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Posted by on May 17, 2015 | 33 comments

36 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas: Willkommen!

There are very few places you can go for a weekend getaway that truly have it all. Want to go gallery hopping, wine tasting or rock climbing? Do you love history, architecture and culture? In Fredericksburg, Texas you can have all of that with a ruggedly beautiful landscape and Texas hospitality.

Located deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, this charming German town has become a top destination with visitors from all over the world. It’s the ideal place for travelers who wish to commune with nature, rest their eyes on a star-filled sky, or history buffs wishing to delve deeper into the legendary state of Texas. And it’s easily accessible. In Fredericksburg you truly can experience living history and feel as if you’ve “gotten away from it all.”

36 Hours in Fredericksburg, Tx. @PennySadler 2015

“God’s country,” Texas Hill Country between Fredericksburg and LLano.

 

Why now?

Southern Living, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, The Dallas Morning News, and Texas Highways are just a few of the publications that have featured the Texas Hill Country in the past year. Go now — while there’s still plenty of wide open space and a tasting at one of the many wineries is only $12.00.

What’s the story?

Fredericksburg was settled in the mid 1800s by German immigrants looking for a better life.  Most were highly educated and brought their music, literature, and art with them. Today decedents of these pioneer families still live in the area.

To really get an idea of what the pioneer life was like in and around Fredericksburg visit the Pioneer Museum. There are eight buildings, some original homes, barns, and businesses located on the museum grounds. Each structure contains artifacts of the era and some have recorded audio telling the history of the building. A self-guided tour will take about an hour — or take as long as you like.

 

36 Hours in Fredericksburg Texas Willkommen

The Pioneer Museum

From the museum website

“The Pioneer Museum will immerse you in the stories of the people who built this unique community. As you visit the Museum you will travel from the 1840s to the 1920s, pausing to imagine the early settlers’ struggles to survive and preserve their German way of life.”

36 Hours in Fredericksburg Texas Willkommen

An original school room at the Pioneer Museum

 

36 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas

Original barber shop at the Pioneer Museum, Fredericksburg, Texas.

Touring the Museum provides the opportunity to delve deeper into the history of Fredericksburg. I learned a thing or two and some of it was quite eye-opening. But I won’t spoil it for you — I’ll let you discover it on your own.

325 W. Main St.

Where to Stay

Fredericksburg has the largest variety and number of rooms of any place in the Hill Country: from hosted guest houses and B&Bs  to self-catering rooms and private homes.

The Inn on Baron’s Creek is a 90-room hotel with a spa,  heated saltwater pool and pretty walking trail around the creek. All rooms are either queen or king suites and come with wireless internet, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, and a flat-screen television in both the sitting room and the bedroom.

Additionally, there are seven private guest rooms with creek views for those wanting a cozier ambiance.  Best of all you’ll be within walking distance of Main St. You can park your car and not drive again for the remainder of your stay.

The Inn on Barons Creek Fredericksburg Texas

The Inn on Baron’s Creek

Buffet-style breakfast is served each morning beginning at 6:00 am. I love to get up early to take photographs and usually there is nothing open for hours, so this was a bonus.  I was able to grab something quick to eat and still have plenty of time to capture those early morning light images.I also found the staff super helpful with information about activities, driving directions, and restaurants.

Room rates average around $139 per night, but do book in advance. Holidays, festivals and weekends book up early.

308 S. Washington
www.innonbaronscreek.com
830-990-8202

 

What To Do

Go gallery hopping

Spend the day ambling down Main St. exploring the shops and galleries.
Fredericksburg has gained a reputation as a destination for southwest art, but you’ll also find contemporary art, photography, sculpture and a lot more.

36 Hours in Fredericksburg Texas @PennySadler 2015

Shops on Main St., Fredericksburg, Texas

There are to many galleries and shops to list them all – here are a couple of suggestions.

RS Hanna Gallery on Llano St. features original works by acclaimed artists in oil, watercolor, bronze and wood. The gallery is located in an authentic limestone pioneer home.

208 S. Llano St.

www.rshannagallery.com

Agave Gallery

Located in an original Sunday house built in the late 1800s,  Agave Gallery features only Texas artists. There’s also a live sculpture studio where you can watch the artist at work.

