21+ Glamping Retreat in Central Texas

We recently had the opportunity to visit the new Serana Glamping Retreat, which is a 21+ glamping experience located in Paige, TX. That’s about 30 minutes from both Bastrop and Smithville, TX, and about an hour from Austin. Here’s what went down and everything you can expect.

 

Little Bluestem exterior

Accommodations

There’s three options for accommodations, one of three kampinas (small cabins), the Little Bluestem (luxury tent), and the Big Bluestem (bigger luxury tent).

The kampinas now have full electricity and provide heat/AC, electrical outlets, etc. The Bluestems do not have electricity, but Serana provides a portable charger for you to use during your stay, and each tent has a wood burning stove for those colder nights.

We stayed in the Little Bluestem, and it was beautiful! It felt like we were in an upscale hotel. Walking up to the tent, you first arrive at the gravel patio with 2 separate sitting areas and a gas firepit. The view from both sitting areas is a pond that was breathtaking at sunset. The front of the tent has a netted enclosure. So you can leave the tent open in the day (and night if you choose) to enjoy the views of the property while keeping a bit of privacy and stopping critters from getting in. There are also 3 windows that you can zip closed if you’d like.

 

sitting area inside the Little Bluestem

There is a queen sized bed with a memory foam mattress (very comfortable), plush white bedding and sheets, a coat rack, just enough decor to make you feel at home, and another sitting area inside the tent, as well as the aforementioned wood burning stove. They also provide Turkish bath towels, and boy were we naïve. We thought it was an extra throw lol. Firewood is also provided for the stove, but I advise you to bring your own kindling to easier light the fire. Maybe watch a few Youtube tutorials like this one also.

 

wood burning stove inside the Little Bluestem

Amenities

Since this is a true glamping retreat, several amenities are provided for your comfort, such as an outdoor kitchen and bath house. In the kitchen you’ll find  a refrigerator, a cooktop, sink, coffee and tea makers, cookware, dishes, flatware, a barbecue grill, and a Traeger grill.

The bath house has 2 bath stalls and a sink right outside them. There are also 2 outdoor showers with rain shower heads. Toiletries were also available in the showers.

Lastly in the communal section are a big firepit for lounging and a Quonset hut for dining. We loved the rustic yet modern look of the common areas. It really made you feel like you were having an elevated retreat experience.

 

the Quonset hut

Around the Property

Serana is set on a 53 acre property with 4 ponds, chickens, ducks, coming soon, an outdoor gym, and wide open spaces to roam and explore. I was literally frolicking through the fields at one point!

Serana also does something very cool. They have mobile chicken coops that they move periodically. This allows the chickens to naturally fertilize and turn the soil, resulting in beautiful, bright green grass. We unfortunately couldn’t find the ducks while we were there.

The property itself is full of photo ops, but you may get too caught up in enjoying it so much that you forget to “do it for the Gram”. All in all, this was a very enjoyable stay, and I would definitely do it again. If you’d like the best of both worlds, the great outdoors and being in town, read my previous blog post here, giving tips on things to do in downtown Bastrop.

 

me literally frolicking through a field
one of the four ponds on the property

 

Visit www.seranatx.com to book your stay and get away from it all for a few days. For even more pictures of our stay, click here to see my Instagram post. Thank you Serana Glamping Retreat for the awesome experience! 

Things to Do in Downtown Bastrop, TX

 

We were recently able to visit Serana, a new 21+ glamping destination in Paige, TX (blog post coming soon), which is about 30 minutes away from Bastrop. So, we decided to take a day trip to Bastrop and see what all it had to offer. Spoiler alert, the answer is EVERYTHING!

 

Where to Eat

My number 1 question when traveling is “Where are we eating?” So, of course, that was the first thing I checked when we decided to head to downtown Bastrop.

First, before we even get to the food, let me just say how beautiful it is downtown! We were in the historic district. So all the buildings are preserved from waaay back in the day! Then downtown sits on the banks of the Colorado River. So, you can take a nice stroll along the riverbanks on the way to your next destination. ( I love these kinds of things.)

