Venture Outside Houston to Find Your Luxe Weekend Retreat

Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty has the listing for Estancia on the Brazos in Washington.
Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty has the listing for Estancia on the Brazos in Washington. Photo by Dror Baldinger
All work and no play makes Jack — or just about anybody — a dull boy. The adage reminds us that it's important to take time away from work not only to maintain healthy relationships, but also to recharge our batteries before returning to the daily grind. All that R&R might not leave us feeling like six million bucks, but we'll definitely be better, stronger, faster.

Investing in a weekend retreat, preferably one within driving distance of Houston, also gives us the opportunity to indulge in those things that feed our soul: fishing and hunting, gardening, water sports, nature photography, equestrian activities, crafting, plein-air painting, or curling up with a good book.

We narrowed our search to luxurious ranches and retreats that also had water access. With uncertainty in the marketplace and fears of a possible recession, why not look to expert Dr. Michael Burry (The Big Short guy who predicted the housing bubble) for a bit of advice? Burry's theory is that, with climate change, there will be an increased demand for water by 2050, putting productive agricultural land high on his list of worthy investments.

Estancia on the Brazos | Washington County TX | BRRS from Burgher-Ray Ranch Group on Vimeo.

Estancia on the Brazos, Washington, 83 miles from downtown Houston

There is perhaps no better place to show Texas pride than at Washington on the Brazos, recognized as the birthplace of Texas where in 1836 delegates announced that we would be separating from Mexico to establish the Republic of Texas. While the region is historic, the three homes at Estancia on the Brazos were all built within the past 20 years, and the main 15,000 square foot house is breathtaking. Designed by Chris Carson of Ford, Powell & Carson Architects and Planners, built by John Sebastian (Sebastian Construction Group) and with landscape architecture by Thomas Bradley & Associates, the blend of Southwestern and California architecture blends beautifully with the rolling pastureland and live oaks. The interior features a country kitchen with beams, a third story porch veranda with treetop views, soaring living room ceilings, and two wine cellars. The home's exterior includes a swimming pool and spa with grand views of the countryside and multiple outdoor porches and patios. Estancia on the Brazos is situated on 400 acres and is populated by buffalo, cattle, white tail deer, turkey, and hogs; 40 of those acres are set apart and high-fenced for oryx, fallow and axis deer, Siberian sheep, and gemsbok. As for water access, the property includes a mile of frontage along the Brazos River and also features lakes, water wells and stock tanks/ponds.

Estancia on the Brazos in Washington has been listed with Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty for $9.9 million. For information, contact listing associates David Burgher at 214-213-8715 or Harlan Ray at 214-908-7770 or visit

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Karla Miller with John Daugherty, Realtors has the listing for The Berger Ranch in Simonton.
Photo by John Deans/Deans Imaging
The Berger Ranch, Simonton, 46 miles from downtown Houston

It's hard to believe that a working cattle ranch can look as gorgeous as this French country manor in Simonton. Cattle barons can rest assured that the expansive grounds include a full cutting arena, a 15 stall barn equipped for breeding, almost a dozen loafing sheds, and both wells and ponds among the more than 91 acres. But for our money it's the interior that's the showstopper: With 11,200 square feet, the custom manse utilizes reclaimed 19th-century wrought iron and hand-painted vignettes, while amenities include a wine room, theater, British pub, elevator and a pair of detached apartments. The master bedroom has a tray ceiling, fireplace, stained glass doors and an adjacent exercise room, while the master bath overlooks a private garden and features a domed ceiling. Trompe l'oeil can be found throughout the home: in the solarium and around the kitchen, and a replica of the outdoor fountain can be found midway up the sweeping staircase.

The Berger Ranch in Simonton has been listed by John Daugherty, Realtors for $9.4 million. For information, contact Karla Miller, sales associate, at 713-561-6649 or visit or or this gorgeous photoshoot with Blaine Ochoa, Miss Houston 2019.

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Karla Miller with John Daugherty, Realtors has the listing for Providence Farm in Columbus.
Photo by John Deans/Deans Imaging
Providence Farm, Columbus, 75 miles from downtown Houston

Become a part of history with Providence Farm, an exceptional ranch estate home that was built from reclaimed wood that came from a pair of 200-year-old Pennsylvania barns. Located on more than 22 acres along the Colorado River, the home has unobstructed views of almost 500 feet of beach river frontage. But don't let the rustic exterior fool you; rubies have been embedded into the leather finished granite in the kitchen, courtesy of Mother Nature. In fact, the home itself is filled with natural light, with beamed ceilings that reach up three stories to the rafters, and enhanced by numerous crystal and iron chandeliers. Amenities include a two story climate-controlled wine room, an envy-worthy closet with a ceiling that opens to the third floor, a massive kitchen with two center islands, and enough stone, wood and marquetry to make the home feel warm and inviting. The covered patios are perfect for all seasons, with ceiling fans for the summer, a stone fireplace for cold winter evenings, and a full outdoor kitchen.

Providence Farm in Columbus has been listed by John Daugherty, Realtors for $3 million. For information, contact Karla Miller, sales associate, at 713-561-6649 or visit or

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Dana Speer, Realtor® with Century 21 Western Realty has the listing for the Brookshire Farm and Polo Club.
Photo by GoodKarrot Real Estate Photography
Brookshire Farm and Polo Club, Brookshire, 40 miles from downtown Houston

The above photo tells only part of the story when it comes to the Brookshire Farm and Polo Club. With almost 300 unrestricted acres just a half mile from I-10, and a hop, skip and a vroom from car aficionado John Hovas' world-famous Hemi Hideout, the possibilities are endless especially for the equestrian set. The land features four polo fields, a 63,000 square foot covered arena, tack and feed rooms, plus a horse stable with Spanish architecture that is nicer than many homes; it's easy to see why it has served the Texas A&M Polo team well.

800 Wilpitz Rd from GoodKarrot on Vimeo.

But drill deeper into the video above and, toward the top of the teaser image and along the banks of Bessies Bayou is where you'll find the clubhouse (or main house) that is wrapped in Texas limestone. High-end finishes within include a vaulted ceiling over an open concept floor plan, aesthetics that borrow the best from both rustic and elegant, and an oversized kitchen bar/island for the party crowd. Rounding out the property and fulfilling everybody's need for speed (and adrenaline) are a large skate park, a motocross park, an in ground swimming pool, tennis courts, covered patio and cabana areas, and beach access to the lake.

Brookshire Farm and Polo Club has been listed with Century 21 Western Realty for $13.38 million. For information, contact Dana Speer, Realtor® at 281-392-9272 or visit
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney