Want to get the best of both worlds–city nightlife, restaurants and suburban wineries, hikes and relax just steps from the booming city of Austin? Then The Wayback, a Texas Hill Country getaway near Austin, is the place to stay.
The pandemic has turned me from a city dweller to a suburban explorer. This in turn has tweaked my travel planning preferences slightly. When planning our trip to Texas, Pat and I decided to experience a Texas Hill Country getaway near Austin at a boutique hotel called The Wayback. We wanted to be taken back–way back–and experience the rural more authentic, suburban side of Austin before spending 2 days in the busier, more modern city atmosphere. The Wayback Austin, just 20 minutes from Austin city and set among the hills of Texas Hill Country, seemed perfectly positioned to offer us the best of both worlds.
Unfortunately, our stay could not have been more ill-timed. Pat and I decided to visit Austin Texas for it’s 70F weather and sunny skies, but we landed and faced the worst winter storm to hit Texas since the 1950s. The dreaded Winter Storm Uria…Luckily for us, we were able to sneak one day of Texas Hill Country touring in before getting hit by the storm (and yes, Texas Hill Country is worth visiting).
We landed Friday night, rented our Avis car rental, and drove to The Wayback. When we arrived we fumbled our way through the dark to our cottage. The coldness and humidity had frozen and coated all the trees and leaves around us in ice. You could hear the frozen icy leaves clink against one another as the wind blew. I walked across what I thought were just some shrubs and turned to face Patrick. That’s when I read the sign “Beware rattlesnakes spotted in this area. Do not walk here.” My irrational fear set in. It’s 32F, Sveva put yourself together, there are no rattlesnakes in this temperature. But I still jumped out of my skin, ran to the cottage, and unlocked the door.
The room was perfect, minimalistic, boho farm-style, but with small touches that gave the room a unique character. It actually reminded me a lot of my own home with the cowhide rug, minimalist art, and wooden touches. I approached a grayish old armoire. There was an Acqua Panna bottle, a letter, and a box of Madeleines waiting for us. After 2 flights and a layover, I couldn’t wait to dig into some real food. I slid open the box of Madeleines and shared some with Patrick. In my opinion, Madeleines are one of the most underrated pastries. I used to wait in line for 1 hour in NYC at Dominique Ansel Bakery to get my Madeleines. I later learned that the Madeleines from The Wayback were actually made by Fluff Meringues & More, a local Austin bakery that temporarily took over The Wayback’s Hut at the entrance of the boutique hotel.
What is The Wayback Hut?
The Hut is The Wayback’s to-go coffee stand. Locals can drive by, grab a cup of coffee and some pastries at the window, and continue along their merry way. The Wayback’s Hut is used as a pop-up shop on and Fluff Meringues & More was this month’s spotlight.
In need of a desperate shower, I let Patrick take one first. While I waited, I sat on the couch and took in the details of the room. The Wayback is inspired by mother-daughter duo and owners, Vicky and Sydney, and their own personal experiences. In particular, they were inspired by Vicky’s upbringing living in a cottage growing up, places such as the Hob Knob on Martha’s Vineyard (which I myself visited this summer!) and European towns and getaways. All these experiences culminate into The Wayback Austin you see today. The little touches like the Madeleines upon arrival, organic bath salts, and local coffee, are taken from boutique hotel experiences. The idea of creating a community of 8 cottages (inspired by Vicky’s upbringing) all within steps of The Wayback Cafe where you can grab dinner is a very European experience.
What makes The Wayback Austin even more magnificent is that it was built and designed from scratch by Sydney and Vicky. They’re not architects or interior designers, just creative hard-working Austinites with a vison and a recreational passion for painting. Sydney even participates in a global paint swap in her free time. You might even find a piece of art in your room.
Pat slid open the sliding barn-door that led to the bathroom and stepped out. It was finally my turn to take a hot shower. The first thing I noticed were the glossy turquoise vinyl floor tiles. The pattern complimented the hand-carved wooden side table in the bathroom. On top of the table was shampoo and conditioner from a local Austin-based company named Puracy. They create plant-based cleaning and personal care products that are gentle enough to use on a newborn. AKA perfect for my sensitive skin. If you haven’t caught on already, Sydney revealed to me that the one thing that is very important to Austinites is to keep things local. The first step of me unwinding were the Madeleines. The second was the scent of the citrus and mint plant powered products that put me into a meditative state.
I could now finally bury myself under the covers and pass out. Our room didn’t have one or even two beds, it had three! The room had one queen sized bed and a separate room with two twin beds. Even though Austin is warm year round, The Wayback was equipped with thicker duvets and blankets for the rare colder weather that had rolled in. I was comfortable as can be in the classic white plush bedding made of natural linens.
