Grown-up getaway: What to do in Fredericksburg Texas in Hill Country

Haven’t considered Texas Hill Country for your next Grown-Ups Getaway? I hadn’t either, until checking out this pastoral oasis in the heart of Texas. Warm almost year-round and with much, much more to offer than it’s small 10,000 population suggests, the quaint German-Texan town of Fredericksburg beckons. Couples will find ample B&Bs, guest houses, and boutique hotels, prime shopping and dining, and exceptional wine tasting. Here’s what to do in Fredericksburg Texas in Hill Country:

 

Acclimate to Fredericksburg with a stop at the visitor’s center one block of Main Street on E. Austin. From here, you can take a trolley tour of the historic buildings in town, including the famous Sunday Houses (which German immigrant farmers would use on the weekends when they came into town for church and trading) and the kirche (fortress and central meeting hall, still at the heart of Fredericksburg today). I recommend this tour as a good way to orient one selves and get an idea of where you’d like to return to during your stay.

Wine tasting along Main Street:

The Hill Country is home to 50+ wineries. These wineries lie predominantly along Highway 290 (more on that in a minute) but many have tasting rooms right on Main Street in Fredericksburg. They are only open until 4 or 5 pm, so get there in the afternoon after a light lunch, but these tasting rooms are a great way to sample the best the area has to offer either before or after wine tasting along 290. You can’t miss them: literally, there are tasting rooms about every third or fourth storefront along Main Street. Enjoy!

Wineries:

The Fredericksburg wine scene is emerging and with a vengeance. Pick up a Texas Hill Country wine map at the visitor’s center or look at texaswinetrail.com or wineroad290.com but focus on 2-3 wineries you want to see most on and just off Highway 290. It’s nice that the wine scene in the area is so concentrated. I recommend Four Point Wine at 10354 E. US Highway 290 first, as this winery combines the best of three wineries in Texas, with options for wine tastings daily and even wine and cheese and wine and chocolate pairings scheduled most days (reserve in advance via the website).

fredericksburg

Next, check out additional offerings along 290 before diverting off the highway to lesser-known but rare-find Narrow Path Winery. Narrow Path has a brand-new ultra-modern tasting room overlooking pristine Hill Country scenery, with charcuterie plates and some of the best wine I tasted in the Hill Country. It’s worth the detour.

En route back to town, make a stop at Das Peach Haus to taste some additional local wines and check out the many artisanal jams, jellies and marinades on offer at Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods (on site). This historic fruit stand is now much more!

Shopping:

Fredericksburg is well-known as a shopping mecca. For a town of about 10,000, it has world-class boutique shopping, and even for the non-shoppers among us, you’ll want to carve out some time to stroll Main Street and the surrounding blocks. Why? Four words: Fairtrade and locally owned. You can’t really go wrong, but I especially recommend peeking into L.M. Easterling Boot Company if you’re considering custom-made cowboy boots (a process that takes several months and will set you back several grand) or just want to check out their off-the-shelf options for a fraction of that price. (Headquarters Hat on Main Street is also a fun choice for more economical boot shopping). Definitely make a stop at Raven + Lily too, where absolutely everything in the store is fairtrade. Owner Kirsten Dickerson sources her wares from marginalized communities of women worldwide, and every item for sale, from dresses to jewelry to leatherwoods, has a story. While there are several Raven + Lily locations nationwide and a robust online business, the owners live local and are likely in the shop.

Dip down a block to two to check out the antiques and eclectic mix of offerings off Main Street, then cross to Backchalk Home and Laundry for a delightful mix of home goods and furniture sourced from around the world by local owners.

If you didn’t take time to stop at their fruit stand, Fischer & Wieser has a tasting room on Main Street, too. This local jam and jelly business is so much more than that: it’s a truly local business that now incorporates a store with local jams, jellies, glazes and marinades. You definitely want to buy their blackberry chipotle marinade to take home. If you have time to reserve a cooking class, go to www.fwcookingschool.com.

Bike riding:

The Hill Country of Texas offers miles and miles of quiet country roads ideal for cycling. Rent bikes with Hill Country Bicycle Works on 702 E Main Street and enjoy suggested routes through the pastoral terrain. This is called Hill Country for the reason; don’t expect not to work for your evening wine or beer. However, you’ll be rewarded with lovely live oaks, pastures of cattle (and maybe a donkey or two) and goats and sheep. Hill Country Bicycle Works offers road bikes, hybrids, and even electric bikes for rent out of Fredericksburg or Kerrville.

