Staycation Day 2 in Blanco,Texas

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Day 2 of Operation Staycation found us in the Hill Country town of Blanco.

It is just a short 50 mile drive from San Antonio but seems like a world away.

I would often visit Blanco on business when I had clients there and loved the slow pace and laid back attitude of all the people that I interacted with. Seeing the swimmers at Blanco State Park from my view off of Highway 281 over the years, made me want to take my kids to explore the beautiful scenery. My family finally made the visit on Sunday. I am now regretting why we haven’t taken them before now.  It was indeed a wonderful day along the Blanco River.

We got a late start on Sunday morning since we let the kids sleep late and had to stop and buy some swim shoes for all the kids. They had outgrown theirs and they are a must since I was told the river has a lot of rocks in it. We ascended the various stores for gas,shoes and snacks and finally headed off to our brand new adventure together in the small Hill Country town of Blanco. My family loves to discover new places and I was anxious to share with them this quaint place. Little did I know, that we would be finding things together that I have never seen before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a scenic drive of less than an hour, we pulled into Blanco around lunch time. We were all hungry. I assumed that the place that I had been many times with my clients was still opened. It had closed down. Luckily, we could rely on technology to find a place for us to eat. We then found a restaurant that looked good from the exterior and “urbanspooned it!” 83 percent of the diners “LIKED”  it but the pictures on their website indicated that  it was a little too fancy for the way we were dressed. We all had on our swimsuit cover ups and flip flops. I called the restaurant and they assured us that it would be fine and to come on in.

 

 

The restaurant is located in the beautifully restored building that was the former jailhouse for the county of Blanco. It was opened in 2006 by the daughter of the New Orleans Saints owner, Tom Benson. I must say that Renee Benson has done an incredible job in decorating and restoring this building. The pressed tin ceilings are a sight  to see, it was hard not wanting to look up during your entire meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a better view of the ceiling.

It is stunning.

The teenagers were even impressed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As if the elaborate decor wasn’t enough, the food was wonderful too. The prices are a lot less than what I had expected after experiencing the atmosphere. We ordered from the lunch menu and our entrees were from $6 to $8.50.

The waitress brought out the rolls. There were wheat as well as a rye bread rolls.

They quickly disappeared.

 

 

I ordered the garden salad and some side items to assemble my own vegetable plate.

The honey mustard dressing was made in house and had a little kick to it.

Mixed greens,cucumbers,tomatoes,carrots were included and was not your typical side salad.

I have to show the rest of our order. I am still reeling about how good the food was and the atmosphere…..were we in Blanco or some swanky big city town?

 

My side items.

The only thing that I didn’t like were the mashed potatoes. I had to season them and they needed to be mashed a little more. My daughter finished them off and loved mashing them up herself.

The green beans were cripsy and garlic laden;  just the way I like them.

 

 

My husband ordered the spinach salad as an entree. It came with bacon and apples.

It was the only dish I didn’t sample.

He said it was good!

 

 

 

 

 

Our twins split a hamburger from the regular menu.

They did have kid’s meal options available but you have to ask the waitress because they aren’t printed on the menu.

We should have substituted the chips for sweet potato fries because they skipped the chips and ate our fries.

I don’t blame them. They were wonderful.

The bun had to be house made. It was a little sweet. It came charred a little and toasted. It was perfect too.

 

 

 

Our teenage son tackled the catfish plate. It came with two sides. He had a salad with ranch dressing and fries.

Yes, my boy appreciates a salad!

The breading on the catfish was seasoned well and not the least bit greasy.

The portions were huge.

He couldn’t finish it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My niece ordered the pasta primavera. It was probably my favorite of all the things I sampled.

You can add chicken or shrimp for an extra cost but she had it with just the vegetables.

The vegetables were roasted and there was plenty of them. It came with garlic toast.

The pesto sauce blended it all happily together!

 

 

There are just some restaurant experiences that you won’t soon forget. Uptown Blanco is one of them for me. It might be because it was so unexpected or perhaps that the food was so divine for the price that you paid. As casually as my whole family was dressed, we were never made to feel unwelcome in any way. The whole staff was friendly. They were more than happy to answer all my probing questions about their restaurant. Even if you don’t eat here, you must stop the next time you find yourself in the area to at least look at the entertainment and art complex in the surrounding buildings. They are currently working on restoring the old movie theatre to its former glory. I have a feeling that if Ms. Benson is in charge of the renovations, it is bound to be spectacular.

After our full and happy kids were loaded in the car, it was a very short drive to Blanco State Park. The park offers a swimming area, fishing,camping and picnic tables all over their 104 acres. They even have cabins available for rent as well as kayaks,canoes and tubes for floating on the river. The cut off time for renting any of these items for use in the water is 2:30pm since they all have to be returned by 4:00pm. We just missed the cut off  so it was swimming only for our group.

 

The water was a little cool but the setting was perfect under the trees.

You quickly warmed up.

 

 

 

 

 

You had to be real careful about walking on the dam.

It was very slippery.

They had warning signs posted.

 

 

 

 

Once the kids got used to swimming in the river, they didn’t want to leave.

We didn’t either.

 

 

 

 

 

Even without tubes,kayaks or canoes…..they were perfectly content just swimming.

And so were we.

Day 2 of Operation Staycation…..Hill Country Heaven.

 

 

 

 

Here is the breakdown for the cost of our day in Blanco:

Uptown Blanco Tab for a party of 6  $56.29 before tip and $66.29 total

Entry fee to Blanco State Park $4.00 for adults $16.00 (age 13 and up are considered adults)

Gas at $3.22 a gallon with a round trip of 110 miles at an average of 32 miles a gallon $11.07 

Total of $93.36

Fun Factor Average for our group is an 8 but would have been higher if we would have known the cut off times for the rentals at the park. I didn’t see this information on their website. My adventurous son brought the average down because he was hoping for a rope swing but it isn’t possible with the cement around the dam .

Scenery 10

Food 10

Time together under the trees in the swimming hole-10 plus!

To save money, you can plan ahead and pack a lunch but then you wouldn’t get to experience the fabulous atmosphere at Uptown Blanco. I couldn’t even buy the ingredients for the final cost of our meal, plus, I wouldn’t even come close to the taste of their food if I was the chef. Besides, you are on staycation after all,  so live a little!

You can find more details about the places we visited in Blanco at   UptownBlanco and  BlancoStatePark.

Day 2 will be hard to beat but off we go on Day 3 of our adventure in Operation Staycation!

 

Stay Sassy Y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Nia Hobbs says:

    Thanks for sharing these great staycation days. They sound amazing and I am sure I and other blogg followers will follow in your footsteps.

  2. my birthday is this sat. so I am going to tell elton about this and maybe head on up! Thanks for sharing:0)

    • Well Happy Birthday to you! They have live music on the weekends but I don’t have a clue when or what time but I bet it is on their website! Have fun!

  3. I love that ceiling too. Staycations are the best, it’s all about the company.

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