What a fun weekend with camping, live music, two rounds of golf, some good food, and a dip in Krause Springs! I got Larry Joe Taylor’s newsletter, which said he was going to be at Poodies on Sunday night. So, we made some phone calls, packed the motorhome, loaded the clubs into the Jeep, hooked it up to the motorhome, and hit the road for Spicewood.


Spicewood is a small town of around 2,000 about 30 minutes from Austin. It’s nested in the Hill Country and bordered by Lake Travis and the Pedernales River. Spicewood is best known as the home of Willie Nelson but it’s also home to:

  • One of the Best Swimming Holes in Texas – Krause Springs;
  • A fun zip line tour at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, which has a tree house that you can zip into and spend the night. Read about our Zip & Stay;
  • Willie Nelson’s recording studio and his 9-hole golf course;
  • The infamous Opies, well known for good barbeque;
  • Award-winning wine from Spicewood Vineyards;
  • Easy access to camping, boating, and fun on Lake Travis.
Opie's BBQ in Spicewood
Devil's Cove on Lake Travis
Cypress Valley Canopy Tours

The Best Bloody Marys Near Krause Springs

Pace Bend RV Park is the perfect place to camp and explore Spicewood and the surrounding Texas Hill Country. After getting the motorhome settled in at Pace Bend RV Park (read our review of Pace Bend RV Park), we unhooked the Jeep and drove less than a mile to Briarcliff Bistro & Bacon Bar (now closed). We were meeting my brother and his wife for brunch.

What a fantastic spot! Good food, unique Bloody Marys, and live music on their outdoor patio under the trees. Briarcliff Bistro makes some outstanding Bloody Marys for brunch. For example, here are a couple of the 7 Bloody Marys they offer:

Wow, was this a good Bloody Mary!
  • The BBBBrunch Bloody – An upgrade to the Fully Loaded. Served in a giant 24 oz. peppercorn bacon and salt-rimmed glass mug filled with Bloody Revolution Pickle Zing Bloody Mary Mix. It’s loaded with a skewer of cubed salami, Farmers Cheddar, smoked gouda, and applewood smoked bacon. Garnished with pickled asparagus, pickled green beans, and pickled okra, as well as olives and a pickled quail egg.
  • The Amarillo – Only for the brave (or crazy)! Habanero-infused Tito’s vodka, White Worcestershire, Jalapeno Tabasco, olive juice, a squeeze of lemon & lime, and a pinch of celery salt. That’s blended with yellow tomato juice made in-house and served in a salt-rimmed glass with a celery stalk. It also includes pickled asparagus, pickled green beans, pickled okra, olive and a pepper bacon swizzle. (Guaranteed to have you screaming “Holy Hell!” all the way to church!)
One of the Bloody Marys and Mimosas at Briarcliff Bistro

I tried two of the 7 Blood Marys (the Bacon Bloody Mary and the Breakfast Martini) while we listened to Todd Westbrook playing guitar and singing under the trees. He’s got a fantastic voice and was a joy to listen to. After two Bloody Marys, I was ready to forgo golf, have a couple more Bloodies, and enjoy the music and pleasant afternoon.

Todd Westbrook

Barton Creek’s Palmer Lakeside Golf Course

They drug me from my chair, drove me a few miles down the road to Barton Creek’s Palmer Lakeside Golf Course, put a club in my hand, and said, “Hit the ball.” I swung, missed, and said I would rather go back to Briarcliff Bistro.

Response: “Focus and hit the ball”. I swung again and dribbled the ball just past the ladies tee box! It was a long day.

Barton Creek’s Lakeside course was designed by Arnold Palmer. Characterized by excellent conditions, beautiful homes, and stunning views of the Hill Country and Lake Travis, it’s a fun golf course with demanding holes. The carries over water and deep ravines are intimidating, and they now have several of my golf balls.

Par 3 at Palmer Lakeside golf course

Here’s a link to our review of Barton Creek’s Palmer Lakeside Golf Course, which made our list of the Best Resort Courses in Texas. The picture to the right made our list of the Most Scenic Golf Holes In Texas.

With a sun burn, slight headache, sand in my shoes and hair, and a golf debt I needed to pay, we headed to Poodies Hilltop Roadhouse for some music.

Krause Springs Music: Who We Saw on Poodies Hilltop

Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars at Poodies

Poodies Hilltop Roadhouse is a funky bar, grill, outdoor patio, and indoor music stage. It was once owned by Willie Nelson’s stage manager, Poodie Locke, who died suddenly of a heart attack in 2009.

Poodies has hosted music legends like Willie Nelson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Freddy Powers, Ray Benson, Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Joe Shaver, Toby Keith, Kevin Fowler, Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Billy Bob Thornton, Gary P. Nunn, and more. We were there to listen to Larry Joe Taylor, Dave Perez of the Tejas Brothers, Mark McKinney, and Bracken Hale. It’s hard to beat that line-up!

We got there early enough to catch 45 minutes of Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars. They were very enjoyable with a good classic country music sound.

Larry Joe and friends were at Poodies to promote his upcoming cruise to Isla Mujeres and try to raise some money for Bracken Hale (a recent winner of a singer-songwriter contest). They were hoping Hale could join Larry Joe and friends on the cruise. The set started with Dave Perez (along with his lead guitar player and drummer from The Tejas Brothers). Larry Joe and Mark McKinney took turns singing some of their classic hits. Very enjoyable.

larry joe taylor
mark mckinney
dave perez

More Great Music at Poodies

dave perez and larry joe taylor

After a short break, Dave and the Tejas Brothers took the stage. As usual, they were fun and a joy to listen to. It just doesn’t get any better when Dave and Larry Joe sing “Seven Spanish Angels.”

Then Bracken Hall took the stage for a great set, which ended with he and Larry Joe doing Rusty Weir’s “Don’t It Make You Want To Dance.”

What a fun evening, but it was expensive because I had to buy several rounds to pay off my golf bets.

bracken hale

From Poodies to Pedernales

The next morning, we drove a couple of miles down the road from Pace Bend RV Park to Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Cut-N-Putt Golf Course. This is my kind of golf course. No stuffy highfalutin’ golfers (just some good ole boys in tee shirts). And no rules (well, there are some: no bikinis, mini skirts, skimpy see-throughs, or sexually exploitive attire allowed, except on women; and when another player is shooting, no player should talk, whistle, hum, click coins, or pass gas!). Country music blares from the clubhouse speakers, a pro shop with Willie Nelson paraphernalia and tee shirts instead of expensive golf shirts and clubs, and a fun layout with some scenic vistas.

Willie Nelson's Golf Course

Here is a link to our review of Pedernales Cut-N-Putt Golf Course. It was named such because right next to the pro shop is Willie’s recording studio where he and fellow musicians would cut some records and then head to the course.

Back to Krause Springs

waterfall at Krause Springs

On our way to Krause Springs to cool off in the spring-fed swimming hole, we stopped at Opies, best known for its BBQ. It’s good but not the best from my perspective!

Krause Springs was perfect after a hot and dusty 9 holes of golf. What a beautiful spot. Lots of tall trees, a spring-fed swimming hole with a fern grotto and waterfall, picnic tables, and more. Read about our day at Krause Springs.

All too soon, it was time to button up the motorhome and hit the road for home. It was a fun weekend.

Mike Sharp
Author: Mike Sharp

I have a passion for travel and outdoor activities, and now I'm enjoying retired life. I will continue my traveling, golfing, boating, and enjoying life all across the great state of Texas.

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