Day Trips

River View Bed & Breakfast in Blanco provides small-town ambience while offering guests a central base camp for exploring the Hill Country

 Room with a view
Room with a view (Photo By Gerald E. McLeod)

River View Bed & Breakfast in Blanco provides small-town ambience while offering guests a central base camp for exploring the Hill Country. The rock cottage on the Blanco River comes with its own history and accommodations comfortable enough to last an entire weekend.

"We're only 45 minutes from Austin and 45 minutes from San Antonio," says innkeeper Elizabeth Lundquist. "Most people come here just to kick back and relax for a while."

Built in 1939, the bungalow has the feel of a cabin in the woods but is walking distance from the shops and restaurants on the courthouse square. Lundquist removed the old wallpaper to find beautiful shiplap walls that give the rooms a warm wood glow. The house has two bedrooms downstairs and an upstairs loft with a view of the river through the pecan trees. The house can accommodate up to 10 guests at a time.

Decorated in antiques, each room is tastefully furnished without being cluttered. There are two large tables for get-togethers, and the TV in the front room comes with basic cable. There is patio furniture in the back yard and a swing on the front porch. "I got to admit," Lundquist says, "it was a lot of fun finding things at auctions to decorate the house."

For many guests, the large kitchen will be their favorite room in the house. Lundquist thought of everything when stocking the cooking utensils and glassware. She even stocked the pantry with essential spices, as well as an assortment of coffees and teas. It's a great place to prepare a communal supper or just to enjoy the continental breakfast.

If you have come to the Blanco River to unwind for the weekend, the sun room off the den is a perfect battery charger. The comfortable chairs and rocking chairs look out a wall of windows that opens to the back yard and the river running through Blanco State Park. It's a bright and airy room that just begs for a good book or conversation.

The house was originally owned by the Bindseil family who operated the town's grocery store for many years. The nature trail a block from the house that leads to the second largest oak tree in Blanco County was named after the grocer.

Lundquist purchased the property in 2004. A technician in the computer software industry, she had always dreamed of owning a bed & breakfast house in the country. Even though it was only the second place she looked at, she knew it was the right spot. After a lot of hard work she was ready to open the doors in time for the spring lavender festival.

Blanco has become the lavender-growing capital of Texas. Within a short drive of the old courthouse there are nine lavender farms. "It's amazing how they all work together," Lundquist says. The June festival has grown to include field tours and a craft fair around the town square. "It just seems to get bigger and better every year," she says.

The town was platted in 1855 by James Callahan, a former Texas Ranger and survivor of the massacre at Goliad. For many years Blanco served as a sleepy supply station for the county's ranches. The courthouse opened in 1888 but was only used until 1891, when the county seat was moved to Johnson City. Since then, the two-story limestone building has been used as a school, newspaper office, and real estate office, and several residents claim they were born there when it was the county's main hospital. It is now the community's visitor center.

By 1986, the old courthouse had deteriorated into disrepair and was purchased by a local rancher to be dismantled and moved to his property. The town rallied around the former hall of justice to preserve it. Lundquist says she can see the spirit in the town's residents that saved the landmark. "Blanco is such a friendly small community," she says.

River View Bed & Breakfast is at 52 Pecan St., in a quiet neighborhood three blocks off the Blanco town square. Rates run from $90 to $100 per night. For information, call 512/892-2304, or go to www.riverviewbandb.com.


808th 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.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

River View Bed & Breakfast, Blanco River, Blanco State Park, lavender

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