The Japanese Garden of Peace is a serene spot to reflect while in Fredericksburg, TX. Photo by Jill Weinlein

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Walking down Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas, one feels as if they have stepped back in time. Founded in 1846 by the Adelsverein, also known as the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants, Fredericksburg is rich in German history, wine and German cuisine with a farm-to-table twist.

The architecture built by early settlers into Sunday Home designs can be viewed on every street. Fredericksburg is an ideal weekday or weekend getaway.

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Fly into San Antonio, TX and drive one hour northwest to Texas Hill Country. Once you arrive in Fredericksburg, which has a population of a little over 5,000, you will notice the locals are friendly with a Texas heart and German spirit.

Be sure to visit Fredericksburg German Marktplatz Park to see examples of the German architecture and history. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Be sure to visit Fredericksburg German Marktplatz Park to see examples of the German architecture and history. Photo by Jill Weinlein

Where To Stay

The best time to visit is December during the holidays through Spring when the wildflowers bloom in the hills. Summers can get quite warm, but in October, the town swells with visitors enjoying an authentic Oktoberfest.

Fredericksburg offers more than 1,500 vacation rentals, cabins, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts. From rustic elegance, treehouse living, newly constructed cabins with whirlpools or a ranch under the Texas Hill Country stars, there are a variety of options to select.

Fredericksburg is known for their Sunday Houses. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Fredericksburg is known for its Sunday Houses. Photo by Jill Weinlein

The Porch Light Hospitality has Austin 412, a newer Sunday Home style boutique complex with six suites. Besides a kitchenette, and large bedroom, there is a fireplace, spacious bathroom with separate jacuzzi bathtub and shower.

French doors lead out to a wood deck with a hot whirlpool. Located one block from Main Street, it’s an ideal location to walk to shops, restaurants, wine-tasting rooms, museums, and German Pioneer experiences.

Other unique and charming accommodations include Trueheart Hotel, Onera, HoneyTree, Hoffman Haus and Fredericksburg Inn & Suites. The Hill Country Herb Garden offers quaint cabins, lush gardens, a relaxing spa and onsite restaurant.

Butterflies flutter around the gardens home to 154 unique botanical species, 60 native to Texas and 33 herb species. The restaurant offers an American with international influences menu featuring light and healthier dishes.

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Be sure to reserve at least two hours to walk through the informative National Museum of the Pacific War. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Be sure to reserve at least two hours to walk through the informative National Museum of the Pacific War. Photo by Jill Weinlein

Unique Texas Hill Country Activities:

Longneck Manor is home to giraffes and rhinos living on more than 100 beautiful Hill Country acres. These animals were born in accredited U.S. Zoos and are now lovingly cared for to help with conservation efforts.

Owner and Director, Rick Barongi turned his passion for these animals into a personal encounter near Fredericksburg. After working in zoological parks for over 45 years and taking dozens of trips to Africa, he developed a greater appreciation for the well-being of these beautiful animals.

Longneck Manor also has a unique B&B experience. In the Giraffe Suite, guests can walk up to have giraffes and rhinos outside their door.

Take a Historic Trolley Tour of Fredericksburg for an informative tour of town. Learn about the historic Sunday Houses, while stepping into one that has now been converted into an Episcopalian chapel.

This church was a favorite of Lady Bird Johnson. She and President Lyndon B. Johnson visited the church on Sundays when they were staying at their ranch, also known as the Texas White House.

The Historic Trolley Tour stops at Pioneer Museum Complex, for a step back in time to 19th century German Pioneer days. There is a collection of authentic Sunday Houses, which served as a place to rest, eat and sleep when families made the seven-mile journey from their ranch or farm to Fredericksburg.

These families arrived on the weekend to visit the mercantile, trade goods with other settlers, and attend church before going back to their weekday homes.

Be sure to visit a garden created by the people of Japan at the National Museum of  the Pacific War. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Be sure to visit a garden created by the people of Japan at the National Museum of the Pacific War. Photo by Jill Weinlein

Visit the Smithsonian-affiliated National Museum of the Pacific War honoring native Fredericksburg Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. He was the Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in the Pacific Ocean area.

Visitors will gain insight and a deeper understanding of the struggle between Allied and Japanese forces that took place for years on islands in the Pacific.

This museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is one of the nation’s most comprehensive museums featuring three galleries and six acres of land in the heart of Fredericksburg. Be sure to visit the serene Japanese Garden of Peace, a gift from the people of Japan.

