Break out the Tents! Exploring the Great Outdoors in Central Texas


Break out the Tents! Exploring the Great Outdoors in Central Texas

As fall finally approaches and those scorching Texas temperatures finally cool off, it’s the perfect time to make plans to visit one of the many state parks right here in Central Texas. Whether you like to camp or spend the day exploring, these hidden gems offer the chance to appreciate the natural beauty of Central Texas without traveling far from home. Grab your hiking boots and get ready to roast some marshmallows.

Lower-McKinney-Falls

Photo courtesy of McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls is the closest State Park to Austin and has all the natural beauty you could wish for but still close to home. Campsites are large and have a picnic table and fire pit. Located at the confluence of Onion and Williamson creeks, the park is a great place for swimming and hiking, and the falls are especially scenic after a good rain. You can also pay a visit to “Old Baldy,” a 500+ year-old, 103 food tall cypress tree, one of the oldest bald cypress trees on public land in Texas. At only 25 minutes away from Plum Creek, this park offers a natural escape without a long-distance road trip beforehand.

texas parks

Photo courtesy of Bastrop State Park

Bastrop State Park

Bastrop State Park offers a magnificent bike trail through the Lost Pines of East Central Texas, in addition to swimming, hiking, and golf. The park has rebounded after the devastating 2011 wildfire, and nearly all of the trails, campsites, and facilities have reopened to the public. Cabins and facilities built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s are still standing and available for group rental, or for those wishing to experience a bit of history while enjoying the outdoors. You can also rent a canoe or a barbeque pit at the park and spend the day enjoying the natural wonder of the Lost Pines at Bastrop or neighboring Buescher State Park. The park also features scenic drives, if you’d prefer to experience the great outdoors from the comfort of your own vehicle.

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Photo courtesy of Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park is a favorite for family hikes, featuring an easy 7-mile trail that winds along small canyons created by the Mescal and Tobacco creeks. Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country west of Austin, Pedernales Falls is a great place for camping, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, and more. The campground is spacious and well-kept, and offers campers a peaceful escape in a uniquely beautiful setting. The Pedernales River also offers some great swimming, tubing, and wading for cooling off after a day exploring the natural wonders. A quarter mile nature trail also leads to a scenic overlook of Twin Falls, perfect for capturing those postcard moments or just enjoying the breathtaking view. For equestrians, the park can also be explored on horseback on the rugged, 10 mile trail that winds up and down the hillsides.

Lockhart-2902

Photo courtesy of Lockhart State Park

Lockhart State Park

Southeast of Kyle, Lockhart State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for the whole family, including picnicking, camping, fishing, hiking, and more.  With nice hiking trails and several dams and fishing holes, this park is a great place to make a day trip or to camp for the night. The park also features a nine-hole golf course, the only staff-kept course in the Texas State Parks System, and a park swimming pool. RV travelers are welcome as well as traditional campers, and there is a CCC built recreation hall that can be rented for group events. And if you get tired of roasted marshmallows, the famous BBQ joints in Lockhart are only minutes away.

Want more to explore? Check out the Texas State Parks map on their website and plan your own adventure.

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Rock the Porch Returns to Plum Creek


Are you ready to rock, Central Texas? For the second year, Plum Creek’s Rock the Porch public art initiative will return to Kyle, Texas with a fresh look and a rockin’ attitude. Much like last year, Rock the Porch will manifest in the creation of 20 sculptural and artistic rocking chairs designed by individuals, artists and groups from across Central Texas. Then in October, these chairs will be placed within the Plum Creek neighborhood and the greater city of Kyle to beautify the area and spark conversations. The Call for Artists for Rock the Porch is currently open – and we’re looking for creative minds to apply! The application period is open until August 15th, but don’t wait, apply today.

This year Rock the Porch is all about the music. We’re looking for designs inspired by the music that rocks you – whether it’s a genre of music, or a particular song, artist or instrument. Design a chair that pays homage to The Beatles, or one that looks like a piano. Or create a chair filled with lyrics from your favorite songs. We can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

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Get Rocking — Apply Today!

You have plenty of time to rock those creative juices and come up with something worth talking about. If you’d like to be a part of Rock the Porch, we want to hear from you! We will pick 20 artists in mid-August and your chair is due October 11th at Plum Creek’s annual Hootenanny on the Hill fall festival. At Hootenanny, there will be a vote for the best chair and the designer will be given $500 to donate to a local charity of their choice from a predetermined list.

