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Texas Hill Country
Region
Hill Country, Bandera County
Country  United States
State  Texas
Region Central Texas
Coordinates 30°10′27″N 99°03′55″W / 30.17417°N 99.06528°W / 30.17417; -99.06528
Highest point
 - elevation 750 m (2,461 ft)
Lowest point
 - elevation 300 m (984 ft)
Map of Texas Hill Country
Website: Handbook of Texas: Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is a vernacular term applied to a region of Central Texas, that features rolling, somewhat rugged, hills that consist of thin soils lying on limestone.[1] It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite monadnock in the United States, Enchanted Rock, which is located 18 miles (29 km) north of Fredericksburg. The Hill Country reaches into portions of the two major metropolitan areas of Central Texas, especially in San Antonio's northern suburbs and the western half of Travis County, ending just west of downtown Austin. The region is the eastern portion of the Edwards Plateau bounded by the Balcones Fault on the east and the Llano Uplift to the west and north. The terrain is punctuated by a large number of limestone rocks and boulders and a thin layer of topsoil, which makes the region prone to flash flooding.

Several cities were settled at the base of the Balcones Escarpment, including Austin, San Marcos, and New Braunfels, as a result of springs discharging water stored in the Edwards Aquifer.

Contents

Counties in the Texas Hill Country

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the following 25 counties comprise the Texas Hill Country:[2]

Natural features

Because of its karst topography, the area also features a number of caves, such as Inner Space Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, Bracken Cave, and Wonder Cave. The deeper caverns of the area form several aquifers which serve as a source of drinking water for the residents of the area.

Several tributaries of the Colorado River of Texas — including the Llano and Pedernales rivers, which cross the region west to east and join the Colorado as it cuts across the region to the southeast - drain a large portion of the Hill Country. The Guadalupe, San Antonio, Frio, Medina, and Nueces rivers originate in the Hill Country.

This region is a dividing line for certain species occurrence. For example, the California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) is the only species of palm tree that is native to the continental United States west of the Hill Country's Balcones Fault.[3]

The region has hot summers, particularly in July and August, and even the nighttime temperatures remain high, as the elevation is modest despite the hilly terrain. Winter temperatures are sometimes as much as ten degrees cooler than in other parts of Texas to the east.[citation needed]

The region called Devil's Backbone is located near Canyon Lake.

Popular culture

The area is also unique for its fusion of Spanish and Central European (German, Swiss, Austrian, Alsatian, and Czech) influences in food, beer, architecture, and music that form a distinctively "Texan" culture separate from the state's Southern and Southwestern influences.[1] For example, the accordion was popularized in Tejano music in the 19th century due to cultural exposure to German settlers.

In recent years, the region has emerged as the center of the Texas wine industry.[citation needed] Three American Viticultural Areas are located in the areas: Texas Hill Country AVA, Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA, and Bell Mountain AVA.

The Hill Country is also known for its tourism. In 2008, The New York Times declared it "the No. 1 vacation spot in the nation." The Hill Country has also made Texas second to Florida as the most popular retirement destination in the United States. The region has attracted Baby Boomers as they near retirement age.[4]

Frederick Day, a demographer with Texas State University in San Marcos, said that the Hill Country life-style reminds one of the small towns of the recent past. "Like old America . . . [the] cost of living is pretty low. To people who have spent their work life in Houston or Dallas, the Hill Country is very attractive."[4]

Notable people of Texas Hill Country

See also

References

  • Lehman, Roy L.; Ruth O'Brien; Tammy White (2005). Plants of the Texas Coastal Bend. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 9781585444083. 

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Jordan, Terry G.. "Hill Country". Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/ryh2.html. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  2. ^ Texas Parks and Wildlife http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/habitats/hillcountry/regulatory/
  3. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2009-01-05). "California Fan Palm: Washingtonia filifera". in Nicklas Stromberg. GlobalTwitcher.com. http://globaltwitcher.auderis.se/artspec_information.asp?thingid=90942. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  4. ^ a b Bobbi Gage, "Baby boomers being drawn to Hill Country", Llano County Journal, July 2, 2008, pp. 1, 7A
  5. ^ Handbook of Texas, Hondo Crouch http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/CC/fcr52.html
  6. ^ Luckenbach, Texas site http://www.luckenbachtexas.com/icws233w4/html/History.html
  7. ^ Internet Movie Database, Guich Koock bio http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0465515/bio
  8. ^ Texas Hill Country Magazine, Guich Koock http://www.hillcountrymagazine.com/issues/fall-2009/168/guich-koock/
  9. ^ Handbook of Texas, James Wilson Nichols http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/NN/fni11.html
  10. ^ Texas A&M University, The Battle of Salado http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/saladonichols.htm
  11. ^ Seguin Descendants Historical Preservation http://www.seguindescendantshp.com/jns_bio.html
  12. ^ http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/SS/fse8.html
  13. ^ Juan Seguin's role in Texas history http://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/saladonichols.htm