Wildseed Farms:

Often a must-do for anyone visiting Fredericksburg, Wildseed Farms not only offers photo ops with bluebonnets and poppies but affords the opportunity to buy wildflower seeds for your region (the gardening for dummies equivalent, in my opinion!). Also onsite are casual lunch options and plenty of shopping (boutique and garden variety) and wine tasting at on-site Wedding Oak Winery. Are there better wineries to visit on 290? Yes, but the location sure is convenient!

wildseed farms

National Museum of the Pacific War:

You can’t visit Fredericksburg and not visit the National Museum of the Pacific War. www.pacificwarmuseum.org This impressive museum is at the quality to belong in a world-class city, and yet it thrives in Fredericksburg, home of celebrated admiral Nimitz (born in Fredericksburg). This sprawling museum floored me, truly. I would expect no less in Washington DC, truly. Plan to devote most of a day here, with breaks (your ticket, only $15 for general admission) is good for 48 hours for a reason). If you ask at the front desk, they’ll tell you what not to miss if you only have a few hours, but I suggest spending the morning, then returning after lunch for at least an additional hour. This museum not only honors the life of Admiral Nimitz and celebrates the service of George W. Bush (Texas native) but primarily pays tribute to the many, many men and women who sacrificed so much during WWII. What I love best: this museum doesn’t erase. It shows the experience of both Americans and Japanese during the conflict in the Pacific in multiple galleries and interactive displays. Don’t miss the Pacific Combat Zone (a block away) with houses the garage for WWII vehicles and a reconstructed battlefield. Those who love WWII planes and boats will be in heaven.

Where to eat in Fredericksburg:

Der Linderbaum: Start with traditional German food to get a feel for Fredericksburg. Come hungry, because this is German food at its finest, and plan to linger to enjoy live music and soak in the ambiance.

Milagros: The live music and inviting patio are at the stars at Milagro’s, which serves a rather eclectic mix of traditional Mexican favorites like fajitas and enchiladas and Fredericksburg staples like sausage and sourkrout. Even on weekdays, live music can be found; on the night we visited, the country music duo sang a mixture of traditional country songs (think Kenny Chesney and Johnny Cash) to Tom Petty numbers and 90’s alternative. It was a delightful mix.

tubby's

Tubby’s Ice House: Stop at Tubby’s for lunch after making your way through the National Museum of the Pacific War (yes, this is a must-do). Trust me, you need their frosé (frozen rosé) if the weather is at all warm (which it will be). Pair it with one of Tubby’s street taco options or burgers.

La Bergerie: This artisanal market specializes in fine wine, cheese and charcuterie (make yourselves a picnic to go). The wine is hand-picked from fun and affordable local bottles to rare finds, and tall charcuterie is cured at La Bergerie with heritage Texan meats. www.labergerie.com

Where to go for after dinner nightlife:

Elk Store Winery and Distillery:

Do yourselves a favor and head here after dinner, located right on Main Street. Long a reputed wine bar and beer bar, Elk Store now boasts a distillery, too, with made-on-site gin, whiskey, moonshine, and vodka. The bar staff will walk you through a tasting, or you can’t go wrong with their menu of prohibition-era cocktails. I recommend the pecan pie moonshine (straight up or mixed). You’ll want to linger here an hour or more, either in the cozy interior with walls of wine bottles or out back, on the attached patio with fire pit.

Luckenbach:

Have you heard of Luckenbach, Texas? Made famous by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, who penned an idyllic ode to the burg, Back to the Basics of Love. Luckenbach was once a trading post back in 1849, where Comanche Indians traded commodities with American settlers. In 1970, the entire town was put to sale, and bought by a trio of Texans who ‘didn’t want their bar to close’. It’s second life began as a bar, dance hall, and watering hole for locals. Today, Luckenbach has live music 364 days a year from 1 pm until closing. It’s eight miles outside of Fredericksburg, five miles south of the intersection of Highway 290 and FM 1376. Their bar takes cash only, so come ready!

Where to stay: Herb Farm

Stay where you won’t miss your kids…because kids aren’t even allowed. Fredericksburg’s Herb Farm is indeed a working herb farm with an attached restaurant in a historic Fredericksburg homestead. The current owners (who also own the unique Hangar Hotel that abuts the Fredericksburg airport) have added fourteen quaint guest cabins and a 15,000 square foot spa facility. This is the place to stay on the edge of town for rest and relaxation…and not a kid in sight. Pets are not allowed in the cabins either, and while not part of your stay, 90% of guests opt for a spa treatment during their stay. The onsite restaurant has a full bar and delicious breakfast menu, though breakfast is not included. Between cottages, the herb farm beckons with meandering trails between the lavender and thyme. Yes, it’s as idealistic as it sounds.

If you can’t get a cottage at Herb Farm, numerous apartments for rent along Main Street offer historic yet comfortable lodging right in the center of the action, which means you can leave your car parked for days.

Disclosure: I was invited to Fredericksburg Texas for the purpose of review. All opinion remains my own.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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