Sprawling ranches, bales of hay, fields of bluebonnets—the minute you turn off Interstate 45, it’s clear you’re in the heart of Texas. Washington is the birthplace of the Lone Star State, where Texas declared its independence from Mexico in the midst of the siege of the Alamo. This sparsely populated area is an unlikely spot for a Relais & Chateaux property—the only one in Texas—and it takes a few U-turns in the middle of dusty country roads before we finally find the Inn at Dos Brisas (10000 Champion Dr. 979-277-7750. www.dosbrisas.com).
HUSH HUSH: Though it’s been around for four years, the inn remains something of a local secret, frequented primarily by Houstonians seeking a bucolic escape from city life. Originally intended to be a country retreat for businessman Doug Bosch, the inn has just four luxury casitas, outfitted with wrought-iron beds, fireplaces, and private patios. The property has an intimate, homey feel, and days start with a basket of warm, homemade breads and pastries, freshly squeezed juice, and coffee and cream—delivered to your door or to poolside lounge chairs.
FROM FARM TO TABLE: Aside from tranquil countryside, the inn has another ace in the hole: chef Jason Robinson, an up-and-coming culinary star, who got his start as a meat-and-vegetable cook in Las Vegas’ Fog City Diner. A self-made chef, Robinson was soon working at Chicago’s Tru and rubbing elbows with some of the Windy City’s top toques. At the Inn at Dos Brisas, Robinson works with horticulturalist Johnnie Boyd Baker, who grows more than 463 varieties of vegetables on property—from purple passion asparagus and Easter egg radishes to blue potatoes and Russian red kale—to create seasonal menus that combine fresh-from-the-garden produce with the very best fish, poultry, and meat. The sumptuous eight-course vegetable tasting menu is not just for vegetarians, but for diehard carnivores, the Texas filet doesn’t disappoint. And vinophiles will delight in the 1945 Latour or the 1974 Heitz from the restaurant’s impressive wine cellar.
ANTIQUES AND ICE CREAM: It’s tempting to spend an entire weekend at the inn, tooling around in the golf cart, sitting by the pool, or horseback riding with Lesia Washmon, but it’s worthwhile to venture off property. Nearby Brenham is chockablock with antiques stores, but the best wares can be found during the semiannual Round Top Antiques Fair (roundtoptexasantiques.com). The four-day festival—September 30–October 3—has a vast array of antiques ranging from Civil War rifles and Flemish tapestries to Tiffany lamps and Chippendale chairs. The fair is staffed with porters to help carry smaller treasures to your car and shippers to handle larger items. Take a break from shopping at the Blue Bell Creamery (1101 S. Blue Bell Rd. 800-327-8135. www.bluebell.com), where tours include a scoop of ice cream. Or get your fill at Must Be Heaven (107 W. Alamo St. 979-830-8536), a stellar sandwich shop that also serves up a mean apple pie—à la mode of course.