Take advantage of special Spring Break programs at Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Kayaking, birding and beachcombing are some of the activities that Matagorda Bay Nature Park will offer Spring Breakers with special March 9-15 programs. Wings Over the Wetlands provides beginning birding techniques. Day on the Bay teaches kayak paddling on the tranquil waters of the wetlands. Adventures in Beachcombing looks at the unique location where freshwater and saltwater meet. Call (979) 863-2603 for reservations or more information.

Make plans to visit Matagorda this weekend.

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Pumpkins, Scarecrows, and Cornfield Mazes? Must Be Fall!

Pumpkins

Can you believe it?  October is here!  Soon they days will be shorter (and cooler!), the leaves will begin to turn and then fall, and maybe – just maybe – we’ll need a jacket in the morning.

With the changing of seasons, also comes fun Fall activities and events.  The Colorado River Trail has several fun Fall events coming up, so get out your calendar and plan your October and November family outings.

Sweet Berry Farm – Marble Falls
Make the short drive to Marble Falls for the “Harvest of Fall Fun” at Sweet Berry Farm.  Once there, you won’t want to leave.  They have pumpkins and gourds to buy, pumpkin painting, hayrides, horse rides, a Texas-shaped maze, and much more.  But I think my favorite activity there is scarecrow stuffing.  Sweet Berry Farm has pants, shirts, and hats and lots of straw so families can make their own Fall decoration to take home!

Admission:  Free
Parking:  Free
Activities:  Priced individually
Dates:  September 29 – November 11, 2012
www.sweetberryfarm.com/
www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Berry-Farm/105305619536147

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm – Elgin
Just east of Austin is the town of Elgin.  While it’s well-known for its BBQ, Elgin also has some fun family attractions and activities as well.  You won’t want to miss October Fun at the Elgin Christmas Tree Farm.  Starting October 6, there are fun activities for just the cost of admission.  October Fun is open weekdays and the 1st and 4th weekends.

You’ll find hayrides, mazes, animals to pet, pumpkins to decorate, pumpkin photo ops, and so much more.  Pumpkins are available to purchase for an additional charge.

Admission:  $5
www.elginchristmastreefarm.com/
www.facebook.com/ElginChristmasTreeFarm

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm is also host to a Pumpkin Festival!  The Pumpkin Festival happens on the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October (October 13-14 and October 20-21).  For the price of admission, your whole family will enjoy live bluegrass music, mazes, pumpkin painting, duck races, hay rides, and more fun than you can shake a stick at.  Pony rides, tasty food, and pumpkins are available for an additional charge.

Admission:  $5
www.elginchristmastreefarm.com/
www.facebook.com/ElginChristmasTreeFarm

Evergreen Farms – Elgin
Also located in Elgin is Evergreen Farms, and you’ll want to visit every weekend in October for Pumpkin Hunt.  This family-friendly event features like wagon rides, pumpkin decorating, a petting zoo, and pumpkin photos.  For a small fee, you can also try your luck at the Pumpkin Launcher or Pumpkin Maze, get your face painted, or go on a train ride.

But the premier event is the Pumpkin Hunt.  Your kids will love taking a wagon ride out into the Christmas tree fields where they can hunt for mini pumpkins hidden among the trees.

Admission:  Free
Activities:  $2.50 – $5
Dates:  October weekends, 2012
www.evergreen-farms.com/pumpkin.php
http://www.facebook.com/evergreenfarmschristmastrees

Barton Hill Farms – Bastrop
Set among 100-year old Cottonwood trees and overlooking the Colorado River is Barton Hill Farms.  Located halfway between Austin and Bastrop, this scenic venue hosts a Fall Festival and a 5-acre Corn Maze.

There are live bands to keep things lively, a pumpkin patch, hay bale pyramids, and activities steeped in Texas history like the Wilbarger Fort playscape and the sunken pirate ship!

