Tres Lunas Resort Part 2

(This is the second part of an article on our experience at the Tres Lunas Resort.  For Part 1 please click here.)

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Morning time.  After an amazing meal and dining experience the evening before, we awoke to a beautiful morning full of promise.  I was already trying to push away the feeling of sadness at having to leave this day, I promised myself I would savor every last moment.  Oh what a morning awaited us and I had no idea that the experience there would flourish even more.

We were warned that breakfast would be hearty.  That the morning meal is indeed a true feast.  We were not disappointed!
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When we walked into the main room, the smell of fresh coffee greeted us and the the table was set and ready for us to be seated.  Craig came out with fresh squeezed orange juice and asked us if we could spare some time after eating so we could all chat.  I was looking forward to that!  Within moments he sat before us a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit, yogurt and homemade granola which was followed by eggs cooked to our taste, homemade hashbrowns, bacon and a small skillet of biscuits.  The condiments were just as beautiful as the meal!  We ate until we couldn’t take another bite and after freshening our coffee, Carol came and sat down with us.  This is honestly when the entire experience really began I realized later.

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Carol is a breath of fresh air.  She has this amazingly positive aura about her and her smile just lights up the room.  Craig is a gracious and generous host who makes you laugh and feel at ease immediately.  That is a gift!  We had dozens of questions about how they got started, the history of the property and the resort itself.  Both Carol and Craig have backgrounds in the hospitality business.   Craig has worked for a few gourmet food companies and Carol is an amazing chef having taken classes with some of the top chefs in the world.  When they met, they dreamed of running their own establishment.  They had a few other bed and breakfast establishments before finding this magical piece of property.   The story is that Craig found this and within 30 minutes made an offer.  He knew right away this was the place they had to have.   Both are Hill Country proud and appreciate the history of the area, especially this area.  The original house that was on the foundation the resort now resides upon was a 2 story ranch house that had been damaged in a tornado at one point.  It sat on 100’s of acres that had been divided up by the family over the years.  The moment they saw the views and felt the spirit of the land, they knew this was the place.  It was a stretch with all the renovations they needed to make, basically tearing down the structure to the foundation and starting over.  But their dream was to create a retreat.  A magical place where people could come and feel their spirit renewed.  They want people to experience what they do, to offer them the ultimate in care and are obviously so grateful to be where they are.  It shows on their faces and in their voices.  There is an amazing amount of warmth and love that come from this couple.  It took my breath away to be honest.  So much Peace and gratitude lives in this home.

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As I mentioned in the first article, the resort caters to weddings and retreats (I will be doing a feature on this for the last installment).  One area that I fell in love with is the yoga patio.  Carol has so much experience in spiritual practices, traveling around the globe to learn from the masters.  She is truly a student of the spirit and freely gives all that she has been taught.  She created a place where yoga enthusiasts can come and practice their craft surrounded by this spirit of peace.  Everything planned to help with the hot Texas sun, to create a sacred space,  all geared towards maximum comfort and serenity.  Listening to her share her stories, I got goosebumps and a bit teary eyed.   If you go visit her, ask her to share with you.  They are her stories to tell, but I promise they will affect you in a way that you won’t expect.   She wants to share her love for life and the spirit with those who come to Tres Lunas and to help them find a restful and healing place in their lives…even if just for a moment.   And she is doing just that.  I can only imagine the healing she has participated in just by providing such a space.

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Our tour continued into their private quarters where I was greeted by beautiful works of art created by friends and Carol herself.  Her mother was an incredible artist and she has a few of her pastels hanging.  One of which was drawn on a piece of brown paper bag while on a picnic in those very same hills decades before.  It was of a beautiful deer found in the Hill Country.  The pastels were so soft and soothing and it looked like you could reach out and feel the softness of that creature.  Carol didn’t know that she would end up finding her home in that same countryside.  What a special gift!

