Dripping Springs developments designed for community interaction

by Sahar Chmais

The hilly backroad drive into Dripping Springs is sprinkled with vineyards and tasting rooms, restaurants propped on acres of open land, horses, cattle and countless trees. Residents in Dripping Springs get the luxury of living within a town while still having close proximity to the city – without needing to compromise.

Yet Dripping Springs’ residential charm differs from the surrounding areas in Hays County and Austin because developers are building their houses around a community. Headwaters and Caliterra, just two of the many up-and-coming developments in Dripping Springs, have based their developments on being at-one with nature without cutting off human connection.

Headwaters provides its residents with 8 miles of trails where community members walk out in nature and have a chance to socialize and meet their neighbors. While these trails can be great for bump-ins and meeting new faces, the community tries to put on more social-focused events.

The developers have created a recreational center for its residents to have coffee, provide them with a workspace and WiFi, an outdoor lounging area to sit and chat and a playground for children to get out. This space also serves as a community events center appeasing to all ages by putting on a variety of gatherings.

For example, there is a Yappy hour, or a happy hour for dogs and their guardians to hang out. They have also put together dances for middle-school-aged children, events for younger kids, musical gatherings and more.

“We really try to embrace the beauty of the land and environment through our amenities,” said Andrea Salafia, marketing manager at Freehold Communities in Texas, the developer for Headwaters. “And we really try to focus our amenities at the heart of the community.”

Headwater’s 1,300-acre community is still being built, but there are some homes available from Phase 2. Phase 4 is expected to be available to buyers in the summer, but that is not a certain date. Buyers coming into the development get to choose from three builders and home prices range from the high $300s to $700 plus.

Being positioned on this vast amount of land has a large advantage which feeds into the development’s nature connection motto. Every property backs to nature; people have privacy in their homes because no lots back to one-another. Some lots will back to a transcending hill drop-off while others to the greenbelt.

Caliterra has a similar approach to getting in touch with nature. Their 600-acre development will house 600 rooftops and keep 250 acres of land open. Within the open land, there are bar-b-que pits, picnic tables, about six miles of hiking trails, two swimming pools, a place for campers to set up tents and a creek for swimming, kayaking and fishing.

“It’s about getting back to nature,” said Jeff Edgar, director of sales for Caliterra. “It’s a peaceful setting here, it’s about community. We had lemonade stand out here on the curb, kind of like the old days when I was growing up. Everybody here looks out for each other, it’s a tight-knit community.”

Open spaces give families the room to congregate, but much like Headwaters, Caliterra also has a designated recreation space shaped like a modern barn for people to hangout. They have a coffee shop that serves breakfast, a playground, games and books and more.

These amenities are in place to make people feel like they belong to a community and to better get to know those neighbors that make up the development.

Getting people and kids out is a main goal for these two developments because so many have become more consumed by technological devices. Setting up the close-by nature makes it convenient and accessible for everyone to go out into.

Caliterra is also still building homes. The prices in this development begin in the mid $300s and can go up to a whopping $3 million.

Availabilities in these communities does run out quickly. Hays county has been witnessing a boom in buyers and Dripping Springs is a high-demand area within the county.

“What we’ve seen here in the last couple months is a surge in demand of housing in the greater Austin area,” Salafia said. “And with that, it’s created a lot of demand for each individual builder so they’re managing their demand in a little bit of different way. Each builder has a robust waitlist at the moment so what we try to do is encourage people to speak with the builder about opportunities on how they can build here.”

Headwaters is not the only community which has been putting future buyers on hold. The surge in demand has also put buyers in Caliterra on a waitlist so people can move into their dream home.

The attractions of Dripping Springs are many, Salafai explained. Besides the togetherness being being built in the communities, families are choosing the area for the highly-rated school district. There is also close proximity to Austin, with South Austin being 20 minutes away and Downtown Austin about 40 minutes away. People also get more land and house in Dripping Springs than they would in Austin.

“I’ve been in real estate for 30 years and I’ve been involved with some of the most beautiful projects in Austin and the surrounding area,” Edgar said. “This one is very special to me and I just think it was done right. We’re just really proud of it and homeowners are very pleased with what they have out here.”

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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