48 Hours In Fredericksburg, Texas

Above: Enchanted Rock, at Enchanted Rock State Park outside of Fredericksburg, Texas (Photo: Tricia Daniel/Shutterstock)
Above: Enchanted Rock, at Enchanted Rock State Park outside of Fredericksburg, Texas (Photo: Tricia Daniel/Shutterstock)

Looking to impress your lady? For an active romantic getaway that includes vineyards, a bit of pioneer and German heritage and history, some outdoor fitness to work up a sweat together, and delightful accommodations,  you simply need to whisk her away to Frederickburg, Texas. About a 90-minute drive from Austin, this charming Hill Country town may be small (population 11,000) but it’s big on personality and things to do.

Where to stay

For an unforgettable spot to catch your zzz’s, book at Barons Creekside. Strike up a conversation with the charming Swiss owner, Daniel Meyer; he’s one of those guys who’s had such great adventures that you want to kick back with some wine and hear all about them. For example, Meyer once quite greatly disliked Texas and planned to high-tail it through the state as quickly as he could when on a motorcycle trip—but then he stumbled into Fredericksburg and never left, instead building his enchanting property. He’s now built several unique cabins on it (some complete with sweet heart-shaped windows) with materials from a family home he tore down in Switzerland. The serene, fairytale quality to the property will truly make you feel as though you’ve stumbled down the rabbit hole.

What to do

They’re growing produce, pickling what they grow and making sausage from scratch, and while you might mistake them as local hipsters doing what they do, the staff at Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead actually live as though it’s 1918 here. During your visit, you can learn how lye soap is made, take a peek at the sausages preserved in the larder (it’ll likely make you most appreciative of your refrigerator!) and say hello to the longhorn cattle and chickens.

You don’t have to be an American history buff to enjoy a visit to LBJ Ranch, which you’ll find in Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. Johnson often ran the country from the Ranch, holding meetings on the lawn with everyone sitting on folding chairs in the shade of the oak trees. The house has been preserved—get a kick out of the original furnishings (may remind you of your childhood, depending on what era you grew up in), the many phone lines the President had installed throughout the house, and the vintage clothing hanging in the closet.

Get sweaty with your honey to work off all of the pulled pork you’ve been eating. Hill Country is a popular cycling spot—traffic is calm enough that even those nervous about riding in traffic should feel comfortable enough to rent one in town  at Hill Country  Bicycle and cycling to the quiet roads (just be prepared for some rolling hills!). For hikers (although non-hiking folk should make the trek, too), going to Enchanted Rock is a must. At a moderate pace, the hike up the pink granite rock formation (believed to have spiritual powers by local tribes) should take about half an hour and while it’s not particularly strenuous, be sure to take water (the sun will be beating down on you, after all) and wear proper footwear. Enjoy a smooch at the peak (marked with a small plaque set into the rock), enjoy the peaceful 360-degree view, and, yes, it’s a good photo opp for snapping a selfie.

Where to eat

If your girl’s a shopper, she’ll love Main Street, where you’ll find clothing boutiques, shops selling provisions, and 13 art galleries. All of this window shopping will make you both peckish eventually, so pop into Clear River Pecan Company for a casual lunch of a fresh sandwich and hearty soup. It’s diner feel will make you both feel like Archie and Veronica at the Pop Shoppe. Be sure to save room for ice cream; it’s made in small batches and several flavours (including Mexican Vanilla and Amaretto Peach) are award winners.

For home-style grub that may not be so easy on your heart, forget about that healthy regimen you’ve committed to as a couple and hit up Fredericksburg Brewing Company for some beer and non-Paleo dishes such as chicken-fried steak (more than large enough for you to share), fried pickles and German plates such as schnitzel and bratwurst.

Devote one night to getting spiffy and enjoy some fusion cuisine at Navajo Grill. On a warm night, grab a glass of wine on their lovely limestone patio and enjoy the restaurant’s unique food that’s inspired by Mexico and but also the Caribbean and New Orleans. There’s even a bit of Asian inspiration, too, such as in the achiote smoked chicken with soba noodles, veggies and miso vinaigrette—and while such a mish mash can take a turn for the worse, the flavours work here.

Where to drink

Grab a spot on a bench outside and mingle with locals as you enjoy a beer while listening to some live music at Luckenbach Texas. What to wear: a cowboy hat and boots—nowhere else in Fredericksburg did we spot this style than at Luckenbach. And if you need a souvenir or two to bring home to people, the General Store has some fun picks mixed in with vintage curiosities including a few taxidermy specimens.

Didn’t know Texas makes wine? There are 42 wineries in Hill Country (for a total of 300 in the entire county!) and you can easily spend an afternoon hopping from one to another here on Wine Road 290. A must-stop is Grape Creek, our favourite during our winery-hopping tour—try the Viognier if you enjoy hints of honey and fruit to your whites.

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan

Karen Kwan is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Flare, Elle Canada and ElleCanada.com, Glow, Metro, Huffington Post Canada, Travelife and Travel + Escape. She also runs her blog, HealthandSwellness.com, where she writes about health, beauty, fitness and lifestyle.

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