AA Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

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“I work for this team and it's a wonderful team , great communication and support for our clients, their family members and our caring team of staff .”

Antoinette G.

“Ken and Bonnie are wonderful people to help care for your loved ones. their staff was so caring to my mother and so nice to my family I highly recommend them to take care of your loved ones. I think there ought to be more than just five stars to give them”

Mark A.

“Ken and Bonnie were wonderful to work with. They were able to provide my mother with care and a very short notice. Their staff was some of the most caring people that I've ever met. Not only were they wonderful to my mother but also to my family. I would highly recommend using them.”

Mark A.

“Very professional and welcoming people so I would definitely recommend my friends and family to Always Best Care in Boerne.”

Laurie K.

“The owner is so understanding and supportive of how I want my loved ones cared for. He and his staff actually listen to what I would like done for my parents. Very thoughtful, very professional and very caring. It’s such a relief to have help in caring for my loved ones”

Kristen B.

“ALWAYS BEST CARE is certainly a warm & caring business owned & operated by Ken Thomas. I certainly would recommend them for you or your loved ones excellent care.”

Shirley S.

“Kenneth is kind, patient, experienced and knowledgeable. We are thankful to him for all his efforts and for going above and beyond.”

Chae S.

“For those who are searching for qualified caregivers for their loved ones, contact Ken Thomas at Always Best Care Senior Services. Mr. Thomas provides an authentic and professional guiding hand when discussing available services for your precious senior family members. When it is time for a beloved senior to receive assistance, Mr. Thomas understands the importance of providing trustworthy and quality support.”

Melissa C.

“Ken leads his Always Best Care Senior Services Agency with compassion for his clients and their families. He is a local senior care expert and leader in his community. If you are need of assistance in navigating your local senior care options, then do not hesitate to give Ken a call!”

Kelly B.

“Kenneth is knowledgeable and trustworthy. I can’t recommend him enough. You’re in good hands with Kenneth.”

Chae S.

“I will be forever grateful for the love you showered upon us and my grandmother”

Jill &.
 In-Home Care Castell, TX

How does In-home Senior Care in Castell, TX work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Castell, TX

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Castell, TX, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Castell, TX gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Castell, TX

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Castell,TX understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Castell, TX

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Castell, TX

How to Spend the Weekend in Castell, Texas

Road TripThis eclectic small town offers scenic Hill Country views, spirited (literally) sermons, and swimming holes lined with sandy beachesIf you’re not careful, it’s easy to miss. After taking Highway 87 deep into the Hill Country and going past Fredericksburg, Castell, Texas first appears as a small conglomerate of buildings: a circle of cabins, a gift shop, a steepled Methodist chapel, and a...

Road Trip

This eclectic small town offers scenic Hill Country views, spirited (literally) sermons, and swimming holes lined with sandy beaches

If you’re not careful, it’s easy to miss. After taking Highway 87 deep into the Hill Country and going past Fredericksburg, Castell, Texas first appears as a small conglomerate of buildings: a circle of cabins, a gift shop, a steepled Methodist chapel, and a trading post.

Its population? Seven—but don’t call it a ghost town. Step inside The General Store, and you’ll likely meet all the locals, many who have no problem sipping a Lone Star or two with you at the bar. With live music every Saturday, a boozy “Drinking with Jesus” church service on Sundays, and endless outdoor attractions from fly-fishing to gravel-grinding, Castell is rapidly transforming from a sleepy Texas town to a Hill Country getaway without the crowds. Ready to plan your trip before the secret’s out? Check out our travel recs below.

For luxe cabins that boast everything from outdoor dining rooms to saunas and hot tubs, look no further than El Castell on the Llano River. Not only is it a prime location for hopping into the clear waters that cut through the town, but you’re also steps away from The General Store (see below). Each cabin varies in size (accommodations are available for both solo travelers and large groups), but if you’re looking for a boutique, farmhouse experience, you’ll want to book the El Castellito, where cozy furnishings sleep up to 10 and pets are welcome.

Onsite kayaks are available to rent from El Castell, as well as bikes perfect for gravel grinding (cyclists flock to this town for a reason). Nearby Enchanted Rock is well worth the 30-minute drive, but make sure to take County Road 105 for the scenic route. After a day of hiking, do as the locals do, and cool off at Schneider’s Slab, a favorite swimming hole that offers crystalline waters, stretches of sandy beaches, and plenty of space to pop up a tent and picnic. Fly fishing has become so popular that Castell’s own personal guide, Cari Ray, is opening her own shop in early fall, which will be stocked with supplies, gifts, and more. At night, don’t forget to look for shooting stars; the area boasts some of the darkest skies in Texas.

