Hill Country Sun - Oct/Nov/Dec 2021

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October/November/December 2021

Since 1990

people | places music | events | parks | wildlife shopping | lodging | dining & more

Yurtopia erley Wimb



There is no better time for your family to join the club, create memories and enjoy an abundance of amenities in the secluded Lake & Hill Country. Located in the heart of Texas, The Club at Horseshoe Bay Resort is a sprawling property recognized as a tropical oasis.


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Volume 29, Number 8 ISSN: 1524-2315. Entire contents © Copyright 2021 by TD Austin Lane, Inc.

Julie Spell Harrington Publisher/Ad Sales 512-484-9716 • julie@hillcountrysun.com

Melissa Maxwell Ball

Editor/Design 512-569-8212 • melissa@hillcountrysun.com

Writers Ernie Altgelt & Bonnie Eissler Distribution

Gerry Burns

COVER PHOTO: Yurtopia Wimberley See story, page 9. Photos courtesy Yurtopia Wimberley.

facebook.com/hillcountrysun • hillcountrysun.com

• TOURS and TASTINGS • October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   3


Custom Furniture Refurbished Furniture New & Custom Made Home Accessories

Texas Hill Country Locator Map

© 2021 by TD Austin Lane, Inc.

Woodworking and refurbishing furniture is our passion. Thanks for supporting our small business!

INDEX Austin J5 Bandera B10 Bergheim D9 Bertram I2 Blanco F6 Boerne D9 Buchanan Dam F2 Buda J7 Bulverde G10 Burnet G2 Camp Verde B8 Canyon Lake G9 Castroville C12 Center Point B8 Clear Springs H11

Comfort C8 Concan A11 Driftwood H7 Dripping Springs H6 Fischer G8 Fredericksburg C5 Georgetown K2 Granite Shoals G2 Gruene H10 Hancock G8 Helotes G6 Henly G6 Highland Lakes F2/3 Hondo B13 Hunt A7 Hye E6

Ingram B7 Johnson City F5 Kendalia F8 Kerrville B7 Kingsland F2 Kyle I8 Lampasas G1 Leakey A9 Llano D2 Liberty Hill I12 Luckenbach D6 Luling K10 Marble Falls G3 Martindale J9 Mason B2 Medina A9

New Braunfels H10 Oak Hill I6 Oatmeal H2 Pipe Creek C10 Round Rock K3 San Antonio F12 San Marcos I9 Sattler H9 Seguin I11 Sisterdale D8 Spring Branch F9 Startzville G9 Stonewall D6 Utopia A10 Vanderpool A9 Wimberley H8

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To advertise, call Julie 512-484-9716 or email julie@hillcountrysun.com

4 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

The Perfect Friends & Family Getaway Private Pool Spacious Cabins Scavenger Hunt at Pioneer Town

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KissTheCookWimberley.com October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   5

Ghost Note Brewing By ERNIE ALTGELT


here’s nothing we folks in the Texas Hill Country like better than enjoying a cold beer on a hot day, ideally served in a really cool place. Well, for those of us in the know, just outside of Dripping Springs exists such a combination where hot, cold and cool all converge creating an alluring oasis of shade, suds and usually, sounds to boot. But, that’s just Ghost Note Brewing and, thanks to its righteous recipe of blending a bevy of exceptional homegrown beers with a welcoming environment that’s more than conducive to camaraderie then mixing in a splash of live “sipping” music, it really is easy to understand why it’s become such a hot spot. Yep, a hot day, cold beer and a cool place – what else is there? Opened last January by an intrepid pair of lovebirds named Thelma and Kenny Coleman, the devoted twosome had spent the majority of their (often on-the-go) 30-year marriage blissfully building a family while Kenny pursued

L-R Ghost Note Brewing Head Brewer Tyrell Elliott, Taproom Manager Katie Prince, and owners Thelma and Kenny Coleman. Photo by Brian Ledden.

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a successful career in the oil biz and Thelma oversaw the always active home front. Then more recently, with the kids grown and Kenny’s possible retirement nearing, the Colemans decided a shift in lifestyle was in order and part of that shift would include a move into the more sedate Hill Country – something both had wanted badly. And since Kenny’s mother had previously resided near Dripping Springs, where many visits were happily paid and many memories happily made, it seemed like the logical (not to mention, perfect) place to relocate to. The move was made. After relocating however, the Colemans, who were both far too vigorous for a life of idleness, looked to repurposing their energies towards some type of commercial aspect. Being “people persons,” something in the hospitality area seemed appropriate and, after discovering and purchasing a former wedding venue complete with some usable structures, all on five beautiful and easily accessible acres, an idea came to the fore. “How about establishing a brewery?” As Thelma remembers, “We wanted to create the kind of place where we would like to hang out.” They both were into craft beers, liked intimate, casual settings, open See GHOST NOTE, Page 8

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October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   7

