Things to See & Do in the Texas Hill Country
Mason County, located in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country, is conveniently located two hours from San Antonio and Austin, though when you’re here, the city will feel far away. Mason is a community steeped in history. Settled primarily by German and Mexican immigrants, the town grew up around Fort Mason, established in 1851, as an outpost and means of protection against the Comanche Indians. Today, though Mason remains primarily a rural community, there is plenty to do on a weekend getaway. Let us tickle your imagination with a few ideas!
In the Area:
Topaz, the state gem of Texas, can only by found within the borders of Mason County. Currently, two Mason County ranches offer the public the opportunity to go topaz hunting. They charge by the day; you keep what you find. Some very nice stones have been found in this way!
Mason County is home to the Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve, one of the largest bat nurseries in the country. About 4 million female bats inhabit the site from May through September. When evening falls, watch the millions spiral upwards out of their cave in a black funnel. The phenomenon lasts for about an hour, and is a genuinely unique experience. Plus, the drive out there is beautiful, containing panoramic views of the countryside and trips across the Llano.
Located approximately 45 minutes from the Homer Martin Ranch is the well-known Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. This beauty consists of a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome that rises 1825 feet above sea level. If you would like to visit, we’d recommend packing a lunch, and taking a day trip from the ranch, perhaps on a long weekend.
Top Pick Restaurants:
Located about 25 miles from the Homer Martin Ranch, 10661 N. U.S. 87, the Hill Top Cafe is quite the culinary experience. Reservations? Recommended. Sunday brunch? Superb! Treat yourself to a dose of Greek/Cajun food. The food is only part of the Hill Top experience. Try to dine on a weekend evening when Johnny Nicholas often trades his apron in for a piano bench, guitar or harmonica. This musician/chef has played with Asleep at the Wheel and Nathan Abshire, Cajun accordionist. On most Friday and Saturday nights, Nicholas will play for you. Dining musicians often join him. One night Nicholas and Jimmie Vaughan jammed for sated and surprised diners — a little 45-minute slice of Texas. No cover, just dinner and a show.
Monthly did its statewide review of the 50 best barbecue restaurants, Cooper’s Barbeque was among the top five. Their brisket was also ranked the best in Texas in Delta’s Sky magazine. With numerous write-ups in newspapers all over Texas and the rest of the country, the original Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Q is without a doubt one of the best places to visit if you enjoy excellent barbecue.
Sandstone Cellars Winery
Located next door to Santos Taqueria, Sandstone Cellars Winery is a welcomed new addition to our city. Their grapes our grown right here in Mason County. Go by for a tasting and some cheese on Friday or Saturday evening!
Grape Creek Winery
Located not too far from the Homer Martin Ranch, Grape Creek Winery thinks of itself as Tuscany in Texas. For $20 per person, they offer barrel-tasting tours. You can tour their winemaking facilities and compare the flavor differences of the same wine in new and old barrels and in French and American oak! They conduct regularly scheduled tours on Saturday and they will also schedule a tour upon request most other times (staff permitting).
Perhaps the best-known winery in the area, Becker Vineyards is located right outside of Fredericksburg. If you’d like to visit, we’d recommend taking a day trip from the Homer Martin Ranch. In April, the vineyard helps host the Texas Wine and Food Festival, quite the delight. Something unique about Becker Vineyards is their beautiful lavender fields located on a three-acre field behind the winery. In June of 1998, the Beckers planted the 10,000 lavender plants. The blooming season for the lavender is typically in May and June. The plants can be viewed year round, and guests are encouraged to experience the field with their visit to the winery.
The Herb Farm
Located four blocks off Main Street in Fredericksburg, just a quick jaunt from Mason, is a lovely day Spa, offering various packages including Purification, Queen for a Day, and Enchanted Rock Delight. This place of charm will provide the necessary revitalization you need. Just because you’re visiting a ranch, doesn’t mean you can’t be pampered!
The European Day Spa
Voted “Top Choices in Texas” in VOGUE ’04 and “Best of Texas” VOGUE, the European Day Spa is a lovely retreat. You can create your own day at the Spa – facials, deep tissue massage, pedicure, manicure – you decide.
Above and Beyond Day Spa
A piece of heaven for body, mind, and soul, the Above and Beyond Day Spa, just like our other favorite spas, is a place to indulge. Offering a whole range of services from massage to facials to couples treatment packages, this spa is a delightful place to spend an afternoon. Let the husbands stay with the kids at the ranch and play, while you get away for a day.