TARPLEY, TEXAS: A TINY HILL COUNTRY JEWEL

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It can easily be argued that the majority of visitors to central Texas tend to focus on the larger cities along the I-35 corridor, such as Austin and San Antonio. There are hundreds of venues to choose from, no matter what interests you; the pace is faster; there always seems to be more of everything to do, no matter the time of day or night. That's all well and good for those who crave a packed and busy itinerary, but what about those of us who'd like a more relaxed and recharging getaway?

Just to the west of the interstate, there lies the sprawling and beautiful Texas Hill Country. It's a forested greenbelt that offers some of the most spectacular views the Lone Star State has to offer—and, believe it or not, there are even locals who have never taken the time to really appreciate what they have right under their noses. We here at Backroads Reservations think that's a shame—and we'd like to take some time here to highlight one of the prettiest little towns in the Hill Country region.

The little village of Tarpley, Texas—200 residents strong—is nestled in the heart of the Hill Country in south-central Bandera County, at the intersection of FM 462 and FM 470. Originally called Hondo Cañon when settled in 1878, the town moved a few miles south of its original location in 1899, where it was renamed Tarpley, after the son of postmaster John Prickett. At first, Tarpley itself was mainly an inn that housed travelers, but over the years a store, church, and school fleshed it out into a proper community. Like many of its surrounding towns, Tarpley built its reputation—and fiscal well-being—on the prime ranch land available in the area.

Backroads Reservations is proud to present the following list of highlights and features of the Tarpley area. They may be one of the smallest towns in the area—but they've got some big local favorites to share!

For such an unassuming little town, Tarpley has a well-earned claim to national fame in Mac & Ernie's Roadside Eatery. Once a humble little pick-up-and-go shack, Mac & Ernie's has not only expanded their restaurant; they've expanded their reputation, too. The Eatery has been featured on two Food Network shows: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. There's no run-of-the-mill menu here; theirs features such highlights as the grilled pork tenderloin with sweet-tart Vietnamese dipping sauce, ancho chile honey-basted quail, and their famous Cabrito burger. On Sundays, you can mix their famous Bloody Marys with the vodka of your choice—you bring the vodka, they'll do the rest! Mac & Ernie's is open Friday through Sunday each week.

The rejuvenating calm and quiet of the surrounding Texas Hill Country has its own character, and offers value beyond compare to the nature lover, the close-knit family, the intimate group of friends, and even the solitary person who needs to recharge their batteries. Savor the calming sounds of nearby Williams Creek (just two miles north of town), hike the Hill Country woods, take in the fall colors (October and early November are the best times for this), or grab your binoculars and spy some of the local wildlife. Tarpley may not be a bustling metropolis, but you'll find a relaxing and fulfilling getaway there you won't find along any interstate.

Just southeast of Tarpley is a perfect setting that reflects the soothing and beautiful aspects of the Texas Hill Country: the Hill Country State Natural Area. Hiking, backpacking, nature-watching, and educational ranger programs are all available here. Please keep in mind if you visit here to bring your own potable (drinkable) water.

Your visit to a setting like Tarpley deserves the best of everything, at an affordable price. Don't settle on a mere hotel room! Backroads Reservations offers the best rental properties in the Tarpley area, places that take the greatest advantage of the eye-popping vistas of the Hill Country. All our properties in the region offer amenities and views that will serve as the icing on the cake of your trip, whether it's for one night or an extended stay. Reserve today, and discover how Tarpley's relaxing magic can go to work for you.