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Head for the Hills

25 Things I Love About the Hill Country.
by Suzy Banks


SURE, I ADORE THE HILL COUNTRY. Of course, I have to avert my eyes from a few aws, like towns where I can sling a baby back rib and hit a Home Depot or a Chili's restaurant. (Good-bye Boerne, Kerrville, Marble Falls, and Touristenburg—uh, I mean Fredericksburg.) But if you know where to look, the spirit of the old Hill Country can still be found— in a hidden cabin, a dog-friendly beer joint, an unspoiled stretch of river. So even though I have to dig a bit deeper to uncover its treasures, I'll never stop loving this celebrated heart of Texas.

Of the thousands of lodging options in the Hill Country (hundreds in Fredericksburg alone), only a fraction are outstanding. I'll admit to a strong bias toward cabins, but I'd rather spend the night in the Bates Motel than in some of the plywood sweatboxes I've seen crammed together on a barren strip of river frontage. (Oh, who did your decorating? A prison warden?) What a relief, then, to discover Don and Lisa Yaklin's Frio River Cabins, especially cabin 7. Tucked away in a thicket of huge oaks in a remote corner of 170 nature-friendly acres, the masonry cabin is comfy without being fussy, with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and even an electric fireplace. And if you've come here for the river, you won't be disappointed. A short path leads from the porch down a slope to one of the most idyllic, private spots on the Frio that I've ever seen. 1.5 miles north of the entrance to Garner State Park, on U.S. 83 between Concan and Leakey; 830-232-5996, fax 232-6566; friorivercabins.com.

Country Reporter

Writer-at-large Suzy Banks talks about her feature story, "Head for the Hills."
Interview by Patricia Busa McConnico


texasmonthly.com: What would be your ultimate Hill Country weekend getaway? Where would you stay, what would you do?

Suzy Banks: That's tough. In the summer, when I crave water, I'd try to book a few nights at Cabin 10 at the Frio River Cabins just north of Garner State Park. I'd play in the river beneath giant cypress trees all day, then I'd hike Lost Maple at sunset (I ain't scared of a few pigs...).