208. E. San Antonio St.

www.agavegallery.com

Texcetera is a fun art gallery curated by Ann Bradley who previously owned one of the most successful galleries in Fredericksburg. I like her mix of art, jewelry, pottery and sculpture. And need I say only Texas artists are featured.
Texcetera is in Johnson City about 20 minutes east of Fredericksburg off Hwy. 290

207 N. Nugent Ave.

www.texcetera.net

 

Texcetera, Johnson City Texas

A nice selection of artists at Texcetera, Johnson City, Texas.

Visit the Texas White House

During Lyndon B. Johnson’s time as the 36th president of the United States, he managed to spend a lot of time at his ranch in Texas. Hence, the ranch house became known as the Texas White House.

Texas White House, @PennySadler 2015

Lydon Johnson’s Texas White House

 

36 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas

The hangar at the Texas White House.

A free pass for driving through the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park can be obtained at the Visitor’s Center in Johnson City. The drive is marked by signs along the way explaining Johnson’s interest in cattle, ranching and the environment. At the end of the drive is the White House, an airplane hanger and landing strip, and  Johnson’s boyhood home. Guided tours with a park ranger can be arranged there. As you exit the end of the driving tour you’ll see the family cemetery on your right under a nice stand of old shady oak trees.

LBJ Ranch and cemetery near Fredericksburg, Texas

The Johnson Family Cemetery.

For an FAQ with park hours, fees, and more visit the website .

Discover the Architecture

Take a guided walking tour. There are over 700 historically significant buildings in Fredericksburg, but only 30 are included in the tour – much more manageable.
You can also take a self-guided tour down Main St.; simply read all the plaques adorning the wonderful old structures.

If you prefer the guided tour, it begins and ends at the Visitor’s Center.

36 Hours in Fredericksburg Texas @PennySadler 2015

Classic Texas limestone building and German architecture.

36 Hours in Fredericksburg Texas @PennySadler 2014

Architectural gems line Main St. in Fredericksburg, Texas

302 E. Austin St.
Don’t miss Hondo’s a classic limestone building on Main St. originally owned by writer and humorist, Hondo Crouch. His daughter still owns the building. You’ll see signs of Hondo’s sense of humor everywhere and Hondo’s is one of the few places in town that has live music every night. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Hondos Fredericksburg Texas @PennySadler 2015

Hondo’s is a classic in Fredericksburg, Texas

36 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas Hondos

Hondo Crouch has a sense of humor.

Get Close to Mother Earth

Many people travel to the Hill Country for one reason – to visit the pink granite dome known as Enchanted Rock. Found on the National Register of Historic places as an archaeological district, Enchanted rock contains over 400 archaeological sites.

Enchanted Rock has been the object of many myths and legends – the native Indians believe it to be mystical and spiritual.

All kinds of outdoor activity can be enjoyed here but be sure to arrive early. It’s a popular place and the park limits the number of daily visitors. It you plan to spend time here hiking or climbing make sure you’ve got the right gear, especially shoes. For more information on Enchanted Rock visit the Texas parks website or to dig a bit deeper visit the website of Ira Kennedy who is said to be the leading authority on Enchanted Rock.

Enchanted Rock. Fredericksburg, Texas. @PennySadler 2015

Texas wildflowers along the highway near Enchanted Rock.

Drive the Willow City Loop.

The Willow City Loop is one of the prettiest drives anywhere and I should know. I’ve driven California’s scenic central coast and the gorgeous Hudson River Valley.It’s a beautiful drive that will take about an hour or two depending on how fast you go. During peak seasons (spring and fall), you will find a line of cars and even some tour buses. Try to go during the week or early in the morning before everyone else is up and at it. This is a private ranch road and the residents ask that you do not stop or trespass on the property. Be respectful and enjoy!

Willow City Loop @PennySadler 2015

The residents have a sense of humor. Willow City Loop near Fredericksburg, Texas.

From Fredericksburg take Hwy. 16 north to the Willow City exit. Follow the signs.

 

One Of The Top 10 Wine Destinations In The US

It may come as a surprise that Texas has the second largest American viticulture area (AVA),  in the country and is number five in overall wine production. Who knew? Wine Enthusiast recently rated it “One of the “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations In The World.” I’m telling you — go now.

