For the last year, my husband, parents and I had been talking about taking an international trip this summer. Unfortunately, airfares were just too high to justify the trip.
This change in plans left a huge hole in our summer calendar. Not wanting to spend too much money, take too much time off work or spend too much time in the car, we opted for a long weekend in the Hill Country.
We focused on the area around Hunt, Texas. I have fond memories of trips we took as a family to the YO Ranch to see exotic wildlife.
Some family friends recommended the Roddy Tree Ranch, so we made reservations there. In addition to river access, the property has two swimming pools, playgrounds, a treehouse, a stable with animals you can pet and feed, a fishing pond, game room, a pavilion with live music and space for games such as volleyball, horseshoes and badminton. Cabins sleep from two to ten people, and wifi is available.
On the way to Roddy Tree, we stopped in Fredericksburg for peaches at Vogel’s and lunch. The drive was really pretty — lots of wildflowers and green on the roadside, thanks to higher-than-normal levels of rainfall. We noticed the buffalo which live at the LBJ State Park & Historic Site and camels (!?) at one farm close to Stonewall. The drive from Austin to Hunt is only two hours, and thankfully it went by quickly!
We really liked our cabin at Roddy Tree. My four year old son loved the pools, animals, plum trees next to our cabin and the river. I liked how many activities were available at the Ranch, how nice the cabins were (not really roughing it) and how beautiful the surroundings were. The office had an amazing selection of DVDs you could borrow for free (watched 500 Days of Summer again — great flick!) Somehow, it seemed so much cooler there than here in Austin and the area was surprisingly free of mosquitoes. Score!
Although we did have a great time, there were a few things that I wasn’t thrilled about. First, I hadn’t really considered how my son would do in the river. In terms of swimming, he is still a beginner, and refuses to go in a canoe or inner tube (both of which you can borrow at the Ranch). The water is simply too deep for wading, and where you can stand, it’s much easier if you have water/river shoes since you can’t see the bottom. So we spent more time in the pool than I would have liked. When my son is a better swimmer, this won’t be an issue.
Since the cabins were so nice, it was surprising that there was no cable (something I hadn’t thought about, since we were there during the World Cup!) and that WiFi was $5/day and was not reliable.
My last issue was that the live music from the pavilion was pretty loud and went late into the night. I was pretty worn out by the end of the day and had to turn on my fan to drown out the music so I could get to sleep. Luckily, it never woke my son.
In addition to hanging out at the Ranch, we found a more shallow river entry close to the Waltonia lodges. We went to the Hunt Store for lunch one day and met friends in Boerne at the Dodging Duck another day.
I do feel like we really just scratched the surface on this trip. I know as my son gets older, there will be lots more he can enjoy at a place like Roddy Tree and other things we’ll be able to do in the Hill Country.
Does your family go to the Hill Country? What are your favorite places to stay, and what do you like to do?
Written by: Nicole Basham