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There is Carol’s office which is filled with prayer flags and a massage table, and yes, more beautiful art pieces.  Even their private quarters were designed for maximum serenity!  And I know with a resort you need a good size laundry room, but their’s made me completely envious!  So bright with windows everywhere….perfect place for Carol to paint as the laundry area only took up a portion of the huge room!

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Craig’s office is the ultimate of man caves!  Jason loved it!  Craig’s father and grandfather were both Texas lawmen and Craig was able to find an old jail cell that he restructured to fit inside his office as a guest quarters for family or friends!  It’s really awesome!  On the wall behind his desk hangs the head of a huge Longhorn.  Craig told us that someone had given the living animal to Carol as a gift at one time and they loved him!  He was their pet who they truly loved, and when he finally died of natural causes they donated 800 pounds of ground beef to the food bank in Mason, TX and mounted their beloved pet’s head on the wall of Craig’s office.  It is an impressive site!

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We talked for a good 2 hours about life, our backgrounds, our love for nature and art.  Carol and I especially found that we have so many similar feelings about our journeys in life.  I felt like I have always known her.  We all found we had so many things in common and I don’t think any of us wanted to conversation to end.  But as all good stories must wind down, so did our time there.

We left with our arms bearing gifts and our hearts filled with the brightness of new friendships.  I can honestly say we both felt renewed and so relaxed.  It was a true healing experience and one we hope to repeat in the future!  I am so grateful for the opportunity and for the compassion that Carol and Craig show to others.  It’s truly remarkable.  I promise if you make a reservation there, you will honestly be able to leave your cares and worries at the front gate.  Once you drive in, the magic begins and the spirit smiles down upon you.  It is a rarity in life to find a place like that.  I am grateful that we did.

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*All photos are credited to myself and Jason Locher.  Some of these were taken on my phone, hence the quality.  Look for Part 3 on weddings and products used at the resort!

Tres Lunas Resort – Part 1

This is not your typical review.  This is not your typical accomodation.  This is a true experience.   Part 1….

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Winding down a dirt road through groves of old Oak and Mesquite, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  Cell service is in and out, forget about internet on the phone.  It’s just you and the red dirt and trees traveling to what you hope to be an oasis.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful in this part of the country.  Grasses blowing in the breeze at the foot of trees that have seen history.  Every so often a grove of cacti pops up, then all of a sudden the terrain changes.  There is water, springs rising from the ground.  Wild flowers take the place of much of the grassland.  As you come around a corner, a field of hay wheels stretches out before you.  This land is fertile and the greenery speaks volumes.  And then, you see the sign, “Tres Lunas” and you turn down an even narrower dirt road that runs straight through the ranch lands surrounding you.  This road is hillier and wild.  Just as you think you must have missed it, there she is…the gates marking the entrance to a place I can only describe as magical.  Tres Lunas Resort.

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The resort is small and very quiet.  We pull up and first thing we notice off to the side is the little stone chapel.  I comment about looking forward to wandering up there after we check in.  A farm cat greets us with a lazy “meow” and we walk inside.  First thing I felt is a sense of real peace.  This isn’t going to be just any overnight trip I realize.  This is an experience.  The Tres Lunas Resort Experience.  The dedication that went into creating a sacred space for guests is evident in every detail.  The Resort caters to not only couples such as ourselves, but true retreats.  A Wellness Retreat package, complete with yoga, massage and all your meals, is available as well as wedding packages and even a “build your own retreat” experience.  A welcome letter is waiting, directing us to our room for the night.  As we walk through the common room, Carol Conlee comes out from behind a curtain of beads in the far corner of the room.  Her smile is warm and inviting.  She greets us with such grace and explains more in detail what the letter tells us.  We look forward to sitting down with her later in our stay.  We walk into our room and immediately feel at home.  Every detail is taken care of from pool towels, to robes, to extra blankets and even coffee, tea and wine.  The bathroom is equipped with all the soaps and shampoos we need along with a stack of snow white towels and washcloths.