Torre di Pietra

Torre di Pietra has a very interesting history of wine making with a Spanish influence dating back to the 1800s. Owner Ken Maxwell built his tasting room in sandstone instead of the usual Texas limestone giving the winery a more European flair. He’s also doing some pretty interesting things with his grapes which he’s happy to tell you about if you book the recommended vineyard tour. You’ll see Ken’s sense of humor everywhere and especially in the wine labels with names like Midnight Nymph, a lush, fruit-forward red, made with 96% Primitivo grapes, and Dirty Girl, a fun white wine with a slight effervescence – very Italian! The tasting room and vineyards are located on Hwy. 290 between Fredericksburg and Johnson City. Torre di Pietra also has live music every Saturday night.

10915 Hwy. 290
www.torredipietra.com

36 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas, Willkommen

Exterior Torre di Pietra Tasting Room.

 

Pedernales Cellars

This award-winning winery is located just off Hwy. 290 on a hilltop with panoramic views over the Pedernales River Valley. There’s a lovely tree-shaded deck where you’ll surely want to stay and relax while enjoying a glass of one of their benchmark wines. Owned and operated by a sixth generation Texas family, Pedernales Cellars practices sustainable farming in order to keep the land and wine pristine for generations to come. Pedernales Cellars was named a Top 10 Winery by National Geographic in 2014.

2916 Upper Albert Rd.

www.pedernalescellars.com

36 Hours in Fredericksburg @PennySadler 2015

Enjoy the shady deck with a glass of award winning wine from Pedernales Cellars.

 

Becker Vineyards produces a large variety of wines in the Rhone, Bordeaux, and Burgundian style. They also have an amazing array of retail items for sale from wine kitsch to tee shirts and products made from their own lavender farm.
Becker Vineyards has been featured in Wine Spectator and Food and Wine Magazine. Go late April to early May for the lavender harvest. Open daily.

464 Becker Farms Rd.
www.beckervineyards.com

Becker Vineyards @PennySadler 2015

The tasting room at Becker Vineyards.

4.0

4.0 is a collaboration of three Texas wineries – Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery and McPherson Cellars. This is a very different tasting room experience. The interior is very new, modern and airy while outside there are tables with umbrellas scattered about.
There’s also a selection of cheeses you can buy or sample.

US Hwy. 290
www.fourpointwine.com

36 Hours in Fredericksburg Texas

4.0 is a collaboration between three Texas wineries.

 Have you tried any of these wines?

Eat

Navajo Grill offers unique “southern style cuisine” in a lovely rustic setting. There’s an outdoor patio with a covered option if the elements are a deterrent. A popular dish is the cedar plank grilled salmon with kale quinoa side. The salmon was perfectly cooked but if you are on a low- sodium diet ask them to hold the salt.

803 E. Main St.

Navajo Grill Fredericksburg, Texas @PennySadler 2015

Pretty courtyard dining at Navajo Grill, Fredericksburg, Texas.

Navajo Grill on Urbanspoon

Can’t go to Fredericksburg without eating German food? Try Otto’s. It was recommended to me several times and had consistently good reviews on every site I checked — German food with a modern spin on it.
Click to add a blog post for Otto's German Bistro on Zomato

 

36 Hours in Fredericksburg Texas @PennySadler 2015

Down at the Sunset Grill, Fredericksburg, Texas

For breakfast try the Eggs Benedict at the Sunset Grill or a gluten-free or vegan option. Sunset Grill is also noteworthy for it’s art deco design in a town full of turn-of-the-century German architecture. Friendly service and you can recharge your iPhone while you’re eating.

902 S. Adams

Sunset Grill on Urbanspoon

Getting There

Put the top down and enjoy the clean air and big Texas sky in a cute convertible.

There’s only one way to see the Hill Country and that’s by car. You can fly into Austin or San Antonio, but you’ll still need to do some driving. I drove this crazy cute Mazda Miata convertible. Driving a convertible is an exhilarating experience and even more so driving on a stunning country road, crisp clean air blowing your hair back and the scents of nature: cut grass, fresh turned soil, cattle,,, ok maybe cattle dung is not so aromatic, but it is part of the experience.  The nice thing about the convertible top on the Miata is that it takes less than a minute to put it up if it begins to rain. Pretty convenient. I confess I also enjoyed the comments and looks I got driving this sexy convertible.

36 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas @PennySadler 2015

Country roads and a convertible – what could be better?

 

Mazda Miata takes me to the Hill Country @PennySadler 2015

Loved driving this Mazda Miata on the Texas country roads.