A drive through Llano warrants a pitstop at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, but trust us, the best meal you’ll have is found in The General Store. Ask for the daily special regarding their burgers and prepare your palate (and your stomach) for a seriously oversized patty sandwiched between two sweet buns—a meal they suggest splitting in two. If traveling on a Sunday, be sure to wake up early for “Drinking with Jesus,” the town’s offbeat take on church. Every other week, locals and travelers alike gather in the General Store with either a mimosa or a bloody mary in hand to sing hymns and catch a sermon.

A one-of-a-kind Hill Country rooftop bar will be a cowboy's dream

A one-of-a-kind rooftop bar is on its way to downtown New Braunfels. It's the creation of a former Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bull rider who is searching for the next adventure in his life developed the thought of combining the high-end Western cowboy lifestyle and a bar.Cowboys and Cadillacs, a three-story rooftop bar located in downtown New Braunfels, is now set to open in the summer of 2023.The evolution of the Cowboys and Cadillacs brandCowboys and Cadillacs co-owner Cameron Corzine spent four years rid...

A one-of-a-kind rooftop bar is on its way to downtown New Braunfels. It's the creation of a former Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bull rider who is searching for the next adventure in his life developed the thought of combining the high-end Western cowboy lifestyle and a bar.

Cowboys and Cadillacs, a three-story rooftop bar located in downtown New Braunfels, is now set to open in the summer of 2023.

The evolution of the Cowboys and Cadillacs brand

Cowboys and Cadillacs co-owner Cameron Corzine spent four years riding for PRCA and had a fancy, high end look while he rode.

"Loved rodeo, I was kind of the boujee cowboy. My equipment came in a Louis Vuitton duffel bag and I'm the one that wore bright ostrich boots," Corzine said. "I was always the flashy, obnoxious style of cowboy."

In March 2019, his rodeo career would come to an abrupt end after an injury in New Braunfels.

"Unfortunately, one of my horses, we just had a really bad day. I broke every bone in my wrist, shattered my forearm, and had to have a vascular bone graph — just whole all messed up [sic]. So, that injury made me start pursuing some other things," Corzine said.

A new direction for the former rodeo cowboy

With the injury promptly putting his professional rodeo days behind him, Corzine needed to find a new venture in life. Cue the saga leading to New Braunfels' future rooftop bar.

He began loaning out a Cadillac limo he purchased for himself in 2018 after fixing it up. A few notable folks who borrowed the Cadillac limo include country singers Randy Rogers and Koe Wetzel, and Corzine's original idea was to become a full-time limo company.

But after hearing how much people loved the name Cowboys and Cadillacs, he started to dream bigger.

"Everybody loved the name. So, then I was like, 'Why not trademark the name and also start a merchandise line and just do T-shirts, hats, that kind of stuff. E-commerce is easy to do,"' Corzine said.

A bar is born

While visiting with a Nashville-based merchandise company, he made a stop at the White Limozeen atop the Graduate hotel. The high-end, rooftop bar made him think of the future of Cadillacs and Cowboys, Corzine said.

That's how it came to be that Cowboys and Cadillacs, the soon-to-be limo company with aspirations of becoming a clothing brand, grew into a concept for a new rooftop bar in downtown New Braunfels.

"I was like, 'You know what, we own buildings downtown with a lot of flat roofs that aren't being used,'" Corzine said. "We all like the high-end cowboy lifestyle and look."

Corzine said the limo service will launch along with the Cowboys and Cadillacs lifestyle brand and rooftop bar simultaneously.

Inside a high-end western cowboy bar

The design process began at the end of 2019 and it took more than a year to get permits for the construction. The project is complex because it will sit on top of three buildings: The Red Stag, La Belle Vie, and the Seguin Beauty School. His mother owns the first two.

Red Stagg will stay at its current location, La Belle Vie will be transferring over to the Seguin Beauty School building around the corner, and Cowboys and Cadillacs will reside in the La Belle Vie location.

On the first floor, there will be a bar area, a staircase, and an elevator that will take patrons up to the second story. The second story will have a full bar and stage. Then two staircases from either side of the venue will take guests to the third-floor rooftop bar, which will be on Red Stag's roof. He said the bar will cover 13,000 square-feet total between all three levels.

Corzine said there will be plenty of antique-restored or custom-made furniture to pad out the high-end cowboy aesthetic. He noted fine leather and materials from Ralph Lauren, Pendelton, and Wesley Hall will be used in the bar, along with antique tables and two massive antique chandeliers. One antler chandelier features more than 1,000 glass crystals.

