Lookout Mountain

Last Thursday, I plotted a surprise date for Kathy and I. The destination was a place I knew only from its website: Lookout Mountain, just outside of Wimberley. As we followed the map out into the hill country, we were a bit surprised at just how isolated the site was. We passed ranches, crossed cattle guards, and traversed many an unnamed country road, eventually climbing the hill to what looked, not like a restauranct, but like someone’s home.

Which, as it turns out, is just what it was. Joe and Barbara Day, who greeted us warmly at the door, have been opening their home three or four times a week since April 1998 to serve up their unique combination of good cooking, prize-winning pies, Texan hospitality, and a wealth of knowledge of their beloved hill country and its flora and fauna. Joe has done a tremendous amount of work on their property to bring it back to as natural a condition as possible, efforts that are evidently much appreciated by the veritable menagerie that keeps the Days company on their homestead.

As we stood on the back porch before dinner, we watched the group of 8 white tailed deer just down the hill eating the corn the days had provided while Joe told us about his “Texas Guppies” (Japanese Koi), the oldest of which had been with them for 19 years. There were a tremendous number of birds come to feed at their seed, thistle, and hummingbird feeders, as well, and I was able to get some very useful information on how to best attract the wee flyers. (I have fond memories of my growing-up years when [Mom McMains->] kept a hummingbird feeder above the hammock. I had few better times than adjourning out back with a good book to enjoy the pleasure of fine writing punctuated by the buzzing hum of the feeding avians.)

We then adjourned to the Day’s glassed in porch to enjoy a dinner that showed off Barbara’s talents as a cook to good advantage. Kathy enjoyed a filet mignon stronganoff, and I a tuna salad baguette sandwich made with tuna steak rather than the usual canned tuna. Both were excellent, but paled in comparison to Barbara’s Peachy King Upside Down Cobbler, a chemically addictive combination of peaches, toasted almonds, carmelized brown sugar, and vanilla ice cream. Zowie.

And did I mention the view? The hilltop home boasts a phenomenal 300 degree view of the surrounding countryside, encompassing several local landmarks such as the Twin Sisters and the Devil’s backbone. Though it was overcast on Thursday, the sunsets are reportedly spectacular as well. The Days thoughtfully provide a pair of binoculars for each table as well, allowing closer inspection of the surrounding countryside.

Rounding off the fun is a gift shop featuring not only a selection of bird feeding supplies, books, and other ecological tidbits, but also the work of several local artists, including ceramics, photography, and some spectacular cut paper scenes. Wimberley is well-known for its community of artists, who make a good showing here.

Between the good food, excellent company, abundant wildlife, and spectacular views, the trip to Lookout Mountain is one that’s definitely worth making. We’ve already made reservations for when Kathy’s folks come down to visit next month.