Needing an escape from city stress, I packed a bag and drove 45 minutes west of my hometown of Fort Worth for a stay at the new Double J Hacienda, a 12-acre retreat just outside Mineral Wells. Almost as soon as I arrived, I realized I had found a favorite getaway destination.
My first clue was the tail-wagging, canine welcome I received from Pequeño, 2 Jakes, Chigger, Bravo, and Nigel, the ranch’s unofficial welcoming committee. The dogs’ enthusiastic greeting mirrored that of Jane Baldwin, an anthropologist and yoga therapist who opened the inn two years ago with her husband, Jimmy Baldwin, an advertising executive and singer-songwriter. The enterprising pair instilled new life in the former Seybold Guest Ranch, a 1940s retreat that was popular mid-century with such celebrities as Bette Davis and John Wayne.
As we admired the breathtaking view of a bend in the Brazos River from the hacienda’s back porch, Jane told me how they stumbled upon the ranch five years ago and wound up creating a place that proves irresistible to artists, writers, musicians, yoga enthusiasts – and anyone who craves restoration and refuge.
This year, the Double J’s doors opened to individual travelers, too, wanderers like me who crave a place to unwind. The most special pleasure I found was in a private yoga class with Jane on her studio balcony. When we took our final deep breath, right at sunset, I understood the healing that could happen here.
No Zoning in Houston: Art thrives in unlikely places
The Art Guys marry a tree as part of No Zoning: Artists Engage Houston, curated by the Contem-porary Art Museum. Free from land-use ordinances, Houston’s residential and commercial areas coexist. From chaos comes art! See www.camh.org.
In the Grotto : San Antonio’s River Walk gets a creative extension
Beginning May 30, tourists exploring San Antonio’s famous underground River Walk can see more of the city without navigating street-level traffic. A 1.2-mile extension of the River Walk now connects such popular destinations as El Mercado and the Southtown arts district, and—for the first time—allows River Walk pedestrian access to the San Antonio Museum of Art. Also new: Water taxis will ferry passengers from numerous stations along the waterway. See www.sariverfoundation.org.