Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Some Beautiful Hill Country Drives

A lot of people think strictly of Fredericksburg and that area when they think of the Hill Country. And I love that area. But some of the most scenic areas of the Hill Country are located just south of Interstate 10. While staying at Lost Maples, we got out one day and made a loop along some of the prettier roads.

From Lost Maples, we took highway 187 south through Vanderpool to Utopia. The highway crisscrosses the Sabinal River numerous times, and most crossings are rather scenic. There isn’t much in Vanderpool, just a post office, fire department, and a few houses. There is a winery just south of Lost Maples, and there is even a bike museum in the area.

Utopia is a small community, but certainly larger than Vanderpool. It has a school and numerous businesses, including the Lost MaplesCaf√©, which I’ve heard about a few times. One of these days, perhaps we can stop in for a bite. Utopia is a nice little town, but not what I would call scenic or quaint.

From Utopia, we headed east to Bandera on Highway 470. The east-west roads in this area are usually some of the more scenic highways, as they crest upon dividing ridges and offer some of the best views in the Hill Country.

We made a pass through Bandera, just to see how it has changed since our last visit there about a year and a half ago. We’ve visited Bandera numerous times over the years, and I’m amazed with its steady growth. One of these days, I hope to visit the Frontier Times Museum located there.

From Bandera, we took Texas 16 northwest to Medina, the "Apple Capital of Texas." The highway follows the cypress-lined Medina River to the small community. At Medina, we stopped for lunch at the Patio Cafe in Love Creek Orchards. There are actually 4 or 5 interesting looking places to eat in Medina, but I thought I had read a review of this place recently so we decided to try it. I’ll review our meal in another entry soon, along with other places we ate during our trip.

From Medina, we headed back to Lost Maples, taking Highway 337 which follows the Medina River to its headwaters. There are 2 or 3 scenic ranches along this stretch, and once again, there are good views from the crest of the ridge.

When we left Lost Maples to go to Kerrville for the second leg of our trip, we took Highway 187 north about 10 miles, then followed Highway 39 east all the way to Kerrville. About 7 or so miles up Highway 39, the road begins following the South Fork of the Guadalupe River, often crisscrossing it on low water crossings. As you near Hunt, resorts and camps begin to appear, and there are some really pretty places. People flock to this area, mostly to take advantage of the river, but the hills and trees are beautiful as well. There are numerous opportunities for outdoor activities.

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