Things To Do and Places To See in the Texas Hill Country
Gateway to Wimberley, Texas
Bella Vista Ranch
Visit an Olive Oil producing ranch
First Texas Olive Oil Company
is a family-run business, specializing in FRESH olive oil and other fresh, complementary foods. We base our products on the fruits and vegetables grown at the Bella Vista Ranch in Wimberley, Texas alongside our 1,200 olive trees.
In 1996 Jack Dougherty, who grew up in the orchards of Santa Clara valley and later had a career working as an executive in the computer industry, purchased a dilapidated ranch with the intention of making it a working ranch. Today it has become an agricultural destination spot.
Jack realized that Texas Hill Country soil and weather are akin to the Mediterranean, and he could not resist a stab at growing olives.
The olive trees the on Bella Vista Ranch were planted in 1998. Our retail store opened on the ranch in the year 2000, and we opened our "frantoio" (olive pressing facility) in year 2001.
Yes, you can grow olive trees in Texas! We have pressed fresh olive oil every year since 2001 and look forward to another "fruitful" pressing this Fall. If you'd like to be notified of our upcoming pressing, and get a chance to taste "fresh off the press" oil, please join our mailing list at: email@example.com.
As the dry-county rules in Texas have evolved, we've received our winery license and created Bella Vista Cellars. Bella Vista Cellars produces a range of Italian varietals, as well as blackberry wine, from the fruit off the Ranch. We are passionate about high-quality, fresh produce and products. We invite you to visit our tasting room to sample the olive oil, wine, and other gourmet foods available.
Tour the first commercially producing olive grove and olive mill in Texas. We provide guided tours offering a depth of historical and agricultural information, a leisurely walk through the orchard, a close-up view of the olive mill and allow you to participate in evaluating fresh, cold-press olive oils, gourmet foods and our hand-crafted wines. Tour are provided Saturdays at 1:00 PM and Sundays at 12:00 Noon. Tours last approximately 1 ½ hours and the fee is $15 per person (includes all tastings, wine tasting, etc.)
We have pressed fresh olive oil every Fall (Sept to early Oct) since 2001 and look forward to another "fruitful" pressing this Fall. If you'd like to be notified of our upcoming pressing, and get a chance to taste "fresh off the press" oil or to participate in the age-old practice of picking olives, Consider joining our email list, here.
The Bella Vista Ranch
Bella Vista Wine Cellars
As is typical on farms throughout Europe, Bella Vista Ranch provides the home to not only olive orchard and mill, but grape vines and a winery. The vineyard consists of 2 blocks, growing Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. Both are great varietals for Texas weather. Bella Vista Cellars crafts country wines in the old-world tradition. When you visit the ranch, you can enjoy a flight of wines in our tasting room, relax with a glass of wine at a picnic table or you take our formal, guided tour with a close-up look at small-scale, Old World wine-making as well as the overall production of olive oil.
We are a boutique winery with an exclusive offering of between 4 and 7 wines for tasting and purchase. You can enjoy various wines sourced exclusively from our Estate vineyards or locally Texas-grown grapes including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Blackberry wines when you visit the tasting room. (Wines available for tasting change as our small volumes sell out and new vintages are ready for sale.)
The Bella Vista Ranch
Tasting Room and Gift Shop
We invite you to visit our tasting room and gift shop during normal business hours. You can sample fresh olive oils, jams made from fresh local fruit, hand crafted wines, and other gourmet foods.
The fruits and vegetables grown at the Bella Vista Ranch - olives, grapes, figs and Mediterannean-style fruits and vegetables are the basis of our products. In 1996 Jack Dougherty, who grew up in the orchards of Santa Clara valley and later had a career working as an executive in the computer industry, purchased a dilapidated ranch with the intention of making it a working ranch. Today it has become an agricultural destination spot. We also offer online ordering.
The Bella Vista Ranch
Private Group Orchard Tours & Events
Private tours are available any day of the week, per our schedule availability, for group of 12 people or more, at a rate of $12.00 per person. Experience a "Taste of Tuscany In The Texas Hill Country" for your next corporate event or social outing. We also offer catering of hors d'oeuvres and and specialty lunches. Please call (512) 847-6514 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make reservations.
Please note: One week prior to the scheduled group tour date, a 50% down or payment in full is required. Tour may be canceled if group arrives more than 1 hour later than scheduled appointment, due to staffing schedules. We appreciate your understanding. Contact us to arrange a private tour.
The Bella Vista Ranch
Bella Vista Ranch a bit of History
The Bella Vista Ranch currently grows more than 1200 olive trees consisting of over 15 different varieties, primarily Mission, Coratina and Arbequina varieties, with a range of other Mediterranean varieties so we can see what thrives best here in the Texas Hill Country.