GHOST NOTE, from Page 6

spaces and good music and, after finding Tyrell Elliot, a noted Austin-based brew master who was also seeking new opportunities, decided to make the brewery a reality. Today, Ghost Note comfortably operates out of one primary building housing an enclosed, state-of-theart brewery (vats and all) adjoined by the very public-friendly taproom – an open air but covered area perfect for sipping, sampling and snacking. Outside, under the large oaks, more seating is available. Lastly, a performance stage hosting lots of local musical talent rounds things out. As Kenny attests, “The rest is all pure Mother Nature.” But, the setting aside, it’s the beer that’s the draw. Tyrell’s ever evolving repertoire has been focused on “tweaking” popular styles without going to extremes. What he’s so ably developed has been an amazing line of offerings appropriately labeled “Porch Beers,” which are great on a porch and … everywhere else! There’s a light and satisfying Pilsner, a sweet and fruity Saison, a modern IPA and, what they call their Hill Country Common – all have been very well received. Around this core revolve other selections including pale ales, cream ales, rye lagers, wits, sours, a dark stout (for the bold) and others. Really, beer-wise, there truly is something for everyone. And, if you’re not a beer-person, local ciders and wines are also available. Guests are obviously welcome to consume on the grounds but to-go orders are not a problem either. Couple the libations with some tasty snacks and ear-pleasing tunes and, you’re set. Also, there is usually a food truck on hand to supplement the edibles with heavier fare. So in closing, what’s with the name? Well, to music aficionados, the term “ghost note” is well known. It generally refers to the subtle, percussion-like sounds interjected on various instruments to emphasize rhythm – a sort of pleasing background contribution and, when considering Ghost Note’s frothy offerings with their individual, almost ephemeral tastes, the name seems superbly apt. But whatever, just like a hot day, cold beer and a cool place – what else is there? Can you say Ghost note Brewing? Photos courtesy Ghost Note Brewing. For more information about Ghost Note Brewing, musical performances and directions, visit the website at www. ghostnotebrewing.com, call 512-553-2870 or email info@ ghostnotebrewing.com. The brewery is located at 23663 Ranch Road 12 at Ghost Note Lane in Dripping Springs and is open Thursday through Sunday with Happy Hour Thursdays 3 pm to 8 pm, Friday 2 pm to 9 pm, Saturday noon to 9 pm, and on Sunday from noon to 7 pm. 8 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

Yurtopia Wimberley By BONNIE EISSLER


ne of the most unusual luxury camping experiences in Texas, or possibly in the world, may be a stay at Yurtopia Wimberley. Six hilltop remote and three river bluff yurts are spread out over 26 acres of cedar and oak trees, hills and bluffs with limestone outcroppings, and the Blanco River, otherwise known as the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Each of the hilltop yurts has a private deck area and amenities including a fire pit, stove, hot tub/plunge pool. These yurts offer total privacy, a sanctuary, an escape from the cares of the world. The river bluff section can be more of a group experience, with shared amenities like hot tubs and fire pits, and the opportunity to experience “river sitting,” basically just relaxing in the river. “You can’t be unhappy in the middle of a big beautiful river,” says American poet and novelist Jim Harrison, who may have had something like river sitting in mind when he wrote those words. Tracing the history of Yurtopia to find out why in the world there are Mongolian yurts on the Blanco takes us back in time more than a quarter century to Brian and AnnTyler Konradi’s honeymoon trip to Russia in 1994. Although Ann-Tyler and Brian are both from Texas See YURTOPIA, Page 10

October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   9


Bryan and Ann-Tyler Conradi

(Austin/Wimberley and Dallas), Brian’s father is originally from Russia and his family emigrated to the United States when he was a child. Brian, an international corporate lawyer, minored in Russian and his family’s history piqued his interest in visiting, especially now that travel was more open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In fact, Moscow was one of the top destinations for travelers in the 1990s. Ann-Tyler and Brian rode on the Trans-Siberian Railway, which has the distinction of being the longest line in the world (around 5,770 miles) connecting Western Russia to the Russian Far East. Their extended first visit was not the end of the couple’s Russian experience as they later moved to Moscow and lived there from 2005-2013. The youngest of their three daughters was born in Moscow and they all attended school there. “Living in Moscow for so many years, we were exposed to a lot of the culture, art and architecture of Central Asia,” Ann-Tyler says. These years were their inspiration for transporting some of that culture back to the rolling hills of Central Texas, where the yurts seem perfectly at home. Yurts are most often associated with the country of Mongolia, although “ger” (which means home) is their word for “yurt.” They have been a distinctive feature of life in Central Asia for at least 3,000 years and were described by the Greek historian, Herodotus, as the homes of the Scythians, nomadic warriors who lived in what is now southern Siberia. These tribes preferred the circular dwellings because they were relatively quick to assemble and light to transport as well as being wind-resistant. “We built our first yurt in March 2019,” says AnnTyler, “there are other yurts around the state, but ours are different because they are authentic Mongolian made.” All are handmade using natural materials such as Siberian pine, camel hide and thick sheep’s wool, and using natural techniques like steaming the wood to bend it. The yurts are painted by a family in Mongolia. The rolls of lattice and multiple layers of covering arrive in a pallet ready to set up, shipped from Mongolia to Canada and on to Wimberley, where it takes about a day for two to four people to set up. Although adults of all ages have enjoyed blissful stays at Yurtopia, millennials (ages 25 to 40) have been their main demographic, according to Ann-Tyler. Perhaps the reason for this is that, at least according to some sociologists, in addition to being fluent in the digital language of computers and the internet, millennials are especially drawn to experiences rather than things, and spending a couple of nights in a genuine Mongolian made yurt definitely qualifies as a memorable experience. Photos by @S.A.Foodie. FYI • Yurtopia Wimberley provides a unique luxurious experience for those wanting to relax in a beautiful natural setting. The adventure starts at 135 Winn Ranch Road (for remote hilltop yurts) or 630 Winn Ranch Road (for river bluff yurts). For more information or to check availability and book a stay, call 512-333-2202, email stay@ yurtopiawimberley.com or visit www.yurtopiawimberley.com.