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Immediately outside our door is the pool so we waste no time in changing and going for a swim.  The infinity edge of the pool looks out across a valley of trees, cow fields and awe inspiring nature.  And as if specially ordered for our stay, dragonflies dance across the surface of the water with their wings shimmering in the sunlight.  A Sycamore tree shades a seating area off to one side and the wind blows through the leaves like music for the dragonflies to flit about to.  It’s almost like a dream staying cool in the blue water, looking at panoramic views and no one else around.  Quiet and peaceful.

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After a couple hours we head inside to change for dinner.  The dining area is in the same common room we passed through when we came in.  As we walk in, the smells from the kitchen hit us.  Something good is cooking in there and we realize we are the only ones dining in tonight.  There is one other couple staying but we so far have only seen them briefly as they are out exploring.  Classical music plays softly and we hear the sounds of happy conversation coming from the kitchen as the husband and wife team work together to create something tasty for us.  They are obviously very content.

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Craig Conlee comes out with a big grin and a cutting board with a steaming loaf of fresh baked sourdough bread.  First course has arrived.  He apologizes for dinner starting a few minutes late, they were waiting for the bread to finish baking.  Yes, this is for real.  As we sit down at the table, he comes back out with the salad.  Delicate greens drizzled with homemade balsamic dressing, cohita cheese and buttery prawns.  The prawns were surprisingly sweet and complimented the tang from the dressing and the richness of the cheese.  I could live off this plate everyday and be perfectly happy.

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The main course arrives and I think we both gasped.  There, sitting majestically atop a bed of jasmine rice was a beautiful salmon fillet covered in a cilantro, tomatillo butter sauce and accompanied by a side of poblano peppers, mushrooms and corn cooked to perfect texture in a spicy vinegar sauce.  The textures and spices worked in perfect harmony and each bite was better than the first.

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We watched the sun set, giving our stomachs a rest before dessert.  I have had the privilege of living in many places that held some of the most spectacular sunsets, this one was in the top percentile.  Looking out over that valley, we learned that the resort was built in relation to the summer solstice.  So on the actual soltice day, the sun sets almost dead center to the pool.  Every detail…..

Dessert didn’t disappoint!  Mexican bread pudding, homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries drizzled with chocolate sauce.  By the time we were finished I wasn’t sure if I could even move!  I was super relaxed, incredibly full and very content.  The memory foam king size bed was beckoning and we slept very well that night.

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Between swimming and dinner, we made a little trek to see the chapel.  Tres Lunas is a destination wedding venue when not spoiling travelers such as ourselves.  They cater to full service weddings as well as a romantic Elopement Retreat.  The chapel is simple and beautiful.   Small and intimate, I could imagine it lit up with candlelight and a beautiful night time wedding taking place in that wild land.  Romance for sure!  I could also feel the peaceful spirituality there.  What a place to bless a new couple!  I felt like we had been there before.  I was amazed that such a place even existed, yet felt so at home and happy.  Magic indeed!  I didn’t know what the morning would bring, but I felt something good was waiting….and I wasn’t wrong….  Next post will let you know how our morning went and how friendships sometimes start with magic.

To be continued…..

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

*Photo credits are mine, Jason Locher and Tres Lunas website.

The Best Vacation – Lots of Pictures.

We had the best time this weekend with J’s cousins and aunt and uncle! His cousin Andy rented a lake house on Lake Texoma, and I mean right on the lake. J’s Aunt and Uncle, Andy and his wife Ann Marie, cousin Lindsay, and cousin Erika and her husband Nathan with their kids (Austin and Addie), were all there when we arrived. We had a private little cove with the water just a few feet away from the house. The kids were in the water pretty much the entire time. We rented a power boat for Saturday and the kids (and adults) went tubing. Lola had a blast! She was much braver then me, I didn’t go out on the tube..hah! She and her cousin Austin (he is the 7 years old), were the first to go out with J. I haven’t laughed so hard in quite awhile! They were flying around the lake and she was so excited. When she’d get nervous we’d stop and pull her in, then someone else would take her spot on the tube. Xi loved going fast on the boat, she got to go with the men to pick it up and felt extra special as they let her sit up front and be the captain!

