A Summer Weekend in Austin
Recovering at a luxurious (and kid-free!) adult summer camp.
What drew me and my husband to Travaasa was not its spectacular setting on the edge of the Hill Country or its top-notch spa or the exhaustive list of activities, from origami lessons to a fitness class featuring a mechanical bull. What brought us here was the resort’s strict no-child policy. It’s not that we don’t love children—we have two—but we desperately needed time to ourselves.
The first thing we noticed when we arrived was the glorious, unbroken silence. Even though we were only 22 miles from our house in East Austin, the resort—on a secluded, heavily wooded stretch of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve—felt far removed from the city’s traffic-choked urban core. Our room, on the second floor of one of the small lodges perched on a rise, was well-appointed and comfortable, but not posh, and afforded a view of treetops and sky. There were no freeways or high-rises—or civilization, really—in sight.
We got things started off right by heading to the spa. Opting out of the Stevie Ray Vaughan–themed Double Trouble couples massage for couples (featuring “rhythmic movements that are choreographed to Stevie’s blues”), we chose plain old deep-tissue ones. I was so absurdly relaxed that when my massage therapist handed me a glass of water afterward, it slipped from my grasp and spilled onto the carpet. “That happens a lot,” she told me.
Already blissed out, we headed to a tequila tasting at the resort’s restaurant and began with to-die-for margaritas. I didn’t closely follow the history of tequila that our sommelier provided as we then sampled four high-dollar varieties. We skipped the afternoon two-stepping class and walked the grounds instead, ending up at the Solidago Gardens, a peaceful spot in the woods with its own labyrinth.
By the time we sat down to dinner, we were almost giddy at the prospect of not having to hurry home to a babysitter. We began with some full-bodied tempranillo from the nearby town of Stonewall, then feasted on healthy and imaginative dishes like bruschetta with locally sourced antelope and wild-boar bolognese with gluten-free zucchini “fettuccine.” Because it was overcast, the astronomer who usually visits on Saturday nights with his high-powered telescope wasn’t coming. So we did our own star-searching from the hot tub, under a wide-open sky.
My husband slept in the next morning while I set out to take advantage of one of the no fewer than 24 activities on offer that day (Travaasa accurately bills itself as an “adult summer camp” and has some grown-up prices to match; yesterday’s dance class was free, but a private harmonica lesson will run you $125). The most interesting activities—from the Giant Swing, which sends you soaring over the treetops, to the Equine Encounter, in which you don’t ride horses but learn to silently commune with them—were already booked. Lesson learned. Weekend guests, I was told, should plan their visit weeks in advance to snag the most-coveted classes.
After fortifying myself with a kale smoothie, I took a dip in the gorgeous infinity pool, then convinced my husband to join me on a hike before it was time to check out. As we meandered down one of the resort’s wooded trails, we marveled at the enormous leaves from a sycamore tree, the largest leaves we had ever seen. We grabbed two, excited to bring them back to the kids. Relaxed and restored, we were ready to be parents again.