TRAVEL TEXAS (Christmas Edition: Exploring the Hill Country)

I never posted about our 2022 trip because it was a bust.  After that mishap, I decide 2023 would be the year we’d travel a little outside of the state, and I’d climb to the highest peak in Texas before I turned 50.  And even though I had the best laid plans, and the airbnb was booked, it became clear in November that I couldn’t actually afford the trip.  So I cancelled.

But then a friend surprised me!  On Tuesday or Wednesday she gifted me a 2-night stay at their family’s timeshare in Marble Falls!  Who does that?!

So I had a few days to plan!

I took a look at the map, checked the screenshots on my phone, and decided on the hiking and sightseeing we’d be doing.


What we packed: lots of layers, hiking boots, 2 gallons of drinking water, thermoses, baked potato bar leftovers from Christmas Day, plenty of sandwich fixings and breakfast burgers, camera.

Where we stayed: WorldMark Marble Falls.  Which I’m positive is a beautiful property.  But we were barely there.  I do know that our bedrooms and bathrooms were very nice.  The living room was comfy.  I was thrilled with the full kitchen and dining room.  And the steep hill provided gorgeous views of the sunset from lots of the balconies on the property.

What we did:


We couldn’t check into the resort until 4:00, so we slept late and took our time.
Our only stop was Johnson City.  We walked around the downtown for a little bit.  Found a flock of flamingos in front of Johnson City Coffee Company!  Then enjoyed their annual lights display at Pedernales Electric Co-op.  Totally worth doing this with your family.  Once.  Or twice, like us.



We drove straight to Hamilton Pool.  We first hiked down to the pool area.  Of course, I knew we couldn’t swim.  But I was really disappointed that you can’t hike around it AT ALL.  Due to random falling rocks from the grotto, everything’s off limits except for the super small beach area.
So we took the trail to the Pedernales River.  I explored first, and got us out onto some big rocks out in the middle of the river.  Under a beautiful blue, cloudless sky, Evan and I sunbathed just like turtles.  😆
Our next stop was lunch at Chipotle.  (I had never eaten there before a roadtrip in October.  And now I’m obsessed.)
Then we drove into Austin, to walk the boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake.  I’ve heard Boerne’s new boardwalk planned for River Road Park will look somewhat like this.  So I couldn’t wait to see.  I was impressed.  And there were lots of bikers, joggers, and walkers all along the shoreline.
Next, I turned to a screenshot I had saved of a photo op overlooking a bridge outside of Austin.  So we found it!  And took pics up on the hill over the Pennybacker Bridge.
I wish we had gotten amazing pics over the bridge at sunset, but we were over an hour too early.  So we headed back to the resort to catch the sunset from our balcony.



Onto Burnet.  We drove straight to Inks Lake State Park.  One hiking trail took us around the water.  The other took us to the overlook.  Both hikes surprised me with a mix of West Texas-looking rocks and terrain with hill country trees and greenery.  But the overlook blew me away.  There were gorgeous rocks everywhere.  Lots large enough for sitting, lots giving shade and homes for beautiful greenery and growth.
Just a few miles down the road was a site I had saved as a screenshot.  Just the old, retired, closed State Highway 29 bridge.  But you can walk on it, high over the Colorado River.  AND!  There are two swings hanging on it, where you can sit, relax, and swing!
Our way home took us straight through Fredericksburg, so we stopped.  First we dropped by Clear River Ice Cream.  Evan’s scoops were peppermint and mint chocolate chips.  My scoops were hot cocoa and s’mores.  And that was some of the creamiest ice cream I’ve had in a while.  SO delicious!!!  And then we dropped by Grandma Daisy’s.  I’ve met this sweet shop owner a couple of times.  And our maker Art & Soul has a sticker and magnet in her shop.  So I wanted to see her store.  Little did I know that I’d spot some caps, and Evan would approve one!  So after a year of wearing the same cap every day, and wearing it in every pic, we finally have something new.  Woo hoo!

All on one tank of gas!!!  Plus reservation fee and entry fees at Hamilton Pool, lunch at Chipotle, ice cream at Clear River Ice Cream, and cap at Grandma Daisy’s.  We brought the rest of our meals.  And every other activity was free.

2 thoughts on “TRAVEL TEXAS (Christmas Edition: Exploring the Hill Country)”

  1. Awesome vacay! There are beautiful places right here in our own hill country. Love your blog and way of living life to the fullest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× 4 = sixteen