My Favorite Small Town Getaway

Last summer after dropping off our youngest son at college in New Jersey, we visited wineries on the return trip to break up the endless miles. Once home we discovered quite a few wineries in our area. Now I had a goal I could really get behind–visiting local wineries!

I found Valley View, Texas because of a billboard advertising its local winery. What I never expected was to also find a Texas getaway gem in this town of seven hundred fifty-seven people.

The minute I drove into Valley View, my tension drifted away with the warm Texas breeze, and that was even before I had a glass of Firelight Vineyard’s sangria! The town reminded me of my childhood spent at my grandparent’s farm in northeastern Iowa. There was open space, trees, horses and cows. Often all in one front yard. There life doesn’t speed by. Neighbors know each other. Everyone’s friendly and laid back. Whenever I’m there I run into someone who wants to talk. Whether it’s someone at the winery, a local business owner, or an Army/Air Force Veteran. Whenever I hear Josh Gallagher’s “Pick Any Small Town” Valley View’s the one I’d pick.

The last year has been stressful, so for our anniversary, my hubby and I headed to Valley View for a getaway weekend. We wanted to spend time away from email, texts, social media, and other city commitments. For us, when we’re away from the city and in the country, life’s troubles fade away and we focus on what’s important—each other and family. The drive to our B&B, Towering Oaks Haven, took us on a gravel road, once again reminding me of my childhood. The fast-paced-need-to-get-ahead-world disappeared. We spent the weekend wandering around antique stores, shopping at my favorite boutique Rustic Ranch, and becoming reacquainted with each other. We weren’t on our phones constantly. We weren’t worried about spotty internet service. We connected with those around us, rather than those on social media sites. We listened to stories, told some of our own, and were simply in the moment. We ate fantastic gourmet pizza from Lil’ Brick Oven delivered to us at the winery. After that, we listened to the David Alexander Trio while sitting on the Firelight Vineyard’s patio chatting with someone my husband knew from years back and a wonderful couple from Oklahoma.

Life was simpler, personal and connected. And I loved every minute of it.

I remembered why I write stories set in small towns, because of the feelings I rediscovered in Valley View. Because of the way I felt at my grandparents’ farm and in their small town.

I can back rejuvenated and my head spinning with story ideas! A Texas winery owner heroine and a rancher in a small Texas town trying to revitalize the town square. Hmmm. It’s a start.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your favorite getaway spot that rejuvenates your body and soul. Enter a comment for a chance to win the wine charms and a wineglass from FIrelight Vineyards.

 

 

Julie Benson
Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.

34 Comments

  1. I’ve never been anywhere so I don’t k now where my favorite getaway is. These days I’m loving the bathtub. HaHa

    1. Good morning, Cathy! You know, when I can’t get away, my favorite place is the bathtub (with a good book), too!

    2. Cathy, when I can’t go somewhere, my favorite escape is the bathtub with a good book!

  2. I go to San Diego a lot and then visit wineries there. It helps me a lot.

    1. Debra, thanks for stopping by. I’ve never been to San Diego, but it’s on my bucket list!

  3. Small towns are just the best. We have a huge area for wineries and small towns, too. Great places to stir the imagination and sit back and relax. Thanks for sharing, it sounds like a perfect way to recharge!

    1. Susan, I love visiting small towns as much as I love setting stories in them. There’s something about a small town that just makes my mind and body relax.

  4. Good morning everyone! As usual, some early bird have arrived at the corral before me. My dad always said I was born two weeks late and have been late ever since! Anyway, I’m finally here and ready to chat!

  5. Julie, Valley View looks like a fun place to visit! I’m sucker for pulling off the highway and exploring small towns. 🙂

  6. Down by the river here in north platte and little hideaway with a bench just so peaceful and quiet down there.

    1. North Platte, Kim? We lived there for 22 years–went to school there, graduated, met my husband and all my children were born there. We missed that place for a long, long time after we moved. Yes, the Platte River can be very relaxing and peaceful.

  7. I like going to a little town in the mountains of Tennessee to get away from it all. It feels like home because it’s on a family homestead.

    1. Family homesteads are the best!

  8. I love sitting on the porch swing overlooking acres of land on my dads farm! I feel like it just gives peace! And whenever I’m reading my westerns it makes me feel like I’m there!

