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Monday, August 18, 2014

Texas Shangri-La

August in Texas is very, very hot.  It gets so hot that the chickens start laying hard boiled eggs!  And that’s when all of the South Texans (and anyone looking for relief from the brutal summer sun) head down to the Rio Frio near Uvalde.  Rio Frio literally means “Cold River” in Spanish and was aptly named due to its spring-fed coolness and consistent flow.  It snakes thru Garner State Park and is surrounded by the Texas version of mountains, in the beautiful Hill Country.  The little town that has now sprung up around it, Concan, hosts cabins, homes and resorts that enable you to vacation in this little slice of heaven.  We stayed at a home less than a mile from the river itself called Shangri-La, which can be found at  Nestled at the base of a mountain and surrounded by trees and wildlife, you can sit on the huge back porch at Shangri-La and take in the tranquil atmosphere.  From the porch swing, to picnic tables, to fire pit seating area, you have ample shade and space to relax and watch the deer, jackrabbits, armadillo, birds, and misc. unnamed critters in their natural environment.  The inside of the home doesn’t disappoint either with multiple downstairs master bedrooms with baths, a nicely decorated living room, dining room, and a large kitchen and laundry room.  Upstairs you will find a game room with pool table and two more bedrooms and baths.  As an added surprise, one of the bedrooms has a walk-in closet with a secret door leading to a cozy kid’s space complete with room to sleep four, a trunk full of children’s books and a TV complete with a large selection of Disney movies.  The house was extremely clean, featured rustic style fixtures, and came equipped with dishes and other necessities to make your stay there easy and comfortable.  Our king size bed mattress was very comfortable and appeared new.  That, along with the quality furniture pieces really enabled this house to live up to its name.  For those of you that can’t quite place where you’ve heard that name before…Shangri-La was originally a fictional land of harmony and perpetual youth, a setting for the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton, along with movie versions based on the book.  I’m holding out hope on the perpetual youth idea, but this is surely God’s country where you can’t help but to absorb the peacefulness and serenity that abounds there.  It truly is a remote and beautiful place where life approaches perfection…as long as you continue dipping your toes in the Frio River to beat the Texas heat!

Bonus!  When your time at Shangri-La comes to an end, be sure to stop in at Frio’s Dry Fifty, right off Texas Highway 127, for souvenir shopping.  You will find a HUGE (and I mean massive) selection of unique and updated T-shirts, many with phrases you surely thought to yourself as you were enjoying your vacation on the river.  This store has it all from flip flops to gifts and antiques.  After shopping, take a short break at their snack shack and enjoy some ice-cream or a Texas size snow cone in their shaded outdoor lounge with giant board games for the kiddos and fun “Kodak moment” backdrops.

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