Admission:
Children 2 and under: Free
Children 3  – 12: $7
13+: $10
Dates:  Weekends from September 22 – November 18
bartonhillfarms.com/
www.facebook.com/BartonHillFarms

Great Goblin Glow – Lakeway
Are you ready for a Halloween event like no other?  Then make your way to Lakeway on October 27th for the Great Goblin Glow.  Watch as hot air balloons light up the night sky.  The kiddos can wear their costumes, and everyone can enjoy carnival rides, watch a light show, listen to music, and check out the live bat exhibit from Bat Conservation International.  And you won’t want to miss a walk into the Dead End Cemetery!  More information is available on the City of Lakeway’s website.

Admission:  Free
Date:  October 27
City of Lakeway website

Pumpkin Patch at the Jersey Barnyard (Frerichs Dairy) – La Grange
Come for the pumpkin patch and stay to see Belle the Cow, the famous cow from the Blue Bell Ice Cream commercials.  The Pumpkin Patch at the Jersey Barnyard runs through the end of October and includes jack-o-laterns and specialty pumpkins, fall decor, fall bedding plants, and much more.  While there, take the kids on a guided or self-guided tour of the barnyard where you can see, touch, and feed the animals, wander through the hay maze, and even milk a cow!  Visit the Jersey Barnyard website for details.

www.texasjersey.com/

Theta Delta Pumpkin Patch – El Campo
Theta Delta’s pumpkin patch offers children’s  activities, photos opportunities, and your choice of pumpkin. You’ll find specialty pumpkins as well as ornamental/Indian corn for sale, and activities for children like face painting, tattoos, mini pumpkin painting, and a bounce house for an additional charge.  Entry to the patch costs $5 and includes 1 pumpkin.

Theta Delta’s Annual Pumpkin Patch will be held 8am-12pm, October 13, 2012 at Evans Park in El Campo.

Admission:  $5 and includes one pumpkin
Dates:  October 13

Nearby the Colorado River Trail

Just outside of the Colorado River Trail region are a few other places to go with your family for Fall fun.  Give them a try too!

Rocky Creek Maze – Moulton
Visit Rocky Creek Maze for its cornfield maze, Haunted Trail, hayrides, hay slide, corn cannon, and so much more!

Admission:
Adult ages 12+: $10
Children ages 4-11: $8
Seniors ages 65+: $8
3 and under: free!
Haunted Trail admission: $7 plus regular admission
Dates:  October 5 – November 18
rockycreekmaze.com/
www.facebook.com/pages/Rocky-Creek-Maze/124686610897836

Martin Farms Christmas Tree Plantation – Bellville
Martin Farms has an annual pumpkin patch, carnival games, face painting, bobbing for apples, scarecrow stuffing, and much more family fun.  Visit website for more information.

http://www.martinfarmstexas.com/halloween.php

Pumpkin Chunkin’ at Becker Vineyards – Fredericksburg
Visit Becker Vineyards on November 10th to see pumpkins being launched into the field with a trebuchet!  It’s not every day you get to see something like this, is it?  Musician Doug Moreland will perform in between launches.  More information on time and admission is coming soon.

http://www.beckervineyards.com/events.htm

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Food Trucks Offer a Unique Dining Experience

Food trailers at South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery

Who would’ve thought even 10 years ago that eating from a food truck would be cool?  But cool, it is.  And tasty too!  It doesn’t matter what you’re craving, there’s probably a food truck nearby that will meet your needs.

Tacos, BBQ, Asian, burgers, kebabs, hot dogs, crepes, cupcakes – I could go on and on.  Austin has several locations where you can find a group of local food trucks.  Many of them are owned and operated by gourmet chefs.  Some of them have permanent locations, while others will tweet their daily locations to hoards of hungry followers.

Austin

There are truly too many to list here individually, but there are two great websites that provide all the Austin-area food truck listings by location and by type of food.  You’ll never be hungry again.  Promise.

