Stonehenge II in Texas Hill Country

What do Stonehenge, Easter Island, and Texas Hill Country have in common? A visit to Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram, Texas, solves that mystery. There you’ll find a Stonehenge and two Easter Island Moai head replicas. The structures are the work of two Hill Country residents, Al Shepperd and Doug Hill.

Stonehenge II and Moai heads

Neighbors, the two men hatched the plan to build a Stonehenge replica in 1989. Using steel frames, plaster and metal mesh, they built a scaled version (about 90 percent the height and 60 percent the width) of the famous Stonehenge circle on Shepperd’s ranch. It took them just nine months to construct the monument. A few years later they fabricated two Moai heads following a trip Shepperd made to Easter Island. For years, tourists flocked to Hunt to see the oddities.

Current location

Stonehenge II and the Moai heads found a new home in 2010 on the grounds of the Hill Country Arts Foundation in Ingram. I have to say, this location is perfect. The Moai heads flank a dirt pathway leading through a meadow to Stonehenge II. It’s a bucolic spot, with the Guadalupe River just off to the left.

Admission to the site is free, but the photographic opportunity is priceless.

Encore

I recommend you visit Stonehenge II about lunchtime. Why? Co-located on the art foundation property is a delightful little restaurant, Encore. The restaurant offers home-style lunches six days a week (closed Mondays). The restaurant has an outdoor deck that overlooks the Guadalupe River. We lunched there during our visit and were pleasantly surprised by the freshness of the cuisine and friendliness of the service. They also proffer an amazing selection of craft beers.

Blue Topaz

If you’re in the market for unique, fine jewelry, you’ll find it in Ingram. Just down the road from Stonehenge II is Gems of Hill Country. The jeweler Diane Eames and her partner Brad Hodges offer lone star cut (that’s the cut with the embedded five-pointed Texas star), blue topaz jewelry. Blue topaz is the official state gem of Texas and found only in the Mason area. The stone is usually clear, but you can also find blue variations. The more intense the blue, the more valuable the stone. Eames is a true artist. The stones she cuts are breathtakingly beautiful. Prices begin in the $200 range and go up from there.

When you go

Stonehenge II (120 Point Theatre Road South, Ingram) is in a field. As such, it’s accessible seven days a week. Encore (122 Point Theatre Road South, Ingram) is open for lunch 11 am to 2 pm Tuesdays through Sundays. And Gems of the Hill Country (200 Highway 39, Ingram) is open by appointment (phone (830)-367-3368).

 

Sam Houston, Tribute in Courage

The Sam Houston statue at Huntsville puts an exclamation point on the saying everything is bigger in Texas. The 65-foot statue towers alongside Interstate 45, between Dallas and Sam HoustonHouston. Looking distinguished in topcoat, colonial wig, and with his walking stick, Sam Houston dwarfs the surrounding pine trees. If you have the opportunity, stop and pay the old gent a visit.

The City of Huntsville purports that Sam is “tallest free standing statue of an American hero.” President of the Republic of Texas and later Governor of the State of Texas, Sam Houston played a pivotal role in Texas’ early history. What you may not have known, is that the Texas hero spent the last two years of his life in Huntsville. The Texas fore father is buried in nearby Oakwood Cemetery (Avenue I and Ninth Street, Huntsville).

Titled Tribute to Courage, the monument is the work of Houston based artist David Adickes. The statue statistics are impressive. It weighs about 32 tons, stands on a 10-foot marble base, and is the second largest freestanding statue in Texas. Surprisingly, the statue is only 20 years old, installed in 1994. Adickes built the concrete and steel Houston in ten-foot segments. One head segment not used in the final statue, can be seen on the grounds. It’s a great location for a picture!

When you go

Take Interstate 45 exit 109 or 112. The Sam Houston statue is accessed through the visitors center whose hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Be sure to bring your camera!