There will be over 200 liquor lockers and a glass wine cellar with personal temperature-controlled cubbies to give customers a space to store their favorite alcohol brands, purchased for a discounted price from Cowboys and Cadillacs. Anytime a locker renter comes into the bar, they will get a menu of what is in their locker. Locker owners will also have VIP-type deals for events and concerts.

A summer 2023 grand opening is still the goal, but a date has yet to be set. Cowboys and Cadillacs cost to open is uncertain for the time being, event to Corzine who says he'll have a better idea as the project progresses.

"We're going for a very unique one-of-a-kind thing. It's high-end western, which not many people have done. I believe it's a fairly new concept for the public," Corzine said.

Corzine noted Yellowstone, the popular Paramount TV show, is familiarizing people with an upscale cowboy lifestyle. He said the bar will be focused on an older crowd that wants to listen to music, talk with friends, or have a date night.

"We're going to be able to offer something that is not offered yet in New Braunfels, which is a true rooftop bar that overlooks the middle of downtown," Corzine says.

This cowboy's goal

Corzine is already thinking about the future before Cowboys and Cadillacs open. He hopes the brand can add other locations and the lifestyle brand grows as well.

"I hope Cowboys and Cadillacs become a recognizable lifestyle brand that people want to come shop with us. They want to take out the cool cars and they want to come to hang out and drink with us," Corzine said. "We want to stand out and bring attention back to New Braunfels and help downtown New Braunfels grow again."

Find it: 125 N. Castell Ave., New Braunfels, TX 78130

Good times at Castell General Store

Castell General Store is a big, yellow, hidden gem on the banks of the Llano River in Llano County where anything can happen. All manner of Texas Hill Country inhabitants find their way to the store for everything from impromptu kayak trips to surprisingly huge events like the ...

Castell General Store is a big, yellow, hidden gem on the banks of the Llano River in Llano County where anything can happen. All manner of Texas Hill Country inhabitants find their way to the store for everything from impromptu kayak trips to surprisingly huge events like the annual Testicle Festival.

Located at 19522 RR 152 West in Castell, the general store is about 20 miles upriver from the city of Llano. Somehow, this isolated country business in a town with roughly 43 residents has become a major hangout with something going on almost every weekend, year-round.

“If you want to have fun, we create fun,” said Randy Leifeste, the enigmatic, wise-cracking, yarn-spinning, party-throwing, patriarchal proprietor of Castell General Store.

Leifeste has cultivated a somewhat-eternal, rural party atmosphere at the store that attracts a wide range of patrons. Bikers, lawyers, hippies, honky-tonkers, backpackers, trout bums, cops, writers, cowboys and cowgirls, real estate agents, guitar pickers, and a long list of others tend to congregate around Castell on any given weekend.

The store has grown in the years since Leifeste took ownership in 2010. Kayak rentals, a bar and grill, consistent good times, endless events and festivals, and an infamous rooster have helped build its glorious reputation. Texas Highways even sang the store’s praises in 2017.

Central to the lore of Castell is Leifeste’s late rooster, Cockaroo, who was notorious for his brazen nature and romantic interest in novelty, singing robotic bass. As time went on, word spread of the fornicating rooster, Cockaroo of Castell, and folks would come from miles around to see him get freaky with an animatronic fish. Cockaroo has passed on, but his legend continues to grow, and you can even see him mounted in the store alongside his past lovers.

While the parties, live music, and eclectic atmosphere are huge draws, the natural beauty of the Llano River is enough of a reason to visit Castell. A low-water crossing is a three-minute walk from the front door of Castell General Store, providing unprecedented river access. Locals and visitors drop in kayaks, cool off, and even fly fish in one of the most pristine stretches of the river you can find.

“I feel like we are a hidden oasis in the Hill Country. Everybody is just now getting to know us,” said Jennifer Hollingshead, the store's co-owner.

Now that you’ve been made aware of this illustrious locale, here are some upcoming events you won’t want to miss.

Times are subject to change. Call the Llano Chamber of Commerce at 325-247-5354 or visit its website closer to the event for more detailed information.

Cock-A-Roo Music Festival

Saturday, Sept. 17, from noon to dark

Celebrate the life of Cockaroo the fornicating rooster with live music, drinks, food, and chicken (poop) bingo.


Saturday, Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A beer and wine festival for the ages. Further celebrate the legend of Cockaroo and day drink a stone’s throw away from the Llano River.

Castell General Store Barbecue Cook-Off

Saturday, Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Step up to the plate and take on all pitmasters. Participate yourself or devour as much Hill Country barbecue as you can handle.

