From live music spas to equestrian courses and historic houses-turned-B&Bs, Texas offers plenty of new incentives to keep travel relatively local this summer.
Drawing on Austin’s music muscle, Lake Austin Spa Resort will book live music at its fitness, wellness and cooking classes. Now guests can downward-dog pose with a classical guitarist at yoga, take a DJ-primed dance class and listen to budding songwriters while chopping vegetables. Marquee musicians include 19-year-old fiddle prodigy Ruby Jane, songwriter Kimmie Rhodes and Sara Hickman. The new “Rhythm and Moves” programs at the 40-room destination spa take place over specially designated weeks, May through October. Rates from $1,720 per person, double occupancy for three nights; 512-372-7300, http://lakeaustin.com.
For urban Austin travelers, the new Littlefield Lofts, set to open in June, will offer heart-of-downtown residency — at Sixth and Brazos, across from The Driskill — in fully furnished lofts for rent. Chereen Fisher of Top Trip Rentals, which manages luxury vacation rental properties around town, is behind the new development, where 24 units feature floor-to-ceiling windows, private balconies and stained concrete floors. Fully-equipped kitchens offer stainless appliances that guests can stock by taking a quick walk to the nearby Whole Foods flagship. Rates from $199; 512-522-8747, http://toptriprentals.com.
Built in 1889 and enrolled in the National Register of Historic Places, Abilene’s regal Queen Anne home known as the Sayles Landmark has been given a head-to-toe update — stylistically and mechanically — and reopened as a six-room B&B. Once the residence of early settlers Henry and Hattie Sayles, the home now features individually decorated rooms, including a luxe room with a centerpiece crystal chandelier and antique carved wooden bed, the Judge’s Chambers with a collection of vintage baseball gloves, and the Bootmaker with vintage elk antler trophies and antique oil paintings. Each has its own bathroom, and daily breakfast is served in the former carriage house. Rooms from $165; 325-670-9402, http://sayleslandmark.com.
Led by some of the city’s best chefs — who promised inside intel on where they like to eat — Houston Culinary Tours took off from the moment it was introduced in 2009. The periodic chef series continues — past tours included Underbelly chef Chris Shepherd showing folks around his favorite Korean eateries — but now the program has expanded to include more regularly scheduled walking tours of the trendy Montrose, historic Heights and central downtown districts. The three-hour progressive feasts sample at restaurants, bars and food shops, with historic sustenance provided en route. $59-$89; Amistretta@visithouston.com.
Jeff Balfour, former executive chef of the River Walk landmark Hotel Valencia, recently opened his first restaurant, Southerleigh. Named for the Texas Gulf Coast breeze, Southerleigh pays homage to South Texas with mostly state-sourced food, including Gulf Coast seafood boils, brick-griddled quail and local lamb. Located at the food-centric Pearl Brewery complex, the gastropub houses its own brewery headed up by Les Locke, former head brewer of San Antonio-based Branchline Brewing Co., who is responsible for a rotating list of tap options from lagers to porters. 210-455-5701, http://southerleigh.com.
With fresh programming, The Inn at Dos Brisas offers new appeal to families, equestrians and foodies. Launching over Memorial Day weekend, Camp Brisas, with daily children’s activities, represents the first kids program at the nine-room, 313-acre resort. Open to experienced riders, the new Hunter Course at the property’s Equestrian Center simulates the jumps and cross-country terrain of fox hunting territory. While fine food has long been a selling point at Dos Brisas, new chef Cory Untch has added a la carte menus along with set tasting options, all provisioned by the 42-acre organic kitchen garden on-property. The resort recently went all-inclusive; rates from $1,145, 979-277-7750, www.dosbrisas.com.