friendly Fredericksburg

fredericksburg texas
View Gallery 5 Photos
fredericksburg texas
Ottos German Bistro
bluebonnets
Charming Signor Vineyards
Vereins Kirche

by Lisa Truesdale

enjoy this quaint town in the heart of Texas Hill Country

IF THERE’S EVER ANY DOUBT whether Fredericksburg, Texas, is open to visitors, one need only look at the street signs. Heading east down a stretch of historic Main Street, the first letter of each avenue name (Adams, Llano, Lincoln, etc.) spells out a message: “A-L-L W-E-L-CO- M-E.” Going the other way, the friendly acronym is “C-O-M-E B-A-C-K.”

After the town was officially incorporated in 1933, local leaders renamed the streets to make it clear: Fredericksburg will always be a welcoming destination. Yet that hospitable spirit can be traced back to the 1840s when German immigrants first settled the town. Nestled in the heart of Texas Hill Country, due west of Austin and northwest of San Antonio, Fredericksburg soon became a popular layover spot for travelers heading west. This gave rise in the early 1900s to the town’s tourism industry, which has been booming ever since.

Practically every tourist destination boasts of offering “something for everyone,” but Fredericksburg truly delivers. Charming, quaint and historic, yet elegant and cosmopolitan, it’s a delightful mix of German and Texan history and traditions. Bursting with great shopping, galleries, award-winning restaurants and historical sites, it’s the ideal gathering spot for romantic getaways, family vacations and reunions, and girlfriend weekends all year ’round.

In spring, the star of the show is wildflowers, like bluebonnets, purple tansy, oxeyed daisies and wine cup flowers. Driving along country roads to savor the beauty—and capture it with your camera—makes for a delightful, relaxing afternoon. Mother Nature can be unpredictable, though, so if you miss the colorful drama, check out Wildseed Farms on the outskirts of town. As the nation’s largest working wildflower farm, it’s got scenic pathways leading through 1,000 cultivated acres of magnificent blooms—and seeds to take home for cultivating your own stunning display.

Summer visitors get to enjoy the ever-popular peach season. Those German immigrants knew what they were doing when they began planting peach trees in the 1920s; the area boasts the perfect combination of rich soil and favorable temperature swings from day to night. From about mid-May to mid-August, you’ll find peachsomething on just about every restaurant’s menu—baked into cobblers and pies, incorporated into savory recipes, even featured in refreshing cocktails. Buy dozens of varieties of fresh peaches by the bushel to take home, or pick your own (along with blackberries and other juicy fruits) at one of the many family-owned orchards. At Das Peach House, don’t miss the delicious jams, jellies and sauces featuring fresh local fruit.

And then there’s the wine. Texas Hill Country is home to more than 100 wineries (plus several breweries and distilleries), and Fredericksburg is at the exciting epicenter. Crafting a personalized driving tour or hopping aboard one of the many shuttles or bus tours, visitors can easily hit up several area wineries in a day. If you’re up for squishing and stomping grapes, schedule a visit in late July or early August.

Though Fredericksburg is home to thousands of hotel rooms and vacation rentals, a truly unique lodging option makes the trip even more special. Odonata Escape is a “vacation compound” with elegant themed suites masterfully crafted from repurposed shipping containers, while HoneyTree Farm is filled with indulgent, totally grownup treehouses. The Hill Country Herb Garden features charming Sunday Houses modeled after the tiny cottages the German farmers built in town for when they came for weekend shopping and churchgoing. The property also has an herb garden, a new on-site restaurant, yoga classes and a high-end day spa. Or stay at a winery—The Vine on Middle Creek is an 8.5-acre working vineyard with six new luxury cottages on site.

As for when to visit, there’s no bad time of year, though Amanda Koone of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau offers this insider tip: “Visit midweek to truly experience it like a local.”

resources

Fredericksburg CVB
visitfredericksburgtx.com

Wildseed Farms
wildseedfarms.com

Das Peach House
jelly.com

Odonata Escape
odonataescape.com

HoneyTree Farm
honeytreefbg.com

Hill Country Herb Garden
hillcountryherbgarden.com

The Vine on Middle Creek
thevineonmiddlecreek.com