Castell General Store Hunters' Dinner

Saturday, Nov. 5, in the evening

Castell happens to be in the heart of hunting heaven — Llano County — and the general store shows its appreciation for the camo-clad cazadores that flock to the area every year. Stop by and grab a hearty meal before heading back into the field.

Castell General Store Friendsgiving

Thursday, Nov. 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends or make some new ones on turkey day.

Castell General Store Gumbo Cook-Off

Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What better way to warm up in winter than with a bowl of gumbo? Cajun meets Castell at the store's annual cook-off.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department trout release

Typically in early December

The department releases rainbow trout in the Llano River just outside of Castell every winter, creating a once-a-year opportunity for Texas anglers. Keep an eye on the TPWD website to find exact dates, but there should be trout in the river by mid-December.

Castell General Store Chili Cook-Off

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A bowl of chili might be an even better way to warm up on a winter’s day, and where better to get it than the annual Castell General Store Chili Cook-Off?

Testicle Festival

Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The biggest event of the year. Join hundreds of others in a calf fry-eating, crawfish-sucking, beer-guzzling extravaganza. Live music, vendors, and a wild time are promised at this flagship fiesta.

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The small community of Castell is a charming and secluded spot for fishing, canoeing, and relaxing.

CASTELL — If you get one chance to show someone what Texas is all about, where do you go?Not the plains of the Panhandle or the canyons of Big Bend. Not the forests of East Texas or the beaches of the Gulf Coast.It’s got to be the Hill Country.But the Hill Country is a 25-county region, far too large to see in one day. So you’ve got to focus on the best part of the Hill Country: the Highland Lakes.And one spot in the Highland Lakes is the perfect destination.It’s isolated. Whatever p...

CASTELL — If you get one chance to show someone what Texas is all about, where do you go?

Not the plains of the Panhandle or the canyons of Big Bend. Not the forests of East Texas or the beaches of the Gulf Coast.

It’s got to be the Hill Country.

But the Hill Country is a 25-county region, far too large to see in one day. So you’ve got to focus on the best part of the Hill Country: the Highland Lakes.

And one spot in the Highland Lakes is the perfect destination.

It’s isolated. Whatever photos you take on your smartphone are staying there because you’re not posting them to social media when there is no service.

There’s a river for fishing or kayaking. The hunting is great. And the landscape is in pristine condition.

At night, you’ll get distracted by shooting stars as you stare into the middle of the Milky Way.

And although maybe six people live there, you’ll find a hundred or more from all walks of life getting together when the barbecue is ready.

It’s the water, the wildlife, the wide-open spaces, the hills and the granite. And it’s all in Castell.

“It seems like nobody comes to Castell once,” said Marc Leifeste as he surveys his store. “They think it’s a neat, charming place, and they come back again.”

The Castell General Store is the main meeting and eating place in town. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Leifeste’s family has owned a ranch 300 yards from the big, yellow Castell General Store since 1852. Marc and his father, Randy, are co-owners of the gathering spot. On the weekends, the store serves dozens of people looking for burgers, barbecue, steaks, or just a couple drinks with friends new and old.

They see locals, hunters, fishermen, bikers and weekenders. And they’re all coming for the same things the first settlers came for more than 160 years ago: the river.

“The river really makes a difference,” he said. “Nothing else has a draw. We couldn’t make it without the river.”

The Germans who first emigrated to the area in 1847 must have found it charming as well. On the Llano River and 15 miles west of Llano, Castell is the first permanent settlement in Llano County. Two other settlements by the same group of Germans were abandoned shortly after.

Castell was a small town that once thrived. The Castell General Store, 19522 RR 152 West, was originally a blacksmith shop. Across the street was an automobile dealer. There was a cotton gin, a two-story hotel and a full-time doctor.

But over time, people left and the community turned into a ghost town.

“There was no reason to come to this side of the river unless we rode with my grandfather to go to the post office,” Leifeste said.

Leifeste went to college and raised his family in San Antonio. Because no one lived in Castell, houses were cheap. People bought them to renovate into rental properties. Slowly, tourists and hunters returned to the area, and the store grew. About seven years ago, Randy asked Marc to come back to Castell to help run the store.

With all the rains in the past year, Marc said each month has been better than the last as more people discover the community.

And not just the general store, but the bed-and-breakfasts, too. There are now 12 cabins in Castell, all dependent on hunters, anglers and tourists coming to enjoy what the river has to offer. You can stay at a place such as the Rockin’ River Cabins, just yards from the Castell General Store, and be on the river in the middle of nowhere or within walking distance of dozens of inns, all at the same time.

