No, this is not a touist spot in Belize but rather My new favorite swimming hole in Austin (Wemberly acutally). one of my favoriete austin spots and an austin first fo rme.
As I have been on a mission to create the “LIST” and check off as many of these awesome, weird, or interesting things to doin the austin area, i finally made it on a rather hot day and a holiday- to one such place. the blue hole. about 45 mintues from austin, i get a little lost on highway 12- the small town of winberly- super cute- kitchy- along the river- i don’t see the turn off so i end upa few minutes down the road and stop at a miimart where she proceeds to draw me a map of the turn off that i missed- and so easy to do. Im only 5 minutes away no big deal. She was right, a tiny sign that said blue hole (in somewhat gradeschool and non state roadway signs) points the way to the long driveway. You pass (or drive through) a small but beautiful cemetary housing many of the wemberly family and many more of world war 1 vets and others living in the 1800s. i stop by the man sitting int he camping chair who promptly tells me they aren’t letting anymore peoiple in a sthey are at capacity so i have to hang out in wimberly and have an iced tea and come back. i was exccited to check out the town- all of 1 block but with many shopsfun places hidden that i discored- from the really cool orinigal general store which sells everything from nice french soaps to home furnishings, the brew pub on the river that had live music (and lots of shady trees for hot days like today) and folks sipping iced tea on the hlarge porch at the cafe.
cypres creek (part of the Colorado river system)
i had to leave to go the hole so didn;t get to stick around longer but the hole did not disapoint. I paid the entry fee- worth every penny of a few bucks- headed down the newly upgraded park that is part of the “regional park system??? there appears to be some nice hiking (really walking) in the area,is surrounded by 126 acres of natural forests and native grass fields
i get to an open green space with only about 50 or so people total- some picnicing, some throwing a football, some reading- under large shady trees-old growth cypress tress that hang into the river and show large trunks-promptl laid down my beach towel and proceeded into the water which was fureezing–but felt really really good. the river is fed by cool springs- the wtaer is very very clear-
this is still quite rustic despite the 2million in upgradesand preservation and i am happy wtih this. its a palce to swim out in the country, not a local swimming beach with lifegaurds if that is what you are looking for.
there were 2 swings that drop you into the river- one for the big kids, one for the real kids. Nice people help get the swing and tell you when to let go and the audience cheers will tell you your score. better abs mean sholding on longer with your feet up high tuck position and therefore better drops location and acrobatics. and some showoffs. It was obvious that some local highschool boys are regulars here and are eager to show you how it’s done and coach you along the way.
I also overheard a local woman in her 50s maybe who was there with 4 generations of family (her mom and her daughter and her daughters daughter who appeared to be about 3). she talke about how much niceer it looks now and how when she was a kid they would come with large groups of amily and friends aabout 30 and take over the place and that itw asnt as nice. they woukd camp and swim for days-the best.
the town website says
Blue Hole property was owned by the John R. Dobie family from 1897. In the 1920s, it became a popular spot for swimmers and picnickers when the Dobie family opened the Blue Hole to the public.
although renovations have really beautified the swimming area that is now called Blue Hole Regional park- it still has the feel of that awesome childhood place you would go in the summers to escape-peaceful an dcool.
Visitors now pay their entry fees in an office made of recycled and native materials, change in a new dressing room, walk down a stone path that blends into the surroundings, pad across a lush expanse of grass and lunch on picnic tables made of slabs of limestone.
another part of the new park was once a sweet potato field
The chatterbox orchid, a rare species of wild orchids seen only in Texas, grows along Cypress Creek.
im a bit concered that the next phase of ther renovations will be comipelting recreational aera and tennis courts and will take away from the peaceful, serene and small country feel.
Local legend tells tales of pioneers, wagons, and land for 10 cents an acre!
no pets allowed.no acohol either, makes this a nice and quiet and much different sounding and looking place and keeps it clean and well preserved- love that. much different than your local city or county park.
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