 

Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard

Now, back to the food! We were glamping Saturday night, then spent all day Sunday in Bastrop. Saturday evening, however, we also went into town for dinner at Neighbor’s Kitchen & Yard. This restaurant sits right on the Colorado River bank with a huge multi-level patio overlooking the river and a stage downstairs in “The Yard” for live performances (which, by the way, just started back).

 

the Brooklynite calzone, the Comeback Dip, and the Hot Li’l Honey calzone

For a starter, we tried the Comeback Dip, which is rightfully named because it’ll definitely have you coming back to order more! We both ordered calzones.. I had the current featured flavor, The Brooklynite. William had the Hot Li’l Honey. We traded half of our calzones with each other, and I loved them both. The Brooklynite was more traditional with red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, mushroom, and oregano.

The Hot Li’l Honey contains olive oil, mozzarella, tomato, salami, and cherry peppers. Then the calzone is drizzled with habanero infused hot honey. The sweet, spicy, and savory flavor combo was perfect!

Lastly, for drinks, I had the moonshine margarita, and William had the Geometric Rye-No by Iron Bridge Icehouse, which is located right next door to Neighbor’s! We thoroughly enjoyed our food and time at Neighbor’s and will definitely be back!

After our awesome dining experience, we headed back to our campsite to relax and rest up for the next day.

 

Paw-Paw’s Catfish House

For dinner on Sunday, we visited Paw-Paw’s Catfish House located on Main Street. This restaurant, which was started by Cheri Rice in honor of her grandparents, already pulled at our heartstrings before stepping foot inside the restaurant because it made us think of our Paw Paw (William’s grandpa). Both of my grandfathers were gone before I was born. So, I never had the chance to experience a grandfather’s love. Upon meeting William’s grandpa, lovingly called Paw Paw, he immediately took me in as one of his own. He passed away in 2019, and we love and miss him dearly.

So with that backstory, of course when we saw a catfish house with that name, we had to go! I’m happy to say they did not disappoint. William and I agreed it’s some of the best catfish we’ve had since moving to Texas in 2013.

At Paw-Paw’s, we started with a basket of onion rings, which were THE BEST onion rings I’ve ever had anywhere! That says a lot, by the way, because I consider myself an onion ring connoisseur. I also had the sweet tea, which is served in a mason jar and is refilled regularly. It was perfect, with just the right amount of sugar.

handbreaded onion rings, fried catfish platter, and Paw-Paw’s platter

 

For our main courses, William had the fried catfish platter, which came with 6 pieces of fish, fries, pinto beans, coleslaw, hushpuppies, and tarter sauce or cocktail sauce. Then I had Paw Paw’s platter, which came 3 pieces of catfish, 3 HUGE jumbo shrimp, and all the sides from the catfish platter. I had the tarter sauce and cocktail sauce though. 

We were both stuffed and had to get to-go boxes. I wanted to try the banana pudding couldn’t bring myself to order it. So, that’s on my list next time because believe me, there will be a next time.

 

Copper Shot Distillery

 

Things To Do

Now, you may be thinking, “She told about dinner Saturday night then skipped to dinner Sunday. What happened in between?” Don’t worry! We’re getting to that right now. So, Sunday, we got up relatively early to enjoy the campsite more before leaving. Then, we headed downtown around 11am. We were supposed to get breakfast at Maxine’s Café but ended up eating before leaving Serana. So we didn’t have an appetite quite yet. Because of this, we started our downtown adventure a bit early. 

We got there as church was letting out, but businesses weren’t open just yet. So we walked around for a while taking in the views. That’s when we were able to see the Colorado River in all its glory. It looks a lot different in the daytime. We walked up and down the riverbank, taking in the sights and seeing what we could see. William spotted a log with what we thought were 3 turtles, but upon further investigating, ended up being 7! They’re pictured below in the slide.