10 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

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Michael Myers Music By ERNIE ALTGELT


ripping Springs’ proud native son Michael Myers has a lot to say about living life in his beloved patch of Texas and, by extension, the beautiful Hill Country, as well. And, it’s all good. Yep, thanks to a talent for telling, Michael has been known to devote entire evenings to this near and dear subject and, in his case, it’s not just all talk! Say what? Well, the “what” is Michael’s mastery over musical creation, communication and execution. A naturallyblessed singer and songwriter, this humble but gifted “storyteller” has been audibly spellbinding others since his childhood and, continues to wow today. Listeners love the litany of sincerely-crafted lyrics, often about his “Texas” experiences, ably rendered via his deep, resonant voice then supported instrumentally by a lone guitar (or, at times, an entire top-shelf, back-up ensemble). The Myers “package” is always one that appealingly plays up a “down home” devotion to values nurtured over a welllived lifetime spent, almost exclusively, close his roots. As his devoted fans will attest, it’s a joy to experience Michael in performance (in the evening or anytime for that matter) and again, it’s all good. Very good! Michael grew up in a loving (and very musicallyinclined) family in, what was then (the early 1970s) a much smaller and more rural Dripping Springs. His primary influences were initially gained while attending, and singing in, church – his mother is still a church organist and always sang in the choir as did his encouraging grandfather, who was also noted for his deep, warm voice. But, as Michael attests, “Beyond the hymns during Sunday church services, I was also a big AM radio fan, listening constantly and always singing along with my musical heroes, Ray Price, Merle Haggard and others.” And, many took note of the youngster’s ability. As proof, it was while attending college that an impressed buddy asked Michael to “perform” at his wedding by singing. Flattered, he agreed. The attendees, including the bride and groom, loved it. And, while never considering his voice an “economic” asset, that first wedding soon generated more “paid” requests from others slated to tie the knot which Michael happily accepted. Was he a pro at this point? Well, almost. After making and distributing a “demo” to solicit more wedding gigs, it was inevitable that someone in the music biz would eventually hear and, that person happened to be fiddling-great Johnny Gimble’s sister-in-law, Linda Orsak, a talent manager with a good ear. With Linda’s help and guidance, 26-year-old Michael soon took to the stage regularly performing primarily in area venues, most not 12 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

Michael Myers

far from Dripping Springs. His first “really big show” was opening for Tracy Bird at Stone Mountain, a popular venue right in his hometown. He recalls, “As a newbie, this performance, while facing such a large audience, was a bit intimidating but, with the applause, came exhilaration. I wanted more.” And, the “more” turned out to be about 75 well-attended bookings over that next year and the release of his first album entitled “Living for the Moment,” which superbly highlighted his vocal range but no “original” songs. Those would come. Later, a more committed Michael eventually decided that he “needed” to be in Nashville before his career could really take off. While ultimately not musically a game-changer, his time spent there was fruitful with a second CD release, “Pedernales Summer,” which did showcase his writing abilities and, more importantly, by meeting his future wife, Karysa, a born Texan too! Overall, it was a positive experience where he was able to do some studio work, write, get to know some helpful folks and continue to polish his career but, “it wasn’t home.” See MICHAEL MYERS, Page 14

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MICHAEL MYERS, from Page 12

He, and now Karysa too, both longed for Texas. Thankfully, the happy decision (for all of us) was made to move back to his much-missed Dripping Springs ranch. And, since returning in 2006, a very accessible Michael (now with family. He’s added a daughter and son) has never stopped writing and performing, gathering accolades and an ever-growing fan base along the way. He recently released a well-received EP entitled “Mentions of a Muse” comprised of five new Myers compositions. Better yet for those of us in-the-know, this tested veteran can still be easily (and regularly) found entertaining eager crowds throughout Central Texas, usually with just his acoustic guitar while often backed up by his 14-year-old son. With a swelling portfolio of original songs to his credit, each appearance is generally more “Michael” than not and many of the heart-felt tunes (the best ones we think) continue to emotionally reflect his Hill Country heritage, — which we all can definitely relate to. So, be on the look-

Michael Myers (L) performs with his son, Ty.

out for a Michael Myers appearance because, it’ll be good, all good! Photos courtesy Michael Myers. For appearance dates and locations and new releases, find Michael Myers Music on Instagram and Facebook. His songs can also be found on Amazon, Spotify and Apple Music.

