Tired of quarantining and ready for a change of scenery? We are! So, we’re bringing you a series of places you can escape to, while still social distancing.
Roadtripping within Texas is the name of the game in 2020.
There are 3 important things to consider when looking for a place to escape to:
1. You can social distance. Specifically, you can cook in your own kitchen (not having to depend on restaurants or dining with others); be far enough away from others; be as remote as you want.
2. You feel confident in the sanitizing of the property between guests.
3. You can drive there!
So, in this series, we’ll bring you some locations that fit the bill and address these concerns. Our aim is to bring you a variety of choices spread around the Lone Star State.
The Great Escape #5
Southeast of Austin and due west of Houston, you’ll find this 260-acre ranch, led by the pioneering Carol Davis, who has turned her working ranch into a property primed for the pandemic’s social distancing. With 14 different types of cabins and cottages spread across the ranch, many tucked into a grove of live oak trees, it’s easy to be secluded and never interact with other guests.
Rustic and “down home,” Davis’ cabins are ideal for the family or a couple who just want to get out of the city, who want to “escape to nowhere.” The simple cottages, most of which were moved from other locations around Texas, range from one bedroom to a four-bedroom, which is the largest.
We stayed in the Bluebonnet Bungalow, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin which was plucked from the nearby town of Cat Spring and nestled right under shady live oak trees. You can’t see any neighbors from this vantage point and the hero of the house is the backyard courtyard featuring a cool tub (a small jacuzzi tub which is warm in cooler months) and an outdoor rainwater shower, surrounded by a wall of trees bedazzled with lights.
Inside, the two bedrooms are adjoining, featuring luxe bedding and period antiques and furnishings. A small kitchen suffices for cooking all your meals and the living room is ripe for game-playing. A typical rate is $259-299/night with each child being an additional $35/night and an additional $79 cleaning fee.
If you’re looking for more adventurous accommodation, try the Conestoga Wagon (an actual wagon with a bathroom) or the Safari Tent, a full 650 square feet of glamping.
If you don’t want to cook all your meals, Carol’s Restaurant (located in the tiny town of Cat Spring, about 7 miles away) will deliver dinner to your residence. You’ll be eating good with entrees like grilled salmon, roasted chicken, steak and sides like veggies or scalloped potatoes. But, the most important parts of the dinner are the scrumptious cakes: chocolate ganache, red velvet or Italian cream cake.
As BlissWood is a Bed & Breakfast Ranch, a delightful continental breakfast is included with your stay, delivered to your cabin. A typical breakfast might include an assortment of muffins, bagels, yogurt, fruit and granola bars. A full coffee bar is found in your kitchen.
If you’re looking to be active outdoors, you can rent bikes for roaming around the property, hike on the trails rambling around the ranch, fish at one of the many ponds, go on a guided horseback ride or just explore on a golf cart (available for rent). You can also enjoy kayaks or stand up paddle boards on Enchanted Lake.
But, the most unusual activity on property is the Exotic Animal Safari. Your entertaining guide will get you up close and personal with fallow deer, red deer, buffalo, ostrich and other ranch animals. If you time your visit right, there might be babies to feed, as well. And, the caged lemurs are always ready for a feeding. They love bananas and apples, if you have some to spare!
A few aspects that make BlissWood perfect for a pandemic visit: there’s no check-in (you receive text instructions on getting to your cottage), the accommodations are all individually rented and spread among the property, and the ranch is very centrally located with easy access from Houston, Austin and even Dallas or San Antonio. Bonus: you can read all about their cleaning protocols ahead of your visit.
Did You Know?
BlissWood can be found on Yonder, which is a travel booking site that connects people to enriching experiences in the natural world, like farms, ranches, vineyards, and other nature immersive escapes (think Agri-Ecotourism or Nature Tourism booking site).
One of the things that’s unique about Yonder’s property selection process is that they also screen for unique hosts, who they call “Yonder Stewards,” and the commitment they show to their properties and surrounding ecosystems (land, plant, animal). Carol Davis at BlissWood is known for giving guests a newfound appreciation for the solace nature and animal connection can provide.
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Cover photo Jumping Rocks
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 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.