Texas hill country
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  Posted March 12th, 2010 by Zdenko  in Travel | One comment

Traveling Texas, USA

In September 2007 we spent delightful week in Texas. Vera and I used my business trip to San Antonio, to travel around Texas. We managed to travel around for few days (on the weekend) with rented car and went to visit places like Austin, Corpus Christi, Fredericksburg and other smaller places on our way. It was a week well spent!!

Austin 

To get to Austin from San Antonio we used a busy I-35 highway. The cities are about 1 hour drive apart so you can easily day trip to Austin from San Antonio. There’s San Marcos and New Braunfels towns in between the two. There’s a huge outlet mall we drove by on the highway. There’s a well known restaurant called the Gristmill as well as the Greune Dancehall that’s one of the oldest in Texas just off the path between the two cities.

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas. This is a beautiful city with hills, valleys and lakes running through the city. Austin has a current population of over 700,000 and over 1,000,000 in the metropolitan area. The town is home of Lance Armstrong.

I can not believe that the Congress Street Bridge bats are not the number one attraction in “what to see” in Austin. People come from all over the country to see these bats. Once they started coming out from under the bridge, the exodus went on, and on, and on….with plumes of bats for as far as the eye could see. And still more to come! What a beautiful experience.

Austin is a popular vacation spot with 2 lakes within the city limits and 5 more lakes to the northwest of Austin.  These lakes make up the Highland Lakes chain of lakes and are very popular for water activities such as boating, swimming, water skiing, etc.  The mild winter climate attracts many visitors from the northern states in the winter. We’ve seen many beautiful properties in the Austin suburbs.

Texas Capitol Building in Austin

A sunny climate and idyllic setting on the edge of the beautiful Texas Hill Country make Austin a bonanza for outdoor activities. If you’re a golfer, you can choose from multiple golf courses in the area, including the prestigious Barton Creek and River Place Country Clubs. Zilker Park, located in the heart of Austin, offers more than 400 acres for activities including soccer, volleyball, summer theater and miles of hiking and biking trails. Gardeners delight in Austin’s year-round growing season, and no visit to Austin is complete without a trip to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. A quick hike up Mount Bonnell rewards the climber with spectacular hilltop views of the city and area lakes.

On our way back to San Antonio we stopped at small town San Marcos.

San Marcos, Canyon Lake

San Marcos is located on the edge of the Hill Country half way between San Antonio and Austin. It was once the temporary site of two Spanish missions which were relocated from East Texas because of French and Indian difficulties. The town was laid out for Anglo-American settlers in 1851 along the clear, cold San Marcos River which rises from mammoth springs within town; noted for profusion of both plant and animal aquatic life, the river is ranked among the world’s most fertile.

White-tailed deer are numerous in the Hill Country. Hunters also take dove, quail squirrel, fox and an occasional bobcat. Fishing is enjoyed year round in the San Marcos and nearby Blanco Rivers. This is the perfect place to enjoy recreational opportunities throughout the year.

San Marcos is the county seat of Hays County, named after the famed Texas Ranger, Jack Hays. The city is the home of San Marcos Baptist Academy; and the alma mater of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Southwest Texas State University whose campus commands an impressive view of the city.

Belvin Street Historic District in San Marcos has superb examples of 19th Century homes along streets shaded by huge live oaks. This district is well worth a stroll (only a few blocks) in southwest San Marcos. All are private residences not open to the public except during Tour of Distinction during the first weekend in May.

The San Marcos River Walkway unites three city parks along the picturesque river, accented by lush landscaping. Access from Jan Veramendi Plaza, C.M. Allen Pkway. at Hopkins St. A scenic drive on FM 12 northwest of the junction with RM 32, the winding ridge route called “Devil’s Backbone,” offers exceptional views of Hill Country scenery.

Since we wanted to see famous Texas ranches, from San Marcos we took a detour on local Ranch road FM-12 and FM-32 thru the hill country. This was very scenic drive thru the hills of Texas and we’ve seen many, many ranches. We drove all the way to Canyon Lake and Canyon City where we got lost. Trying to get back to San Antonio, we stumbled to next tourist attraction in the area: Texas caverns. 

Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns is located 30 minutes north of downtown San Antonio, eight miles west of I-35 at exit #175, Natural Bridge Caverns Road FM-3009.

This cavern is so much more than one of the most treasured natural attractions Texas has to offer. This beautiful and historical cavern system offers an experience that is high energy, educational, fun and family oriented.

In March of 1960, four college students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, obtained permission to explore the area that is now Natural Bridge Caverns. The students were convinced that large underground passages existed under the amazing 60-foot limestone bridge. On their fourth expedition, Orion felt a cool draft from a rubble-filled crawlway. Such air currents often indicate the presence of additional rooms or passages.

Cavern bridge is actually entrance to the underground cavern.

In the cavern.

The explorers made their way carefully climbing and crawling through two miles of vast cavern passage. After making this amazing discovery, they returned to the surface to tell the landowners. The discoverers knew immediately what an astonishing find they had made and the land owners decided to develop the first 1/2 mile, the most spectacular part of the caverns, for the enjoyment of guests from around the world. That first 1/2 mile is now the Discovery Tour. Natural Bridge Caverns’ Discovery Tour was developed with two main goals in mind: preservation of the cavern environment and comfort of its guests. The result is one of the world’s premier show caverns.

Pan for precious stones, take the ultimate leap of faith from the Watchtower, go caving on one of our adventure tours or simply experience nature on the original Discovery Tour.

By Zdenko Kahlina

 

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One comment to “Texas hill country”

  1. Comment by Shannon C.:

    I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. I also love travelling, just like you. I’ve been in Texas, but only in Huston… big city. Austin appears to be nice city, but I don’t like because Lance Armstrong lives there, and I don’t like cheaters!!!

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