Like many a city dweller, I often find myself plotting to move to a small town. Although the plans haven’t gone beyond “someday,” I find it a good excuse to spend my weekends scouting out various hamlets and communities with modest populations, quiet back roads, and at least one noteworthy B&B or boutique hotel where I can take up temporary residency. The following five such retreats are all on my short list to check out soon.
Ben Wheeler // The Wilde House
Details: An above-average Airbnb rental in East Texas with four bedrooms that can accommodate you and nine of your friends and family members.
The vibe: Modern farmhouse with a screened-in porch and wood-burning stove. Think lazy afternoons in the hammocks, dinners on the patio, and little extras like games in the closet and deer corn in the pantry.
Brenham // Murski Homestead Bed & Breakfast
Details: A bucolic four-room B&B set amid rolling pastures near Little Sandy Creek.
The vibe: Shiplap, private porches, roaming horses and donkeys. There’s a smokehouse turned outdoor spa (i.e., a hot tub in a shed) and the proprietress, Pamela, is known to ply guests with homemade treats. It’s popular with foodies who come for Pamela’s cooking classes (she’ll teach you how to make her famed osso bucco and banana soufflé) as well as with eloping couples who come to get hitched under an ancient crepe myrtle tree.
If/when you do get out: Enjoy a brew on the patio at the Brazos Valley Brewing Company, smell your way through the Chappell Hill Lavender Farm, and treat yourself to a scoop or two at the Blue Bell Country Store and Ice Cream Parlor.
Fredericksburg // Hoffman Haus
Details: A luxurious compound of historic German homesteads a block off of the the Hill Country’s most shoppable Main Street.
The vibe: Soothing cream-colored cottages and lots of slipcovered furniture make this B&B feel like a spa (they have one of those too). You can have chicken Provençal or other chef-prepared meals delivered to your room.
If/when you do get out: Yes, there will be shopping. But don’t overlook educational outings at the Pioneer Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific War. There’s also the fifteen-minute hike to the summit of Cross Mountain, which was once a lookout point for the Comanche.
San Saba // Dofflemyer Hotel
Details: A new boutique hotel in an old building in downtown San Saba with five rooms, a suite, and more than a few nods to the town’s history (and love of pecans).
The vibe: Exposed brick, old black and white photographs, and dark woods. The first floor houses Oliver & Co., a bistro serving coffee, confections, and lunch specials.
If/when you do get out: Since you’re already in the heart of town, you may as well take a walking tour of the surrounding historic buildings. You’ll also be within driving distance of the Regency Bridge, the last suspension bridge in Texas that’s open to traffic.
Whitewright // Best Day Ever Ranch
Details: Eight rustic cabins. A 175 acres. You’ll feel yourself relaxing as soon as you step foot on this North Texas guest ranch in the middle of horse country.
The vibe: Flashbacks to your summer camp days with all kinds of activities (hiking, biking, swimming, horseback riding) and a clubhouse stocked with pool tables, a ping-pong table, darts, and other diversions.
If/when you do get out: Easy day trips to nearby Denison, which boasts a number of art galleries as well as Ike’s birthplace, and Sherman, where you can patronize antique shops along the historic Main Street or press on north to the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.