Riding high above the rolling waves of Lake LBJ, stands the largest inland lighthouse in the state of Texas. The Lighthouse in Horseshoe Bay is a beacon of lake life and provides a central meeting point for residents and visitors alike, providing a nautical piece of nostalgia that dates back to 1972.
Shortly after the master plan for the community was instated, the lighthouse was resurrected, establishing the prominence that would come to be synonymous with Horseshoe Bay. The original construction was the product of a partnership between the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and a private developer in the 1970s. LCRA authorized Hurd Properties access to construct the lighthouse at the end of a 200-foot dike north of the Thomas Ferguson Power Plant on Lake LBJ.
“We love our lighthouse. It is a beacon for our city, Horseshoe Bay, such a great place to live,” said Stan Farmer, the Horseshoe Bay City Manager.
Completed in 1972, the lighthouse is located at the end of a long breakwater extending into Lake Lyndon B. Johnson at Horseshoe Bay in Llano County, the lighthouse is about 45 mi (72 km) northwest of Austin, at the end of what is now known as Lighthouse Drive. It includes an observation room and a navigation beacon on the roof.
There is a trail on the peninsula that leads directly to the lighthouse. It’s a peaceful retreat lined with palm trees, wildlife and a calm breeze from Lake LBJ.
Considered a historical “icon” in the Horseshoe Bay community, scores of residents across the Highland Lakes joined together to donate a total of $40,000 to renovate the exterior of the lighthouse in 2014. After years of sun, wind and weather the structure was in need of extensive repairs including new exterior siding and a new roof. The full renovation completed in 2016.
The 55 ft (17 m) square tower has a large observation room and a navigation beacon on the roof. It is the largest in the state and the oldest of Texas’ four inland lighthouses. It provides Horseshoe Bay and boating enthusiasts an easy recognizable point of reference with its elaborate sound system with Westminster chimes that announce the hour.
The Horseshoe Bay Property Owners’ Association has proudly maintained the lighthouse for nearly 50 years, a beacon of legends among the Texas Hill Country.
Every Independence Day there is the annual boat parade that meets at the Horseshoe Bay Lighthouse to celebrate the 4th of July. As boats of all shapes and sizes gather, it is a glimpse of the lasting Americana that proudly exemplifies life in the quiet lakeside community.
Carol Rose moved to Horseshoe Bay from Houston in 1998 and worked on the committee to restore the lighthouse as a part of the POA project.
“It needed to be done and now it’s fully restored. Anyone is welcome to walk down to the lighthouse and enjoy the view out over Lake LBJ,” Rose said.
The lighthouse continues to stand as a beacon for boaters and a retreat for residents enjoying all that the Horseshoe Bay community has to offer.
Growing up in Austin, there was always at least one trip to the river every year, and it was usually the Comal or the Guadalupe. Taking to a black rubber tube to float the river immediately puts you at ease. For the next 4 hours or so, the only expectation is to enjoy the slow and steady ride through the tall oak trees. It is an exceptional experience that places rivers in a superior standing in the categories of water.
As an accessible staycation option, the beautiful drive to Mo Ranch relaxes the soul. Set out in the Texas Hill Country, just outside of Kerrville, Mo Ranch showcases the Guadalupe River with trails, lookout points, canoes, and waterfalls.
500-acres of serene Texas hill Country make this just the place to escape for a quick getaway. With endless room types from casitas to entire homes, there is numerous possibilities to vacation comfortably with family and friends or host a celebratory reunion. While there is WI-FI throughout Mo Ranch, there is no cell phone service, providing an easy excuse to disconnect for a few days and enjoy the property.
The tagline aptly invites anyone to “visit, stay, play and pray” which is the perfectly succinct subtitle for Mo Ranch. There is a labyrinth along the Guadalupe River that is based on the labyrinth design at Chartres Cathedral in France that lays the groundwork for a meaningful and intentional meditative prayer. The meandering path of the classical eleven-circuit labyrinth includes thirty-four turns in a single path which leads directly in and out of the center.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.
This installation is a beautiful depiction of everyone’s individual life journey and serves as an illustration that we are all exactly where we need to be on the path of life.
My son could not contain his excitement and smiled practically the entire visit. Everything from the chicken coop to the toddler pool to the proximity to the flowing river enticed his sweet little outdoor spirit. There is a cafeteria on-site, which allows for a quick and easy meal solution and honestly, I appreciated the break in my constant cooking routine at home. Be sure to bring any desired groceries, as the closest store is a quaint country gas station about 20 minutes away.
After taking a canoe out on the still water and sliding down the roller coaster waterslide, take the Wabbler Trail along the river for a great spot to just sit in the water or float the small rapids. It is the perfect family vacation to just relax and enjoy the view. With all the uncertainty of a national pandemic in 2020, the opportunity to just relish in the beauty of God’s creation and breathe in the fresh country air is a welcome retreat.
During the heatwave months of July and August, an escape to Colorado is a summer fairytale. It’s an accessible drive, which is particularly nice during the COVID-19 pandemic and offers a relaxing reprieve from the daily routine. Everywhere you go, the mountainous backdrop is a subtle reminder to take a breath of fresh air and appreciate Steamboat Springs, CO.
The Must-Do List
Eat along the Yampa.
Several restaurants are located directly on the Yampa River. We ate at the E3 Chophouse and Taco Cabo, which were both delicious. E3 Chophouse delivers on happy hour. Every weekday from 12-5pm you can enjoy a phenomenal happy hour that includes food and drinks. There are clusters of Adirondack chairs that are perfect for quaint gatherings with an impeccable view of the river. E3 Chophouse also did a respectable job of social distancing the tables without sacrificing on the layout. They also record patron’s information for contact tracing. Food highlight: The Wedge Salad was the perfect combination of a creamy fresh crisp deliciousness.
