72 Hours: Texas Hill Country

Every now and then we get a chance to take a long weekend away from the kids, and this January we jetted off to the Texas Hill Country. This was an easy choice for us since we’ve never really been, and it’s a relatively short drive away from home. The weather was hit and miss, but we made the most of it and are ready to share our favorite stops below.

Day 1: San Antonio

Even though we’ve lived in and around Houston for a number of years, neither of us had been to San Antonio as an adult and wow, I feel like we missed out. The city had so much culture and history, especially relative to Houston, and we walked away thinking we could totally live here. We didn’t even get the chance to explore all the fun neighborhoods, so there will definitely be a return trip!

  • Check into your downtown hotel – we stayed at the Westin Riverwalk and it was perfect for the short time we were there.
  • Head to The Alamo because though it may be small, it is fierce. No really, learn your Texas history. Be sure to hashtag your instagram #rememberthealamo – and then check it a few hours later to see the same exact photo you took but with different people. Also, did I mention you can walk to it from most of the hotels?
  • Stop by the Mercado and grab an amazing dulce de leche empanada from the Mi Tierra bakery.
  • Grab dinner on the Riverwalk (we tried Biga on the Banks, but I am sure the tex mex places are good too and less pricey!) and hit up one of the cocktail bars – Esquire looked awesome but was closed when we were there (downside of New Years Day travel).

Day 2: Head to the Hills

  • After sleeping in your Heavenly Bed, go for a run down the Riverwalk. We jogged down to the Pearl Brewery area which was about 2 miles from the hotel – It was actually quite nice, and time flew by.
  • Visit Local Coffee for amazing – yep, you guessed it – local coffee and espresso.
  • Once you realize you’re starving, head to green for an awesomely filling vegetarian breakfast. Mark had the migas and I had the veggie eggs benedict. So good.

  • Jog back to the hotel and hit the road – it’s time to see some hill country!
  • We were really hoping to hit up the Real Ale Brewery tasting but they were closed as it was a holiday week so we headed to Redbud Cafe in Blanco instead for lunch – they had all the Real Ale on tap (Devils Backbone is my favorite, but Mark loves them all) and decent sandwiches so that was a win. Plus awesome 50s tablecloths.

Since we were determined to go to a brewery, and Real Ale was out, we headed to Jester King Brewery, known for their experimental sour beers. We tried multiple beers and even stayed for the tour, and for the hilarious Portlandia-type stories we could tell from that experience it was worth it. But I cannot, in good faith, recommend that you go there. Unless you like things that are cool because they are different but are actually just bad. You might like it then.

We also considered Adelbert’s and Independence which are closer to Austin, but decided the timing didn’t quite work out. Next time we head to Austin we’ll try those. Back to the itinerary…

  • Head to Fredericksburg and check in to your B&B – we stayed at Fredericksburg Herb Farm and thought it was really nice, but I think there are several good options.
  • Head to main street for some window shopping – remember this is small town USA, and shops close at 6!
  • Grab dinner at the Fredericksburg Herb Farm – especially if you’re staying there – reasonably priced “fine dining” and very good. We were impressed – bonus – it’s focused on local, seasonal food.
  • Go to bed and get sleep, because there are no kids and eight hours is a treat.

Day 3: Fredericksburg

  • Wake up insanely early and head to Enchanted Rock to hike because you’ve heard it gets crowded and there’s a sunrise yoga class. Arrive at the state park in darkness only to realize there is no yoga class, and the trail is potentially closed due to bad weather. Rationalize that the trail is not “actually” closed because there is an alternative trailhead that does not have a rope in front of it and climb Enchanted Rock.
  • If you climb this usually very crowded trail during more normal hours, I’m sure it will not be a problem to figure out which way is down, but if you are the only one on the top of the rock, consider the lessons of Hansel and Gretel, mark your path, and do not attempt to descend on the wrong side of the rock. Lesson learned.
  • After your outdoor adventure, head to Hilltop Cafe for pretty great food, a cool atmosphere and lots of vintage beer signs.

  • It would not be a hill country trip if you didn’t go to a winery, so do as you’re told and go to Grape Creek and Becker Vineyards (two most popular). We preferred Becker for the more laid back vibe and better wine, but both were fun. Enjoy the adirondack chairs with wine glass holders. Amazing – need these for my back porch now.

  • If you didn’t catch main street yesterday, now is the perfect time to shop (with a few glasses of wine in you) – we resisted for the most part, but some of the shops were pretty cool – our favorite was Red, a modern furniture / accessories store.
  • Grab a light dinner somewhere or just head to Lincoln Street wine bar where they have live music, nice owners, a good wine selection and a cheese plate that is enormous.
  • Head to bed for 8 more hours of glorious sleep, wake up and drive home to see your babies, who you now love even more.

This was a great long weekend away for us – I’d love to hear your suggestions / recommendations in the area!

– Stassja

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