Trail Riding at SisterCreek Ranch, Sisterdale, Texas

Bring your horse and your sense of adventure to SisterCreek Ranch, where you can experience the splendor of nature and enjoy your horse all in one gorgeous setting. The ranch is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 20 miles south of the tourist
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Bring your horse and your sense of adventure to SisterCreek Ranch, where you can experience the splendor of nature and enjoy your horse all in one gorgeous setting. The ranch is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 20 miles south of the tourist

Bring your horse and your sense of adventure to SisterCreek Ranch, where you can experience the splendor of nature and enjoy your horse all in one gorgeous setting. The ranch is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 20 miles south of the tourist shopping mecca of Fredericksburg, nestled between Luckenbach and Sisterdale, 45 minutes north of San Antonio.

Fenced paddocks with lush green grass and loafing sheds await guests' horses at SisterCreek Ranch.

Fenced paddocks with lush green grass and loafing sheds await guests' horses at SisterCreek Ranch.

As we arrived at the gate I had to roll my window down to take a closer look. Were those zebras? And those antelope sure looked awfully exotic for south Texas.

"Honey, look!" I said to my boyfriend, Jon, who'd planned this weekend adventure. Giggling at my childlike wonder, he punched a few numbers on a pad to open the heavy iron entrance gate. We soon found ourselves in a horse lover's version of Oz.

"Jon this is beautiful!!" My joy overflowed as his "surprise destination" unfolded before me. Trees swayed in the wind, the sun glittered on the surface of the creek, birds were singing, and the lush grass was as green as I'd ever seen. My horse, Tig, began a chorale of nickers, neighs, and snorts. Apparently, he'd also noticed the grass.

A Warm Welcome
Jon navigated the Dodge down the windy road to the property's center. As we pulled alongside a beautiful barn, the ranch administrator, Trish Cayce, greeted us with a smile. She introduced herself to us and to the horses with genuine cheer. She swept Jon away as I unloaded the horses and tried to gain my composure.

Fenced paddocks, a state-of-the-art barn equipped with a misting system and iron stalls, loafing sheds, a round pen, an arena, trail access, ranch riding, cabins, pens - was I in heaven? I mentally debated how to let Jon know that we were never leaving.

There's also a charming little Western town, KickBack Flats. We got settled and headed to Sniffy's, the town's saloon-like restaurant, where the cook had been preparing the evening meal.

We met Beth and Bruce Johnson, the friendly ranch owners, who sat down to eat with us. Then we tucked into one of the best chicken potpies I'd ever eaten. I felt welcome and at ease, but I couldn't help but notice a feeling in the air, as though there was a secret that everyone knew but me.

Jon finally managed to tear me away from our new friends and shuffled me off to our spacious cabin. Did he expect me to sleep after arriving at a place like this? Finally, using a soft fire built with wood in our stone fireplace, Jon convinced me to let go of the day. But not until after I got my fill of reading the horse magazines I found on the coffee table and took a good long rock in a wooden rocking chair.

A Romantic Surprise
We woke to a breakfast of the same caliber as our previous night's dinner and rushed off to take our horses on one of the many trails. We tacked up, grabbed some new friends, and off we went. We enjoyed two hours on off-road trails feeling as though we were the only ones on the planet, and then found open broadways where we could gait and lope until we were crazy with glee. When our stomachs started screaming, we went down for a quick lunch.

John Rhodes proposed to Bonnie Lewis on trail at SisterCreek Ranch. "I ascended the mountain a starry-eyed girlfriend and came down an ecstatic wife-to-be!" writes Lewis

John Rhodes proposed to Bonnie Lewis on trail at SisterCreek Ranch. "I ascended the mountain a starry-eyed girlfriend and came down an ecstatic wife-to-be!" writes Lewis

But the air had changed. I still couldn't help but feel as though there was something no one was telling me.

After lunch, we ventured up to the mountaintop to gaze at the scenery. The Pop a Top trail was fun, challenging, and strangely deserted. We climbed up and up through the sunshine. Jon seemed a little nervous, but the trees seemed to share the serene attitude the ranch possessed. Much to Tig's delight, we reached the top and rested.

After a stroll in the horse-size labyrinth constructed at the trail's end, we nestled down under the pavilion to drink in the beautiful horizon laid out before us. This spot was one in a million, quiet and breathtaking, with what seemed like all the world below for our eyes to see. A perfect place for a romantic encounter, and it seemed that Jon knew this. I ascended the mountain a starry-eyed girlfriend and came down an ecstatic wife-to-be!

We returned to Sniffy's to find the whole crew waiting with champagne and appetizers, huge smiles, hugs, and well wishes all around. It turned out that everyone was in on the planning. The deserted trail, the perfect spot for a proposal - everything.

An Unforgettable Experience
Our visit to SisterCreek Ranch was not only heavenly, but a memory that will linger. While the grounds are glorious and second to none, the cooking was incomparable and the lodging lavish, the surreal feel that you were indeed standing in heaven was completed by the attitude radiating from every inch, guest, and smile. We made friends that weekend who'll always be a part of our lives.

For more information on SisterCreek Ranch, call (830) 324-6525, or visitwww.sister creekranch.com.