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Coastal Resort Community Meets the Piney Woods at High Hill Farm

The venue and master-planned community aim to bring the convenience of 30A and Cinnamon Shores to East Texas.
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Coastal Resort Community Meets the Piney Woods at High Hill Farm

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One of my favorite things to do is rent a big house and take a weekend trip with family friends, but as our family has grown, it is more difficult to find a location that can meet the space and activity requirements of large and active groups near Dallas.

Fortunately for Dallasites, a development less than two hours east of the city is transforming into a wonderland of fun with something for everyone. Nestled into the piney woods near Arp, Texas, High Hill Farm is on its way to becoming the Cinnamon Shores or 30A of East Texas.

High Hill began as an overgrown forest in 2012 when it was purchased by owners and founders Jason and Sharon Romano (no relation to the Dallas restaurateur family, though Jason says it has helped get a reservation or two over the years). Since then, it has been transformed into a unique venue and winery with an upscale restaurant and bungalow cabins for family reunions and weddings.

But the newest addition to High Hill is what sets it apart. Jason is a longtime home builder as the founder of JR Custom Homes, and he is putting his skills to use in the design and buildout of 110 home sites centered around a 4.5 acre, 15-foot deep spring-fed lake. When complete, it will include 70,000 feet of sandy beach and a lakeside bar with tapas and Sangria made from the development’s winery. The development is part of the 200-acre space that includes bungalows, indoor and outdoor venue spaces, two resort-style pools, a winery, hiking trails, and dining option Côte, where Executive Chef Ryan Dove provides a luxe farm-to-table experience.

The Community

Down the road from the original venue, restaurant, and bungalows, High Hill’s rental home sites are designed to combine some of the Romano’s favorite places: Napa, 30A in Florida, and the Italian Coast. The homes, ranging from 3,800 to 6,000 square feet, are privately owned, rentable, and feature a unified aesthetic with Greco-Roman white plaster, 10-foot ceilings, and hillside views of the lake and surrounding woods.

The master-planned community, which the Romanos self-financed, has 55 home sites available. When finished, it will feature 110 homes with natural stone fireplaces, high-end appliances, outdoor showers, infinity pools, and a Mediterranean design sourced by local artisans and delivered in partnership with interior designer Yvette Leihgeber.

The homes are tucked into the natural surroundings of the area and are positioned around the lake, a 3,000-person amphitheater for concerts, 20,000 square feet of retail options, and an automated 10-bay Topgolf venue. The development will include a church, a resort-style pool, and a gym. And no 21st-century vacation getaway would be complete without a pickleball training center.

The Maddox family stayed in the 3,400-square-foot Wildfeather home, illuminated by natural light and looking out onto the lake. It also included a pool, multiple outdoor showers, four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and spacious living and dining areas. Though it was a colder November weekend, the Maddox boys enjoyed a quick cold plunge in the backyard pool and a frantic run to the toasty outdoor shower, which took the bite out of the cold.

By the end of this year, High Hill looks to complete most of its real estate lots.

The Food

The home has a fully functional kitchen, however we didn’t use it because we ate most of our meals at Côte. The farm-to-table restaurant had something for our four and six-year-olds and a more elevated palate. The rotating seasonal menu is sourced from an onsite garden and local farms and includes a full bar and wine selection that includes a blend from High Hill’s winery.

We can speak for the Baked Brie, a sweet and savory way to begin a meal, and the artichoke spinach dip, which kept us warm and satisfied on a cold and windy night. The filet was succulent and flavorful, but the standout dish was the Osso Bucco. The veal was fall-off-the-bone tender and came on a bed of bacon parmesan risotto and garlic broccolini.

An acoustic set of contemporary covers accompanied our meal and one night; High Hill made my boys’ trip by providing luxury s’mores baskets to roast marshmallows on the patio fireplace—a perfect end to a lovely meal.

For brunch, I couldn’t finish the massive serving of fried chicken and waffles, which hit the spot, along with the crunchy and salty home fries. My wife, an Eggs Benedict connoisseur, ranked Côte’s with some of the best she has ever had.

The community provides concierge services such as grocery delivery and house cleaning. On our final morning in the home, we enjoyed a provided breakfast in our home of yogurt, cereal, and fresh fruit.

The Venue

High Hill has more than 10,000 square feet of venue space with indoor and outdoor options that overlook the vineyard and resort pool. The space also includes a spa and several bungalows, built to host everything from a corporate retreat to a family reunion or wedding.

The bungalows include six one-bedroom homes with courtyards and patio seating, a four-bed-two-bath home with full kitchen, living room, patio, and fire pit, and another lodging complete with a private suite and 4-bunk bedroom, kitchen, and living room, centered around a gathering area with ping pong table.
With elevated dining, onsite accommodations, and the ability to host 500 guests, High Hill is a unique venue in East Texas.

The Action

High Hill Farm features a 15-foot deep lake with 70,000 feet of white court sand beaches. Though it was a bit chilly to swim, the Texas summer will provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy the pool and adjacent amphitheater, which is set to open this year.

There are also 75 acres of pine, white oak, and redbud forest and pastures perfect for hiking, biking, skeet shooting, scavenger hunts, picnics, and bonfires. Nearby Tyler, Texas, provides excellent dining options, and the Maddoxes took advantage of Tyler State Park, where we hiked, explored, and fished in the pond. The two boys caught their first fish!

With the addition of the Topgolf venue, amphitheater, pickleball and tennis courts, and golf
cart and bike rentals, the community will have something for everyone. For those families who have enjoyed the convenience and fun of 30A or Cinnamon Shores, a similar experience is at High Hill.


Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior writer for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…