The Canyon of the Eagles on Lake Buchanan outside of Burnet is as special as its name implies
With 940 acres to explore, guests can hike the 12 miles of trails or enjoy the five miles of beach area. November to March is the best time to see the bald eagles nesting in the tall trees. The Vanishing Texas River Cruise leaves from the park for sightseeing excursions around the lake with the early or late cruises offering the best opportunities to see wildlife. On Friday and Sunday nights the Austin Astronomical Society hosts star parties at the Eagle Eye Observatory. The lodge provides live entertainment on the patio on Friday and Saturday nights.
A joint project of the LCRA and a private contractor, the lodge is the best of both worlds. Room rates range from $99 to $159 per night. For information, call 800/977-0081 or go to www.canyonoftheeagles.com.The Paluxy River Bed Cabins outside of Glen Rose take pride in offering adults privacy and comfort in a rustic environment on the river. The A-frame cabins come with a barbecue grill, rocking chairs on the covered porches, and kitchenettes, and the hosts even supply the first bottle of wine. The best part of staying here is the private hot tub right outside the front door.
Don't come to the cabins looking for television or phones; they don't have either. They do have a wonderful view of the river valley from the upstairs balcony that opens from the spacious bedrooms. Besides offering tubing on the river, Karen and John Wells offer their guests special accommodations, such as massages and meals served to the cabins.
Glen Rose and Dinosaur Valley State Park are both within a short drive of the cabins. Room rates range from $125 to $135, with a two-night minimum on weekends. For more information, call 800/2352004 or go to www.paluxyriverbedcabins.com.Indian Lodge outside of Fort Davis and within the Davis Mountains State Park is one of the best hotel bargains in the state. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Thirties, the hotel has been upgraded and remodeled over the years. The rooms in the "original" section are small, but many still have some of the furnishings built by the CCC.
Guests have given the cafe at the lodge mixed reviews for their food, but all agree that the view through the floor-to-ceiling windows is spectacular. Fort Davis and good restaurants are a short drive away. Fort Davis National Historic Site is just over the hill from the lodge, and the public star parties at McDonald Observatory are up the mountain.
All of the rooms have central air and heat, television, and phones, but pets are not allowed. Room rates range from $75 to $100. For more information, call 432/4263254 or go to www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/indian.The Lancaster in Houston is the place to go to be pampered. On the edge of downtown in the heart of the theatre district, the rooms are appointed with special touches that make staying here a treat. The bathrooms have thick bathrobes, each room has wireless Internet access, and they really do leave a chocolate on your pillow in the evenings.
The nightlife in downtown Houston has really taken off in the last few years, and the hotel is in the proximity of several music venues, galleries, and theatres. During the day, shopping is a major activity, with department stores and specialty shops within walking distance. For a real treat, try exploring the underground sidewalks between major buildings in downtown.
The Lancaster has a wonderful restaurant that is great anytime but famous for its Sunday lunches. Room rates range from $185 to $335. At the corner of Louisiana and Texas avenues, the hotel can be reached at 800/231-0336 or at www.lancaster.com.
713th in a series. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of Day Trips 101-200, is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.