Texas is a legendary land, home to astounding tales and extraordinary people. FireSong Ranch, a repurposed ranch-home in Spicewood, embodies this statement and offers a story as wholesome as the sunsets from one of their glorious decks.
FireSong offers guests a boutique glamping destination that smoothly combines rustic luxury and impressive landscaping designs with a spellbinding location dominated by lakes, woodlands and reliably turquoise skies. In the heart of Texan hill country, the site attracts families, couples and solo travelers seeking that slice of heaven that is often used to represent the great West.
Dawn Madigan, who founded FireSong with her husband Jim, says, “We do our best to offer guests something they can’t experience elsewhere. While also taking to heart the knowledge that their patronage supports child-fostering across Texas. The former is our pleasure, the latter is our pledge.”
FireSong’s tale begins with the end of a chapter that every parent must face, the moment their children grow up and leave home. Afterwards, the ‘empty nest’ feeling crept into the spacious ranch and the once daily cacophony of joyous giggles and laughter turned into an unsettling quiet while the well-worn footpaths to the favorite playing areas grew over and began to fade. The question was, what was next for The Madigans?
In 2016 the pair attended a house concert to support a long time friend who was playing music there. Afterwards the conversation touched on a number of things, one of them being that he and his wife had adopted their foster children. Immediately a chord was struck and Dawn decided that they would open their home, property and lives to provide a safe environment and love for children who through no fault of their own didn’t have it.
Having raised a family together, Jim knew that there was no stopping his wife when she believed in an idea and luckily, his experience as a builder of luxury homes was equal to her flare for design. So after brainstorming many ideas, they came up with a proposal that took advantage of all that their property had to offer while utilizing the best of their own skill sets and talents.
“We realized that Texas Foster Foundations already does tremendous work for their initiatives,” Dawn reflects, “And there are already established families and foundations in place serving the needs of foster children in Texas, not to mention many families. The best way for us to help was to give our dedicated support in terms of cash.”
Well known for its weather, which is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters, Spicewood Texas is a mecca for outdoor activities. Within the area, which got its name for the spicewood timber mills that were active in the 19th century are twelve beautiful manmade lakes that attract a wealth of native wildlife and birds. Nearby, a selection of wineries and distilleries provide a taste of Texas and for those of a more energetic sort, ziplining, horseback riding, pickleball and golf are available. The combination of good food and music is taken seriously in Spicewood where many restaurants have open-air barbecues to draw in hungry visitors like cartoon characters beckoned by smoky fingers.
THE FIRESONG ACCOMMODATIONS
When it comes to glamping it isn’t difficult to create something unique. It is a successful tried-and-tested formula: find an interesting location, throw up a yurt or caravan, make sure the showers are hot and the sheets are clean. The international growth of glamping proves that this is not a challenge but what is much harder to achieve (and which the majority of sites do not) is to create the sense of ‘belonging’ that FireSong Ranch does so effortlessly.
Three properties are available onsite for booking:
NDotto, is a perfect accommodation for those seeking a safari style stay with the indulgent comforts of a boutique hotel. A khaki, stretch-style tent on a private decking, tucked away for extra privacy, guests can enjoy the sunsets or star gazing from the four person outdoor hot tub, or from the authentic outdoor Texas fireplace. When it’s time to call it a night, inside, a stand-alone bathtub assures the most relaxing soak in preparation for a deep, rejuvenating sleep on the king sized bed.
*Note: Board games are available to settle any conflicts about who gets to lounge the longest in the incredibly comfortable, undercover cushioned hammock.
The Casita Ranch House – a standalone one bedroom property that offers the quintessential design of a Texas ranch. Thick cushioned sofas, thick mattresses, warm décor, comfortable colors and every amenity accounted for. Outside, 600 feet of decking provides a great hosting spot for family barbeques, drinks and long relaxing contemplations on the sunset.
Then there is the newest addition, Casa Del Sueno, their two bedroom barn dominium that boasts 1500 square feet of indoor space with 1800 square feet of outdoor terrace! As standard at FireSong, the indoor kitchen area is equipped with everything a guest will need, including the essential All-In-One Coffee/Espresso Machine as well as washer and drier. The bedrooms are chic and ultra cozy, with king-size beds and an ensuite in the main room.
At FireSong, all the properties are equipped with the essentials for the modern traveler, including various cooking surfaces and tools, microwaves, fridge freezers, dishes, utensils and various linens. While spices and oils for cooking are provided, the properties are self-catering. USB chargers and plug sockets are available as is WIFI.
A quick read through of guests comments on Facebook demonstrate just how quickly visitors feel right at home at the ranch, delighting in the boutique beauty that each of the accommodations offer. However what is commented on most is the attentiveness and warmth that they felt from their hosts who have gone above and beyond to make the experience a great one.
“My favorite part about hosting is reading the guest journal,” Dawn says, “ We never tire of hearing the experiences felt and shared here at FireSong Ranch. Guests who learn of our story often share their own experiences of being a foster child or their interest in fostering. I feel these stories are the purest representation of what we are doing is what we are meant to do.”
Dawn explains that for the moment they are maxed out with the number of properties they can offer onsite without sacrificing space and it would be a shame to overcrowd such a peaceful layout. Expansion isn’t really necessary, as their bookings have been very strong even through the likes of 2020 and 2021 which unfortunately saw many businesses turning away guests en masse. She reveals that, with the properties being so popular, their next innovation is aimed at enhancing and growing their digital reach.
Staying at the forefront of search engine optimization and social media has always been a priority. But, many of their guests repeatedly rebook, with many of them doing so before their stay is even over. Nevertheless, with commitments beyond simply running a profitable hospitality business, they are ticking all boxes in 2023 to futureproof themselves. One of these boxes includes working with more travel and hospitality influencers to garner a wider reach based on recommendation and word of mouth.
FireSong Ranch is once again filled with the sounds of families: laughter, conversation and stories. Fresh footpaths are being worn into the grass as guests discover their favorite spots, dreams are being weaved, spirits are being lifted and families are made stronger. The Madigans may claim to support fostering from the outside but anyone who has spent a few nights in FireSong would probably argue that this is not the whole truth. They may not foster children, but they foster dreams, stories and memories.
If you would like to learn more about fostering in Texas, please visit Foster Village at www.fostervillageaustin.org
ADDRESS:1020 CR 414, Spicewood, TX 78669
CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER: 001 – 512-589-2474
MINIMUM BOOKING: two nights. Guests usually book between two and four days.