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One-tank road trips: A treasured spot Waco locals try to keep secret

Homestead Heritage is filled with shops that showcase simple living.

WACO, Texas — For most people, a trip to Waco means a trip to Magnolia Market at the Silos, made famous by Chip and Joanna Gaines’ TV show, “Fixer Upper.” However, while Magnolia has indeed put Waco on the map, there’s a spot off the beaten path that’s equally as charming.

About 10 miles away from the tourists is a place the locals have tried to keep secret: Homestead Heritage.

“People tell us that, actually,” said Dan Lancaster, general administrator for Homestead Heritage. “‘This is our secret. We bring the family here and not everybody knows about it.’”

Folks in Waco certainly know about it, but visitors to town might regret missing out on this hidden gem located on more than 500 acres of local countryside.

Homestead Heritage is a Christian community that practices an agrarian lifestyle, meaning they live off the land.

Becoming more sustainable is something, in recent years, we’ve all heard is important. No doubt, a lot of people are making that choice, but living simple has always been cool at Homestead.

“I think we were doing a lot of these things before they became popular,” Lancaster said. “We were a little bit ahead of the curve.”

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Pretty much anything community members need, they make by hand, and visitors can watch them do it.

The quaint craft village has all sorts of shops, like pottery, woodworking, knitting and a blacksmith forge. Inside each shop, visitors are able to watch items be handcrafted by one of the community members. The items are often for sale, too.

Community members produce much of their own food, too. They grind their own grain, roast their own coffee (complete with a coffee shop for visitors) and make their own cheese, which they keep in their cheese cave.

Their handcrafted goods can be purchased at many of the shops or stores on the property. Visitors can even learn these trades themselves.

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Homestead offers more than 120 classes for anyone with a desire to create.

“I think there’s just something hard-wired in people that likes to make something with their hands,” Lancaster said.

Perhaps, however, nothing has given this place such a loyal following more than the Homestead Café, the community’s restaurant.

Everything on the menu is grown, raised or locally sourced by the people who live there.

A simple online search reveals that the Homestead Café is one of the highest-rated restaurants in the area.

“Oh definitely,” Lancaster said. “In my opinion, it’s the best restaurant in Waco.”

How good is the food? People don’t mind waiting up to an hour just for lunch. You shouldn’t either, now that the secret’s out.

For more information on Homestead Heritage, visit its website here.

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