Ready to get started? Follow the link below to fill out the application. Email kelsey@lookthinkmake.com to submit, or if you have any questions or feedback. Now let’s get rocking!

Click here to apply for Rock the Porch

Rock the Porch Rocking Chair

Rocking chair art from Rock the Porch 2013

Fourth of July in Plum Creek


Independence Day Celebrations in Plum Creek

Fourth of July is right around the corner, and no neighborhood celebrates Independence Day like Plum Creek. From festive parades to picnics and live music, this fourth is sure to be a good one! Haven’t made plans yet? We have you covered. These are our top picks for celebrating Independence Day in Plum Creek.

America-House

Popsicle Run

To kick off your Independence Day, Plum Creek has organized a color run consisting of 1K, 3K and 4 miler options. It’s the perfect way to preemptively work off the hot dogs and burgers you’ll be enjoying later. The run will start and finish at McNaughton pool, and participants will run through some of the most scenic features of our neighborhood. Once you’ve reached the finish line, your hard work will be rewarded with popsicles and other frozen treats. To register for the run or to get more information, click here.

Picnic and Parade

At 10 a.m. following the Popsicle Run, Plum Creek’s annual 4th of July Parade and Picnic gets started. All are welcome to join in the parade as festive bikes, strollers, wagons and scooters make their way from Witte and Negley Street to McNaughton Park. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Once at the park, attendees will enjoy a free picnic lunch and a waterslide to cool off.

Parade

Pre-Fireworks Celebration at Plum Creek Golf Course

The Plum Creek Golf Course (PCGC) has planned a full day of activities to celebrate the 4th of July. To get things started, PCGC is hosting a four person scramble golf tournament. The tournament will begin at 3 p.m. and includes prizes, finger food and a front row seat to the fireworks show for $44 per player. From 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., PCGC is throwing a pre-fireworks celebration at the Clubhouse. This celebration is free to the public and will include live music, a fantastic viewing of the fireworks show, and food and drinks for purchase. The City of Kyle will launch a fireworks show from the golf course around 9:30 p.m.

July4th

Performing Arts Center Star Spangled Event

Join the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center for a free concert before the fireworks show. Kem Watts will perform from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m., followed by Starlight Symphony Orchestra who will play from 8 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. After the concert, attendees can enjoy a beautiful view of the fireworks show on the front lawn of the Performing Arts Center.

City of Kyle Fireworks Show

Around 9:30 p.m., the fireworks will launch from the Plum Creek Golf Course. Find a spot early on to ensure you have a good view of the show. The fireworks will last between 15-20 minutes.

fireworks

Support Local Farmers


Shop the Farmers Markets Around Kyle, TX

The summer months offer an abundance of delicious produce. It’s the season of heirloom tomatoes, perfectly ripe peaches, summer squash, eggplant and juicy watermelon. If you’re looking to fill your fridge with seasonal produce and goods take a trip to one of these Central Texas farmers markets, mere minutes away from Kyle. Farmers markets offer a variety of fresh, high quality, reasonably priced foods, and buying locally supports family farmers and your local economy. Time to get shopping!
 
Farmers' Market Produce
Photo courtesy of Wimberley Farmers’ Market
 

Buda Farmers’ Market

When? Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., March-October.
Where? 121 North Main Street Buda, Texas 78610
 
The Buda Farmers’ Market takes place in downtown Buda, a quick trip from Plum Creek. Local vendors sell seasonal produce, meat, fresh eggs, baked goods, specialty foods and crafts every Saturday during market season from 9 a.m. until noon. The Buda Farmers’ Market encourages local pride, culture and economic development and aims to create more business opportunities and residential benefits for its community. The Buda Farmers’ Market has also been instrumental in helping Plum Creek spread the word about our second annual public art initiative, Rock the Porch. It’s run by great people who care about and are invested in their community, and we care about them!
 

San Marcos Farmers Market

When? Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where? Saturday: 155 E San Antonio St; Tuesday: 312 Hopkins St.
 
