Head for the Hills
Apr 10, 2018 09:29AM
● By Maleesa Johnson
Spring has sprung and it’s time to take advantage of the limited season in which temperatures stay sub-100. When it comes to taking in the natural beauty of Texas, there is arguably no better place to do so than the Hill Country. Rolling hills, cedar trees mingling with prickly pear cacti and, if the timing is right, seas of bluebonnets await you. This is true for Fredericksburg, but with the added bonus of dozens of wineries. Enjoy a gorgeous drive down winding country roads, book a bed and breakfast and have a memorable weekend without leaving the great state of Texas. Whether you’re looking for family fun or a romantic getaway, this small town caters to both.
Fredericksburg’s economy is practically fueled by wine. Bed and breakfast spots boast connections to wine tour companies and it is not uncommon to see limos roll in and out of this small town, en route to two or three vineyards. It has become both a bachelorette party paradise and romantic escape. Let someone else do all of the planning, coordinating and, most importantly, the driving by booking a wine tour. If you prefer a more independent route, make sure to have a designated driver. No matter how you choose to visit the wineries, here are a few you can’t miss. For the perfect, peaceful view of luscious vineyards, head to Hilmy Cellars. The back porch tables are by far the best seats in the house. Their cabernet sauvignon isn’t bad either. For a more upbeat scene, stop by Fat Ass Winery. They offer flights of flavored wines that probably shouldn’t taste good, but somehow do. And yes, there is a real donkey there to greet you.
While it’s still cool out, scramble to the top of Enchanted Rock for a view that will take your breath away – if the steep climb didn’t already. While the peak of the iconic granite dome is the most popular attraction, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has so much more to offer. Test your endurance by descending Enchanted Rock and heading up the jagged rocks of Turkey Peak or the puzzle-pieced granite boulders of Little Rock. If increasing elevation is not your thing, there are trails that loop around each monolithic feature. If you are visiting on a holiday or weekend, make sure to arrive early. The park opens at 8 a.m., but due to a limited capacity, can close to new visitors as early as 9 a.m. There are electronic signs on the way there to inform hiking-hopefuls of any closures. You can also follow the official Twitter account, @GoEnchantedRock, for updates on the natural area. Summit trails will also be shut down in the event of rain, as the smooth granite can become dangerously slick. If you need a plan B, Pedernales Falls State Park is about an hour away, and it’s definitely worth the drive.
Shopping and Dining
Downtown is the gem of Fredericksburg. The cutest boutique and amazing food are secondary to the overall atmosphere of hospitality. No one is in a hurry – in a good way. Stroll down Main Street and duck into the variety of adorable boutiques full of items you never knew you needed. For the spice-lover, head to Rustlin’ Rob’s. Every sauce imaginable is out and waiting to be sampled. Stocked with hot sauces, BBQ sauces, jams, spreads, marinades and more, this store is a haven for foodies. Stock up for your next at-home spa day at It’s aGlow. The peaceful shop has gorgeous collections of honeycomb calcite candle covers and other decor.
When it comes to good eats, this little downtown strip does not disappoint. Shopping and savoring intertwine at Vaudeville off of Main Street. A gourmet menu is served on weekend evenings from 5 to 9 p.m. Serving featured entree such as Duck Confit with dijon potatoes, spring greens and a raspberry gastrique, Vaudeville is sure to thrill. Venture onto Llano Street for a hole-in-the-wall Italian joint that will never disappoint. Pasta Bella is pretty small, so be prepared to wait. Once you get seated, you will find that the wait was more than worth it. Save room for dessert because cute little coffee shops line Main Street and offer a fair share of sweet treats!