29 December 2011

A Visit to a Bed and Breakfast in Washington County

 

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I hope everyone’s Christmas was as wonderful as ours!  Above is the sweets table that my sister-in-law Shannon sets up each year.  Laden with handmade gingerbread houses and peppermint sticks, it’s the focal point of the living room.   

 

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Each Christmas the Webbs and the Wills families get together to celebrate at the KW Ranch in Chappell Hill Texas where Ben’s brother Kirk lives the life of a gentleman rancher with his wife and two children.  There are horses and donkeys and one cow, but Bella’s just a pet – one of the very few lucky Texas Longhorns that doesn’t have to worry about the slaughter house.  There are fancy chickens that have fancy white plumes who lay pastel colored eggs.   There are five English Springer Spaniels and a few barn cats that live indoors.  The acreage is planted with bluebonnets and roses, not crops.  In other words, it’s not a working ranch – rather a home with acreage where extended family and friends come to swim in the summer and sit around the fire pit in the winter.   A special treat this year was a fireworks show put on by Kirk and Elisabeth’s boyfriend, Rob. It rivaled any professional show I’ve ever seen. Of course, it took 3 trips to the stand just to collect enough fireworks.  Thankfully, no one was injured either.

 

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The Southern Rose Ranch, a Chappell Hill Bed and Breakfast

 

During Christmas, the house is filled with visiting family, so Ben and I usually stay in the Casita – the small guest house. But, this year there were extra guests and the Casita was full,  so we opted to stay across the street at the Southern Rose Ranch, a charming bed and breakfast owned by Donna and Steve Cummins.  The Cummins were out of town for Christmas, so we had the run of their ranch all to ourselves.  The two suite B&B is located in the beautiful and historic Washington County of Texas, halfway between Austin and Houston and close to Round Top.   While we missed the scrumptious breakfasts that Donna serves to her guests, it was fun to pretend the Southern Rose Ranch was all ours – if only for a few days.

 

 

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The front yard of the Southern Rose Rose is an extra large pasture.  The two story main house overlooks the rolling landscape where the cows and horses have staked their claim.  Directly across the street from the B&B is the Webb’s KW Ranch – their ranches face each other.   In this picture, you can see how far back the main house of the B&B is from the road.  The ranch sits on a total of 33 acres.

 

 

 

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And looking the other direction from the Southern Rose Ranch.  Sitting on the main house’s front porch you can see across the street to Shannon and Kirk’s KW Ranch.   Everyone in this area uses golf carts to visit neighbors or to go fishing in the lakes.   Notice how the land is slightly rolling.   At the end of this street, the hill gets quite high and the view of the countryside is incredible.

 

 

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To enter the B&B, you drive down a long gravel road that runs along the back side of the property.  A wooden fence and a Welcome Sign mark the entrance.

 

 

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The B&B consists of two suites that are located in their own building which is painted red with a metal seam roof.   If you are hesitant about B&Bs because you prefer privacy – this is the place for you.   The B&B is completely separate from the inn keeper’s house.  It’s like owning your own little house on a big ranch.    The covered porch has rocking chairs to enjoy the view.  One room, the Star Suite, is larger than the other with a full kitchen and living room.  The smaller room – the Rose Suite – has a kitchenette and a great bathroom.

 

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The view off the porch shows the front pasture and the main house where the inn keepers, the Cummins, live.  The open air stone building is an outdoor kitchen/dining room with a hot tub.  

 

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To the left of the B&B is another pasture and barn which their cows and horses call home.   The horses were really friendly but were probably wondering who we were!

 

 

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You can barely seem them, but Elisabeth and her friend Rob, from New Hampshire, bought apples and carrots to feed to the horses.  Notice the cute red barn seen in the distance. 

 

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Little Lucy had so much fun chasing the horses around, as long as they couldn’t get outside their fence, that is!

 

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Of the three horses, this one was my favorite – so beautiful!

 

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The Cummins raise the unusually beautiful Belted Galloway cows, distinguished by a large white band around their middle.    They are nicknamed Oreo cows and Texas Zebras because of their distinct white stripe.

 

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The baby cows are the cutest!!

 

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One morning the skies threatened to rain.  You can just barely see Shannon and Kirk’s red barn with its metal roof in the upper right of this picture.  It looks like the Cummins are trying to grow a few baby trees in the pasture.   They probably need more shade for the cows and horses during the summer. 

 

 

 

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Looking back from the front pasture to the B&B and on the left, the outdoor kitchen and the main house.

 

 

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The Cummins live here in the main house, a darling two story traditional farmhouse.

 

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But, the stone outdoor kitchen is the real focal point of the ranch.  It resembles a pioneer house, without it’s roof.  It looks like a true centuries old structure that’s been long abandoned.  Log railings lead to the hot tub that is located next to the stone kitchen.

 

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You have your choice of several different BBQ pits. 

 

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The structure looks like an authentic 18th century abandoned home that’s lost its roof.   Actually,  it’s brand new!!

 

 

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At night you can sit around the roaring fire to keep warm.

 

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There are “windows” without glass – and a “roof” without a ceiling. 

 

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Throughout the property little vignettes are set up, like this seating area near the hand pump and pump house.  In the spring and summer, there are flowers and roses everywhere.  It’s still very green considering this is the dead of winter. 

 

 

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The area in front of the B&B is cool and shady – great in the summer.  There’s even a hammock set up under the Live Oak tree.

 

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We hated to leave, but after a few days, we needed to head back to Houston.  Hopefully we’ll stay here again next Christmas.  Reserve the two suites for us, Donna!     I didn’t take any pictures of the suites because of course we made a huge mess in them.  But below are a few pictures taken from the web site so you can get an idea of what the suites look like.  Be sure to peruse their web site if you are planning a stay in the region.  It’s a very popular B&B so make reservations ahead of time to insure a room. 

 

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The Star Suite has two beds plus a kitchen and living room.

 

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The Rose Suite has a kitchenette with a sitting area and a huge, beautiful bathroom and tub!

 

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The bathroom in the Rose Suite.  There is also a separate shower stall.

 

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A nighttime shot of the outdoor kitchen all lit up – so romantic!!!

 

 

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Watch the video of the Southern Rose Ranch B&B HERE.

 

 

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Of course the prettiest time to visit Chappell Hill is during the spring when the countryside is covered in Texas bluebonnets.  The landscape looks like it is painted with a stroke of purple.  It is impossible to describe its beauty.  The perfect time to come is the first weekend in April when the Round Top Antiques Fair is held –  the bluebonnets are at their peak then.   Round Top is just a short drive from Chappell Hill.

 

For more information, see the Southern Rose Ranch web site HERE.