First Texas Olive Oil Company presses fresh Extra Virgin olive oil in our frantoio (the Italian word for olive press). This pressing facility is located on the Ranch, next to the olive orchard. We use modern, Italian oil processing equipment that is especially designed to extract optimal volumes of the highest quality Extra Virgin oil by the "cold press" method.
Olives have been important to mankind throughout history and the tremendous health benefits of olive oil are being universally accepted and lauded. Fresh olive oil is available in our tasting room at the Ranch – please join us to learn more about olive oil and more importantly enjoy the incredible taste of fresh olive oil! (And you'll see why FRESH olive oil does taste different than what you purchase at the store.) While you're here, you can taste the other fresh preserves, dipping oils, balsamic vinegars, wines, chocolates, etc.!
Visit a Historical Dance Hall and Kick up your Heels.
Wimberley is the Honky Tonk and Dance Hall Hub of Central Texas
Wimberley's newest claim to being the right place for just about everything that's good and fun.
Texas is noted for being home of the nation's oldest, most colorful authentic dance halls. They're sprinkled (lightly) all over the state, but 11 of the best reside within a 50 mile radius of Wimberley and they include two of the state's oldest (Twin Sisters Dance Hall and Gruene Hall). Imagine we're at the center of a compass and beginning right up at the "N" and continuing on around the dial we have these wonderful destinations within easy reach (as "crow flies" mileage in parenthesis): Mercer Street Dance Hall in Dripping Springs (12); Cheatham St. Warehouse in San Marcos (13); Broken Spoke, Austin (30) Gruene Hall, Gruene (20); McQueeney Hall, McQueeney (40); Hanging Tree Saloon, Bracken (45); Anhalt Hall, Spring Branch (30); Kendalia Halle, Kendalia (35); Twin Sisters Dance Hall 6mi S of Blanco (20); Albert Dance Hall, Albert (34), and, finally, way up around the "NW" is Luckenbach Hall (40).
Their birthdates range from Gruene Hall in 1878 to 2013 (Mercer St. in Dripping Springs), but the rest qualify as "well done": 1870, 1879, 1887, 1903, 1914, 1922, 1964, 1974 and 1989. Despite their age, all are going strong. Even though Gruene is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas, Twin Sisters hall was opened in 1870 but served as a meeting place for several years before becoming a dance hall as well.
Several common factors qualified these 11 standouts for our list. No pretentiousness, family friendly, live music, almost always lots of tin and raw plank construction; dim string lights, lots of smiles and, for most, an entertainer's recommendation. Finally, each has no trouble in simply adding definition to what's meant by Texas honky tonk, saloon, dance hall or all three.
Trek the Trails or Take a Dip in the Famous Jacobs Well
Jacob’s Well Natural Area
...the first Hays County - owned preserve includes 81.5 acres surrounding the Jacob’s Well artesian spring. This ecological resource is the most significant and largest continually flowing karstic spring in the Texas Hill Country. Wildlife depend on the spring, which forms the headwaters of Cypress Creek, a few miles north of Wimberley, Texas. Limestone cliffs and native vegetation surround the spring with enchanting beauty for visitors of all ages. We hope you enjoy this popular recreational area and educational, ecological resource. Located just outside of Wimberley, it is open year round for exploration. Swimming is seasonally permitted; Memorial Day through Labor Day. The artesian spring, known as Jacob’s Well, is the head waters to Cypress Creek and the water is contained in the Trinity aquifer below. Year round the water temperature is a constant 68 degrees. The cave system below is extremely dangerous to explore which has led to several recreational SCUBA casualties in past history due to inexperience. Thus only permitted cave diving research professionals are allowed to dive. Their effort has charted the cave system to nearly 140 feet deep at its lowest point and almost a mile in length! Restoration efforts are constantly under way to improve and enhance the delicate ecosystem here.
The artesian spring, Jacob's Well, is a favorite swimming spot in Wimberley
and is also the head waters to Cypress Creek. The water is supplied to the spring by the Trinity aquifer, some 140 feet below the surface. Year round the water temperature is a constant 68(f) degrees. The cave system below is extremely dangerous to explore which has led to several SCUBA casualties in the past. Only permitted cave diving research professionals are now allowed to dive Jacob's Well. Their effort has charted the cave system to nearly 140 feet deep and almost a mile in length! Restoration efforts are constantly under way to improve and enhance the delicate ecosystem here.
Bats are present throughout most of the world, performing vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Bats are important, as they consume insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides. Viewing a bat emergence is a very unique experience. In the Texas Hill Country and around the Wimberley Area there are a multitude of 'bat caves'. Unfortunately most are on private lands and are not accessible to the public.