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Hill Country article)

From Wikitravel

The Hill Country is a region of the state of Texas in the United States of America. It has some of the most interesting history of the state. The cities here date to Spanish and Mexican days, with many beautiful Spanish missions dotting the area. The terrain is hilly and dry, cut by spring-fed rivers, with the beautiful Texas live oak providing occasional shade.

  • Austin, capital of the state with plenty of things to keep a traveler interested. Gateway into the Hill Country.
  • Fredericksburg, about 1.5 hours west of Austin and 1 hour north of San Antonio.
  • Stonewall, about 15 miles East of Fredericksburg on Highway 290.
  • San Marcos, about half an hour south of Austin.
  • New Braunfels, about one and a half hours south of Austin.
  • Kerrville, the Heart of the Hills. One hour northwest of San Antonio on Interstate 10.
  • Bandera, self-proclaimed "cowboy capital" on Hwy 16.
  • Luckenbach, very small town known for legend in music.
  • Burnet, Nestled at the edge of the spectacular Texas Hill Country about 50 miles northwest of Austin, in the Highland Lakes.
  • Schulenberg
  • Bastrop State Park, Bastrop, +1 512 321-2101, [1]. Has camping (dormitories and shelters are available by reservation), a swimming pool, golf, fishing, and bike trails. Full shower and restroom facilities are on site.
  • Pedernales Falls State Park, offers picnicking, camping, hiking, swimming, tubing, fishing, and bird watching.
  • Hill Country State Natural Area, A rugged park that offers wilderness, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, camping, swimming, and fishing. It is a primitive park with no amenities provided - no drinking water or restroom facilities.
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, +1 325 247-3903, [2]. A huge park on Big Sandy creek near Enchanted Rock. Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, birdwatching, stargazing, rock climbing, and geography research. Restroom and shower facilities are available for a fee.

Understand

The Texas Hill Country is an area around Edwards Aquifer that demonstrates karst topography and a wide range of wildlife. It was originally settled by Mexican and German immigrants, and a visitor will note the distinct influence of both cultures in the local life. Most cities and towns are small, there are many parks and open areas, and an endless list of local experiences.

Get in

The easiest access to the area from a distance is through Austin's Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) [3] or through San Antonio's "San Antonio International Airport". The most practical means of travel from the airport is by car. Travel by road from other major cities in Texas is also easy. From Houston, take US290 north to Austin (3 hours) or IH-10 west to San Antonio (3 hours). From Dallas, take IH-35 south to Austin (3and 1/2 hours).

Get around

Public transportation is not available between most destinations. Bus and airport service is similarly sparse. The tourist's best option is to bring their own car or rent one at the airport. The many small scenic highways in this area also make motorcycling and bicycle riding very popular.

Do

Visit Schlitterbahn, a water park in New Braunfels.

  • Blisswood Bed and Breakfast (Lehmann Legacy Ranch), 13300 Lehmann Legacy Lane (Off the I-10 corridor from Houston), 713-301-3235, [4]. This is an out-of-this world bed and breakfast and wedding destination! There are TONS of animals of all types running over this 650-acre property and working cattle ranch. Private houses dot the property and you can go horseback riding and fishing in the lake for bass. Really unbelievable place!  edit
  • German headcheese, produced in South Texas, is nothing like the standard American kind - it contains chunks of meat rather than fat and offal. It's available at supermarkets only in the Hill Country and surrounding areas.

Drink

Tito's brand Vodka. Locally produced in Austin. Tours are offered as well as a free sample!

  • Carol's at Cat Spring, 10745 FM 949, Cat Spring, Texas (From Houston, take I-10 west. Exit 720. North on 36 for 1.3 miles. Left on 1094 for 12 miles. Left on 949 for one mile to Carol’s at Cat Spring.), 713-301-3235, [5]. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. This place has Texas favorites as well as fine cuisine. They will even do a big 6-course dinner with wine pairings. However, it remains a casual dining experience, as it is way out in the countryside. They also have quite and extensive list of decent wines for a tiny country restaurant.  edit
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