Hill Country Hideaway
Mornings arrive with a burst of color at The Inn Above Onion Creek just outside Kyle, Texas.
It begins with a smudge of orange and a flash of red in the darkened sky. In minutes, the golden light kisses the live oaks and low-lying prickly pear cacti covering these ranch country hills. A few guests come outside to meet the day. They're joined by a pair of cardinals racing through the gnarled tree branches and singing the glory of a Hill Country sunrise.
This charming inn boasts long, lumbering porches along both sides, sited to catch the prevailing southeasterly breeze. Most rooms have front and back doors to take advantage of this generous feature.
"This is our field of dreams," says owner Janie Orr, who built the inn with her husband, John. She had begun studying architecture when her youngest child entered junior high and was having so much fun that John suggested they undertake a pilot project. They decided to build an inn. "We had no family land, so we bought this property," says Janie.
To get to the cedar-sided lodge, guests wind through the country on an old farm road between Austin and San Antonio. A twisting driveway leads to a metal cattle guard and a tall ranch gate, announcing a parcel of true Texas.
The inn features nine guestrooms and suites plus a new guesthouse, all named for famous Kyle-area natives. While each has its own personality, all have fireplaces, fans, feather mattress covers, and luxurious bathrooms.
Guests convene in the dining room for breakfast and dinner. Tall cypress doors line two sides of the room, opening out onto the breezeway or the back porch for spectacular sunset views. Linens peek from the open door of an oak armoire. These details give the house the feel of an old-time ranch.
A nighttime stroll brings a perfect end to a day at Onion Creek. The city lights haven't yet reached this haven in the Hill Country, making Orion's belt and the Big Dipper seem brighter than ever. The only sounds come from a coyote howling in the distance and the wind tiptoeing through the trees.