This Mother-Daughter Duo Transformed an Old Willie Nelson Haunt into a Beautiful Tiny House Hotel
In Austin’s lush Westlake Hills neighborhood, tucked between Bee Cave Road and Barton Creek Habitat Preserve, you’ll find the sweetest Hill Country getaway with a rumored connection to Willie Nelson.
The Wayback Cafe & Cottages, which opened in winter 2018, is a mother-daughter passion project. Vicki Bly and her daughter Sydney Sue spent five years developing the forgotten space into a charming Southern escape featuring eight unique board-and-batten cottages decorated with vintage furniture, a farm-to-table café, a drive-thru espresso hut, a saltwater pool and cabana bar, and plenty more. It’s like a glamorous camp for adults! And, for you music buffs, legend has it that Willie Nelson used to play in front of the ancient stone wall now used as a backdrop for gatherings and weddings.
Though it’s conveniently located just 15 minutes from downtown Austin and 15 minutes from the first tasting room on the Hill Country Wine Trail, trust us when we say that The Wayback is a destination in and of itself.
Join us for a tour, won’t you?
From wildflowers to heritage oaks, the three-acre property occupied by The Wayback provides a glimpse at Austin’s raw, natural beauty.
Each 250 to 500-square-foot cottage comes with views of the surrounding Hill Country. This “very cozy” cottage located at the back of property is Vicki’s favorite thanks to its cute little sleeping nook and particularly magical Golden Hour views.
It doesn’t get much cozier than Cottage #5's designated sleeping nook! This one boasts a Queen-size bed.
Another Queen-size bed occupies Cottage #5's main space.
Cottage #8—the only one with a kitchen—is Sydney’s favorite.
Sydney recommends the “very romantic” Cottage #8 for couples looking to get away and celebrate. It even has a fireplace!
Cottage #8’s private back porch is what Hill Country dreams are made of.
Hidden Hill Country Gem
Before they built the cottages and cafe, Syndey and Vicki worked together with a small team to clear the brush and take down an old abandoned house and workshop. They kept over 300 heritage oak trees on the property, the original wall and altar, and have let the wildflowers continue to grow in their original spaces.
The Wayback Café, which is open to the public, serves classic farm-to-table meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The café patio is perfect for alfresco dining.
One of the only public salt-water baths in Austin, The Wayback's pool is available to non-hotel guests with daily passes ($20).
The one-and-only Willie Nelson is said to have jammed out in front of this old stone wall that was once an altar to the Virgin Mary. It remains a performance backdrop to this day.
We weren’t joking when we described it as a summer camp for adults!