Bat viewing areas in the Texas Hill Country are abundant.
Enjoy a Wine Tour - Or discover our local wineries on your own
Vineyards and Winery Tours
Hill Country Wineries
Hill Country wineries are hidden gems...enjoy the wines of each location or have a tour for even more fun. Enlisting the services of an areas touring service will enhance your experience. With over 60 Vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms in this central portion of Texas it is easy to see why wine lovers are flocking to the lodges and hotels in the area. Choosing a tour company is easy and many of our lodges have wine tours as part of their special packages if you enjoy venturing out on your own you will be rewarded by the beautiful views, Texas scenery and the wines from the boutique vineyards.
Stroll Wimberley area galleries and shops or join in a local workshop to experience creating your own art
Art Galleries and Workshops
Artists have been long
been drawn to the Wimberley valley, 'A Little bit of Heaven'.
Many people discover the beautiful Texas Hill Country and are quickly taken by the sense of energy, the thriving cultural scene and the supportive artist's community.
With so many artists within the area they naturally needed outlets for their artwork. Art shows abound as do Art Galleries. In fact there is so much wonderful artwork that many of the local stores also feature local artists work.
All media are represented and if you want to dabble there are even classes available for painting, jewelry making, photography, weaving, glass work and more. Wimberley Artist Workshops brings an array of nationally acclaimed artists to share their knowledge. Ply offers classes in weaving along with loom rental plus weaving supplies. Silo Glass offers fused glass classes, all supplies furnished and no experience needed. Arbor Gate Studio offers workshops for jewelry creation.
Visit any or all of these galleries to view the artists' work.
Blue Hole is one of the best loved natural swimming holes in Texas
Blue Hole Regional Park
A unique spot almost hidden in the center of Wimberley, the Blue Hole is lined by old growth cypress trees that have survived floods, milling, and settlers' needs for building materials. The Blue Hole property possesses what is now becoming a much more rare ecosystem and supports many species of birds, reptiles, insects, amphibians, and mammals. Native grasses, wildflowers and groves of varieties of central Texas trees and shrubs are decoratively combined with rocky outcrops, creating a scenic and special environment.
The concept of ziplining — which today is primarily an adventure thrill ride — was actually conceived out of necessity. The gravity-fueled conveyance using cables and pulleys threaded between two points was created by workers and residents who needed to quickly transport people and supplies across canyons, rivers, and other impassable areas in remote regions of China, the Costa Rican rainforest, and the Australian Outback.
Ziplining is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing adventure tourism activities. Today, professional ziplining adventure tours can be found worldwide and there is one in Wimberley for all to enjoy. Experience a rush as you soar over canyons and creeks with breathtaking 15-mile views of the Wimberley Valley. Your adventure will begin with trained guides leading you on an educational walking tour. You’ll learn about the local ecosystem of plants and wildlife, local history, and other interesting Wimberley area facts.
300 Winn Valley Drive, Wimberley, TX 78676
1.847.9990 website Map
Whether you are looking to relax and enjoy a great meal, have the munchies or would like a picnic lunch to-go. Wimberley has you covered.
Gourmet, Bistro, BBQ, TexMex
dining in the small town of Wimberley is as diverse as its residents.If you are looking for the best Bar B Que in Texas, you'll find it here. Gourmet dinners and lunches are available at Blair House Inn, French inspired Bistro fare from Jobell is always a gastronomical delight. Burgers, soups, home made pizza, Italian, Tex Mex and don't forget the Wimberley Pie Company.
Visiting Wimberley is always a great experience and dining at one of it's locally owned and operated eateries puts the icing on the cake.
You can always expect great food and service from one of these eateries
Take in a first run movie at an out door movie theatre
With a long history
The Corral Theatre offers first run movies from Memorial Day until Labor Day, one of Wimberley's most popular and unique experiences is grabbing a lawn chair or two, jumping into the car with friends and family, and decamping at the camp...Rocky River Ranch, that is. Stopping off only for popcorn and cool drinks, happy movie-goers then find a place for the lawn chair (or use one of those provided, if they came early enough) and settle down for a good movie and a memorable experience. a bit of history
100 Flite Acres Road, Wimberley, TX 78676
1.512.847.5994 webpage Map
VisitWimberley.com is your 'online' gateway to the Wimberley area with Art Galleries and artist information, features, links to shopping, eating, services, music, special events, art showings, things to do, animal and wildlife information, crafts, and services in the Wimberley area. Our sister publication,The Hill Country Home Guide, includes localized information for designing, building and living within the Texas Hill Country.