Wine tasting, fine dining, and eclectic shopping opportunities abound in the historic heart of Hill Country, just over 70 miles from both San Antonio and Austin. Fredericksburg, Texas is the definitive weekend getaway — enchanting oenophiles, food lovers, and anyone hoping to escape the everyday.
Stay and Slumber
You can walk back from dinner if you choose Fredericksburg Herb Farm. Massive oak trees shade a rusty, metal-roofed canning shed and the quaint Poet’s Haus shop, while thick limestone walls of the Farm Haus Bistro and the imposing stone silo built into Nature’s Spa add unique architectural elements to the property. Paths meander around ponds and gardens to more than a dozen Sunday Haus cottages available for overnight stays, each with a welcoming front porch graced with a pair of white rocking chairs. Sunday houses were small second homes used on weekends by pioneers who lived too far from town to attend church and other social events. Seamlessly combining features of a historic herb farm with modern amenities, Dick and Rosemary Estenson have created a singular getaway.
Another one-of-a-kind option hearkens back to the romance of 1940s air travel — the Hangar Hotel. Also designed and built by the creative Estenson duo, this property was built to mimic the exterior of a WWII hangar. The interior features airplane memorabilia, USO history, and even bedside chairs covered in bomber jacket leather. I recommend relaxing with a glass of Texas Hill Country wine in one of the red leather wingback chairs beside the granite fireplace in the Officer’s Club. The Hangar Hotel is a short two-mile drive from downtown Fredericksburg, adjacent to the airport.
Sip and Dine
Recently ranked one of the top 10 best wine destinations for 2014 by Wine Enthusiast, Texas Hill Country is the place to be! We tripped along Wine Road 290— with a designated driver — to experience two of the thirteen local wineries.
Pedernales Cellars is a family-owned and operated boutique winery on a 145-acre, oak-shaded property just 15 minutes from Fredericksburg. This 100% Texan, award-winning winery is renowned for its Tempranillos and Viogniers.
4.0 Cellars is a collaboration of three separate wineries that have joined together. If you happen to be there when Gene Bonds is pouring the Cellar Selection Tasting ($10 for 6 wines), you’ll experience the boon of his entertaining banter!
When it comes to fine foods, Fredericksburg has it all. If you’ve a hankering for schnitzel, Ausländer Restaurant and Biergarten dishes up authentic German cuisine with a Texas twang — try the Texaschnitzel!
For something a little different, check out the Nouveau Texas Cuisine of August E’s. Named for one of Texas Hill Country’s pioneer settlers, you’ll find mesquite-grilled steaks alongside sushi and sashimi, all served in an elegantly modern dining room. We visited on Thai Tuesday and savored mouthfuls of Thai Spring Rolls and Red Curry with Chicken.
Tour and Shop
Settled by German pioneers in 1846, Marketplaz is the central plaza where visitors explore the Vereins Kirche and Maibaum. The Vereins Kirche is a replica of the original, hexagonal-shaped house of worship, meeting place, and refuge for early pioneers. Today it houses the county’s archives. Nearby, the Maibaum is a metal, pole-like sculpture depicting historical figures, events, and customs. Pick up a copy of the Walking Tour of Historic District from the Visitor Centre to explore more of the over 700 historically significant structures in Fredericksburg.
From Marketplatz, head up or down East Main Street for 150 specialty shops. From antiques to custom boots to chocolates — oh, yeah! — there’s a shop just for you. If your traveling companion doesn’t share the same passion for shopping, ship them off to the National Museum of the Pacific War and then get back together a little later to share stories of your finds over a glass of Hill Country Tempranillo.
All photos are courtesy of the author.