Tag Archives: Texas A&M

Take a Road Trip to College Station


Stone Creek Custom Homes owner, Jason Gale, and his lovely family road trip it to College Station as often as they can to visit their daughter, who is currently studying psychology, with a double major in economics. Jason and April shared some of their favorite things about this familiar road trip. Even if you don’t have kids at Texas A&M, this 3-hour trip is a great way to explore Texas!

April: “The pictures [you see here] were from Bastrop to College Station, because that is the prettiest part. You cannot make this stuff up. It is Texas at its finest and beautiful. Longhorns, cows, so many churches!! It is where you turn on Texas Country or Don Williams and just enjoy. Dime Box is so small, but they are vicious about handing out tickets. You shouldn’t be speeding there anyway, as you might miss something worth photographing.”

If you’re driving through Bastrop, you might as well allow an extra day for a night of camping at Bastrop State Park, known for their “Lost Pines,” with access to the nearby lake. This gorgeous park is a great place to picnic, swim, ride bikes, fish, hike and even geocache. You can stay overnight at a campsite or in one of their historic cabins (complete with A/C).

The Gales like to stop at Buc-ee’s along the way. Whoever thought a gas station would become such a hot spot for tourists? It doesn’t hurt that they sell the most delicious caramel corn in Texas. We’re sure you’ve got your own favorite Buc-ee’s snacks.

You can take a couple of different routes to College Station. The shortest route, along 21, is close enough to Lockhart for food enthusiasts looking to try some finger-lickin-good barbecue. This town isn’t known as the Barbecue Capital of Texas for nothing. Do yourself a favor and make the detour. Between Kreuz Market, Black’s Barbecue and Smitty’s Market, you can’t go wrong.

Once in College Station, the Gale’s love to stop off for coffee [before or after a good game] at Sweet Eugene’s, or for smoothies at the Juice Joint or, as April tells it, Jason’s favorite place, Wings and More.

No matter what part of Texas you love, we’re here to help you bring your dream home to life! Give us a call at 210-494-5400 to set up a free consultation or fill out our online for to request more information.





Growing Olive Trees in Texas

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard

Did you know that there are actually quite a few commercial olive growers in Texas? That might come as a surprise, considering when you think of olive groves, you typically don’t think of San Antonio, Austin or Dallas.

In fact, almost a century ago Texas A&M conducted research which determined Texas was a poor place to grow olive trees, and this deterred growers for decades until a small group of trailblazers, including Sandy Winokur, decided they wouldn’t give up on their dreams.

Now, just 30 minutes south of San Antonio you’ll find one of the most magical places in Texas called Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. Here, you’ll not only discover a stunning grove of olive trees, but a restaurant, retail store and even a nursery, if you’re interested in trying your hand at growing your own olive trees.

If you take an (olive) leaf out of Sandy’s book, you’ll learn which varieties grow best here. Although the tried and true variety she started with, that helped grow her business into the success it is today, is the Arbequina, Sandy is currently growing almost two dozen different kinds of olive trees.

Sandy explains that the Arbequina has done so well in Texas because it’s an ancient variety that is extremely adaptable and fast growing. Where most olive trees may not fruit for up to 5 years, the Arbequina can bear fruit by year two.

Those that already use olive oil religiously probably know its amazing benefits, but through trial and error, Sandy has discovered some uses for the olive tree that aren’t so common. For example, she uses the olive leaves to make a Texas favorite of iced tea, which isn’t only tasty but has healthful properties as well. It can lower blood pressure, and even combat the common cold. We don’t know about you, but that alone sounds like a good enough reason to give the olive tree a chance!

If you need a new, custom-built home to complement your olive orchard, give us a call at 210-494-5400. If you would like to be added to a private email list for our newsletter, please sign up here.

Trees of Texas & Why You Should Plant Them


If the weather stays temperate, as it is likely to do here in South Texas, then now is a good time to enhance your yard with some beautiful trees. Especially if you’re having a brand new custom home built and you’re starting with a raw piece of land, you have the opportunity to pick and choose which trees you would like to see grow and flourish right alongside your family.

Trees provide so many benefits. Besides the essential oxygen they give us, they also build soil and soak up storm water, which can ultimately help prevent flooding. Shade trees are great energy-savers – they reduce ozone levels and create a habitat for all the small creatures. Interestingly, a mature shade tree on the south or west side of the house can save up to a whopping 25% on your energy bill.

One of the best reasons to plant trees is for the amazing bounty they provide. In Texas, there are several kinds of trees, like pecan trees, that offer delicious fruit and nuts that you can enjoy throughout the year. Here’s a short list of some of the best trees for your South Texas estate.

Fruit Trees

There are numerous kinds of fruit trees that do well in this area, and truly there is something thrilling about walking out your back door and picking a piece of fruit off your own tree. For peaches, go with Springold, Bicentennial, Loring, Ranger, Belle of Georgia, Dixiland, Denman, Milam or Harvester. For apricots try Bryan, Hungarian or Moorpark. For plums there’s Ayers, Garber, Maxine, Orient, Moonglow, LeConte or Kieffer. For apples, consider Gala, Mollie’s Delicious, Ozark Gold, Jerseymac, Starkspur G. D. or Starkrimson R. D.

Additionally, Black Mission Fig and Celeste Fig trees are very popular in this area. Satsuma Orange trees are said to do well too, and as we’re here in the hub of Tex-Mex cuisine, it’s also worth considering putting a lime tree in, although be aware they do not do at all well in the cold and must be insulated when it freezes.

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtles do great here and can be found in just about any size you’re looking for, from one foot tall to 50 feet tall, and they come in an assortment of beautiful colors. Beware that deer love to eat the foliage of the young trees so they will need to be fenced in until they’re large enough to not be a problem.

Desert Willow

For sheer beauty, a desert willow is the way to go. In the summertime the tree blooms with stunning little purple flowers. They are small, delicate, deciduous trees that are native to Texas so they are drought-resistant. You can plant multiple along a driveway or in the backyard to attract birds and bees.

For more information, our very own CPS Energy actually provides an entire online guide to local tree selection.

Texas A&M also offers a great Texas trees resource:

When you’re ready to build a home to showcase all those great trees, give us a call at 210-494-5400. To be added to our private email list to receive the newsletter, please sign up here.