Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Rustic Respite Close to Home

Special to the Austin American Statesman: Sage Hill Inn offers ideal weekend getaway


American Statesman writer Helen Anders shares her recent stay at Sage Hill Inn, highlighting the hill country cuisine, tranquility and quiet relaxation as part of a perfect weekend getaway in Texas. 

Savoring a bite of perfectly medium-rare duck with huckleberry gastrique, I looked around the Sage Hill Inn dining room at hand-holding couples who seemed to feel at home.“A lot of them have been here before,” the waiter confided. So why wasn’t I aware of this treasure of an inn just half an hour from my Austin home? “They want to keep it to themselves,” the waiter said. “They don’t talk about it.” 

Well, allow me to talk about it, because it’s a really sweet getaway for a couple seeking a few days’ escape from the wonderful but relentless Central Texas spring festival season. Kyle doesn’t spring to mind when you think about a romantic respite, but this rustic yet well-designed and comfortable inn fits the bill on the very cusp of the Hill Country. The land is just starting to undulate west of Interstate 35, and the 88-acre property’s driveway off FM 150 (get off I-35 at exit 215) winds beneath live oaks, past prickly pears and clutch after clutch of thriving century plants, many of their stalks shooting skyward. The bluebonnets should be out soon, too.

Built in 1994, the inn offers 16 accommodations, one a three-bedroom house but most guest rooms and suites, either in two graceful stone main buildings or in nearby cabins. I wouldn’t quite call it a full-out luxury situation, but it’s definitely high-end, with first-rate beds and bedding and furnishings and lovely bathrooms. Mine, the Kyle room, included (as many do) a fireplace and large, inviting soaking tub. Fresh flowers stood on the coffee table, and water and even mosquito repellent were provided.

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