A friend of my mother's once famously said that her idea of camping was staying at the Ritz without a toothbrush. If I'm honest, my idea of ranching isn't far off: I like my dusty cowboy boots and painted ponies balanced out with 1,200 thread-count sheets and a soaking tub as big as the Gulf of Mexico.
Luckily, I'm not the only yankee walking around with this particular fantasy of rural Texas life. Doug Bosch, a New York transplant now based in Houston, first bought his 313-acre property in the foothills of Texas Hill Country in 2000 with plans to use it as a private retreat (it was previously a working cattle ranch, and before that, a cotton ranch). The Inn that now sits there is a result of serious mission creep on the part of Doug and his wife, Jennifer: the private estate became a small but well-regarded restaurant, then a restaurant with overnight accommodations, and finally a fully-functional resort with Relais & Chateaux membership. Throughout the transitions it has retained the feel of a private property— a casualness and intimacy that makes you feel more like a houseguest than a paying customer.Read the full review and area guide »