TAKE A PEEK AT THE HILL COUNTRY'S PIPE CREEK

Small-town Texas is a culture all its own. It's more laid back; there's none of that big-city rush or pressure to do and see everything all at once. With that said, we're not saying there nothing to do in the little towns of the scenic Texas Hill Country. Most of them would surprise the average visitor, with the history and down-home hospitality that awaits them.

Our case in point here is Pipe Creek, tucked into the Hill Country in eastern Bandera County. With a population of about 9,500 souls, Pipe Creek is both humble and proud of the role it has played in the famous ranching country in the area.

Founded around 1870, Pipe Creek was—simply and logically—named for the creek that flowed nearby. As a way station for travelers between San Antonio and Bandera, Pipe Creek quietly and steadily flourished, and its local ranches helped bolster the reputation of the ranching country of central Texas. The only real whiff of scandal around the village was its spelling; some wrote it as “Pipe Creek,” and others “Pipecreek.” This was settled by the official adoption of the two-word spelling sometime around the turn of the 20th century.

Pipe Creek's history and natural beauty go hand-in-hand, as is evident in the attractions surrounding it. We at Backroads Reservations would like to take a moment or two to introduce you to Pipe Creek, and some of the pleasant surprises it has to offer when you visit.

Looking up Polly's Chapel online might create a little confusion to potential visitors; some sites list it as being in Bandera, and some say Kerrville. Rest assured, the closest town to this historic and picturesque chapel is Pipe Creek, and that's its official address. Policarpo “Polly” Rodriguez settled here in the late 1850s. For several years, there was a tiny settlement here, named Polly in his honor, but it has since become a ghost town. The chapel, however, remains, built almost single-handedly by Rodriguez in 1882. Rental information—and a very thorough history of the area—is available at the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

Kick your feet up at the Pipe Creek General Store and Dance Hall! This piece of land is packed with history, occupied in one form or another by settlers since 1878. In 1930, the dance hall was built as a gathering place for local residents, with the general store being added six years later. The general store was the first building in Pipe Creek to have electricity and telephone service. Both businesses have recently been fully restored, with the general store operational, and big plans for dances and other events at the dance hall. Further expansion is also in the works in the near future, including a restaurant and farmers market. More history and contact information is available at the link above.

If antiquing interests you, Pipe Creek has you covered! Country Accents Antiques is open Thursday through Sunday, and offers a stroll through history in their spacious store. Take a piece or two of that history home with you! While you're there, be sure to grab a bite at the Backyard Bistro next door, offering hearty Hill Country fare with fresh ingredients picked daily. The Bistro is also open Thursday through Sunday.

High up in the Hill Country near Pipe Creek, you can pay a spirited visit to the Timber Ridge Winery. Before you even enter their building, the views from their location high in the Hill Country will take your breath away. Once inside, you can visit their tasting room—open Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5:00 PM—and sample the wares of their hilly vineyards. Take some photos of the view, and take home a bottle or two!

For the holiday season, schedule a visit to the Pipe Creek Christmas Tree Farm. Their pumpkin patch is open weekends during October, where a modest admission includes a hay ride, scarecrow dressing, rubber duck races, and many more activities. (It should be noted this attraction is geared toward kids ten and under.) You can also stroll through their Christmas tree selection. Speaking of which, their Christmas Tree Farm is open for business daily, starting in November; if taking a tree home is a tall order during your travels, they also have aromatic wreaths for sale. By the way, their Pumpkin Patch has its own dedicated web page here.

The natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country is on full display at Pipe Creek's Bear Springs Blossom Nature Preserve. No matter your interest in nature, a hike over the nature trail here will be right up your alley. Whether it's the fall colors on display from mid-October through early November (or the forested beauty year-round), bird-watching, animal spotting, or natural showcases of fossils and geological history, it's all there to be taken in at Bear Springs Blossom. (Please note their website is very “green” and ecologically focused. While a little tough to navigate, there is a lot of information about their mission and goals.)

Though we're slightly limited by space to highlight everything there is to do in and around Pipe Creek, we've done our level best to give you a taste of what there is in the area. For a more thorough overview, the Hill Country Portal has an even more detailed web page dedicated to events and attractions in the Pipe Creek vicinity, handily sorted by category.

With so much to do and see in Pipe Creek, it's worth your while to settle in for a bit so you have time to take it all in—and there's no better place to do that than with these scenic and comfortable Pipe Creek vacation rentals available from Backroads Reservations. Whether you're planning a full-fledged family outing, or a simple get-back-to-nature and get-your-head-on-straight getaway, the amenities of these properties, and the Texas Hill Country vistas, will fit the bill perfectly. Savor Texas hospitality, Hill Country style—we look forward to seeing you in Pipe Creek!