Food Trailers Austin
http://www.foodtrailersaustin.com/

Austin Food Carts
http://austinfoodcarts.com/

If you don’t happen to be in Austin, don’t stress.  There are other Colorado River Trail communities with a burgeoning food truck seen as well!

Bastrop

Snowball Express
http://www.yelp.com/biz/snowball-express-bastrop

Shug’s Bar-B-Q
http://www.shugsbbq.com/

Aunt Lou’s Kitchen (home cooking)
Near Chestnut and Haysel in downtown Bastrop
512-308-7443

Bee Cave

Frozy’s Shaved Ice
http://www.frozysshavedice.com/
http://www.facebook.com/frozysshavedice
http://www.twitter.com/frozysshavedice

Louisiana Wild

http://www.louisianawild.com/
http://www.facebook.com/LouisianaWild
https://twitter.com/LAWildCrawfish

West Travis County (Oak Hill area)

Chappy’s Pit BBQ
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chappys-Pit-BBQ/172990876150290
http://wayoutwestaustin.com/?p=10728

Is it lunchtime yet?

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Paddle or Row Along the Colorado River Trail

The Joy of SummerThe sound of the paddle pulling through the water.  The chattering of the ducks near the shore.   The sharp cry of a hawk flying high above.  Or maybe it’s the musical sound of your kids’ laughter as you take them out on their first kayaking or canoeing adventure.  Can you hear it?

Are you ready to go now?  Fall is the perfect time to paddle down the river or across a glistening lake.  The weather is warm, but the heat of the Summer is long gone.  The breezes are cool and refreshing.

But what do you do if you don’t own the equipment?  The Colorado River Trail has several outfitters – from the Highland Lakes to Matagorda Bay – that are ready and waiting to put you in a canoe, kayak, or SUP (stand up paddle) board.  Whether it’s for an hour or the whole day, you’re sure to find the perfect place to set sail for a family adventure you won’t soon forget.

Check out these listings:

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Fresh From the Farmers’ Market

Farmers' Market

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t signal an end to farm fresh Texas produce. Our warm climate means an extra long growing season, so we can enjoy locally grown fruits and vegetables from early Spring until late Fall.

The Colorado River Trail has several local Farmers’ Markets that offer a variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other artisan products.  Some will close after Labor Day, but many remain open until October and November.

Hungry yet?  If so, stop by one of these great Farmers’ Markets on the Colorado River Trail next time you’re out and about:

Do you have a favorite Farmers’ Market?  Tell us about it!

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Get On Your Bikes and Ride

MS150_MG_9402.jpgOur last post covered several great trail rides in the Colorado River Trail area.  So what do you do if you prefer riding a road bike over a mountain bike?  Once again, we’ve got you covered.

The Colorado River Trail’s 11 scenic counties provide the perfect backdrop for both recreational rides or long training rides.  Need more proof?  Check out our list of cycling routes below.

Road rides:

  • Park Road 1C between Bastrop and Buescher state parks – a scenic 12-mile route through the Lost Pines.
  • Fayette County Bicycle Routes – routes ranging from 18.5 to 60 miles through beautiful Fayette County.
  • San Saba Bike Trails – cycle through the heart of the Texas Hill Country on 5 beautiful routes ranging from 7 to 80 miles in length.

Where do you like to ride?

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Ready To Hit the Trail?

no fear, vanessa

Texas is blessed with open space – LOTS of open space.  So when it’s time to grab your bike and go, the Colorado River Trail is the place you want to be!

Check out the listings below for some great trail rides in our 11 counties

Trail rides:

While Muleshoe Bend is well-known for its mountain biking trails, LCRA has several other developed parks and recreation areas that are great for hitting the trails as well.  You’ll have different scenery, terrain, and degrees of difficulty with every park you ride.

Texas Parks and Wildlife also has some fantastic information on mountain biking trails in their state parks.  Check out their biking resources before you head out next time.  You’ll be glad you did.

Where is your favorite place to go mountain biking on the Colorado River Trail?

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