Last weekend we headed out 290 toward Fredericksburg to celebrate our friend Rachel’s birthday. We stayed at the Exotic Resort Zoo, which proved to be rather interesting. The “resort” was a couple of cabins decorated with dinky animal print and weird elephant pictures, but that didn’t really matter.
Anytime you can get drunk and pet a donkey in the middle of the night, it’s a good time. Outside the cabin area is a small petting zoo with donkeys, geese and deer who will walk right up to you. The best part however is the tractor/trailer tour (free if you stay at the resort). The animals are so domesticated they come running when they see the “meal wagon.”
I liked the camels best. They are calm, gentle and eat out of your hands. My boyfriend, Brad enjoyed pouring food into the Buffalo’s mouth. Overall, it’s a good place to have some barbecue, drink some beers around the campfire and relax. Only negative was the hot tub wasn’t working.
Brad and our friend Zach feeding the buffalo
But the weekend didn’t stop there, we took a quick run through Texas wine country on 290. Here’s a quick rundown of the places we stopped at:
Grape Creek Vineyards:
High quality production, our guide was really friendly and knowledgeable, free glass if you did the tour also, tour includes looking at their cellars and trying from different barrels before the tasting. $30
Favorite wine: Cabernet Blanc. Nice sweet strawberry taste and is palatable for non-wine drinker like me. Brad liked the Merlot and bought a bottle.
Definitely the place I enjoyed the least. They give a decent number of tastings and a free glass with tasting. The girl who was doing our tasting seemed annoyed with her job and didn’t provide the “experience,” which I think is half the fun. The redeeming quality was the beautiful views of Hill Country out on the patio and Moscato.
Rachel with a giant bottle of their wine, probably not supposed to pick that up 😉
Favorite wine: Moscato, but mostly because we drank a bottle with Rachel’s heavenly birthday cake.
This place was my favorite of the wineries!! First of all, you actually get to sit down to drink, which is awesome after standing all day. The tasting was in this old dance hall style room with wood floors and vaulted ceilings. Our guide and owner, Mike, was knowledgeable and efficient. I took the Sweet Flight, of course. I even could tolerate the Port here, it was paired nicely with some dark chocolate. (The Port at Grape Creek was really overpowering for me).
Mike educated us on the tannins and how drinking a red wine in between bites of steak, for example, makes each bite taste like the first time.
Favorite wine: 2010 Sea Breeze. Sweet and fruity just how I like it. Brad purchased the Unfiltered Cabernet/Syrah.
By this time, we were all “wined” out and swung by the Garrison Brothers Distillery. They have a great hometown operation to make real quality Bourbon. Even my whiskey-hating self can tell it’s top notch. The tour is $10 and walks you through their process. It’s a small group who work together to make it happen. The owner even signs and numbers every bottle. The atmosphere was exceptional: music playing, free beer and horseshoes before you even head to the tour.
And of course, we ended the weekend like any good Texan would: stuffing our faces at Dairy Queen. 🙂
For more information on wine tours on 290, visit http://www.wineroad290.com.