The legendary “marble falls” may have been submerged in 1951 when Lake Marble Falls was formed, but the namesake town still flows with history, adrenaline-pumping adventure, and pie as high as the Texas sky. All of this and more awaited me on a recent trip to this Hill Country hideaway.

Contact the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center at 830/693-4449.

Chet Garner is the host of The Daytripper travel show on PBS.

9:00 a.m. On Main Street, 100-year-old buildings seamlessly mix with a range of funky art sculptures. And at the Highland Arts Gallery, more than 50 local artists display and sell their works, depicting everything from bluebonnets to buffalo. For edible art, I stopped into Choccolatte’s for my morning cup of coffee and a bag of homemade Pecan English Toffee, which I polished off immediately.

10:30 a.m. I headed to The Falls on the Colorado Museum, housed inside the 1891 Granite School building, where historical photos and artifacts relate the town’s early days. A display of old saddles in the hallway recalled the Wild West, when the area was inhabited by more renegades than retirees.

11:30 a.m. I drove four miles southeast of town and peered into Dead Man’s Hole. Marked by a small opening in the earth, the natural cave plummets 155 feet and was reportedly once a dumping ground for those who found themselves on the opposing side of Civil War disputes. I shouted into the darkness and heard someone shout back. I hope it was my echo but didn’t stick around long enough to find out.

12:15 p.m. I stopped by The Real New Orleans Style Restaurant and found tasty crawfish étouffée and boudain worthy of The Big Easy. I wasn’t surprised when I found out the owners are NOLA natives who brought their Cajun cooking to Texas after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Boy am I glad they did.

1:00 p.m. Next up: Hidden Falls Adventure Park for a post-lunch adrenaline rush. This 2,700-acre outdoor playground contains more than 200 miles of trails ready for cruising on your choice of off-road vehicle, provided by Hill Country Adventure Rentals onsite. I rented a four-wheeler, and after a few hours of gut-clenching climbs, drop-offs, and low-water streams, I was happily exhausted—and completely filthy.

3:30 p.m. I rented a stand-up paddle board from Go Paddle Down and proceed-ed to the center of Lake Marble Falls, where I plunged into the water and let the gentle waves wash away the dirt of the trail along with every other stress in life.

4:30 p.m. I realized I was about to miss Pie Happy Hour at the Blue Bonnet Cafe. So after a quick dry-off, I bellied up to the bar and devoured a piece of warm coconut pie with a sky-high meringue. But somehow I managed to fit it all in and even found room for round two.

5:00 p.m. I tripped over to Save the World Brewing Co., America’s first 100-per-cent philanthropic brewery, meaning it gives all its profits to charity. I toured the facilities and tasted their authentic Belgian-style brews. I must say that giving never tasted so good.

6:30 p.m. Back on Main Street, I popped into local favorite R-Bar & Grill and found myself staring down a house-smoked pulled-pork sandwich topped with all the fixin’s. I needed a crane to pull me out of my chair once I was done licking my plate.

8:00 p.m. Seemingly on cue, the crowd inside the restaurant started to migrate next door to the connected Uptown Theatre. I joined in and found myself sitting inside this renovated 1942 movie house awaiting the night’s performance. [No upcoming performances scheduled at press time].

With guitar in hand, a Texas troubadour took the stage and the tunes started flowing as rich and deep as the water and spirit of Marble Falls. I let out a happy sigh and thought to myself, “I need to come here more often.”  So whether you follow my footsteps or forge your own path, I hope to see you on the road.

From the August 2015 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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