Worth The Drive: The Antlers Hotel

Have you ever wanted to spend the night in a real caboose without leaving the state? Or does dinner in what was formerly the Texas Chainsaw House sound like fun? Then jump in your car and head out to Llano County and The Antlers Hotel. It's definately worth the drive!

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Robert Crane
The Antlers Hotel is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The two-story clap-boad hotel and converted vintage cabooses offer guests a respite from the modern hustle and bustle of city life.
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Formerly The Texas Chainsaw House, the "Junction House" restaurant on the grounds of The Antler Hotel serves steaks, seafood and a salad, which according to photographer Robert Crane is fantastic.
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Hotel 211 at the Kingsland Depot.
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The McKinley Coach Room rate is $150 a night and a maximum of four guests are allowed per stay.
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A red train car converted into a hotel room.
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There are three red cabooses available at $160 a night.
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The Antlers Hotel was begun in 1900 and opened May 1, 1901. Newspapers hanging around the hotel show events on that date including the cross-country trip by President William McKinley who toured Austin on May 3, 1901.
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The Antlers Hotel was named in part for the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, a new and fashionable railroad resort that opened a few years earlier. The name also takes meaning from the fact that Llano County was then and continues to be a major deer hunting area.
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All the cabooses are former Norfolk & Western Railroad equipment that have been redesigned to become rooms for two adults and two children. Each is painted with the insignia of railroads that have run on the tracks in front of the Antlers.
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The area where the Llano and Colorado Rivers meet has long been a gathering place and resort area. First it was used by the Indians, then the settlers, including Martin King for whom Kingsland is named. In 1892 the Austin and Northwestern Railroad arrived by building a bridge across the Colorado River, and a depot in Kingsland.
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Nineteen hundred and 1901 were a time of consolidations in the railroad industry. The Austin and Northwestern Railroad began construction of the hotel and by the time it opened in 1901, the railroad and its hotel had been acquired by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.
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The hotel was a fashionable resort in the nineteen hundreds and on weekends the railroad ran excursion trains out from Austin
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The Antlers Hotel also served traveling salesmen or "drummers" and cattlemen.
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A fire destroyed much of Kingsland in 1922 and the town was in decline. The property was purchased in 1923 by the Barrow family, who used it as a family retreat for 70 years until 1993. The hotel was then purchased by an Austin investor and went through over two years of renovation under the direction of Anthony Mayfield. It reopened on September 1, 1996 with Lori and Anthony Mayfield as managers.
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Today the property features the restored hotel, several restored cabins, and a few additions like the brightly colored cabooses, a new country store and conference center, and other turn-of-the-century buildings that keep being brought in from neighboring towns for restoration.
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Caboose and railcar rates are $130 - $160. Rates are based on single and double occupancy. Add $25 per additional guest per night.
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Each caboose has a queen-sized bed and kid-sized bunkbeds. There is also an efficiency kitchen, bath with a shower, and living area with TV. Each has a cupola with two benches for watching the sun set in the hill country.
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Stay in the 1880's McKinley Coach, one of the cabooses or The Antlers Hotel, which was built by the Austin & Northwestern railroad in 1901.
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Wildflowers and native cactus are on display most of the year through out the 15 acre grounds on Lake LBJ.
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Boat slips are available to guests.
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The Antlers Hotel 1001 King St., Kingsland, Texas 78639-5252 Phone: (325) 388-4411
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The Antlers is on Highway 1431 in Kingsland, Texas.
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The area around the hotel has been designated as an historic railroad district. Many of the building relate to the rail lines that still exist in front of the hotel
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The hotel operated successfully until the 1920s when automobile travel eroded the reliance on train excursions.
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The novelty of the lake by the rails faded as a vacation destination and the hotel closed in 1923.
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The Antlers is located on fifteen acres of land.
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There are peach trees on property as well.
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The Antlers Hotel offers a peaceful slice of Texas history where guests can go off the grid in a good way.
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