I got to explore, relax, eat, drink, shoot, fish and more recently at Spread Oaks Ranch, about 90 minutes outside of Houston, near Bay City. It’s a working cattle ranch that raises some mighty fine Brangus cattle and farms both conventional and organic crops. It boasts over 5,500 acres and borders along 5 miles of the Colorado River. There is a high-fence game area and lots of local wildlife including whitetail deer, alligator, wild hogs, and coyote. It’s a premier water fowling destination from Sept-Jan so plan your stay now.
The main house (lodge) is over-the-top and beautifully decorated with a high, cathedral ceiling and a long bar stocked with everything needed for a celebration or a playful weekend. An amazing wine collection lines the walls of the private dining room which is adjacent to the main dining table. Don’t want to sit inside? The back and side lawns can fit dozens of people on the lush, green grass.
Chef Ric Rosser uses ingredients picked fresh from the property (my cucumber salad was literally 30 minutes out of the ground). Chicken, pheasant egg, and some incredible beef was served during my stay. The charcuterie board was almost too pretty to eat as it featured house-cured meats, and jellies made from the ranch’s wild fruit. Let’s call it field-and-farm-to-table.
Though I can get bored pretty easily I was always on the move. Hopping on the buggy to drive around the massive property we made a few stops to shoot skeet, catch a few bass in the stocked lake, and took some laps in the pool.
The trees are spectacular (hence the name of the ranch) and the noise is nothing but the wind and fireflies at night.
This setting is a great place for corporate retreats, experiential getaways, and private parties. Accommodations include 12 private rooms with either king or double-queen beds, and a bunk room with 6 beds. A total of 24 people can sleep if double-occupancy.
It also has historical roots as the original landowners were members of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred,” a group of settlers who the Mexican government enticed to settle its northern province of Texas (shout out to my 7th grade Texas history teacher, Ms. Sontag).
This is about as Texas as Texas can get. And I’m going back soon.