So now, it was noon, and downtown was open for business. So we made our way to Astro Record Store. This store was previously a saloon and is really cool to see. They also had a really good selection of records. We left with 3 new records for our collection. After Astro, we wondered around a bit more, stopping at Colorado River Winery as well as Cripple Creek Wine & Gifts. We then headed to Copper Shot Distillery. Here, we each had a flight, trying 2 of their infused moonshines and 2 whiskeys. Let me just say, those infused moonshines are DANGEROUS! They’re so good, you may forget you’re drinking alcohol. The whiskeys were smooth, but they will definitely make sure you take your time drinking them. We also discovered Copper Shot has a Bloody Mary bar on Sunday’s that are pretty popular.

After our flights, we decided to walk them off a bit. So we headed back to the river to walk the other direction. After some time, we realized we still had time to spare before our dinner reservation (due to our changed schedule). So, we ventured off to Walmart. On our way, though, we ran into a Goodwill. So we had to stop. There were some great furniture pieces for amazing prices. (I think our neighborhood Goodwill jacks up the prices some.) We found a classic movie that we needed in our lives, The Adventures of Babysitting. So, we got that. Then, we were again off to Walmart. Once that store trip was over, it was time for dinner. So, we headed back to Downtown Bastrop for our Paw-Paw’s fix.

 

 

Everywhere we visited followed COVID protocol, requiring masks, unless you were eating or drinking, and we didn’t witness anyone trying to defy the rules.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in Downtown Bastrop and are already making plans to return, this time with friends. There’s plenty to see and do, such as the museum and visitor’s center, a movie theater (not quite downtown), plenty of restaurants and bars, and a lot of history to learn. I’d highly recommend taking a day trip to visit, and next time we’ll venture out from downtown to experience even more of the city.

Peach Cobbler Pound Cake

 

Some time last year (I think it was in the summer), we had the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted, a peach cobbler pound cake! I’ve been trying to chase that high ever since. So, last Thanksgiving, I decided to try my hand at making it since we had basically all the ingredients because I already planned on making a regular pound cake. After a quick web/Pinterest search, I came up with this recipe.

I’m not big on the blogs that have an entire autobiography before getting to the recipe. So, I’ll save you the five minutes of scrolling lol. The recipe is right below.

 

 

 

Peach Cobbler Pound Cake

Alyse Nicole
This is a fun and delicious twist on two classic desserts, a peach cobbler and a sour cream pound cake. There's a few extra steps for this, but it's definitely worth it in the end!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings

Equipment

  • 1 mixing bowl set (2 small, 1 medium, and 2 large bowls)
  • 1 10 in. Bundt cake pan
  • 1 stand mixer or hand mixer

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 eggs yolks separated
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 can (15 oz) sliced peaches in syrup separated from syrup

Glaze

  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • water, milk, or liqueur*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or any flavor you want

Instructions
 

  • Geez! That was a lot, but now we can start.

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.
  • Butter the Bundt pan, and coat it with the brown sugar mixture. This will give the outside of your cake the flavor of a cobbler crust.
  • In the medium bowl, add the peaches, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg. Mix it together, covering the peaches, and save for later.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the rest of the cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In the second small bowl, beat the egg whites until firm. Now place all these bowls to the side.
  • In the second large bowl, mix the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until creamy and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Then mix in the vanilla extract and 3/4 cups of the peach syrup.
  • Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Once it's mixed well, fold in the buttermilk and egg whites.
  • Pour half the batter into the Bundt pan. Then add half the peach mixture. Next, fill the Bundt pan with the rest of the batter.
  • Bake for 1 1/2 hour, checking with a toothpick at about an hour. Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the Bundt pan for 10-20 minutes. Remember that the cake will continue to cook after it's removed from the oven. So don't leave it in longer than the recommended time.
  • Once the cake is cool, remove it from the pan and place on a wire rack (a plate will also do) to continue cooling. Finally, place as many of the remaining peach slices that you'd like on top of the cake.

Glaze

  • Place the sifted powdered sugar in the now empty and cleaned medium bowl from earlier.
  • Whisk in whichever liquid (water, milk, liqueur) you choose, one tbsp at a time, until you reach the desired thickness.
  • Whisk in 1 tsp of the extract.
  • Take the glaze, and slowly pour it over the cake to your preferred liking.

