Who would have imagined that a sleepy little town in East Texas would be one of the best wine country getaways?
Whether looking for a romantic weekend getaway, girls’ retreat, or family vacation, the historic town of Fredericksburg makes for an exciting destination. I first encountered the small German town nestled in the Texas hill country on a family road trip - my family would often veer off course on road trips to see Mamaw, stopping at historical landmarks along (or somewhat along) our route - Custer’s last stand, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home, the Nimitz museum in Fredericksburg. While the museum has more than tripled in size since I first visited, the town itself has remained intimate, retaining its historic charm.
But don’t mistake it for a sleepy little town. Home to an abundance of restaurants, shopping, and wineries, it hosts more than 400 events year-round. As you stroll its historic main street dotted with boutiques and eateries, you’ll find traditional German food, a Five and Dime, an enormous old-fashioned candy store, and shop fronts offering apparel, home decor, antiques and much more.
And if you are looking for an authentic German Christmas experience, complete with a large outdoor weihnactspyramide (beautiful wooden Christmas pyramid), Father Christmas, ice skating, and a 30 foot Christmas tree, head to town with Santa this year. Festivities kick off just after the Thanksgiving holiday!
Convinced yet? If so, here are a few things to check out on your visit.
Fredericksburg offers many traditional, and Air, b&b options, whether you’re making a reservation for two or twenty. As it’s a popular destination most of the year, I recommend booking early, especially if you plan to visit in the spring when the poppies bloom or the weekend of Oktoberfest.
We’ve had wonderful experiences with the following spots:
Emigrant’s Inn - available for booking online through Fredricksburg’s visitor information site or through Airbnb, the inn offers 8 rooms, as well as cottages for larger groups. Located just steps from historic main street, the inn boasts beautifully appointed rooms in a modern french country style, complete with comfy king size beds, jacuzzi tubs, coffee machines, and mini fridges. I absolutely loved our room and our stay here.
Red Barn - although not in easy walking distance from Main Street, the Red Barn is a short drive from town and an excellent spot for large groups with it’s 8 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, large kitchen, and pool. We rented it for a birthday weekend and were able to accommodate a group of friends and family of 14 comfortably. You have the entire 3,500 square feet to yourself, the pool is private, and the kitchen is reasonably stocked with kitchen utensils.
There are many restaurants along historic Main Street where you can simply walk in and be seated with minimal wait. Most have wonderful patios, and some offer live music in the evening.
For breakfast, check out the Old German Bakery on Main or Twisted Sisters Bake Shop just across the street from Emmigrant’s Inn. Old German Bakery offers a taste of traditional German plates from potato pancakes to schnitzel, as well as fresh baked breads, while Twisted Sisters is an eclectic kitchen offering wonderful baked goods, delicious breakfast tacos, and sassy souvenirs. When we visited Twisted Sister, we stood gazing in wonder at the counter where homemade chocolate croissants, blueberry coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, and apple cobbler cookies were temptingly displayed. The chorizo and egg breakfast tacos make for a hearty meal if you have a busy day planned, and you can always take a few cookies and cinnamon rolls to go!
Silver Creek - Every time we visit Fredericksburg, I want to have a meal on the patio at Silver Creek. Established in a historic building on Main Street with a stunning oak gracefully adorning the front patio, I could sit here for hours. The restaurant offers traditional German and Texas options, from Schnitzel to country fried steak, along with your standard fair like burgers and fries.
Hilltop Cafe - If you’re looking for a true taste of Texas, complete with country culinary masterpieces from chicken fried steak to crab cakes and gumbo, this is your place. Hilltop Cafe hollers ‘Texas’ from the road signs on the walls to the bountiful servings on the plates, and the food is delectable. Although a bit off the main drag, it’s well worth the drive, and as with many places in Fredericksburg, live music is a frequent feature of the establishment.
Navajo Grill - For a mouthwatering medley of southern farm to table fare and southwestern flare, make a reservation at Navajo Grill. From our appetizers to our steak and seafood, our group of nine enjoyed every dish we ordered and were only sorry we didn’t have room to order more. The grill offers a fine dining experience, as well as a more rustic and relax patio dining experience if you prefer casual dining after the day’s adventures.
THINGS TO DO
National Museum of the Pacific War - what many refer to simply as the Nimitz Museum, has grown to more than six acres of galleries and exhibits filled with interactive media displays, artifacts, photos, and battle re-enactments that bring the Pacific front of WWII to life. The expansive museum, located in Admiral Nimitz’s boyhood hometown, includes the President’s Plaza with monuments to the U.S. presidents who served during the war, the Pacific Combat Zone where reenactments occur, and the Japanese Garden of Peace which was given as a gift by the people of Japan and offers a tranquil respite.
Wildseed Farms - If you are looking for a stunning photo op or if you love gardens and all things flora, I recommend a visit to Wildseed Farms. They are open year-round and have over 200 acres of blooms on the property. Buds vary by season, and my absolute favorite time to visit is in the spring when the poppies are in bull bloom... row upon row of brilliant red, and appropriate given the tie to a world war the area possess.
Enchanted Rock - A pink granite dome located on the outskirts of town, Enchanted Rock offers great hiking trails and views of the surrounding area. Great for star gazing, camping, rock climbing, or working off the German strudel you’ve consumed!
Shopping - There are several one-of-a-kind shops in Fredericksburg, and I recommend the following as wonderful options to explore:
- Der Kuchen Laden (a kitchenware store filled with every imaginable kitchen gadget) housed in an historic hospital on Main street
- Simple Goods + Design offering stylish home furnishings and decor, including design services
- Blackchalk Home and Laundry - located in the Warehouse district just south of Main offering eclectic, trendy home decor
- Fischer & Wieser's on Main and Das Peach Haus - the location on Main offers a taste of the preserves, ciders, and sauces the orchard has to offer, but if you have the time, a visit to the source of it all, Das Peach Haus for greater selection in a gorgeous setting. Das Peach Haus also offers cooking classes and tastings!
- Magnolia Pearl. The entire tableau, from its grounds and outdoor exhibits, is an utterly immersive experience. With stunning vignettes of vintage couture, you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into an art gallery or the rooms of a fashion house. With a modern vintage flair for fashion, the shop holds wonderfully unique finds, including this yellow military-inspired jacket I’m still dreaming about. The staff are incredibly friendly and the entire establishment is an aesthetic experience.
ORCHARDS & VINEYARDS
Whether you imbibe or simply enjoy a bucolic scene, Fredericksburg offers an array of orchards and vineyards nestled in sunlit vistas. Several of the wineries also offer artisanal wares for sale and host festivals throughout the year, including the annual Food & Wine Festival and the Lavender Festival. My personal favorites are Becker (for the Lavender Festival, where you can find lavender oils, soaps, lotions, cooking demonstrations!), Grape Creek (for the Tuscanesque patio under ancient trees), and Baron’s (also for the beautiful patio and the Italianate villas you can book for the weekend).
From orchards and antiques to schnitzel and savignon, Fredericksburg has a little something for everyone. For more information about the more about the town, it’s history and food, and the more than 400 events held year-round, heck out Visit Fredericksburg.