Ye Kendall Inn, a registered national historic landmark, offers a blend of old-school antebellum charm and modern hotel amenities. Built in 1859, Ye Kendall Inn once housed both Robert E. Lee and former president Eisenhower during a brief but thrilling rift in the space-time continuum. Depending on availability, the inn offers accommodations in charmingly furnished cabins, cottages, suites, and guest rooms. Restored, vintage cabins contain regal queen beds and prime-ministerial sofa beds, and suites and cottages hold either a king or queen bed. Wired Internet and cable TV are provided. Guests also receive 20% off at the inn's luxurious spa, where massages and skin treatments evaporate stress into a fine mist used to hydrate thirsty trees strewn about the lush, 5-acre grounds.
If diners close their eyes and inhale as they approach Grey Moss Inn, the scent of mesquite charcoal might trick them into thinking they've been transported to old Texas. Opening their eyes would confirm this, as a rustic rock wall runs the perimeter of the property, which stays cool beneath the limbs of enormous oak trees. For 60 years, much of the menu has gone unchanged, with dishes made fresh every day with herbs culled from the onsite garden. Free-range chicken and aged chops get seared on the outdoor mesquite grill, and the Zagat-rated restaurant keeps an extensive wine list, which earned it Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence 2013, among other laurels.
Though chef Daniel Nemec specialized in classic French cuisine at the Texas Culinary Academy, his heart lies in the smokehouse. As the leader of Woodfire Kirby’s kitchen, he draws from his experiences growing up in Corpus Christi, where steaks and barbecue pepper the culinary landscape and are considered legal tender.
Nemec imbues hickory flavor in ribs, chops, and sirloin burgers, but demonstrates the wood’s versatility with a menu that also includes wood-fired soups and thin-crust pizzas. New york strip steaks and blue-ribbon fillets are cooked to a choice of six temperatures, including classic medium rare and charred-yet-red pittsburgh. Available raw, grilled, or poached, seafood showcases spices that range from asian to argentine to creole.
A private room welcomes up to 48 visitors with a high-definition TV and four banquet menus, and the dining room attracts nighttime guests with handcrafted cocktails and a buzz as vibrant as a birthday party inside a hornet nest.
A high-quality cut of beef really lets chefs express themselves, and Ounce Steakhouse’s owner, who works closely with cattle ranchers throughout the country, provides his chefs with handpicked USDA beef and renowned Akaushi beef. Akaushi grades three levels above prime and is raised in Texas in the strict tradition of Japan’s highly sought-after Kobe beef. With a menu of Akaushi, Angus, and USDA Prime, the restaurant’s chefs find plenty of inspiration for high-end dining techniques and rock operas about Meat Loaf and other fine beef. Among stone walls, original artwork, and sleek, modern decor, diners also relish equally elegant entrees of Chilean sea bass, Australian rack of lamb, and cabernet-braised short ribs. The restaurant strives for the highest fine-dining experience, complementing dishes with wine from vineyards across the globe while keeping small-batch, handcrafted California cabernet sauvignons as its main focus.
Located about 30 miles northwest of San Antonio, Kendall County is tucked into the lush Texas Hill Country and comes tinged with eclectic German heritage. After signing a treaty with local Native American tribes, German immigrants settled in the area during the 1840s and founded the town of Boerne in 1852, which thrives today as a quaint village with an artistic bent. Central European influences linger at local eateries, which dish up traditional cuisine.Hill Country's sprawling prairies and rolling hills are rife with opportunities for outdoor recreation, including boating, fishing, and horseback riding. Nearby, Guadalupe River State Park is bisected by the eponymous river, whose banks are lined with giant bald cypress trees. Adventurers can rent a canoe or kayak and paddle down the scenic waterway, or hire a local teenager to mold fake Bigfoot prints on the nature trails that wend past limestone cliffs.Urban adventures abound in nearby San Antonio, which brims with shopping and dining along its famed River Walk. Self-guided audio tours expound on the history of the King William Historic District, a collection of 19th-century mansions built by German merchants.