Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Texas Hill Country: Medina, Kerrville

Traveling through the Hill Country you discover that Texas had its own version of Johnny Appleseed, the Adams family who brought apple trees to Love's Creek Orchards in the town of Medina [MeDEEna]. Adam's Apples' The Apple Store is known for its apple pie, voted one of the South's Best Desserts by Southern Living in 2007. It's certainly big enough: five pounds of apples go into each pie. A whole one costs $22.95, a slice $4 and the aroma is tantalizing. Outside, the nursery carries 16 different varieties of apple trees for sale.

Tip: This area is popular with motorcyclists so don't be surprised if on weekends you spot bikes parked next to horses tethered at "downtown" hitching posts. The 200 or so residents ride their favorite mounts to town and join the bikers in shopping and blowing off a little steam.

Levelers will find the towns situated in the relatively flat valleys of what Texans refer to as the "Swiss Alps of Texas" - if nothing else, a testament to the Texas tendency toward exaggeration.

Kerrville is the arts center of the Hill Country and with 25,000 residents, one of its largest towns. A symphony, live theater, an arts center, the Museum of Western Art, the James Avery Craftsmen's World Headquarters and seven restaurants along the south fork of the Guadalupe River sets it apart from its neighbors. The annual Texas Furniture Makers Show at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center is well worth a detour.

Tip: There are steps, more than most of us would like, at Elaine's Table but the food and view make it worth the effort.
Guadalupe River

Kerrville, like its state, accommodates all types from the artistic to would-be big game hunters. There are 57 exotic species raised at area ranches where hunters pay big bucks to bag their beast of choice.

Tip: The YO Ranch is one of the biggest of these trophy guaranted operations and as you might expect, the lobby of the YO Ranch Motel is filled with mounts. If it bothers you to see the head, neck and shoulder of a mother giraffe enfolding her calf emerging from a wall, pick another place to stay.

The rivers of Hill Country are particularly scenic with cypress trees lining their banks and enough changes of elevation to ensure that lovely burbling murmur.


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