Our family ended up going to Kerrville one weekend because of a Groupon coupon for a “resort” in the Texas Hill County. We saw pictures of a river, horse back-riding, golf course, wildlife, and a beautiful stone/wood building all for only $65 a night. We took off from Houston expecting something like Concan only with maid service, wifi and cable TV. Turns out, the resort was just a hotel off a busy freeway with room doors facing out to a big ugly parking lot (isn’t that technically a motel?), and it wasn’t on a river. Few of the attractions in the photos on their webpage were actually there at Inn of the Hills Resort. So, trying to make the best of it, we drove to the closest river to check it out.
The scenic stretch of highway leaving Kerrville (39 between Ingram and Hunt) which follows the Guadalupe is the place for many summer camps, resorts and retreats in Texas. It’s beautiful. I didn’t take all that many pictures, but this photographer pretty much captures the scenery: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/90081052). The section around “Mo Ranch,” the Presbyterian retreat and hotel, is really nice.
The locals all know where the public swimming holes are, usually located next to a bridge or dam. Like this one outside of Hunt (Schumacher Crossing) with an ancient cypress tree and rope swing:
There were thousands of little fish schooling in the water and large hawk type birds overhead. . . and a primitive ladder someone built a long, long time ago to climb up into the cypress tree.
For kids used to swimming in swimming pools, river swimming is something of a novelty.
A warning about the safety of swimming in the Guadalupe late in summer: where some spring-fed Texas rivers like the Frio stay cool and flowing all year round, the slow moving Guadalupe isn’t one of these. In the heat of late summer when the water levels fall and temperatures rise, bacteria and E.coli counts can climb to dangerous levels unsafe for swimming. And then there are those brain-eating amoebas. . .
However, we were reassured that the water at this place and at every swimming hole along the upper Guadalupe River is sampled and tested weekly by the UGRA to ensure it is safe for recreational swimming. My husband and I spent summers swimming in water like this in central Texas, so we’re sort of used to it–people used to swimming only in pools might be a bit freaked out at first getting into water where they can’t see the bottom (just looks black or green or a shade in between) or where your toes squish down into a seemingly endless silt floor. I’ll admit I felt comfortable only when other local moms with kids showed up. We didn’t stay long, and it created a good memory for my kids, who had never swam in a river. The rope swing was a novelty for them, something they had seen only on TV.
From Kerrville, it is easy to move on to Concan, Bandera or Medina (about 10 miles). In Medina we discovered pick-ur-own apple orchards, Kinky Friedman, a cute donkey and a longhorn.
Is this big guy standing inside or outside the fence? Who wants to get out of the car to check?
I just want to make a note that we went to back to the area and stayed at “Mo-Ranch” when my son with autism went to Camp CAMP. We stayed the weekend at Mo-Ranch. Mo-Ranch deserves its own write up. Families can stay there and swim in the river; it has a great waterfront. I will see if I can locate and post pictures from that trip or you can just Google Mo-Ranch.