This rustic, refined escape, in Dripping Springs, Texas, is where fresh, local food delivers a vibrant sense of place.

Juniper Hills Farm
After cooking classes, guests can swim, hike, or play boule while they sip local wines and snack on goat cheese from a nearby farm.
| Credit: Jody Horton

If you have more than one variety of sea salt on your kitchen counter, then you'll adore Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farm, a 54-acre Hill Country escape near Blanco. Most guests book their visits around owner Sibby Barrett's calendar of popular cooking classes, held in her commercial kitchen, on everything from "Scones, Jams, and Biscuits" to "Mexican Street Food." Your stay will be enhanced with improved knife skills and take-home recipes. When it's time to untie your apron, you can hike the property, explore local wineries, relax in the sauna, take a yoga class, or schedule a massage. Even if your schedule doesn't sync up with a class (they fill up quickly), you'll still eat well. Sibby also owns Dallas Affaires Cake Company (, an extravagant custom cake bakery in Dallas, so she's used to pampering people.

Upon your arrival, cabins are stocked with freshly ground coffee and tea, homemade granola, and other goodies. Breakfast (which might include freshly baked scones, muffins, or bread with homemade preserves) is delivered to your cabin door in Western lunch-boxes. Later in the day, Sibby will point you toward a great local restaurant. (An abundance of nearby olive groves, fruit orchards, and wineries makes the area rich in local flavor.) Or you can simply enjoy the fresh air and quiet of ranch life—lounge in a chair in the cedar arbor and select a glass of wine and Sibby's excellent tapas from an appealing menu of local cheeses, meats, house-made pesto, and bread. Rates from $125; cooking classes range from $65 to $150. 5818 Ranch Road 165; or 830/833-0910