Unexpected Stay in Kingsland, Texas
Don and I haven't been been seeking out hotel adventures during this pandemic year. But in late March, we were on our way home after visiting our new grand baby, when we ended up with an unplanned hotel getaway.
We had stopped at our cabin in Sunrise Beach and discovered issues with frozen pipes. We could have managed a night with no water, but we were tired. We headed for the nearest hotel, which happened to be the historic Antlers Hotel in Kingsland.
It was a little before 5, when I put on my mask and headed into the lobby. The woman at the desk looked up with a somewhat worried expression. I could see her expression, because she wore no mask... which is a lot more common in smaller towns of Texas.
I don't think the woman thought I was going to rob her. Surely she's seen other masked guests. She was mostly a little anxious because I had arrived, just as she was closing up for the evening. 5:00? Wow. That's early.
March 24, I Think?
I studied the ancient date thingy, while the host checked me in, on a modern computer. I wondered if that metal calendar had been there since the Victorian hotel opened, in 1901.
Probably not. The resort hotel closed down after a brief heyday of 22 years. It sat empty for about 7 decades, before a couple from Austin purchased. They renovated and opened, in the 1990's.
The hotel offered some cabins, as well guest rooms in the main hotel. I knew our poor host wanted to go home, but I asked if I could take a peek first.
She graciously put on a mask and I followed her out the back door. The one story room on the far right, held the Antlers Suite. I took one peek and said it would be fine.
After grabbing Don and our bags, we rolled our suitcases over the brick, to our cute little entrance with screened door AND screened transom, plus our own little sitting area,
There was only one other couple staying in the hotel. They were upstairs and at the opposite end. Yay for isolation during a pandemic... or anytime.
After dropping off the bags, I just had to peek at the other side of our building. What a treat to have windows on 3 sides of our suite.
Our suite had about 8 windows and 2 doors. I wondered what was with that low building. It looked like it was sunken into the ground.
Oldish Sitting Room
We had tons of space for our one night stay. High ceilings, woodwork and wood floors, made it feel like a 120-year-old hotel.
The furniture was an odd mix. Antiques here and 1980's decor there.
There was an equally spacious bedroom, that felt open and airy. Best of all there was no one above or under us! No one within hearing distance! Don and I were ready for isolation.
We I had come to our cabin, at the end of a road trip home from Oregon. In Portland, we spent nearly 3 months lowering our voices, in an Airbnb basement unit. (Owners above us, liked quiet) At Antler's, I was suddenly a loud and giddy guest! TV sound up! Voices at full (even loud) volume, since there were no signs to be Quiet After 9 pm! I could even wear shoes inside if I wanted. Woohoo!
We'd expected to be in our cabin on the last night of our journey. Instead we were in an historic hotel.
It was a lot more fun peeking around at the woodwork and curious pieces of furniture, when I realized what we could be doing at our cabin.
We were killing time at an old hotel, instead of calling plumbers and trying to figure out where our broken pipes were. What fun, to turn off the cabin water and retreat to this old place.
By 6, we were ready for Happy Hour. We decided the little iron table & chair set near our door, was not comfy enough.
Since the hotel was closed for the evening, we took over the front porch. I put the camera timer on, while we sat in rockers and sipped our wine.
We rocked away and watched the skies brewing above the Grand Central Cafe, across the road. There was a tornado watch, but the people sitting on the dining patio didn't seem bothered a bit.
The crowds also did not seem bothered by the pandemic. I did spot some wait staff in masks, but there were no covered faces, coming or going from the parking lot. This was an odd welcoming, back in the state of Texas after months in Super-Cautious-Oregon. Finally, the dining crowd thinned out and I picked up carryouts for dinner. We dined at our own table in the Antlers Suite.
The sky was blue in the morning. We'd woken a few times to storm drama. Oh how I love Texas storms. Luckily no tornado!
I headed out the door early with my running shoes and cell phone. So many beautiful things to see on my quiet morning run.
Sunrise in Kingsland
What fun to be back in Texas, just in time for Bluebonnet season! And the pathway down to Lake LBJ, was pretty in morning light. The hotel even had kayaks available for guests. If only we'd had time to linger.
I spotted the red caboose, as well as a yellow and green one. Don and I actually spent a night in the red one, 6 years ago!
I ended my run, looking at the front of this beautiful hotel, with porches and rockers. I spotted the double doors on the left. The Kingsland Coffee Company now serves coffee and baked goods, in a space that once held a sitting area and kitchen.
I headed back to the room and showered. Don and I made numerous attempts, calling for vaccine appointments, back in Sugar Land. We would deal with the cabin later and head home with fingers crossed. There was a good chance we'd likely be dealing with pipe issues back home as well. Darn that Big Texas Freeze of Feb 2021! But mostly our fingers were crossed that we'd get the Covid vaccine soon!
We loaded the car and I put on my mask to check out. A different woman at the desk greeted me and made no attempt to find a mask. I chose to not fret. Instead, I asked about the history of that "underground" room near our suite. Something about bootlegging, she answered! And some kind of elevator or contraption that carried the liquor to an upper unit, near ours. I love a fun tidbit of hotel history.
Then, I headed to the coffee shop and found myself once again the only one in a mask. Staff and guests looked at me like I was some kind of paranoid old granny... or a bandit. Coffee was complimentary to guests, so I happily took 2 coffees for the road.
Minutes later, I got through to my doctor's office and I got two appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for the next day!
I love this sweet Texas hotel. I don't love that the staff paid little attention to the fact that our country is still in the midst of a pandemic. I will always remember that I was annoyed by that, but my glee outweighed my annoyance! I will always feel like this hotel adventure marked the beginning of getting back to exploring and traveling! At least I hope so!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!