Notes

*If you use a liqueur, you can skip the extract.
Keyword fruit, fruit dessert, glaze, peach cobbler, pound cake

 

 

 

The Glaze

photo cred: Friendship Bread Kitchen

Here’s the thing, I didn’t have on of the ingredients to make the glaze, the powdered sugar! So, I put regular granulated sugar in the blender to make something similar to powdered sugar. Remember that if you ever find yourself in the same situation!

Well, that’s it! You now have yourself a homemade peach cobbler pound cake! Would you change/substitute anything? What did you use for your glaze? Let me know below!

Your Biker Gang: Austin, TX

We recently had the pleasure of experiencing e-bikes for the first time through Your Biker Gang, located near downtown Austin. They also have a location in Panama City, FL. I had heard of e-bikes before but had never been on one. The rest of the crew hadn’t even heard of them. So we were all in for a real treat!

 

We started at the Your Biker Gang clubhouse off Cesar Chavez, took a beginner driver’s ed course (which was sooo fun), and we hit the road. Word to the wise naturalistas! You will be wearing  the helmets pictured. So don’t show up with your hair in a high puff and headwrap like I did lol. I will also admit that crossing the first street kind of scared me, even though we had the light and the right of way. I’ve just always been afraid to cross streets lol. Our first stop was near the Lamar and 15th St. intersection.

We got off, checked out the amazing murals on both sides of the street, and had our first photo op. Since the bikes are motorized and you ride them in the street, no mobile device usage is allowed while operating them. We took a group pic in front of a mural on the side of a building. Then we did some individual exploring. The mural below is by Rex Hamilton. Click his name to check out his amazing work on Instagram.

 

After our photo op, we were back on the road. We made our way to Auditorium Shores and Butler Park, where we learned some architectural history about downtown. We also learned that the sidewalk path near the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue creates the shape pf a guitar.. I don’t want to give away too much in case you take the same tour path as us. That way you’ll still be surprised at all the hidden gems and history in good ole Austin.

 

 

After learning more about downtown, we headed to 2nd and Brazos to check out the Tau Ceti mural by Josef Kristofoletti. I actually had a photoshoot last year on the roof of the garage this mural is painted on, but that’s neither here nor there. By the time we made it to the Tau Ceti mural, we were a full blown biker gang. We had the e-biker skills locked down and were thoroughly enjoying the ride!

At the mural, we learned that Tau Ceti is a star in the constellation Cetus, about 12 light years away. The star is very similar to our sun, but is only 78% of the sun’s mass. The mural imitates what it would be like if the sunlight reflected off the windows downtown during sunset was refracted into a spectrum. If you’re there right at sunset in the Spring, you can experience just that!

 

 

So, upon leaving the Tau Ceti mural, we made the trek back towards the clubhouse, but now before making a couple more stops. We stopped in front of the Austin Proper hotel to view this pretty neat art installation down below. It was so cool seeing them in action! Thank you to the homie Derrick for the demonstration. You can see it in action on my Instagram page. (The video wouldn’t upload here for me.)

 

 

Our final stop before making it back to the clubhouse was at the Treaty Oak. This is a HUGE live oak tree said to be 500 years old. It’s the last of the Council Oaks, which was a grove of trees that served as a meeting place for the Comanche and Tonkawa tribes

Tribes would meet at places like these as neutral grounds. It’s said they would each bury a weapon to show they were done fighting, which is where the term “bury the hatchet” comes from. There’s A LOT more history behind this tree, but again, I don’t want to give too much away. So if you’d like to learn more, take the bike tour!

 

Thank you so much to Sweet John of Your Biker Gang for this awesome experience! We can’t wait to come back to ride and learn more about this historic city. 

If you’re in the Austin, TX, or Panama City, FL, area, definitely book a tour, and use code ALYSENICOLE for 20% off your ride! Have any of you been e-biking before? Let me know if you have or if you’d try it.