Guide to Fredericksburg
There are so many great places in Texas to stop for a long weekend, an overnight visit, or an extended stay. Too many to count, really. But Fredericksburg is one of those towns that is a must-visit on any Texans list of travels.
Located about 240 miles west of Houston (70 miles north of San Antonio) sits the town most known for hosting great bachelorette parties and romantic weekends, mostly thanks to Wine Road 290. This luscious route has 15 Texas wineries along the famed highway and Fredericksburg alone has 45 wineries, and it is the #2 wine destination in all of America. If #1 is in California, you’ll see that makes Fredericksburg #1 in the entire state.
If you’re thinking your significant other or travel companion isn’t into wine, so this trip is out of question, think again. With places like Hye and unique varieties like a whiskey chardonnay at Six Cellar Shooters, it truly has something for everyone. If you’re still not sold, check out the Texas Hill Country Beer Trail, which is packed with independent breweries (more than 20) offering unique tasting rooms, sample flights and growlers to take home.
A favorite is Fat Ass Ranch Winery, which usually has live music, a taco truck and offers frozen sangria and peach sweet tea (infused with wine, perfect for summertime). If you’re a red wine drinker, check out the Texas Red, which is a blend of six Texas grapes. (If you do a tasting, it’s on both the standard and dry tasting menu, so you won’t miss it.) According to many, the cabernet tastes like steak. The winery has a fun outdoor area with adorable seating and horseshoes to keep you entertained.
Another great winery is Hilmy, which is considered a working farm, where they use all their animals to prevent using pesticides. They give much bigger tasting pours than most other wineries and are extremely informative not only on wine but also with tips on where to hang out while in town. If you’re new to wine, this is an incredibly educational tasting, just ask for Ace.
Since we’re on the topic of adult beverages, you should know that “Sidewalk Consumption” is legal in Fredericksburg (specifically Main Street). Many of the tasting rooms and local spots even offer a “to go” cup, so you can bounce around to different venues and shops and not feel stuck in the same place.
Let Them Do the Driving
If you plan to hit up the wineries further away (which you most definitely should), use caution driving. Majesty Wine Tours is a locally owned and operated service that will take you and your group to a few of the best wineries, get you there safely, provide insight into the area and even give you a snack during your afternoon. It’s the perfect combination of “let’s make new best friends” and having solo time you can spend with your wine tasting buddy. Scout out a few of your favorites, then come back the next day for more.
Back in town, El Milagro is a great place to hang after dinner on Friday (though they do serve food) with live music and great margaritas and wine. It’s outdoor and usually has a cool breeze and is super casual. It gets pretty crowded, so be prepared to share your table.
Luckenbach is an absolute must while in the area. Missing this spot would be like traveling all the way to Paris for the first time and not stopping for a quick glance at the Eiffel Tower. It’s unheard of. The Dance Hall/Bar/General Store has live music daily. We got to catch our favorite Texas country star Bart Crow Band. And you never know who’ll show up. (Pro tip: They don’t have Uber in Fredericksburg, but Majesty Tours will get you there and back for $15 per person).
Another can’t miss are the peaches during the summertime. Summer in the Texas Hill Country means peach season with a plethora of bountiful peach orchards anxiously awaiting pickers. You’ll see many popular roadside stands throughout the summer and won’t be able to resist the temptation.
Where to Stay
Fredericksburg is home to more than 900 guesthouses and Bed & Breakfast places. B&B complexes have become popular in the area, some of the most popular include Sugarberry Inn, Hoffman Haus, Splendid Inn, Blacksmith Quarters, and Cotton Gin Village. And the “Sunday House” style cottages are unique to Fredericksburg: Sunday Haus Cottages at the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, Metzger Sunday House. The 1894 Private Pullman Palace Car is definitely a unique place to stay!
If you’re looking for something slightly more traditional, check out the Inn on Barons Creek, which is just blocks from Main Street, so you can easily park your car and walk around. The Inn also has a spa, a heated pool and a full breakfast bar, complimentary for guests.
Get Outdoors (Yes, even in the summertime)
A huge attraction while in the area is Enchanted Rock, a state natural area with breath-taking views — although it’s a tough climb. Go early (take water!), because it gets so full that they often stop allowing people up at a certain time. It’s a short but magnificent trek up the rock’s summit, providing some of the most beautiful views of Texas Hill Country. Take your camera.
Also check out Lyndon B. Johnson’s State Park, offering a variety of activities (hint: you should pack a picnic!). You can fish or wade in the Pedernales River, go on a hike or take a guided tour. Any area of the Pedernales River is a good time and sort of a hidden gem.
A weekend in Fredericksburg will re-ignite the passion you have for all things Texas, guaranteed.
This article originally ran in the travel section of Culture Map.