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In search of Texas blossoms

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R Place, located in Texas' Washington County, bears the appearance of a 1920s machine shop. Inside, however, you'll find the region's most mouth-watering barbecue.

PHOTO BY ROSEANNA SCHICK Enlarge Image

R Place, located in Texas' Washington County, bears the appearance of a 1920s machine shop. Inside, however, you'll find the region's most mouth-watering barbecue. Photo Store

I like flowers. Even though I don’t have any inkling of a green thumb, I can still appreciate the beauty of colourful buds.

So when I heard that Texas is blanketed with blossoms each spring, I wanted to witness the floral splendor, and stop and smell the bluebonnets. But first, we’d have to find them.

Halfway between Houston and Austin is the scenic and historic region of Washington County. Renowned as the "birthplace of Texas," it’s here the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed in 1836. Today, you can tour a replica of Independence Hall, or enjoy just-like-home-cooking at R Place. From the outside, this diner resembles a tin-covered machine shop circa 1920. But inside it serves up some of the region’s most mouth-watering barbecue and tangy potato salad.

I’ve always associated Texas with cowboys, and was thrilled for the chance to become one for the morning. Texas Ranch Life is a working ranch resort home to quarter horses, American bison, and one of the country’s largest Texas Longhorn herds. After some important instruction in horsemanship, we got to experience an open range ride.

My magnificent horse, Tommy, was strong and supple, and eager to manoeuvre to the front of the pack, even though there was another horse up there we’d been warned to stay away from because it likes to kick other horses that get too close. Once armed with that crucial information, I spent the rest of the ride trying to get Tommy to chill out and find his stride as a middle-of-the-pack horse.  

For authentically Texas accommodation, Lillian Farms Bed & Breakfast has a Victorian-style mansion with all the modern conveniences, and homemade cupcakes. Situated on a hilltop overlooking 230 picturesque acres, each of the five guest rooms come with private bath and quaint themes. I was assigned the Angel’s Nest Suite with a ceiling painted like the sky, large bay windows, and a gigantic bed that required a stool to climb up into.

The nearby city of Brenham, with a population of just over 14,000, makes an awesome off-the-beaten-path getaway. Here you’ll find quaint B & Bs, antique shops, botanical gardens, and wineries that offer unique blends like jalapeno red and lavender white.

Brenham is in the heart of wildflower country, so we set out on an afternoon drive through the rolling Texas hills in search of blooms. The late spring this year meant we were about two weeks too early to see blankets of bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. Even so, it didn’t take us long to discover patches of flowers — not only bluebonnets, but also Texas Paintbrush, Indian Blanket, and other kinds.

Delayed spring also meant the sweet smell of lavender was not yet in the air at Chappell Hill Lavender Farm, nor were there roses decorating the expansive gardens at Antique Rose Emporium. Regardless, I strolled about the cobblestone pathways anyway, imagining the floral beauty that would soon be in abundance, and soaking up the Texas sunset right there in that moment, made just for me.

RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller and music lover who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email her at rascreative@yahoo.ca

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