River Inn Resort near Hunt is a perfect fall getaway.
River Inn Resort combines the convenience of a small motel with the luxury of a Hill Country hideaway. Nestled on the scenic banks of the South Fork of the Guadalupe River west of Kerrville, this is a great place to use as a base camp for exploring the back roads through the hills or as a relaxing weekend getaway.
"The beauty of landscape is what makes it special for me," says Chelsea Barrington, the resort manager. "It has different appeals in different seasons. During the fall and winter the guests enjoy the quiet atmosphere. During the summer we have all kinds of water activities."
Between Labor Day and Memorial Day the 60 rooms stay full. "It's usually booked up by Thanksgiving," Barrington says. On hot summer days the cool river waters offer a refreshing swimming pool. The flume around the dam gives bathers a thrilling ride that brings them back for more.
The resort provides boats, canoes, and inner tubes to enjoy the small lake. Upstream the river crosses a shallow area with several water-filled pools carved out of the limestone. Legend says the "tubs" are actually footprints of giant dinosaurs.
There also are tennis and basketball courts on the grounds if you need some activity to work up a good sweat before taking a dip in the river. A game room in the main lodge provides a pool table, ping-pong table, and video games for guests.
Visitors don't have to be active to enjoy the 12 acres of park-like setting. Sitting at a picnic table on the tree-shaded, terraced lawn can be a perfect way to enjoy an afternoon. It's not unusual in the early morning or late evening to see a hawk fishing in the river or a family of deer enjoying a cool drink.
The two-story complex is comprised of individually owned condominiums that reflect the owners' personal tastes. While the decor may not match your idea of interior decorating, it does give the furnishings a personal and homey feel. There are no phones in the rooms, and the only television is in the central family room in the main lodge.
The rooms are on the small side, but comfortable. All units have kitchenettes equipped with basic utensils, but no microwave ovens or dishwashers. Several outdoor grills and fireplaces are available for guest cookouts or an evening campfire. Single night rates run $70 and $100 (summer rate) for the one-bedroom units and $100 and $140 for the two-bedroom units.
Along with scenic vistas and lots of outdoor activities, the resort also offers conference facilities that can hold up to 150 occupants. The Gallops Grille on the property provides restaurant service between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Built in the 1960s by the same folks who built the famous Inn of the Hills in Kerrville, the River Inn and Conference Center is a few miles west of Hunt on TX 39. All of the rooms are already booked for New Year's Eve, but vacancies still exist throughout much of the year. For more information, call the resort at 830/238-4226 or http://www.riverinnresort.com.
The roads around Hunt lead to a long list of exciting places in the Hill Country to visit. Stonehenge II, a younger version of the English landmark, has become a must-see attraction outside of Hunt on FM 1340. One of the most soleful sights in the Hill Country is the collection of old boots stuck on top of the cedar post fence along John Jobes' goat pasture on TX 39 just before the River Inn Resort. As a gag back in 1971, the neighbor boys left their shoes on the Jobes' doorstep. The footwear was hung on the fence so the boys could find them. Pretty soon other neighbors, passersby, and the Jobes children and grandchildren have added to the monument of family foot gear.
Lost Maples State Park is 30 miles from the resort. The late October report from the park said that the leaves were beginning to change colors and should be beautiful through Thanksgiving. For information on the fall colors, call the park at 830/966-3413 or http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/lostmap/foliag99.htm.
Coming up this weekend ...
Freddy Fender Day in San Benito honors the native son with musical entertainment and food to raise funds for local student scholarships, Nov. 6. 956/399-3883.
Raku To Go at Sunset Canyon Pottery on U.S. 290 between Dripping Springs and Austin raises funds for little Jesse Dale's medical expenses with demonstrations, sale and vases to glaze, noon-6pm, Nov. 6. 894-0938.
World Art Car Day celebrated at the Art Car Museum in Houston means lots of special autos, entertainment, and fun, Nov. 6. 713/861-5526.
Christmas Bazaar sponsored by the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram offers a collection of special gifts, 9am-4pm, Nov. 6. 830/367-5122.
Book Sale at the Texas Historical Commission, north of the Capitol at 1510 Congress raises money for the THC collection, Nov. 6. 463-5753 or http://www.thc.state.tx.us.
Coming up ...
Lantern Tours of Longhorn Caverns takes visitors to the remote passages and dark recesses of the cave south of Burnet. Using hand-held coal oil lanterns, the guides take the tours (limited to 15 and must be at least 16 years old) crawling, climbing, and squeezing off the trail on the first and second Saturday of each month beginning at 6:30pm. Special group tours can be scheduled the third and fourth Saturday of each month. 512/756-4680.
Eyeopener Tour in Houston sponsored by the Orange Show Foundation takes a bus tour of folk art sites around the city, Nov. 14. 713/926-6368 or http://www.orangeshow.org.
Tour of the Mariposa Mine Area begins at the Barton Warnock Environmental Educational Center in Lajitas and takes a bus to the mine settlement area and the original town of Terlingua, Nov. 26. 915/424-3327.