair your favorite vino with a fabulous view while the wine divas take you through a journey of tastes. Other vineyards worth a stop include Perissos Vineyard and Winery, with handcrafted wines that express the unique Texas terroir, and Torr Na Lochs Vineyard and Winery. Translated from Gaelic, Torr Na Lochs means “hill over lake,” a nod to the efforts made to represent and protect the local landscape. The owners work to be good stewards of the water supply by using soil moisture sensors to prevent overwatering as well as a rainwater collection system affixed to the winery roof.
At Longhorn Cavern State Park, take a guided walking tour of the famed elaborate network of caverns. One of Texas’ river-formed wonders, Longhorn Cavern features incredible sites such as Crystal City (calcite crystals formed by standing pools of calcium-rich waters), natural-formed figures and a rich history that includes bootlegging and bad guys.
Over at Ink’s Lake, spend the day fishing or paddling the clear waters in a rented canoe or kayak—or bring your own vessel. If mountain biking or SCUBA diving is what you crave, Reveille Peak Ranch offers an experience like none other. You’ll find clear waters and some of the best trails in Texas at this 1,400-acre outdoor event and adventure center.
REFRESH AND RELAX
When all the touring, paddling and trail riding is behind you, refueling your body is foremost. Trailblazer Grille in downtown Burnet features filling food and live music. In nearby Marble Falls, River City Grille is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. Expect hearty fare such as chicken fried steaks and a signature prime rib. For lighter lunches, Noon Spoon Café serves up incredible sandwiches, salads and desserts, while Unshakable Grounds Coffee Shop is just the ticket for a caffeine boost.