Texas offers some wonderful road-trip opportunities – perhaps none with more in store than a trip to beautiful Fredericksburg. Locals boast of Texas hospitality and German traditions, and they offer plenty of both, and more.
I happily returned on a recent trip and was able to visit a number of places I hadn’t been before.
Whether you’re visiting for a family adventure, a girlfriend or guys’ getaway, or just doing some exploring on your own, Fredericksburg has something for everyone.
National Museum of the Pacific War
This impressive museum focuses on World War II in the Pacific. You’ll want some time to explore the 6-acre, 3-museum complex. The Admiral Nimitz Museum is the longstanding cornerstone – since the late 1800s – where the original Pacific War Museum stood before the complex expanded. Formerly the Nimitz Steamboat Hotel, which was owned and operated by Admiral Nimitz’s grandfather, this fully restored building is a must-see. Other points of interest are the George H.W. Bush Gallery, the Japanese Garden of Peace (a gift from the people of Japan to the people of the U.S. in honor of Admiral Nimitz), the Memorial Courtyard, the Pacific Combat Zone (an $8-million renovation allows visitors to experience WWII in the Pacific like nowhere else), the Plaza of Presidents and the Nimitz Education and Research Center. Open daily from 9-5, www.pacificwarmuseum.org.
This picturesque setting offers free admission and is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (walking trails until 5:30). You’ll want to take lots of photos, but visitors are asked to take them from the trails next to the flowers rather than in the flower beds and fields. The farm has been growing fields of wildflowers for over 35 years, for seed production. While there, be sure to visit Wedding Oak Winery’s tasting room to try some of the wine produced from their varietal grapes they began growing in 2015. www.wildseedfarms.com
Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park
Just 20 minutes east of Fredericksburg on U.S. 290 in Johnsonville, you’ll find Lyndon B. Johnson Park, which tells the story of the 36th president from his ancestors to his final resting place. Visitors can tour Johnson’s boyhood home, take a driving tour, see the hangar visitor center and more. The ranger-guided tour to the LBJ Ranch, aka “The Texas White House,” is temporarily closed due to structural issues. The national park is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day from 9-5. The LBJ Ranch (State Park) is 14 miles from Johnsonville (National Park), so you’ll want to allow about 20 minutes for that drive if you want to see both. Whether you have 30 minutes or all day, the nature and historical information are worth the trip. www.nps.gov/lyjo/index.htm
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Located 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, this gorgeous pink granite dome has attracted people for thousands of years. You can hike, backpack, camp, rock climb, picnic, bird watch and gaze at the stars. There are nearly 11 miles of hiking trails. The entrance fee is $7 and children 12 and under are free.
Any trip to Fredericksburg is not complete until you’ve been shopping. With over 150 shops, it’s no surprise that the shopping is one of the main things that brings visitors to this sweet slice of Texas Hill Country.
L.M. Easterling Custom Boot Company is definitely the place to be if you love boots – especially if you want yours made to order. Among their satisfied customers are country music singers and rodeo queens. http://easterlingboot.com/
Raven+Lily is a newer pop-up store on E. Main Street with a focus on improving women’s lives through fair-trade practices. The first store opened in Austin in 2011 and since then they have opened stores in SoHo and New York, but this store in Fredericksburg is the most recent. Raven+Lily partners with 1,500 women in five countries! In the shop you’ll find unique, hand-made jewelry, purses, clothes and more, aimed to improve the lives of the women who make them. Many of the products are made from recycled or repurposed materials … so much to choose from and each piece tells a story.
Blackchalk Home and Laundry has amazing and unique home décor and gifts. The shop is housed in what was originally The Fredericksburg Laundry in the 1920s, which serviced local camps, hospitals and customers. Down-to-earth owner Jill Elliott has an unmistakable knack for finding items that keep customers oohing and aahing.
Luckenbach The drive is not far and it is almost a must to stop by Luckenbach for a beer and a song. There is almost always both available.
Art Galleries Some have called Fredericksburg “The Little Jewel of Art in Central Texas” with many fine art galleries along West Main Street. Here are a few: Insight Gallery, the Good ART Company, Artisans Gallery, RS Hanna and Gallery 330. Don’t stop there – all are terrific.
Fredericksburg is ready for tourists. They have dozens of small homes for rent, B and B’s, and many hotels. The Hangar Hotel is special, decorated for the 1940s complete with an active landing strip. The Fredericksburg Herb Farm is surrounded by lush landscaping with small, well appointed cottages for rent.
This small town has more than its fair share of great restaurants. Recommended are Woerner Warehouse Country Market & Café— fresh salads, soups and sandwiches; Otto’s German Bistro— the menu changes weekly but German specialties are always on the menu; Der Lindenbaum— is located in a beautiful historic limestone building and offers tasty German dishes; Clear River Pecan— offers delicious hot-from-the-oven baked goods and a fresh coffee; Tubby’s Ice House—Caribbean style street food; Burger Burger fresh burgers and beer on the patio; Twisted Sisters Bake shop— features a hint of German flair to create a wide selection of sandwiches, pretzels, hot dogs, cakes, cookies, muffins; Java Ranch— tasty hot or iced coffee drinks; Farm Haus Bistro—a menu using locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs; and West End Pizza Company— try the “West End Special” topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, crumbled bacon, mozzarella cheese, purple onions, black olives & fresh mushrooms.
It will take many more trips to see it all, but Fredericksburg also offers numerous opportunities for golf, art, wineries, spas, and the list of fun goes on and on.
To learn more, check out VisitFredericksburgTx.com. For a list of upcoming events in Fredericksburg, visit http://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/plan/events/?start_date=10%2F01%2F2018&end_date=11%2F30%2F2018