Taco Cabo is in an unassuming little red house that apparently used to be a pie shop. Regardless of the change in cuisine, this is THE place if you want to eat as close to the Yampa River without getting wet. While we maintained our affinity for breakfast tacos, everything looked delicious. During COVID-19, Taco Cabo is recording every customer’s information for contact tracing and taking extra precautions with respect to maintaining a socially-distant and safe experience. Food highlight: The breakfast burrito is worth the wait!
Visit the Botanical Gardens
This is a beautiful adventure for adults and kids, alike, while providing an excellent backdrop for your family picture. There are activity guides for kids at the entrance, which provide additional education and keep the children entertained. Everything from the picturesque lily pads to the rock garden to the fairy garden is spectacular and towards the back of the garden, there is a lookout point to view the Osprey’s nest. This is a great morning stop to add some excitement to your stroll.
The Steamboat Resort is an impressive surprise. It is like walking onto a movie set built to depict the ideal après-ski lifestyle. A long stream runs through the center of the expansive lawn, peppered with bright red chairs, encouraging an afternoon of leisure. There is a small sandbar on one end of the stream that became a focal point for kids wishing they were at the beach. My son thoroughly enjoyed the water, while my husband and I were able to take a seat and watch him while taking in the beautiful mountainous backdrop.
The gondola is a beautiful experience to ride to the top of the mountain and enjoy the view. There is an option to hike down, but beware, this is an all-day hike. There is a small restaurant (everyone had masks on during COVID-19) at the top of the mountain, but many people brought picnics, which seems like a great idea, particularly if you want to make a day of it.
Fish Creek Falls is the trademark hike of Steamboat Springs, CO. There are several options depending on difficulty level and the scenery along the way is spectacular. You immediately see the fall, which provides some motivation to get to the top of the falls. Go early to enjoy a more leisurely experience, as it does get crowded. Across from the Fish Creek Falls trailhead is the Uranium Mine Trail that is less crowded. This hike is more dirt and less boulders. We hiked this trail first, which gave us a great vantage point of Fish Creek Falls.
Mad Creek Trail is about 5 miles out of town and an excellent opportunity to take in some traditional Colorado frontier. The trail boasts an old mining log cab and beautiful creek. We encountered a heard of cows as they stopped by for a drink.
Motherly published my article outlining my experience with infertility and IVF. It is surreal to look back on the journey now and think about everything we went through to get here - almost 7 months pregnant.
You can read the full article here: www.mother.ly/life/after-3-years-of-trying-and-a-round-of-ivf-i-am-finally-8-weeks-pregnant?fbclid=IwAR1wHAbahDXguoZ2-SUcUgI7S-vVkD2c5CcNM1UQL2nWpIdpESg-_HJLNSc
While social media is pay to play, it’s even more important to maximize the potential of every dollar that is spent. Facebook advertising is an effective platform to inform, persuade or remind customers about your brand or product. When ads are placed within the newsfeed, potential customers will be drawn to either visit the brand or product online or “like” the respective page.
While it is simple to sign up and place an ad on Facebook, it’s important to optimize the campaign with these simple steps to increase engagement. Increase engagement and you increase conversions from your targeted audience. This builds your potential business prospects and informs, persuades or reminds customers about your brand or product.
The creative is just as important as the targeting. Facebook offers incredible targeting tools, that allow anyone to reach a specific demographic. It’s important to maximize this opportunity with the right visual. Be an asset with top tier creative and your advertisement will find a top tier audience. Facebook is designed around the user experience, so Facebook wants to provide value to it’s users and this includes effective advertising that is aesthetically appealing. Create ads that both Facebook and Facebook users will appreciate. Spend extra time on the advertisement to make sure it’s a crisp, clear, high resolution image. It’s an extra step, but it ensures that the employed targeting strategy reaches the most engaged users.
Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but Facebook videos receive 135% more organic traffic than a photo. With today’s technology, it’s possible to create Facebook videos on nearly any device. Do it! Alternatively, use a stock video and edit with unique brand messaging. A video makes more of an impact, while it’s easier to just scroll past a picture.
Surprisingly, avoid the color blue in your advertisement. Blue blends in with Facebook’s branding, so an ad with blue (particularly #3b5998, Facebook blue) tends to get lost in the shuffle of the newsfeed. The last thing an advertiser wants to do is have an ad blend in, so keep the blue sky or water to a minimum. The good news is that orange is blue’s contemporary color and provides the most aesthetically pleasing complement. Orange you glad I didn’t say blue!
As with any great advertising campaign, include a clear call to action. Facebook ads focus on a “Like Page” button, but consumers often want to learn more about a product or brand before converting their loyalty. Link to the actual website in the copy so that your audience can learn more about what makes your product or business great. Keep it easy for the audience and give them the tools to learn more.
Finally, it’s still important to be creative with your advertising material. Don’t be afraid to use emojis in the ad copy. Keep it simple, but if you want to add a speaker emoji to illustrate that the video has sound, do it!
Facebook ads is a great way to advertise your brand or business. Plan accordingly with an updated strategy and watch your engagements grow.
American Flags are lining the streets, firework stands are readily available at nearly every corner and the Independence Day spirit is undeniable. This is a particularly wonderful Monday of gratitude as we celebrate the opportunity of our country! Happy 4th of July!