Boerne Performing Arts announces 10th Anniversary Season


eturning to the stage January 29, 2022 and highlighting the 10th anniversary festivities is “Neil Berg’s 50 Years Of Rock And Roll.” The show features musicians and Broadway/Rock & Roll artists performing iconic songs from the 1940’s to the ’80s, from Chuck Berry to the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. February 24, 2022, enjoy some of Australia’s favorite crooners, The Ten Tenors for “Love Is in the Air!” Performances include selections that capture the romance of wedding first dance songs and cover many favorite romantic tunes, from pop songs with a twist to classic love songs. Momix, thrilling fans in more than 22 countries and featured on stage, screen, and television, performs March 24, 2022. The internationally-acclaimed dance illusionists transport audiences to a fantasy world through magical lighting and imagery. In an endless search to deliver the imaginative and unexpected creative experience, Artistic Director Moses Pendleton combines athletic dance, riveting music, outrageous costumes, inventive props and pure talent to create an entertaining multimedia experience that will surprise, enchant and astonish in “Viva Momix”! As a holiday addition to the three-concert series, Boerne Performing Arts is excited to offer a special event on December 16, 2021, ushering in the holiday season with Voctave, an 11-member a cappella group with roots in Walt

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Disney World Entertainment. Known for their stunning performances of Disney and Broadway hits, the repertoire ranges from gospel to pop to musical theatre. With seven albums available on all platforms and more than 150 million views on YouTube and Facebook, Voctave are rising superstars in the a cappella world. Their holiday show, “The Spirit of the Season,” promises to be a magical evening celebrating the spirit of the holiday season! Please note: This performance is a special event and is an additional ticket to the 2022 three-concert series. Special Event tickets to the Voctave concert are available only with the purchase of 2022 season tickets at this time, giving season ticket holders priority for tickets to that event. Single tickets for all four events go on sale November 1. Since its inception, Boerne Performing Arts (BPA) has presented more than 30 concerts from around the globe. In addition, more than 26,000 students have attended a Boerne Performing Arts FOR KIDS student outreach performance. In its’ first ten seasons, BPA has fulfilled its’ mission to feature internationally acclaimed artists, educate through student outreach programs, and enrich the quality of life in the community. For details, visit the website at BoernePerformingArts.com

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October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   15 7/6/21 9:31 PM

Blanco Betty’s City House

Betty B’s Bed & Breakfast By ERNIE ALTGELT


visit to bucolic Blanco can definitely be a blast – the eats, the shops, the park, the pastimes. Well, you get the picture. There’s just a lot to do. And, as a matter of fact, there’s so much so that you better plan on staying a while. But that can be a blast too, especially if you’re lucky (and smart) enough to have booked accommodations at either of Betty B’s B&Bs offerings. Yep, for Blanco’s best homes-away-from-home nothing beats a Betty B. So, make it a point to “B” there! Hmm, who is this Betty B? Truth be told, she’s something of a mystery – part legend, part former resident, part imaginary character. Some say she’s real. Others aren’t so sure. Whatever, in Blanco among the paying guests, her name is gold and, there’s good reason for that. But more on that later. While Betty B’s Bed and Breakfasts (there are two free-standing houses) only date back to 2020, what comes to mind to the experienced are both lodging’s exceptional comfort and convenience each uniquely situated on properties boasting distinct personalities and attributes. One is downtown-centric (right off the iconic courthouse square) and very close to the urban action. It’s appropriately named the “City House.” The other, a short distance away, features stunning Blanco River vistas overflowing with other natural views hence its moniker, the “River House.” Both exude hospitality, charm, coziness and cool vibes. Let’s start with the City House. Built in the 1950s, this mid-20th Century classic radiates with the styles of that transformative decade. The structure itself has been lovingly updated while preserving much of the very neat decor from that period. With its mid-town location, dining, shopping or enjoying a “cool one” is quite literally, a step or two away. The one-story house is split into two rentable sections – one with two bedrooms, one bath, living room and full kitchen. The other side is similar but only has one bedroom. As a result of the refurbishment both sides are equipped with the latest appliances and amenities (free wi-fi, flat-screen, smart TV, laptop-friendly workspace, etc.). There are also all of the smaller necessities on hand 16 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

including cookware, dishware, flatware and other musthaves. The City House also even comes equipped with two neat “cruiser” bikes perfect for pedaling around the town. A traditional, well-kept suburban yard and ample parking complete this inclusive package. The very popular River House is actually situated near the banks of the beautiful Blanco River. And, while it’s in town too and just a bit off Main Street, it still feels like you’re out in the country. Anyway, the appealing cottage itself was originally a 1920s farm house that, like the City House, underwent a complete restoration while retaining its past character. It also now has the same modern updates that its sister B&B features and provides two bedrooms, one bath plus the fully-equipped kitchen and living areas with plenty of parking out back. It’s the location however that attracts guests to this site. With the entrance to the enjoyable Blanco State Park and its alluring water features a mere 800 feet from the cottage’s front door, bathing-suited guests can easily go back and forth between the park’s cooling shores and their private Betty B get-away. And, with the town center only one-half mile away, a visit to the many urban entertainments is no problem either. With the River House think in terms of having the “best of both worlds.” See BETTY B’s, Page 18

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BETTY B’s, from Page 16

Additionally, the generous, manicured grounds encompassing this property sport shady outdoor seating, a fire pit and even an adult-friendly treehouse that enhances the many views of the river and surrounding natural area. Kids love this place. You will too. Both B&Bs are available throughout the year and are ideal, not just for couples or immediate family groups but also make excellent venues for larger events and retreats. Check out the website for rates, availability, sleeping capacities and other pertinent information. So, let’s get back to the name. Was/is there a real Betty B? The answer is “yes and no.” When queried about this issue, owner/operators Amy and Mike Arnold confess that yes, “The lady we bought the City House from was named Betty B but she never ran a B&B.” After acquiring the River House property and then deciding to get into the hospitality biz, the Arnolds felt the need to create a “persona” to help communicate their overriding philosophy and deep commitment towards their future clientele’s wellbeing and a sympathetic Betty B character filled that need. And now that she’s become imbedded in Blanco lore, Amy and Mike attest, “That’s just fine.” Well, whatever the story, if you’re booking it over to Blanco, book first at Betty B’s because she’ll be looking for you! Photos courtesy Betty B’s. For much more about Betty B’s B&Bs, visit its website at: blancobettyb.com or call (210) 240-3290. You can also reach Mike and Amy via email at: amy@blancobettyb.com.