    1. Cori, that’s one of the things I miss in the suburbs. There aren’t any real porches!

  9. Well, Julie, you made me want to get in the car and head south to Valley View! Sounds wonderful. I grew up in a small town, and boy, I couldn’t wait to get out of there! But…older and wiser now, I remember it with fondness and think about “someday” moving to a small town to live. My sister lives in a small town and things are so much different there than here in OKC! They DELIVER your prescriptions to your house! WONDERFUL STUFF! As for a getaway…I suppose that would probably be the place I would go — Durant, Oklahoma. Not a huge place on anyone’s bucket list, but so familiar to me because both my parents’ families are from there and we spent a LOT of time in that area when I was growing up–so many fond memories. And both my sisters live there now.

    1. Cheryl, I used to think the same thing about small towns, but age changed my perspective too!

  10. Loved your beautiful post today. When I want to get away to a very relaxing setting I go to the mountains and stay in a cabin. The clear air and the walks makes me feel great. Colorado and the Rockies.

    1. Thank you Pearl for the kind comments. Rocky Mountains, huh? Have you ever been to Estrs Park?

  11. I enjoyed reading about your travel which was ideal. I try to go to a lake since it reminds me of a serene and tranquil lake which we visited when I was young. The family drove there from Mtl. and during the 1950’s there was no outside disturbances so it was ideal. What a getaway which I pine for.

    1. Anne, isn’t it amazing how the places we choose so often tap into happy childhood memories?

  12. HI Julie, wow, what a post! Is this in the Texas hill country? I sure want to do the bluebonnet wine trail some time. Lake Tahoe is my go-to place for serenity and counting blessings. It was the first place we went after my husband went into remission for testicular cancer in 2008, and we could finally “talk” about the things, the whatl-ifs, you just don’t get to talk about while it’s going on. We even got snow–at the end of May!

    Mark Twain said Tahoe’s air is the same air that angels breathe, and I know it for sure. My completely cured husband and I will be in Tahoe again in two weeks. Yay.

    But I am a very vigorous wine taster and am in a posse of five bestie girlfriends–we go wine-tasting several times a year. Next up, the Harvest Tour in Temecula CA in November. Thank you for letting me count blessings today. Good luck with your boy off to college! xoxo

    1. First of all, Tanya congratulations on your hubby being in remission and have fun in Tahoe!

      Valley view isn’t in the Hill Country. It’s north of Dallas close to the Oklahoma border.

  13. I am limited in my travels but a quiet setting with beautiful scenery would be ideal! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Connie!

  14. What is important is connecting with each other, the warmth and the time spent together which is rare nowadays. When I want to change my locale and need a new perspective my favorite spot is a quiet town off the beaten path which no one knows about since it was from another day and age. The town and the surroundings has charm, beauty and peace.

    1. You are so right, Sharon!

  15. We don’t have one particular place we go to, we just like to head into the mountains and someplace quite. This week we are at the perfect place. Our Continued Learnig group, for seniors, at the local university has one week session the end of summer each year. It is held at Wild Acres Retreat off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. It is deep in the woods high in the mountains. No TV, no cell phone coverage, and minimal internet time. It is relaxed, the food is great, our speakers excellent, and the company couldn’t be better. It will be hard to leave Friday and go back to all that is waiting for us.

    1. Wow Patricia it sounds fantastic. Enjoy the solitude and thanks for using some of your minimal internet time to chat with me!

  16. We live in a quiet place in the country where we hear little traffic, and we’ve contributed to the quiet by not turning on TVs very often and not being on the phone all of the time. Our culture is to be plugged in all the time–even small towns where I see customers talking on a phone instead of engaging the store clerk while checking out! or anyone else around them–but that doesn’t mean we absolutely have to live that way. It’s a choice each person makes about how they spend their attention and their time. Lily Tomlin had a saying that I always remember: “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” lol To be clear, though, I love small towns and getaways; I just prefer more of that in my everyday life as well.

    1. Thanks for sharing the Lily Tomlin quote, Eliza. I’m going to remember that and what you said about it being a choice!

  17. This sounds like a great place to visit, Julie. Long live the places where we can ‘unplug’ for a while. Thanks for telling us about it!

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