I love a good day trip which usually begins with my bestie saying "Hey, let's go here tomorrow." With little notice and a full tank of gas, we head out somewhere within decent driving distance and see what our chosen destination has to offer. In this case, it was Dripping Springs, Texas; a small town west of Austin that is billed as "The Gateway to the Texas Hill Country".
First stop -- lunch. An unassuming little cafe/bakery/nursery called Rolling in Thyme and Dough located on Highway 290 (333 W. HWY 290). On the outside, it looks like a plant nursery...because it is. You can purchase all kinds of herbs, veggies, and various other plants that are placed willy-nilly around the outer perimeter of the building. You can even sit outside to dine among this little garden of greenery.
Inside, the hodge-podge cafe is oddly welcoming in it's shabby-chic meets coffee house decor. There doesn't seem to be any particular rhyme or reason to it all. The staff are so friendly you feel like you've known them all your life. Smiles abound as much as their selection of sweets and gluten-free goodies.
Now, the best time to hit up this quaint eatery is before 11 a.m. where you can get a gourmet breakfast sandwhich on a freshly made croissant. However, if you're unable to rise that early, lunch is the next best thing. I tried the Turkey Thyme sandwich made with turkey, provolone, pesto, mayo, lettuce and tomato on grilled wheat bread. It was delicious!
The cafe offers veggie lasagna, all kinds of sandwiches, soups, salads, and more. They also have what they call Bistro Night where a full course dinner is served along with amazing desserts. Everything is homemade and they do offer the gluten-free goods for those who suffer sensitive stomachs.
One strange observation on my part is that they have the nicest, largest, and cleanest bathrooms I've seen outside of my visit to Germany. When I'm comparing a bathroom in the US with one in Germany, I'm paying it the highest compliment because I've never seen such pristine toilets anywhere else so far in my travels.
Rolling in Thyme and Dough is a must-visit when traveling through Dripping Springs, Texas. The food is great and the atmosphere relaxed.
After filling up our internal tanks, we headed out to find Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve; a natural spring pool at the base of a quarry. It's part of the Texas State Parks. There's a fee of $10 to enter the park. It's good to know that going in. Once you park, there's a quarter-mile hike down a steep trail (80 ft decent) strewn with large rocks that seem to try and form steps but fail. For those who can't hike down, have some kind of disability, the park ranger will drive you down the service road in their ATV. Word of advice: an able-bodied person must come with you who can hike back up and go to the gate to ask the park ranger to go back down and pick you up.
|The hike down.|
|Going back up.|
|You can't really tell from the picture, but we were quite high up standing on a ledge that had me feeling sick with the thought of falling off and tumbling to the rocks below.|
|Zoomed in. Not much water in the river. Texas needs rain.|
|No such luck that day.|