Blanco Betty’s River House 18 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021


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y e l l a V y e l r e b m i W




he threads of creativity run joyously throughout and about Wimberley. Just consider its many practicing artisans, craftsmen and women and others who’ve embraced this nurturing community where dreams can come to fruition via multiple media. And, while rendered examples abound throughout the town and countryside representing myriad art forms, perhaps the most unique can be experienced at Wimberley Valley SAORI – a functioning studio, gallery, retail shop and classroom dedicated solely to advancing a Japanese weaving discipline based on unfettered freedom and imagination. Before a further introduction to Wimberley Valley SAORI, a better understanding of just what SAORI is, is in order. It was developed in Japan around 1970 by the always curious Misao Jo who, at age 57, decided she would like to learn how to weave. SAORI is actually a contraction of her name meaning “Misao’s Weaving” but, SAORI also translates as “SAI: everything having individuality and dignity” and “Ori: weaving.” And, the latter certainly applies in regards to the output of Misao Jo’s breakaway art because, each finished creation truly was one-of-a kind. But, that’s just what the pioneering artist had in mind – complete freedom of expression through textiles. Subsequently, throughout her country, and later the world, the popularity of her craft took root and has found a very large following. SAORI works were, and still are produced on exquisite looms initially developed by two of Misao’s sons but, beyond the equipment employed, the diverse materials and techniques used today are as varied as the practitioners and their creations. Whatever, to truly understand, one must first experience samples of completed work which might include amazing wearables, wall hangings, table throws and a thousand other fabric uses. What the works do share is, they are all esthetically surprising and stunning and, that’s what makes it all so neat.

See SAORI, Page 21

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Kathy Utts

SAORI, from Page 20

One of Kathy’s beautiful, wearable SAORI creations.

And, because of this alluring “no rules” method of creation and overt individualism, arty folks have been drawn to Saori since its inception. Wimberley’s talented Kathy Utts was one. Before founding Wimberley Valley SAORI, Kathy, who’s had a long background artistically working with fabrics (sewing, knitting, weaving, etc.), discovered the Japanese style and quickly became enamored too. So much so, that, after training in Atlanta, Georgia, Worchester, Massachusetts and even Osaka, Japan, she not only became adept at the Eastern art form (currently, her work has been featured in several galleries and high-end retail shops in the Southwest) but was also approved to open her own teaching studio in 2017. Hence, the birth of her Wimberley Valley SAORI, located on beautiful acreage a few minutes from the town’s square. And, it’s become a popular oasis of creativity attracting locals and out-of-towers alike all seeking new and challenging outlets for visual expression. As proof, enrollment at the center for the various classes offered provide ample testimony as new participants continually join the excitement. A visit to the center is a joy unto itself with inspirational views of the surrounding countryside. But, it’s within the studio where creativity finds fulfillment. In the spacious, naturally-illuminated interior, six authentic SAORI looms await both first time weavers and/or experienced fiber artists alike. Kathy, always on hand, not only functions as the studio’s teacher and encourager but also as its “guide” making gentle suggestions to help students “think outside of the box” as each approaches their individual projects. The entire atmosphere is conducive to energizing and stimulating the creative act and, that’s quite a thrill. To further inspiration, part of the weaving studio also houses a well-stocked “retail area” replete with imported and domestic fabrics, natural yarns, decorative materials and other supplies useful for the SAORI process along with an adjacent gallery displaying works by Kathy and others. All in all, Wimberley Valley SAORI is everything anyone curious about exploring their own creativity could desire – space, equipment, knowledge, assistance, stimulus, motivation and especially, “welcoming vibes!” Photos courtesy Wimberley Valley SAORI. FYI • For more comprehensive information about Wimberley Valley SAORI including classes and workshops, visit its website at: wimberleyvalleysaori.com. Or, you can contact Kathy via email through the website and on Instagram @wimberleyvalleysaori. The center is located at 765 Gardenia Drive, Wimberley, Texas 78676. COVID STATEMENT: Wimberley Valley SAORI welcomes individuals to the studio who have received their full COVID-19 vaccination(s). Masks are no longer required for students, but they are asked that proof of vaccination is provided in advance and before entering the studio. Currently classes are limited in number to facilitate safe distancing, and hand sanitizer is available upon entering. This policy may be updated as conditions change. October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   21

