The sun was setting across Lake Buchanan as I curved my way on FM 2341 about an hour northwest of Austin. This is the Texas Hill Country, and the rolling hills on the edge of the lake were a very welcome sight to this Houstonian.

- Highland Lakes offers undiscovered experience -

Recent heavy rains definitely impacted this area of Texas but I am happy to say that the properties in Burnet County were either not impacted or have recovered completely. They are open and ready for business!

I visited three during my recent trip- Canyon of the Eagles, Log Country Cove and Painted Sky Inn.  All three are quiet, neslted in the Hill Country and offer a variety of experiences - perfect for romantic weekends for two, girlfriend getaways or family-friendly gatherings.

Canyon of the Eagles

Canyon of the Eagles is a resort that is located within a Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA)-owned, 940-acre nature park (800 acres being a dedicated nature reserve.) After I completed the roughly 4-hour drive from Houston, I arrived to find a place that has made a wonderful balance between luxury and nature. The rooms themselves are interesting in that there are no televisions. The property has 16 structures house 62 well-appointed guest rooms. Guest rooms offer either one or two queen-size beds and Hill Country style décor. The guest rooms were arranged wonderfully, so you don’t see any other buildings while looking out of the window toward the lake. It really feels like you have the luxury of a private cabin. While they do have a recreation room on site with a TV, the point of Canyon of the Eagles is to get out and experience what the Hill Country has to offer. On one side of the resort is the 800-acre LCRA nature reserve featuring 14 miles of hiking trails and even a star observatory operated by the Austin Astronomical Society.

This waterfall is just one delight you will see on the Vanishing Texas River Cruise.
Lake Buchanan offers your normal water activities, and Canyon of the Eagles has partnered with Buchanan Adventure Tours (www.buchananadventuretours.com) to offer several premium recreation experiences like canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. They also offer outdoor activities for kids like a night-time insect collecting tour and geocaching, a type of treasure hunt using GPS. 

Canyon of the Eagles also offers several seasonal educational programs with some on a regular schedule like “Shake, Rattle & Coil,” a hands-on reptile program. Others are seasonal and can be booked in advance. The very popular "Owl Prowl"  can be booked during late fall through the winter and screech owls are called into their outdoor amphitheater using recordings. They also offer a canyon boat cruise which takes guests through the lake, home to many bald eagles.

One of the gems of Canyon of the Eagles is The Overlook Restaurant, located a short walk from all of the guest rooms. The Overlook Restaurant serves all three meals every day, and it was truly a culinary delight. Breakfast is done from an a la carte menu every day with a buffet offered on the weekends as well. You can eat lunch either on site or it can be ordered for takeout to enjoy wherever that day adventures take you. The Overlook has a nice and balanced dinner menu that can be family friendly (Famous Canyon Burger and Fries, $12) or a little more debonaire (spinach and goat cheese salad, $10, with chicken fried wild boar $19). The wine list features bottles mostly in the $20-$25 range with a prominent selection from the vineyard across the lake, Fall Creek Vineyards (www.fcv.com), is worth a few hours exploration on its own. And while the food was outstanding, the view is just as scrumptious as you take in the sun setting across Lake Buchanan. Another unique thing that Canyon of the Eagles allows is their pet friendly policy.

In 2012, husband and wife team, Dave and Quynh Rathkamp (shown), decided to swap their jobs as physicians to open Save The World Brewery, America's first 100 percent philanthropic production craft brewery.
The Double Horn Draft Brewery in downtown Burnet is a great place to taste craft beer.

 

For a small charge, your dog is welcome to come with you and explore the 14 miles of hiking trails. The fee is sometimes waived if booking one of the special packages from Canyon of the Eagles website. (www.canyonoftheeagles.com). packages have included dinner at the Overlook Restaurant or even guided horseback riding at a nearby ranch. Other opportunities offered at Canyon of the Eagles include nearly 5,000 square-feet of indoor meeting space with maximum single room capacity of 230. Other park features include 24 full-hookup RV sites, 33 spacious campsites, an outdoor amphitheater, a beautiful lakeside labyrinth and a Monarch butterfly waystation.
 
Massive firs from British Columbia have been used to create splendid lodging at Log Country Cove.

Log Country Cove 

This spectacular resort (www.logcountrycove.com) is one stunning building after another.   Log Country Cove spans 170 acres of Hill Country and lake life. With over 45 log homes on site, they offer accommodations from a single bedroom to homes that sleep 35 in their custom log homes, crafted with trees from British Columbia.  Log Country Cove's part of Lake LBJ is particularly pretty. Their cabins are strategically situated on the waterfront and provide a beautiful view of the water

Rentals are available from a three-night minimum to monthly. Each of the majestic log cabins is unique and is nestled in a wooded area of cedar, oak and pecan trees and most offer a water view.  Guests will be amazed at the sheer size of the logs taken from huge Canadian spruce trees. Concertina lights are strung through the thousands of trees. creating a deeply warm and nurtuing experience. Most of the cabins have WiFi, a barbecue pit and a swimming pool or hot tub.  Each cabin comes with a kitchen that has a refrigerator, stove, and microwave. All pots and pans, dinnerware and utensils are furnished. 

 

Painted Sky Inn

This charming hidden Texas getaway is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Buchanan. Located on a quiet peninsula, all rooms have a panoramic view of Lake Buchanan and the Central Texas Hill Country. Fully remodeled in 2011, Painted Sky Inn (www.paintedskyinn.com) reflects a clean and simple aesthetic to compliment its natural and serene setting. With room accommodations for up to 40 people, this intimate gem is perfect for year-round romantic getaways and family get-togethers. Each room offers a kitchen, dining nook and a porch to sit and check out the lake. Wild deer amble across the property and you can easily enjoy the Vanishing Texas River Cruise  to explore the Highland Lakes region, the native wildlife, the cascading waterfalls and towering cliffs with the possibility of seeing bald eagles. 

 

Nearby attractions:

Restaurants
 
Trailblazer Grill  -  A great experience every time. Burgers are excellent as are the chicken pot pies. Owners Trace and Liz Catlin offer live music twice a week and tons of smiles.
 
Bluebonnet Cafe - great Texas cooking with famous homemade pies-to-die-for (Pie Happy Hour is 3-5 Monday-Friday.)
The Bluebonnet Cafe offers a pie "happy hour" every week day.
Come enjoy the bluebonnets if you visit in spring.

 

Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Owner
A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.