To be honest, being so close to the Bees Cave Road (a state-maintained roadway), I was concerned that I would hear the cars drive by from my cottage. However, all I heard was absolute silence. I thought Bees Cave Road would be buzzing with action (no pun intended), but it wasn’t. While the hustle and bustle of Austin can be a lot, when you step on to The Wayback you feel settled and relaxed.
The next morning I woke up to the sound of frozen icy leaves clinking up against one another. It sounded like a calming wind chime. I peered out the window in the hopes of seeing a ray of sunshine, but no luck. It was gray and cloudy, colder than the day before, and humid to the bones. Patrick and I layered on our jackets and stepped outside.
God, I wish it had been 75F and sunny. The setup of The Wayback Austin was the ideal Texas Hill Country getaway near Austin. It felt like I was at a grown-up summer camp. Private patios with lounge chairs and tables set up around the grove, string lights above our heads, the smell of that fresh Texas Hill Country air, the beautiful tress and rolling hills in the distance. I could see myself sitting here with a warm cup of coffee all day. Unfortunately, it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit and raining. So Pat and I scuttled like Penguins on ice to The Wayback Cafe, trying not to slip on the icy stones on the way there.
On a warm sunny day, the patio and backyard is the ideal spot for breakfast. It overlooks Texas Hill Country’s rolling hills. Even if you don’t stay the night and are just looking for a Texas Hill Country getaway near Austin for the day, your first stop should be The Wayback Cafe for brunch or breakfast. Our first morning at The Wayback Cafe, we ordered eggs with a croissant and bacon, the crab cake Benedict, an almond cappuccino, and Turkish coffee. As I mentioned before, Austinites like to support local, so most of their food comes from local farms in the area.
View this post on Instagram
Oh how I wished we could be sitting outdoors. Malenny, the Property Manager, even told me that occasionally a road runner would run across the backyard patio in the mornings. She shared this and a lot of other local secrets that no one knows about The Wayback and Austin with me in my exclusive local interview. Luckily, the inside was just as beautiful. Boho farmhouse chic with a fireplace, a couple of throw blankets for extra warmth, and a homey vibe.
While enjoying breakfast, I happened to meet Sydney and her husband. Their local, warm, and friendly Austin attitude had us chit chatting for a while. They were so gracious that they took time out of their morning to map out a list of local things to do in the area, including their favorite wineries, places to explore in Texas Hill Country, Austin, and more. Had it not been for the weather, I would’ve spent my morning lounging around the beautiful pool before driving to visit some wineries.
When I got back to the room I began plotting our day trip across Texas Hill Country. I wanted a Texas Hill Country getaway near Austin and I was going to get one. The weather was not going to stop me! It took a bit of planning, but we made a game plan. We took some of Sydney and her husband‘s recommendations as well as a few local recommendations from the locals booklet in our cottage and hit the road. On a sunny day, there is a lot to do during a Texas Hill Country getaway. The list spans everything from vineyards, hikes, breweries, olive oil tastings, apiaries, farms, cideries, shopping, spas, art galleries, alongside various food stops. Winter Storm Uria was trying to stop us, but we made the most of what we could.
One Day in Texas Hill Country: Wineries & BBQ
When we got back, I felt as if I had re-entered my enchanting adult summer camp getaway near Austin. The Wayback Austin was even more magical at night than during the day, if that is even possible. The Wayback Cafe had a small fire pit dug out and lined with stones in the backyard. Wooden logs were propped up as stools and string lights hung over head. There were beautiful trees, lush and green and fresh. Their fragrance stirred memories of childhood outings. Usually on Fridays and Saturdays, The Wayback Austin hosts fire pit nights with live music, smores, and cocktails. Unfortunately, due to the Winter Storm (I know…I sound like a broken record!). We weren’t able to experience this. But YOU can and should. The firepit experience and The Wayback Cafe is open both to guests and non-guests.
On our last morning at The Wayback, we scuttled across the yard to The Wayback Cafe. Today we would go all out. We would try as much as we could of the best The Wayback had to offer. Among the many local recommendations The Wayback staff gave me, the owner Sydney said that if there was one meal we had to try, it was the chicken and waffles. A personal favorite of Malenny, the property manager, was the avocado toast. We ordered all of it and more! To top it off we had oatmeal and a Valentine’s Day special (yes, we had planned to make The Wayback the focal point of our romantic Texas Hill Country getaway near Austin), which was a strawberry shortcake and cava that was…ethereal to say the least.
Sure, we might not have been able to experience all the amazing warm weather amenities of The Wayback while here. But we did become very well acquainted with one thing, their local food, which cannot be missed. Rooms start at $320 p/night.
>> Next: What Locals Do in Austin, TX: The Wayback’s Guide
Follow SVADORE on:
- Instagram: @SVADORE and @SVADORE_eats
- Twitter: @SvadoreTravels
- Pinterest SVADORE
- Facebook SVADORE