Less than 20 minutes south of Plum Creek, you’ll find the San Marcos Farmers Market. The market brings together local farmers, food artisans and artists every Saturday and Tuesday all year round. It is operated by the San Marcos Farmers Market Association, a non-profit dedicated to connecting Central Texas farmers with local customers. The market offers homegrown and homemade products including season fruits and vegetables, baked goods, honey, jams and jellies, eggs and select meats.
 

Wimberley Farmers’ Market

When? Every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where? 14050 Ranch Road 12 Wimberley, Texas 78676
 
The Wimberley Farmers’ Market is a small gem for those who enjoy eating seasonally and locally. This growers only market operates year round and is only 20 minutes away from Kyle and Plum Creek. Although the vendor list is short, the quality of their products is exceptional. There is always something available that is worth visiting for – from natural meats and fresh produce to specialty goods like homemade cider.
 

Meet Your Local Breweries


Exploring Craft Breweries near Kyle, Texas

The Texas craft beer movement is spilling over to Hays County and we couldn’t be more grateful. As summer temperatures rise, what could be better than a crisp, locally-brewed beer to cool down? If you’re feeling adventurous, Plum Creek is only a short trip away from some of the most popular craft breweries in Central Texas, and there’s no better time than summertime to get to know your local breweries!

Independence Brewing Co.

Independence Brewing Co. has been brewing full-flavored, handcrafted beers for the people of Texas since 2004, and is a short 20 minute drive up I-35 from Plum Creek. Brewery tours happen on the first Saturday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 and include three beer samples and live music. In addition, the tasting room is open every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Choice beer for summer? The White Rabbit White Ale is a medium-bodied brew that provides a crisp and slightly fruity finish. Subtle hints of orange zest make this beer the perfect refreshment for summertime heat.

Independence Brewery Co.
Photo courtesy of Independence Brewery Co.

(512) Brewing Company

Also 20 minutes up I-35 from Kyle and Plum Creek is the (512) Brewing Company. Its beers are made with Austin’s own mineral rich water, and the microbrewery strives to use as many local, domestic and organic ingredients as possible. One-hour brewery tours take place on Saturdays starting at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and include a (512) souvenir pint glass and beer tastings. RSVP online for a spot.

Choice beer for summer? The refreshingly light and crisp (512) Wit is easily enjoyed in the Texas heat. Look out for the (512) White IPA as well, a summer ale to be released in early July.

(512) Brewing Company

Photo courtesy of (512) Brewing Company

Thirsty Planet Brewing Company

Thirsty Planet is another South Austin brewery that believes in brewing with a purpose. They incorporate sustainable practices into their brewing process and support charities with a portion of their beer sales. Tours take place every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and food is available for purchase. Tours are free, but you need to reserve a spot online.

Choice beer for summer? The Yellow Armadillo is a light American-style wheat beer that is crisp, refreshing and perfect for hot summer days. Light notes of citrus add a clean finish to this Texas ale. And a portion of Thirsty Goat’s sales from Yellow Armadillo Wheat goes to a local cancer research and support foundation.

Thirsty Planet
Photo courtesy of Thirsty Planet Brewing

Bomber Brewery (Coming Soon!)

Bomber Brewery is the newest addition to the Hays County craft beer scene. The small, two barrel brewery will include the use of solar power, wind power and rainwater collection in the brewing process. It will be located just south of Kyle, Texas and is scheduled to open this July. Keep an eye out for upcoming tastings and other events!

Choice beer for summer? The Allies Irish Red Bomber is a refreshing, slightly hoppy ale that pairs well with warm weather.

Bomber Brewery
Photo courtesy of Bomber Brewery

Plum Creek Introduces Local Public Art Initiative + Front Porch Days, May 4-5


Chicago had its cows. Austin had its guitars. And Kyle – we’re getting rocking chairs.

Plum Creek, TX

This summer, Plum Creek is launching a public art initiative similar to the Cow Parade of Chicago and Guitar Town up in Austin called “Rock the Porch” that will manifest in the creation of 15 artistic rocking chairs that will be placed in the public spaces of Plum Creek and within the greater Kyle community. We’re looking for people, groups, organizations and artists from around Plum Creek, Kyle and Hays County to participate in creating these innovative public art pieces to beautify and enhance the neighborhood and the greater Kyle community. They’ll be placed in high traffic areas in the neighborhood such as the Plum Creek dog park, the Community Center, the pools, and around the city of Kyle, like in front of the library, City Hall and Lake Kyle.

