You often hear people talk about the ‘beautiful Texas Hill Country’ but if you’ve never been here, you probably wonder what it is that makes this area so lovely. As you might have guessed, we are surrounded by large rugged hills of limestone or granite that are covered by wildflowers and tall grasses. Live oak, mesquite and juniper trees can be seen all across the horizon with scattered dots of prickly pear and yucca cactus. The Guadalupe River, which originates here in Kerr County and runs down to San Antonio Bay in the Gulf of Mexico, has limestone banks shaded by cypress and pecan trees and is a popular place for fishing, tubing, and other recreational activities. When you put it all together, it’s a breathtaking view and La Hacienda is situated on 40 acres right in the middle of it.
Long before it was given a name, patients would wander up to the top of one particular hill with a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside just to capture a moment of tranquility. To enhance the experience, a chapel was built on the site in 1998. A daily morning Seekers service and a Sunday worship service are held in addition to those individual searches for a quiet moment. On that same hill, for as many years, small gatherings have taken place around a fire. Not long after the chapel was built, a contained fire pit was built with a seating area to protect the countryside from wildfires. Serenity Hill is still one of the most loved places on campus. Patients often find it to be the perfect place to do their 3rd Step and they are also seen journaling, meditating and praying atop this spiritual location. It’s hard not to feel connected to something greater when you are surrounded by open sky and looking down on the beautiful rolling hills, herds of deer and the Guadalupe River.
Like all other businesses, La Hacienda has been looking for ways to leave a smaller footprint on Planet Earth. We began our ‘green’ journey about 15 years ago when we switched from paper medical records to electronic medical records. With more than 900 patients a year, we’ve helped save a few trees! In the last couple of years, we have built a wastewater treatment plant and a 90,000 gallon rainwater catchment system that allow us to keep the grounds green and filled with beautiful flowers without depleting the earth’s water aquifers. Over the years, we have had many requests from patients to establish a recycling program. That mission was accomplished in 2012 when recycling bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans were placed around campus which are gathered for recycling every month.