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

Montesino Ranch bonfire
Bonfire parties are a fundamental part of the fall season. Take full advantage of the chilly air, and plan a backyard bash! After all, who doesn't love a party complete with s'mores?
| Credit: Jody Horton

If gathering still-warm eggs (from free-range Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock hens) or tossing together a salad from just-picked arugula, radishes, and cilantro is your idea of bliss, then pack your hiking boots and a bottle of olive oil and head to Montesino Ranch. Scott and Brenda Mitchell have transformed their stunning 172-acre property into an organic farm and sustainable working ranch. Scott, a designer and builder, crafted the four corrugated metal-sided farm studios tucked under 100-year-old pecan trees (as you unpack, expect to hear the nuts clattering down on the studio's tin roof) that offer guests views of the lush farm fields. You'll notice a craftsman's touch: The cozy accommodations are simple but appointed with modern comforts such as queen beds and kitchens equipped with everything needed to prepare an easy meal (more on that later).

Outside you'll find a barbecue grill and fire pit. Take a stroll to see the rustic charm that abounds on the ranch, from the water tank decorated with a praying mantis mural to the strings of twinkling lights that illuminate the cedar pole barn and loft. Guests can spend the day swimming in the Blanco River (within walking distance of the property), hiking on the ranch's groomed trails through the hills of the Montesino Mountain, and feeding apples to the Mitchells' friendly horses. When the light starts to fade, make your way to the breathtaking Mountain View Pavilion—it's a short drive or an ambitious hike—the perfect perch for a sunset wine-and-cheese happy hour.

When dinnertime comes, you have to fix your own meal—but that's part of the fun, and the fixin's couldn't be fresher. In season, you can buy a basket of whatever produce was picked from the fields that day ($15) or purchase some of the ranch's own pasture-raised beef (fajitas, anyone?). The nearby Wimberley Farmers' Market, held every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m., is another excellent source for pristine locally grown vegetables and cheeses produced in nearby Dripping Springs. Rates from $140/night, with a two-night minimum. 300 Little Arkansas Road; or 512/847-7393