These won’t be ordinary rocking chairs, though. We want them to be creative, innovative and thought provoking. Something worth talking about. Think something like a fur-covered chair placed at the Plum Creek dog park, or one that looks more like a children’s playscape than an actual chair. Or one that is completely reassembled and upside down! Do you have some creative ideas for a unique, sculptural rocking chair? We’d love to see what you’ve got! We’re accepting applications from local individuals, artists, groups and organizations. Just fill out the below application, and email kelsey@lookthinkmake.com to submit, or if you have any questions or feedback.

Rock the Porch Artist Application – Applications are due by May 15th so there’s plenty of time to get involved!

Plum Creek, TX

The temporary public art exhibition is designed to provoke thoughts of what it means to be a neighbor, to be neighborly and to inspire conversation among people. We picked rocking chairs as the symbol because it encapsulates what Plum Creek is all about: a friendly place where you can sit outside on the front porch, watching the fun and activity of the neighborhood with a neighbor or a friend, rocking to the beat of the passing breeze and enjoying life. Plus, they’re practical – offering you a place to sit while you watch your dog in the dog park, or after you’ve picked up your favorite book from the Kyle library.

Plum Creek is launching “Rock the Porch” at our annual Front Porch Days next weekend May 4th and 5th. At Front Porch Days, we’ll have an rocking chair on display to inspire and get people excited about the initiative. It’ll be a weird example that embodies the kind of creativity and fun we’re expecting from the public art initiative. We’ll also have applications available at the booth, the opportunity for you to nominate your creative friends, and for you to submit ideas for chair locations in Plum Creek and Kyle.

We didn’t want to leave the kids of Plum Creek out of the rocking chair fun either. So, we’ll have a number of fun crafts at our Front Porch Days booth for the kiddos of Plum Creek and Kyle to enjoy. Kid-sized rocking chairs will be available for families to purchase and decorate with paint, glitter and more, as well as little clay pots and bird houses for decorating as well. We’re donating all the money we raise from these items to Kyle nonprofit Hope & Love 4 Kids.

Plum Creek, TX

Hope & Love is a local children’s nonprofit that serves kids in and around Hays County. Founded in 2006, they provide basic necessities to children in the community, and comfort and uplift them in their time of need through services and outreach. Their programs include school supply drives, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, the Angel Tree program during the holidays, the Hendricks Scholarship Foundation which awards three different types of scholarships to Hays County students, and more.

So, bring some cash and those creative juices to Front Porch Days, and don’t forget to stop by our booth to learn more about “Rock the Porch.” We think this is a wonderful opportunity for Plum Creek to become even more involved in the greater Kyle community, and it’s the perfect way to showcase the creativity and talent of Kyle-area artists.

And if you have some ideas for a creative rocking chair, APPLY! We want as many different people and perspectives involved. So show us what you’ve got. Fill out the below application and email it to kelsey@lookthinkmake.com. Email if you have questions or would like more information as well.

Rock the Porch Artist Application

Free Week Austin | Nights upon Nights of Local Music


 

The first week in January is a special time for the Austin music scene. Free Week is an annual tradition of about 10 days of free shows at some of Austin’s most iconic music venues. What began in 2003 as an attempt to drive attendance to Emo’s during a slow time of the year, has become an annual January tradition that takes place at multiple venues across the city.

Plum Creek, TX

Photo courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

Starting at the New Year and continuing until January 12th, Free Week is a showcase of the great musical talent available in Austin. Focusing almost exclusively on local bands, Free Week takes place at such live music venues as Emo’s , Beauty Ballroom, Stubbs, The Parish, Red 7 and the new Holy Mountain, among others. It’s a great activity for the post-holiday season, as some people’s pocketbooks might still be reeling from all the gift giving and the activities of the holidays.

The show list is a bit overwhelming, with multiple shows and multiple venues each night, but Culture Map, Do 512 and the Austin Chronicle have written round ups of their favorite acts and round ups to make it a bit more digestible. Plus, the Free Week Austin website has Free Week Radio with a selection of songs from the bands playing each night, and there is a Spotify Radio playlist as well.

Plum Creek, TX

Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Vegan

So, if you have an evening with nothing to do this week, head 20 minutes north to Austin for a night of free live music. And, since the shows are free, that leaves more room in your budget for an adult beverage or a nice meal downtown before the show.