Allow a couple of hours on the eighty-mile drive from Austin to Fredericksburg for a stop at Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood home in Johnson City and the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall. Fredericksburg is short on historic hotels, but New Braunfels, eighty miles southeast, has the lush 1899 Prince Solms Inn and the Faust Hotel, a 1920s beauty. In San Antonio several hotels front the river. My choice was La Mansión del Rio Hotel, elegantly constructed around the remains of an 1850s school and convent. A splendid Victorian dwelling in San Antonio’s King William district—the Steves Homestead—is regularly open to the public. The San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau is a good source for news of upcoming events in the city: P.O. Box 2277, San Antonio, TX 78298 (512-270-8700). For information on the Hill Country towns, contact the Tourism Division of the Texas Department of Commerce, 611 South Congress, Austin, TX 78704 (512462-9191). Two of the publications they provide are especially useful: Texas Travel Handbook and A Guidebook to Restaurants, Hotels, and Theatres in Historic Structures . Other good references include Weekend Escapes , featuring southeast Texas (Rand McNally, 1986), Hill Country , by Richard Zelade (Texas Monthly Press, 1987), and Wildflowers of Texas , by Geyata Ajilvsgi (Shearer Publishing, Fredericksburg, Texas, 1984). Robert A. Caro’s volume on the early days of Lyndon Johnson, The Path to Power (Knopf, 1982), vividly portrays the way in which the Hill Country helped shape a President. And Hard Scrabble , by John Graves (Texas Monthly Press, 1984), tells what it’s like to carve a life from this spare and beautiful land.