The first home I ever owned is in beautiful Driftwood, Texas, just a few miles from the infamous Salt Lick BBQ, saltlickbbq.com. We will be forever spoiled and expect future homes to have gorgeous sunsets, farm fresh eggs from neighbors, stars, creeks and nature.
Wimberley, Dripping Springs and Driftwood are all within a 30-40 minute drive from downtown Austin. Before you know it, you are surrounded by wineries, artists’ galleries, bed and breakfasts, lavender and goat cheese farms, olive orchards, natural swimming holes and so much more.
There’s so much to do you can’t possibly do it all in a day. Fortunately, it’s so close, you can come back every weekend.
Living in Driftwood, Texas is the best of both worlds. Since Driftwood isn’t in the city of Austin nor Dripping Springs, the tax rate is lower. Our children receive all the benefits of the outstanding Dripping Springs’ schools and we are only 22 minutes from downtown Austin.
Scott Roberts, the owner of the Salt Lick, is planning a 540 acre mixed-use development on his family’s property, driftwoodgolfclub. The word is he wants Driftwood, Texas to be Texas’ Napa Valley. The Texas Hill Country is already second to Napa as the most visited wine region in the country.
Long known as the BBQ destination, Driftwood, Texas has expanded its palate with fine Italian dining. Mandola’s Trattoria Lisina on FM 150 recommends reservations as the wait can often be hours. I don’t mind waiting because you can go next door to the winery, grab some wine, bread, and cheese and unwind on their gorgeous Tuscan-inspired grounds. After dinner, pick your favorite flavor from their homemade gelato bar. I love the vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso. trattorialisina.
Driftwood Vineyards is open just about every day of the year for tastings. Have lunch or dinner at their bistro and enjoy the stunning views of the hill country and Wimberley valley.
Dripping Springs and Wimberley
Exploring the hill country requires nourishment so pick up some amazing, scratch-made pastries, soups and sandwiches at Rolling in Thyme and Dough Bakery on 290 West in Dripping Springs. The owner is an outstanding baker from Belgium and you will never be disappointed. She now has a second location at RR12 and Hamilton Pool.
We are fortunate to have another excellent bakery in Dripping Springs. Abby Jane Bakeshop shares space with Barton Springs Mill, and utilizes the stone-milled, heritage flours in all of their baked goods, such as sourdough bread, croissants, sandwiches and pastries. I buy their sourdough loaf to make sandwiches at home, and now eating out just doesn’t compare. The mill also offers classes if you want to learn from culinary professionals how to bake nutritious, delicious foods made from scratch.
Pieous has some of the hill country’s best pizza as well as scratch made sourdough bread, pastries and pastrami that will knock your socks off.
Enjoy a beautiful hill country drive to Texas Hill Country Olive Co and have lunch at their bistro and shop their gourmet store for locally made barrel aged balsamic vinegars, olive oils and self care products.
There are many craft breweries and distilleries in Dripping Springs. What could be better than tasting local, craft-made beverages in a beautiful hill country setting? Many also serve food such as the Buffalo Nickel at Twisted X, Alice’s restaurant at Treaty Oak bourbon distillery, (which is also next door to Abby Jane’s) and a gourmet pizza at Family Business. Jester King Brewery, an award-winning brewery and one of the first to brew organically, is also serving up wood fired pizza at their family friendly location off Fitzhugh road. It’s definitely a place to linger with gorgeous views, picnic tables under the oaks and plenty of room for the kids to run around. If you can’t decide, you can visit several via a lovely tour at hillcountrycraftbeertrail.com.
Next, head to Wimberley, one of the hill country’s most popular tourist and artist towns. You can pick up a bottle of fresh olive oil at Texas first olive oil orchard, bella vista ranch or have a fantastic meal from locally sourced ingredients at The Leaning Pear.
While in Wimberley, make sure to visit the famous square for dozens of quaint shops offering everything from hand-rolled cigars to gourmet cooking supplies at Kiss the Cook.
Creeks and Swimming Holes
If you like outdoor activities, the hill country has plenty of creeks for swimming and kayaking, parks for nature walks and trails for biking. One of the more popular parks is Pedernales Falls State Park where you can swim, camp and hike. Hamilton Pool’s natural swimming hole is the perfect escape from the Texas heat but call ahead to make sure it isn’t full. Wimberley also has one of the most beautiful natural swimming holes in the country at Bluehole.
Nature enthusiasts should make time for a visit to David Bamberger’s 5,500 acre ranch preserve near Johnson City, bambergerranch. There truly is no better conservation classroom around and Mr. Bamberger is one of our greatest treasures. Take a tour or take classes but plan on seeing a herd of endangered Scimitar Horned Oryx, a man-made bat cave, dinosaur tracks and so much more.
Besides all of the obvious reasons to love it here, the hill country’s popularity and growth can also be attributed to its’ schools.
Dripping Springs ISD is an award-winning school district that recently opened two, state of the art elementary schools and a middle school in the northern quadrant of Hays County. The city’s rapid growth recently moved the district into 6A status.