by Leanne Holley, Editor, Texas Wine and Trail Magazine
Inspired by Wine Enthusiasts “10 Most Unusual Spots to Sip Wine,” I’ve assembled our own collection of destinations to enjoy a glass or bottle of Texas wine, all as diverse and incredible as the state it hails from.
IN A GONDOLA
Couples, or a small group can enjoy a gondola ride with Gondola Adventures, Inc. They provide private, romantic gondola cruises on Lake Carolyn and the Mandalay Canals in Irving (Las Colinas).
Not only can you sip Texas wines from local wineries such as Inwood Estates or Calais Winery, while cruising Venetian style, there’s the opportunity to enjoy chocolates, a light appetizer, lunch , or dinner all while being personally serenaded by your gondolier.
ON A MAGIC GRANITE DOME
Enchanted Rock is a special attraction in the Texas Hill Country (Edwards Plateau). There is a scientific explanation to the rock being “enchanted.” Second largest granite batholith in the United States, it absorbs the intense Texas heat all day, then at sundown, it rapidly cools as the sun dips below the horizon. This dramatic temperature change causes the granite to make all sorts of mysterious sounds. Many historic legends surround Enchanted Rock, and today it is an attraction for bouldering enthusiasts, spiritualists, scientists, and anyone wishing to be a part of its peaceful essence. After tasting your way down the 290 Wine Trail, enjoying a Texas wine at sunset at Enchanted Rock would be truly, well, enchanting.
GLAMPING YOUR HEART OUT
Glamping, or glamour camping is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle choice. You and a guest can sip Texas wine in style at Sinya on Lone Man Creek in Wimberley, Texas.
Sinya was designed as a luxury eco-retreat, and guests stay in a modified safari tent high in the Hill Country. If your planning a trip for two to visit Texas Wine Country, the Sinya tent would be a relaxing end to a busy schedule. Whether your days are spent communing with nature or lounging in a hammock, you can guarantee the evening will be most enjoyed among the chirps and stars with a local Texas wine in hand.
GLIDING THROUGH THE TEXAS SKY
The Texas Skyway, which debuted in 2007, is a collection of 8-passenger gondolas at Fair Park.
The gondolas’ design is Art Deco-inspired (in keeping with the architecture of Fair Park) and boasts a state-of-the-art safety system that ensures a safe, smooth ride.
It was built to carry 5,000 visitors and during the Texas State Fair, you can ride the friendly Skyway while sipping on a sample of one the Texas wines poured in the State Fair of Texas Wine Garden. If your planning a trip to the Texas State Fair, you should include a visit to some of the wineries in North Texas as well.
SCARING YOURSELF SILLY
According to the National Register of Historic Places, the Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Texas is the oldest hotel in East Texas – it might also be the most haunted. Anyone that likes to add the occasional fright to their life would have a great time staying at the hotel after visiting a few of the East Texas wineries. It’s beautiful antiques and classic architecture are reminiscent of the Victorian Era, but don’t expect to find anything listed on the Excelsior House website hinting at ghostly encounters. We would put our money on a nice quiet evening, but you made need a bottle or two of local wine from Enoch’s Vineyard & Winery to help calm your jitters through your stay. It’s rumored that even Stephen Spielburg and crew couldn’t make it through the night in the Jay Gould room, and shortly thereafter wrote and produced Poltergeist.
WHILE GETTING A MASSAGE
During the Spa Happy Hour at Four Seasons in Downtown Austin your Texas wine wish shall be granted. Sunday through Thursday from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm the guests at Spa Happy Hour receive $50 off any 50- or 80-minute massage, body treatment or facial, a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, light spa bites and complimentary valet parking. I asked if I could exchange my glass of sparkling wine for one of the many Texas wines they carry, and in true Four Seasons fashion we were told, “Absolutely, anything you would like.” That’s the kind of service we will to *toast* to.
FOLLOWING THE MARFA LIGHTS
If you live in Texas, at some point in your life you have to make it out to experience the Marfa Lights in the far west of our state. Marfa, Texas has become a destination for anyone and everyone open to mysterious phenomenon. The dancing lights were known to Native American residents long before the first recorded sighting in 1883.
The Marfa Lights Viewing Area is dimly lit and is equipped with telescopes, but we suggest you take a camera and tripod to capture your own experience. It would make a perfect spot to share a nice bottle of Texas wine while you wait for the enigmatic show to begin. We’re not sure if glass is allowed at the viewing area, so plan accordingly.
RECORDING YOUR OWN ROCK ALBUM
You know those incredible acoustics you’ve discovered while taking your morning shower? Well they don’t have anything on 5th Street Studios in Austin, Texas.
This recording studio with vintage and modern equipment (depending on your sound) is located in downtown and is open to the public. 5th Street Studios say they work with “all types of artists, bands and companies.” We may be stretching it a bit by assuming they take anyone off the street ready to lay down some tracks, but when I spoke with Ryan he did say you could drink wine while recording. “Yes, you could drink wine. But most drink beer,” Ryan explained. That’s fine Ryan, but if you’ve never heard a 30 something female channeling her inner Joplin while imbibing on a Texas Tempranillo, you’re simply missing out.
header photo credit Flickr