From Dallas you can take either I-35 or Hwy. 281 or Hwy. 16. I-35 is the least scenic and potentially the most traffic. I’d avoid it unless you are traveling in off off hours. 281 is a better choice. If you have a little more time Hwy. 16 is the most picturesque.
From Austin take Hwy. 290 W.
From San Antonio take U.S. Interstate 10 N.

Don’t Miss

Fredericksburg isn’t only Main St. Take a detour down any of the side streets and discover boutique wineries, antique stores and intimate bistros.

More resources

National Geographic

Fredericksburg Texas Online 

When are you going?

My trip to Fredericksburg was partially sponsored by Visit Fredericksburg. and Mazda.

33 Comments
  1. Such a wonderful place. Thanks for writing a lovely and informative post.

  2. Thanks for this! Having never managed to make it to Texas, and never really researched much into it, I honestly just kind of assumed the whole state was arid desert and the “wild wild west” – I had no idea that there were such natural areas that you could explore like the Willow City Loop – and definitely didn’t realize there was a bustling wine region! Thanks for giving me a more accurate overview of the State!

    • Hey Meg, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I think a lot of people have a skewed vision of Texas. But then again, Texas likes to cultivate that. 🙂

  3. Another beautiful place I have never been to. My bucket list has no end!

  4. Wow, all that history and wine too! I love learning about Colonial times in the US and relished my visits throughout the northeast growing up. Who would have thought that Fredericksburg has so much to offer. And I would love to visit the sculpture studio too! I had to laugh at the boots on the fence post and chuckled as I thought to myself, “you see what happens if you trespass?” LOL! Thanks for such an enlightening post!

    • Ha! I didn’t think of that but wish I had. Texas has a lot going on, it’s just a matter of knowing where it is!

  5. What a wonderful, thorough story about Fredericksburg! I visited a few years ago and thought it was a terrific destination–but I wish I’d had your guide–I would have seen so much more 🙂

    • well you know I’m really a tour guide at heart. 🙂

  6. Love the look of that museum! I also love wine tastings. This would be such a lovely and rustic experience 🙂

    • I learned a lot at that museum. Not to mention at the end of my tour I ended up back in the main building where you pay for your tour 3 dollars I think? Anyway there was a German family there and the kids were chattering away in German – synchronicity!

    • Mary – next time you guys are in the area you should definitely cover Enchanted Rock.

  7. I’ve been to Texas but not the Fredericksburg area. We’ll have to add it to the list when I take my kids to TX next time. A visit to the Texas White House to give the kids and bit of history and a trip to a vineyard for me!

  8. Thanks for such a detailed post! Fredericksburg looks so charming. It has pretty much everything that I would look for in an ideal getaway- wine, nature, and history! I’ve never been to Texas, but if I go, I’d definitely put Fredericksburg on the top of my list!

  9. As a German citizen German heritage in other countries always fascinates me. I had never heard of this wee town in Texas and now I am dying to go there. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Eva there are many German towns in Texas, but I believe Fredericksburg has the best historic area

  10. Love the look of the streets! This list is very comprehensive.

  11. Those shops sound fantastic – it looks like this is a great shopping town as well as a spot for the history buffs. I also think the inn sounds great – I would love to check out the salt water pool!

  12. I think it’s really interesting when you find something unexpected like a German town in Texas or a little Chinatown in Hawaii. I’d never heard about wine in Texas so you’ve definitely introduced your readers to a little known secret. Great resource!

  13. There is a German town in my home state as well, although all the buildings are actually built to resemble Bavarian-style architecture. This one looks very western considering it was settled by German immigrants! Looks lovely though, and I always love wine tasting!

    • I believe it’s because the limestone is indigenous to the area so that’s what they used to build with. I quite like the look of it.

  14. I had no idea you could find an old German settlement in Texas. Sounds like a great place to add variety on a road trip, and eating at Otto’s – how very German! 🙂

    • Texas, especially the Hill Country is covered in small German towns.

  15. What a cute-looking small town. Looks very quiet and laid back.

    • Believe it or not Tawanna, there is a lot more going on here than you would expect!

  16. Wowza — So much work went into this post! A hugely helpful resource.

    • Thanks Lillie. Let me know if you head that way and I can give you some more insider tips. 🙂

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