Rockin’ River Cabins, just yards from the Castell General Store and on the Llano River, is one of a dozen places to stay in the area. Staff photo by Jared Fields

“Castell, to me, is the quintessential Llano River town. It’s small; it’s quirky; it’s quaint. And it’s got deep roots in history,” said Keith Barnes, a Llano County fisherman, who has spent decades on Texas rivers. “Whether you are there just to sit on the bank, go birding, go canoeing, see wildlife or you want to fish, you can do any of those things.”

The Llano River is clear and relatively shallow. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks the river with trout in the late fall, but plenty of other fish make the waters their home year-round.

The trout provide an opportunity for the entire family to fish together and experience fly fishing in a relaxed, social setting.

“When they’re releasing stocker trout on the Llano, you can take the family out, and you get to all experience the same river,” Barnes said. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity that a lot of people are missing.”

The weather is only too cold for fishing a few days out of the year. Some inexpensive waders and fleece leggings are the most you’ll need for winter fishing. By yourself, or with family, you can cast into the shallow waters all day and perhaps never see another person.

Whether you fish or not, the river is a psychiatrist for many.

“Whatever’s got you angry floats off down the river and leaves you behind,” Barnes said. “By the time I crawl back in my truck, I’m happy and life is perfect.”

Castell is something different for everyone. It’s a destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Many come on weekends from cities such as San Antonio and Austin to escape to a country setting. Bikers and car clubs enjoy the twisting roads that meander through the hills and stop for a break before continuing down the road. Hunters drive in from their deer blinds on all-terrain vehicles for supplies, and others just want to see exactly what it’s all about.

The Castell General Store serves food all week long, but on the first Friday of the month, they have a seafood special featuring fried catfish, shrimp, and frog legs. Staff photo by Jared Fields

When you have to show someone your ideal version of Texas, tell them you’re going to Castell. And when they ask, “What’s Castell?”, you don’t have to tell them anything. Show them the river in a canoe, make new friends eating barbecue and then end the day in rocking chairs under the sky.

That will be your answer.

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Cody's Restaurant Bar & Patio now open and other New Braunfels business news

Here is a roundup of business news from around New Braunfels.Now Open1. The former location of 188 South, an Italian restaurant, is now the second location of Cody’s Restaurant Bar & Patio, located at 188 S. Castell Ave., New Braunfels. The restaurant opened in September, serving continental small plates, entrees and craft cocktails along with a selection of beer and wine. The owners, Chef Jonathan Smartt and General Manager Cody Couch opened the first location in San Marcos in 2012 at 690 Center Poin...

Here is a roundup of business news from around New Braunfels.

Now Open

1. The former location of 188 South, an Italian restaurant, is now the second location of Cody’s Restaurant Bar & Patio, located at 188 S. Castell Ave., New Braunfels. The restaurant opened in September, serving continental small plates, entrees and craft cocktails along with a selection of beer and wine. The owners, Chef Jonathan Smartt and General Manager Cody Couch opened the first location in San Marcos in 2012 at 690 Center Point Road, Ste. 209. 830-609-9194. www.codyssmtx.com

2. A full-service short-term rental property management company iTrip Vacations San Antonio was recently opened in New Braunfels by residents Dustin and Alison Braune. The company helps manage vacation rentals for their owners, offering world-class services to owners and guests. They are a premier partner agency with Vrbo as well as an Airbnb Superhost. 210-920-5005. www.sanantonio.itrip.co

Coming Soon

3. The New Braunfels Regional Rehabilitation Hospital will be opening a second location at 1770 SH 46 W., Ste. 1101, New Braunfels, in January. The facility will provide outpatient rehabilitative services to patients throughout New Braunfels and the surrounding area who are recovering from disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses or chronic medical conditions. 830-643-7162. www.nbrrh.ernesthealth.com/


4. Matador Men's Grooming, located at 1850 SH 46, Ste. 106, New Braunfels, will celebrate its five-year business anniversary on Nov. 9. The business is an upscale and traditional barbershop that offers haircuts, shaves and other grooming services for men. 830-358-7001. www.matadorgrooming.com


5. PomPerfect, a children’s clothing, gifts and specialty items store, located at 2339 Gruene Lake Drive, New Braunfels, closed Oct. 22. 830-609-9993

Education Reporter

Sierra is an education reporter covering Comal, New Braunfels, San Marcos and Hays ISDs. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in journalism and media studies in 2020. When she joined Community Impact in July 2022, she covered education, local government, transportation, business and real estate development in the New Braunfels community. Prior to CI, Sierra served as the managing editor of San Marcos Corridor News and spent time as a senior reporter for the University Star. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

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