Sunday we rented a large pontoon boat and everyone got in and went for a picnic on a beach across the lake. It was so easy and relaxing just swimming, eating, playing and just being.

The flow at the house was so incredible. Everyone was smiling and laughing pretty much the entire time. We had more food than we knew what to do with and routines just clicked with everyone. No one looked at the clocks…we got up when we wanted to, went to bed when we wanted to, ate when we were hungry and just had a great time with everyone. The view from the house was so relaxing. The older kids could be down in their life jackets, swimming in the cove while we sat on the back deck just drinking in the calmness along with a glass of wine. I really needed a weekend like this. I honestly haven’t felt that laid back and relaxed in a very long time.

J’s cousins are amazing. I have the best time with them. Everyone is so kind and happy and the conversations just flow. J’s Aunt Marlene and Uncle Rich are really good people and very easy to be around. J’s always talked about the fun he had growing up and spending summer vacations with his cousins, and I can see why! The girls both experienced some incredible adventures and laughed pretty much constantly. Lola was happy for the independence with Austin. Xi was thrilled to be in the water, on the boat and at the beach. J got to get out and ski, tube and just be with his family. And I felt so warm and grateful to be so accepted and loved so unconditionally. Every aspect of my world they consider part of their’s and that’s such a great feeling. It made me feel warm and happy with how interested they are in what Jonathon is doing and they reminded me that he’s always welcome as they consider him family as well. We can’t wait to spend more time with them. The plan is next July as another of J’s cousins is getting married, so we won’t be missing that wedding!! That is in Duluth so a completely new adventure for us.

I’ll stop rambling now and just let the pictures tell the story. Hope your weekend was everything you wanted it to be!!!

Lola getting into the groove of the tube. She was having a blast.

Getting ready to get out into open water. The order of people: Lola, J and Austin

The kids getting ready for the big ride.

This little dragonfly loved Ann Marie’s hat!

Ahoy Captain Xi!

Here comes the power boat
The back of the house where we spent alot of time

J and Xi fishing off the dock

The dock view from the back deck
This handsome young man is Erika’s and Nathan’s son, Austin. (Erika is J’s cousin)

Andy and J on the pontoon.

The girls not having any fun…haha! This was on the pontoon.

Cool staircase in the house.

Spent alot of time just chilling under this umbrella.

Erika’s husband, Nathan with Xi and Lola. Their faces pretty much sum up the entire 4 day weekend.

Nathan let Lola drive the powerboat for a bit.

J, Austin and Nathan. Look at their feet!

J, Austin and Andy (J and Andy are like brothers…super close)

Lola’s first real ride. They were going fast!
The kids building sand castles.

The lovely and expecting, Ann Marie. She is just glowing!

J’s Aunt Marlene, cousin Lindsay, cousin Erika and Austin (I know, hard to see anyone..hah!)

Erika’s husband Nathan, Uncle Rich and little Addie.

I’m pretty sure Lola wasn’t having any fun…hah!
The kids’ sculptures.

Pretty much where Lola spent most of her time, in the water.

Xi loved the beach and the way the sand felt and looked.

Uncle Rich and J.

Sand art ala’ Xi.

More tubing, this time behind the pontoon boat. Lola, J and Austin.

Xi and me.

Xi just chillin’ on the boat. She really had a great time with the boats.

Lindsey with Addie and Lola.

No clue as to what this flower is, but I thought it was pretty!

I really loved the colors of this umbrella.

Austin and Lola swimming around the cove.

Peace!