Lost Maples State Natural Area By ROB MCCORKLE Texas Parks & Wildlife Department


Photo © Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

he Sabinal River and its several tributaries have carved limestone canyons through the nearly 3,000-acre park straddling Bandera and Real counties at the western fringes of the Edwards Plateau. Here, the canyons’ moist, cool microclimates support a remarkable diversity of plant life found few other places in Texas. The bigtooth maple tree ranks as the park’s marquee species. In late autumn most years, the stands of old-growth maples set the canyons ablaze in a riot of red, orange and gold foliage, drawing upwards of 50,000 leaf-peepers to the state natural area. The western cousin of the eastern sugar maple retained a foothold in the Hill Country canyons after vast sheets of ice advanced southward across North America almost to present-day Texas, and then retreated. (For an explanation Photo by LeAnn of the park’s geological history and information aboutSharp. the bigtooth maple and other indigenous plant species, visit the exhibit hall in the park headquarters.) Lost Maples State Natural Area is home to the state’s largest known species of the bigtooth, also known as the Uvalde bigtooth maple and canyon maple. The 40-foot tall maple with a 45-foot crown spread stands at the head of the park’s most popular trail, the .8-mile Maple Trail, just a few steps from the day-use area parking lot. However, to really appreciate this wondrous arboretum, visitors should park their vehicle and stroll the wooded canyon trails that traverse the upland canyons of the Sabinal River, as well as Can, Hale Hollow and Lane creeks. But no matter the time of year, Lost Maples SNA makes a worthwhile destination that will not disappoint. Visitors hoping to enjoy the park under less crowded conditions of late October and early November when the maples’ color peaks should consider an early fall visit. Nights tend to cool off and during warm, sunny days, the waters of the Sabinal and spring-fed swimming holes prove tempting spots to take a soothing splash. Almost 11 miles of well-marked trails lead to scenic overlooks, spring-fed ponds populated by Texas’ state fish, the Guadalupe bass, prime birding habitat and 30 primitive backpack camping sites. Composting toilets near several backcountry campsites make the wilderness experience a bit more pleasant. The Maple Trail provides the easiest access to the park’s natural wonders, traversing mostly flat terrain through a moist, shaded Sabinal River canyon. Mature bigtooths share fertile canyon habitat with monstrous chinkapin and Lacey’s oaks, Florida basswood, pecan, black willow, green ash and See LOST MAPLES SNA, Page 23

22 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

LOST MAPLES SNA, from Page 22

American sycamore. Boulders the size of a subcompact car sit in the middle of the river and at the base of soaring limestone cliffs. Because of the canyonlands’ microclimate effect, the park contains numerous species of plants and animals of both eastern and western affinity, as well as rare species endemic to the Balcones Escarpment. Found here are the unusual Texas madrone tree, three kinds of buckeye, witch hazel (common in Mississippi), six different kinds of oaks, Texas mock orange and sycamore-leaf snowbell whose white clusters of flowers bloom in late September. The park’s birdlife reflects Lost Maples’ location in the North America’s central flyway, as well as its diversity of habitat that includes grasslands and scrublands; mixed evergreen and deciduous escarpment woodlands; and streamside woodlands. Birders from around the world visit the park to catch a glimpse of the endangered goldencheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, as well as specialty birds such as the green kingfisher and zone-tailed hawk.

Water-and-electric campsites are at a premium at Lost Maples SNA. The 30 campsites, which also feature in-ground barbecue pits and shaded picnic tables, book up to five months in advance for the peak fall foliage period. Other times of the year, booking reservations early is recommended. In keeping with Lost Maples’ state natural area designation, the park has limited development and facilities. However, young and old alike can enjoy nature photography, hiking, camping, bird watching, backpacking, fishing and swimming. Photos by LeAnn Sharp. The day use-only park entry fees for persons 13 and older are $6. You can pre-pay entrance a month ahead of your date of arrival to assure entrance during busy seasons. Hike-in campsites are $10 a night and water-electric sites are $20. Lost Maples State Natural Area is located about an hour’s drive southwest of Kerrville and five miles north of Vanderpool on Ranch Road 187. Parking at Lost Maples State Natural Area is limited to 250 cars, so schedule fall trips during the weekdays, if possible. All reservations should be paid in full at the time they are made.

985 S. Hwy 83

just south of Hwy 83 and RR 1120

www.rusticfrio.com October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   23


Town and surrounding countryside are filled with scarecrows & fall decorations


Vendors • Santa • Parade Fireworks & More!

in Historic Comfort, Texas For more information 830-995-3131 or info@ComfortChamber.com

