Dripping Springs

Known for majestic views of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Dripping Springs sits 25 miles west of Austin. The rolling hills are home to lots of wildlife and rock bottom creeks. Ranch Road 12 takes drivers on a scenic country ride from the bustling city of Austin to this charming town, which features bed and breakfast inns, ranches, vineyards and swimming holes nestled in the hills.

With a population of approximately 1,500 in the city limits, and 20,000 in the extraterritorial jurisdiction, homes here are sought after for their close proximity to Austin and San Antonio, the affordable cost of living and an exceptional school system. The easy, relaxed energy of the countryside leads the locals to call it “Drippin’ Springs.”

It’s a great time to relocate to Dripping Springs, as the community of small business owners and artists is starting to grow. A Home Depot recently opened at the corner of Highway 290 and Ranch Road 12, and a new HEB will open in the summer of 2010. Average residential home prices range from $200k to $600k, with options for more acreage, and even ranches listing up to $14 million.

The countryside offers plenty of outings. Locally grown produce is featured at the weekly farmers market on Saturday mornings. In nearby Driftwood, The Salt Lick has been cooking mouth-watering barbeque since 1967. As you drive within a few miles of this popular restaurant, you’ll smell what The Travel Channel calls “The Tastiest Barbeque in America.” The Nutty Brown Café and Amphitheater hosts local talent and big names such as Dwight Yokam and Clint Black. It offers American cuisine and a wide selection of live music, including a jazz brunch on Sundays.

The Texas Hill Country is the second fastest growing wine destination in the nation. Mandola Estate Winery specializes in Italian wines and offers “grape to glass” tours on the weekends, along with special events such as outdoor movies in the vineyard. Four times a year, all the wineries in central Texas host a self-guided tour. Details are available at www.texaswinetrail.com

Nearby communities such as Driftwood and Wimberly are known for their charming bed and breakfast inns and unique shopping. Creek Haven Inn and Mt. Gainor Inn offer comfort and luxury for serene getaways. Like most stops in the Hill Country, Taste Buds Gourmet Food Shop adds a great view to the experience for free. With giant oaks framing Cypress Creek, this shop offers sample tastes of its delectable wares such as salsa, pickles, jams and coffee. From antiques to fashion to art, the wares inside the many shops are as interesting as their names: The Flying Pig, Aunt Jenny’s Attic, The Indigo Cactus, Graeber Antiques, Made in the Shade and Under One Roof.

One of many nearby swimming holes is Hamilton Pool. This 232-acre nature preserve features a 45-foot waterfall that makes a great natural pool for cooling off, with plenty of room for a picnic nearby.

Dripping Springs offers many great reasons to call the Texas Hill Country home.