Hidden Gems

I returned from a trip into the heart of the Texas Hill Country with two new must-return-to destinations.

The first is historic Salado, Texas and the Stagecoach Inn.


Talk about history! Set on the south bank of Salado Creek, fed by both fresh and mineral water, Native Americans often camped while hunting bison and other wild game. The Tonkawa Indians established a village on this site. Spaniard explorers who passed through named the small oasis, “Salado” (salty or salted – referring to the mineral waters.)

Most of the north-south travel across Texas from 1860 to 1890 came through Salado, which was both a major stop along the famous Chisolm Trail as well as a Butterfield Stage lines stop. In 1861, one of the area’s first settlers erected the Shady Villa Hotel. Many varied and distinguished guests found food and rest here, including Sam Houston, General George Custer, Robert E. Lee, cattle barons Shanghai Pierce and Charles Goodnight and outlaws Sam Bass and Jesse James.


Sam Houston stayed in this room which still has the original flooring and fireplace.


If this ancient tree could talk!

In 1943, the Shady Villa Motel, in disrepair and abandoned, received new life along with the new name The Stagecoach Inn.

This walk down History Lane was one I’ll not soon forget. And, the food in The Stagecoach Inn restaurant was some of the best I’ve ever had.

The small village of Comfort, Texas is nestled in the southern part of the Texas Hill Country. It has some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere on the planet!

Comfort has remained an unincorporated community since its founding by German immigrants known as The Freethinkers in the 1850’s. Some of the residents refer to it as a shire and others as a community but don’t dare call it a town or city. They are quick to correct you.

The Historic Downtown district features authentic nineteenth-century German-style architecture.

It is rich with history, arts of all kinds, delicious food and boasts not only a winery but a distillery.

This was my first time to visit a distillery and the tour taught me a lot.

What is different about this distillery? They make moonshine out of Prickly Pear Cactus. I had a Lemon Drop Martini made from this moonshine and it was delicious!

Texas Hill Country Distillers

Fascinating facts about the process of making high-quality hooch: Did you know that  to make Gin, you must have Juniper Berries? Did you know you can distill wine and end up with a smooth-tasting high-octane liquor? Did you know you can make hooch out of cactus that is not Tequila? Well neither did I, but I learned all those things on the tour.

Of course, I brought home a couple of bottles of the Prickly Pear Cactus Moonshine.


The community of Comfort, Texas, the incredibly beautiful landscape rich with wildlife, and the friendly open spirit of its residents make it a return destination.