24 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

Calendar of Events Please call in advance or check websites to be sure events are running as scheduled. EVERY NIGHT DRIFTWOOD: Live music every night (except Fridays) at Hays City Store. hayscitystoretx.com. EVERY TUESDAY GRUENE: Two Ton Tuesdays. Gruene Hall. gruenehall.com. JOHNSON CITY: Food and Wine Pairing Dinners at Bryans on 290. bryanson290.com. FIRST TUESDAY BANDERA: Cowboy Capital Opry. Artists donate their time and talents to benefit Meals On Wheels. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Popcorn, soft drinks, and water are available for $1. silversage.org. EVERY FRIDAY & SATURDAY JOHNSON CITY: Rhythm on the Vine®. Sip and savor Carter Creek wines, Old 290 Brewery craft beers and authentic Texas fare while enjoying live music. cartercreek.com/calendar-of-events. FIRST SATURDAY BANDERA: Market Day. Arts and crafts vendors sell their wares and merchandise on Main Street. banderacowboycapital.com. WIMBERLEY: Market Day (March-December). More than 450 vendors at Lions Field. wimberleymarketday.com. THIRD SATURDAY LEAKEY: Market Days. (March through December) 9 am to 5 pm. At Pearls, 441 US Highway 83 South. EVERY WEEKEND DRIPPING SPRINGS: Live Music at Fox 12 Brewing. 12foxbeer.com. EVERY WEEKEND IN OCTOBER MEDINA: Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch. Hay maze for small children, music, and storytelling, an orchard tour, hay rides, pumpkin painting if you purchase a pumpkin, a petting zoo, and a cider press. lovecreekorchards.com. SECOND WEEKEND BOERNE: Market Days. Hundreds of festive booths display everything from collectibles a to modern innovations that bring a smile of wonder to those who stroll past. boernemarketdays.com. THIRD WEEKEND GRUENE: Old Gruene Market Days. Nearly 100 vendors offer gifts, uniquely crafted items, and Texas foods February - November and first weekend of December. 10 am-5 pm. gruenemarketdays.com. OCTOBER 21-28 AUSTIN: Austin Film Festival. Cinematic event shines the spotlight on both top-billed films and indies alike. austinfilmfestival.com. OCTOBER 25-31 AUSTIN: Texas Book Festival. Premier literary event hosts about 250 authors each year. texasbookfestival.org. OCTOBER 30 BOERNE: Music in the Cave – The Haunted Show. Cave Without a Name Throne Room. cavewithoutaname.com. OCTOBER 29-31 WIMBERLEY: Train Ride of Terror. Journey with a narrator on the newly restored train and one-mile track meandering through a spooky forest in this Wimberley Players /7A Ranch collaboration. 7aranch.co. NOVEMBER 5 BANDERA: Buckfest Dinner and Dance. Live music and a dance. Mansfield Park Rec Barn. banderacowboycapital.com.

CALENDAR, from Page 24

NOVEMBER 5-7 AUSTIN: Food and Wine Festival. Auditorium Shores. austinfoodandwinefestival.com. NOVEMBER 5-14 NEW BRAUNFELS: Wurstfest. Entertainment, food, and fun celebrating German culture. Enjoy carnival rides, games, German and Texan beers, special events, more. playinnewbraunfels.com. NOVEMBER 6 BOERNE: Music in the Cave – An Evening with Slaid Cleaves. Cave Without a Name Throne Room. cavewithoutaname.com. NOVEMBER 9 CONCAN: Fall Fest on the Frio. Features food trucks, craft vendors, live music, face painting, a pumpkin patch, and kids activities. Andy’s on River Road. visituvaldecounty.com. NOVEMBER 12-13 FREDERICKSBURG: Texas Hill Country Cowboy Gathering. Songwriters, poets, balladeers, and artists pay tribute to the legend and cowboy spirit in all of us. fredericksburgtheater.org. NOVEMBER 19-20 BOERNE: Handmade Market. 80 handmade-only vendors selling unique items, including bath and body products, toys, home goods and decor, candles, gifts and food. boernehandmademarket.com. WIMBERLEY: Winter Wonderland. Beautiful Christmas trees, wreaths and Thanksgiving centerpieces, Santa, food, drink, music, at Wimberley Community Center. 512-847-2201, info@ wimberley.org. NOVEMBER 19-21 FREDERICKSBURG: Trade Days. Shop more than 350 vendors in seven barns and acres of antiques, collectibles, tools, crafts, shabby chic, primitives, ranch furniture, hunting accessories, candles, unique clothing, jewelry, food, and other items. fbgtradedays.com. NOVEMBER 19 – JANUARY 2, 2022 MARBLE FALLS: Walkway of Lights. Two million lights on more than 130 sculptures illuminate Lakeside Park. On weekends and holidays, children can visit with Santa and his elves. visitmarblefalls.org. NOVEMBER 20-21 BOERNE: Fall Antiques Show. Exhibitors gather their treasures from estates around the country and save their best for this nationally acclaimed antiques show. texasantiqueshows.com. NOVEMBER 25 LEAKEY: Festivity of Lights. Downtown. 713-203-9549.crafts, shabby chic, primitives, ranch furniture, hunting accessories, candles, unique clothing, jewelry, food, more. Lights remain up through January 19, 2022. Find them on Facebook. JOHNSON CITY: Lights Spectacular Market. Right in time for the holidays, find local vendors selling handmade and original items. There are more than 100 vendors on site, plus food trucks. Courthouse Square. johnsoncitytexasvisitorcenter.com. NOVEMBER 26 BULVERDE: Christmas Lighting. Start the holiday season with vendors booths and plenty of Christmas cheer. Santa arrives in the evening, and there will be music, a living Nativity scene, and real snow. Old Village in Downtown Bulverde. bsbchamber.com. NOVEMBER 26-27 AUSTIN: Austin Area Jazz Fest. Celebration of music, culture, diversity, and the arts. Enjoy entertainment from top-tier local and national jazz musicians, be wowed by visual artists, enjoy an extraordinary weekend of live music and fun. austinareajazzfestival.com. NOVEMBER 26 – DECEMBER 31 Llano: Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park. Sip hot chocolate and stroll along the Llano River enjoying all of the displays that light up Badu Park. llanostarrystarrynights.com.

