Photo courtesy of Bandera County CVB

Photo: courtesy of Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Some of my fondest memories of my children involved their fixation with all things cowboy when they were small. We were fortunate enough to visit many a ranch where they played out-of-doors until exhaustion, ate like horses, and learned not only to ride well, but to clean up after their steeds. Especially if you have little ones in your life, round up the family, because the 12th annual  National Day of the Cowboy is almost here. The official date designated to celebrate our pioneer heritage and the cowboy culture is July 23, and there’s no better place to look to than Bandera, branded “the Cowboy Capital of the World,” and the seat of Bandera County.  Bandera and the surrounding townships  make up one of the most charming communities in the Central Texas Hill Country.

An hour northwest of San Antonio, it’s a prime spot for vacation homes. Realtor Kat Ryan with Guillot Realty estimates a third of residences in the city of Bandera itself are second homes. Nearby are Tarpley, Medina, Pipe Creek, and other unincorporated townships with more weekend ranchers and retirees enjoying the cowboy way of life.

What’s there to do and see?



Horse People, take a look! Here we have the famed purple unicorn combination of acreage, a real barn, turn-outs, not ginormous home, and close enough to the city that you can actually run a business or drop into the city with ease. The 19.44 acre property even has several rentals or barn help homes on the back to help with income stream. (more…)

You know that Santa Fe is practically a bedroom community of Dallas. Well, here’s your chance to own a bedroom on the Pecos River minutes from downtown Santa Fe. Actor Val Kilmer — as in Batman Returns, etc. — wanted to use his 6,000 acre Pecos River Ranch in New Mexico as a sustainable, green community-type bed and breakfast. And New Mexico’s San Miguel County said yep, that’s OK. There have been some reports that Kilmer, who may not fit into the Batmobile so well these days, also wanted to run for governor of New Mexico. But then, he made some unfavorable comments about the area, including a quote in Rolling Stone magazine about how he lived in “the homicide capital of the Southwest.” Kilmer did, however, apologize. I think he’s right on: friends who live in Santa Fe have said the same thing, actually — SF’s a rough little town, as much as I love it.  When I stayed there, I almost died when I realized I’d left the back door un-locked. But I felt safe at this great in-town fractional called The Residence Club at El Corazon de Santa Fe, because I was right off the square. There are parts of Santa Fe that really are as dangerous as Mexico, maybe more so. Before you buy there, let’s talk.

Well, now Kilmer has the ranch on the market price super slashed with Santa Fe Realty Partners for $23 million.

The Pecos River Ranch is about 22 miles northeast of Santa Fe, with wildlife, 10 natural springs, world-class fishing and more than 50 miles of hiking and biking on a beautiful trail system. The 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom home has 11,573 square feet.

(Don’t you love it when celebs with 11,000 square foot homes talk about sustainability? Calling Al Gore…)

The property was first listed by Orvis/Cushman Wakefield in 2009 for $33 million but did not sell. In July 2010, it was listed with Darlene Streit of Santa Fe Realty Partners.  It is also the only ranch around that has actual water frontage: a seven-mile stretch of the Pecos River, fishing nirvana. Last year, Kilmer told a local TV station that he put the ranch on the market to try and attract a biz partner. (Ok…)

Curiously, the website for Val Kilmer’s Pecos River Ranch is still alive and kicking. Smart guy: not too many buyers kicking the tires of $23 million dollar homes these days.