Most Texans have been quarantined since mid-March and some folks are getting a little cabin fever. As Texas opens up, how about escaping to a Hill Country camp for a change of scenery?
There are two important things to consider when looking for a place to escape to:
1. That you can still social distance: meaning, you can cook in your own kitchen (not having to depend on restaurants or dining with others); you can be far enough away from others (i.e. a resort doesn’t work right now); you can be as remote as you want.
2. That you feel confident in the sanitizing of the property between guests.
So, in this series, we’ll bring you some locations that fit the bill for both of the above concerns and we’ll address those concerns. Our aim is to bring you a variety of choices spread around the Lone Star State.
Typically a popular Hill Country wedding venue, their current loss (of wedding business) is your gain. Normally, this enclave in the hills of “Drippin’” (as the locals say) doesn’t have any summer availability at this late date. However, they’ve had to push back some of their nuptial business to later in the year, which opens up accommodations. However, note that you’ll likely only find availability on weekdays this summer (unless you luck out on a last-minute cancellation).
Aside from four wedding venues on property (such as the Vietnamese-inspired Ian’s Chapel and the beautiful Sacred Oaks outdoor ceremony space with Texas-sized reception hall), Camp Lucy boasts a unique blend of cultures and styles that you really have to see to understand.
Whit, the owner, has ties to Vietnam and has shipped over several buildings from this Asian pearl, which lay the foundation for the cultural montage that abounds at Camp Lucy. The property has upscale “hotel room” options such as the Vista, Estate and Treetop guest rooms. However, for this series, we want to focus on Lucy’s Cottage.
Lucy’s Cottage is an adorably-decorated cottage that sleeps up to 10. The “home” is set apart from the rest of Camp Lucy so you have plenty of wide open space around the cottage and your next-door neighbors are the camp’s resident miniature donkeys and alpaca herd—who are very quiet and don’t smell!
This welcoming home-from-home has a fully appointed kitchen with dining seating for 6+, a living room with flatscreen TV and fold out sofa, and an attached air-conditioned sunroom featuring a shuffleboard deck. The first bedroom features two single beds and an ensuite bathroom while the second bedroom features a king bed with a bathroom across the hall. The third bedroom also features a king bed, plus a double bed, with an ensuite bathroom (and the stylish reading nook could even sleep a small child).
Because you have a full kitchen, you might choose to make all of your own meals. However, Camp Lucy also offers a “marketplace” menu with additional room service food options for guests. And, most importantly, their fine dining restaurant, Tillie’s, is a work of art unto itself. Because of the Vietnamese town hall wooden beams overhead, the ornate tile and wall decor, Tillie’s looks like a blend of cathedral and upscale bistro. This dining mecca features their own interpretation of classic gourmet dishes which are punctuated by the stunning surroundings.
A Tillie’s-to-go menu offers delicious choices such as shrimp hushpuppies, a cheddar and mozzarella pizza, a bacon and mushroom jam pizza and a cheeseburger and scrumptious tagliatelle pasta. You can also order from this menu poolside.
Each morning, a complimentary continental breakfast will be waiting for you at the main check-in desk. You’ll find a mix of pastries and breads and you can add yogurt parfaits, overnight oats and quinoa and chia pudding at no extra charge.
A typical nightly rate for Lucy’s Cottage is $729.
Currently, Camp Lucy offers complimentary private activities (by household) to ensure sanitation and safety. Activities include archery and hatchet throwing, animal feeding, on-property fishing (they can provide fishing poles), vineyard tours, and hiking trails (Fishing Rock, Blue Trail and Red Trail). They also offer painting tools and “meditative coloring” supplies so you can take your canvas/sheet and find an inspired place to paint or color.
The resort pool is maxed at 25% capacity, approximately 20 guests at a time, and you sign up for time blocks at the office. A swim-up bar and poolside F&B service are a welcome amenity to most guests who have been inside for months!
Feel free to roam the camp property to spot the Camp Lucy logo (which means happiness and love in Vietnamese), have a look at the reception hall which came from an Ohio Amish barn and boasts stones from the underground railroad, sit around the fire pit or on the great lawn, or go in search of the Spirit Hut.
Here’s a rundown of Camp Lucy’s comprehensive sanitation protocols:
• Increased cleaning of public areas and surfaces frequently touched by guests and team members including regular disinfection of door handles and credit card terminals.
• Taking the temperature of every staff member before they start their shift.
• The entire staff is required to wear a mask in food and beverage areas, hotel rooms, common areas and when interacting with guests.
• Housekeeping staff wear a new pair of gloves when cleaning each room.
• CDC-approved cleaning chemicals are in use in all guest rooms, common spaces and food and beverage outlets.
• Providing additional stations for hand disinfection, and increasing focus on the importance of good hand hygiene procedures for team members.
• The human resources safety team has held training sessions with staff on how to wear their masks and how to appropriately wash their hands.
• Food and beverage services have been changed, and abide by all the guidelines of Phase 1 Open Texas by Texas Governor Abbott.
• Breakfast service has changed from a buffet to a single bag per room with packaged items that guests select at check-in and pick up at the front desk at a designated time.
• Room service follows the guidelines of curbside and to go orders with contactless interactions for guests who are not comfortable dining in the restaurant.
• In Tillie’s restaurant, sanitation guidelines are being followed to ensure that each space is ready to receive clients in a safe manner.
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Cover photo courtesy Camp Lucy
Marika Flatt is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She’s not used to staying put for so long, but happily did so for two months. She’s now enjoying “getting back out there” with her family of five. You can hear her “Weekend Trip Tips” on the statewide NPR show, Texas Standard.