NOVEMBER 26 – JANUARY 2, 2022 FREDERICKSBURG: Eisbahn Outdoor Ice Skating. Since 2008, this annual seasonal outdoor ice skating rink has been an integral part of the Christmas season in Fredericksburg and the Hill Country. One hundred percent of the families at the Heritage School volunteer to work on Eisbahn, with proceeds benefiting the Heritage School, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Fredericksburg. Marktplatz. heritageschool.org/eisbahn. NOVEMBER 27 BOERNE: Music in the Cave – Sounds of the Season. Enjoy a cappella quartet Tinsel for sounds of the Christmas season including contemporary classics and beloved carols. Cave Without a Name Throne Room. cavewithoutaname.com. COMFORT: Christmas in Comfort. Ring in the holiday season with craft and food vendors lining the streets of downtown Comfort. Family activities include a petting zoo, Santa Land, face painting, and crafts. There is live entertainment all day and a lighted parade at night followed by fireworks. comfort-texas.com. LEAKEY: Christmas on the Square. Downtown Square at Real County Courthouse. 9 am to 4 pm. friocanyonchamber.com. DECEMBER 1-17 KERRVILLE: 22nd AnnualTexas Furniture Makers Show. Kerr Arts and Cultural Center. kacckerrville.com. DECEMBER 1-24 FREDERICKSBURG: A Christmas Wine Affair. Savor all that Texas Wine Country has to offer this holiday season by sipping and sampling award-winning wines at participating Texas Hill Country wineries. texaswinetrail.com. 2022 SEASON



TICKETS: $20-$60

JANUARY 29 All performances at 7:30 pm at Boerne Champion Auditorium

FEBRUARY 24 BoernePerformingArts.com 830.331.9079


Event f the Season” l a i c e p o S e Spirit “Th

DECEMBER 16, 2021 October/November/December 2021 Hill Country SUN   25

Fun for the whole family! Don’t miss!

Kerrville Renaissance Festival

Jan 28, 29, 30 & Feb 5, 6 Kerrville, Texas

Discount tickets and seasons passes available online and save $3 a ticket


Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

26 Hill Country SUN   October/November/December 2021

CALENDAR, from Page 25

DECEMBER 1-25 COMFORT: Holiday Decorating and Lighting Contest. See businesses and homes lit up for the holiday season with tremendous displays and decorations. comfort-texas.com. DECEMBER 1-31 COMFORT: Life-Size Nativity Display. The Nativity scene that formerly graced the Sears building in San Antonio resides at Comfort Park each holiday season. For more than 50 years, the life-size Nativity scene has been tastefully displayed here. Visit during the day or after dark when they are lighted. comfort-texas.com. DECEMBER 3 FREDERICKSBURG: Light the Night Christmas Parade and After Glow. See Fredericksburg’s historic Main Street awash in the glow of this illuminated holiday night parade. Main Street. lightthenightchristmasparade.com. LEAKEY: Frio Canyon Chamber Gala at Frio Pecan Farm. friocanyonchamber.com. DECEMBER 3-31 BANDERA: Cowboy Christmas. The sights and sounds of Christmas take a Western spin in the Cowboy Capital of the World. Previous years have seen lighted Christmas displays, lighted hayrides with hot chocolate and caroling, cowboy songs, kids entertainment, and goat roping. banderacowboycapital.com. DECEMBER 4 DRIPPING SPRINGS: Christmas on Mercer. Arts, crafts, vendors, music, Santa and more, plus tree lighting and caroling at dusk. 10 am to 5 pm. cityofdrippingsprings.com/christmas-mercer. GRUENE: Holidays in Gruene. Pony Express rider from the Heritage Trail Ride Association, annual town lighting, Cowboy Kringle and much more. holidaysingruene.com. DECEMBER 4-5 KERRVILLE: Redbud Artisan Market. Handmade market with 50plus Texas artisans. Inn of the Hills. Free admission. 512-660-3328. DECEMBER 4-5, 8-12, 15-26 WIMBERLEY: EmilyAnn Theatre Trail of Lights. Open 6 pm to 9 pm weeknights and ‘til 10 pm Friday and Saturday nights. emilyann.org. DECEMBER 4-23 AUSTIN: “The Nutcracker.” The Long Center. balletaustin.org. DECEMBER 11 BURNET: Christmas on the Square. Don’t miss the parade and visits with Santa. burnetchamber.org. WIMBERLEY: Winter’s Eve. Shopping, food, live music, and shops open late on the Wimberley Square. wimberleymerchants.com. DECEMBER 15-24 AUSTIN: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. Fine art shopping destination featuring national and local award-winning artists alongside live music in festive atmosphere. armadillobazaar.com. DECEMBER 18-19 BOERNE: Christmas Market Days. boernemarketdays.com. DECEMBER 26 SAN MARCOS: Slightly iRRegulars annual clearance at Wimberley Glassworks with live demos and up to 75% off art glass and lighting. Come find your perfect imperfection. WGW.COM DECEMBER 31 LUCKENBACH: New Year’s Eve Celebration. Annual New Year’s Eve dance in the historic Luckenbach Dancehall. luckenbachtexas.com. JANUARY 28-30 & FEBRUARY 5-6, 2022 KERRVILLE: Renaissance Festival. Handmade crafts, entertainment, food and fun. kerrvillerenfest.com.

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