Lyndon B. Johnson is known as the frontier President. He was born in the Hill Country near Fredericksburg. This is where he lived, died, and was buried in the family cemetery.

Be sure to stop at Texas Wine Collective for wine tasting and food pairing ideas. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Be sure to stop at Texas Wine Collective for wine tasting and food pairing ideas. Photo by Jill Weinlein

After the President’s death in 1973, Mrs. Johnson continued to live at the Ranch part-time until her death in nearby Austin in 2007. Their ranch was known as the Texas White House, and visitors can tour the grounds to see the runway his ‘Air Force One-Half’ landed.

There is also the airplane hangar and Secret Service buildings near the beautiful white ranch house.

Other highlights driving through the Lyndon B. Johnson National Park include the school house that LBJ attended when he was four years old. It’s walking distance to his childhood home, and still stands today for visitors to walk into.

Descendants from LBJ’s Hereford cattle continue to thrive on the functioning ranch. The barn, pens, and corrals are still used to showcase these animals.

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Enjoy food and wine out on the back lake of Das Peach Haus. Photo by Jill Weinlein
Enjoy food and wine out on the back lake of Das Peach Haus. Photo by Jill Weinlein

Culinary Delights

Hill & Vine is a family-owned restaurant that showcases Texas food and wine. Southern staples include Texas black-eyed pea hummus with crudités, chicken schnitzel and sweet cornbread. Save room for his peach hand pies served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Owner Jesse Barter’s family has been farming and ranching for three generations. His grandmother used to make the best onion rings in Texas. Her recipe is used for the colossal onion rings featured on the menu, as a nod to his grandmother.

Made with 10-15 large sweet onions called 10-15, they are planted on Oct. 15 and harvested in spring. The kitchen slices them thick, batters and fries them up to be served with two different homemade dipping sauces.

Breakfast at Twisted Sister Bakeshop is a local favorite for coffee, bakery items and quiche.

Leroy’s Tex Mex BBQ is another hot spot just out of town for salads, fresh homemade tortillas for their tacos, and cooked perfectly brisket.

Alla Campagna recently opened as an Italian-style farm-to-table restaurant serving gourmet pizza, innovative pastas, fresh salads and locally sourced grilled proteins paired with Texas wine.

The owners John and Evelyn Washburne also own Otto’s German Bistro, Tubby’s Ice House, and Caliche Coffee and Ranch Road Roasters.

Wine and Spirits

Be sure to step inside Das Peach Haus where Fischer & Weiser collaborated to make the best fruit sauces, jams and jellies. Many of the top culinary shops in the U.S. carry their award-winning products. They also carry some great Texas wines in their historic mercantile store.

Next door is Dietz Distillery, run by son Dietz Fischer. His passion for crafting fruit-based spirits is served in an elegant lounge. This is an ideal spot to kick back with a London-style Gin with a Texas Twist.

The Mercantile inside Das Peach Haus is a step back in time. Photo by Jill Weinlein
The Mercantile inside Das Peach Haus is a step back in time. Photo by Jill Weinlein

Texas Wine Tasting

There are over 100 wineries and tasting rooms in Texas Hill Country and the Fredericksburg area. Known as the Gillespie County Wine Country, these wineries have been producing a variety of state and national award-winning wines.

Since 1995 Julie Kuhlken at Pedernales Cellars has been making a variety of 100% Texas-grown Spanish and Rhone style wines. Up on a bluff overlooking the Pedernales River valley, Pedernales Cellars sources its grapes from the original estate vineyard started by the Kuhlken family in the 1990s.

Julie’s parents Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken met over a mini frame while working at IBM on the Apollo 11 Mission. Their fruity and floral ‘Over The Moon Rose’ is a nod to celebrating their love story. The bright and bold Texas GSM Melange is a Rhone blend with almost equal amounts of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre red grapes.

Another favorite wine-tasting venue is Texas Wine Collective. The General Manager Beth Bayliss is creative with wine pairing treats. Besides cheese and wine, during the holidays she pairs a variety of sweets with a wine flight.

Located on the renowned Wine Trail, it’s a collection of experienced wine educators who guide visitors through a variety of varietals while sharing stories of what makes each wine unique. Wines worth tasting include Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery, McPherson Cellars, and Texas Wanderer Wines.

Fredericksburg is a walkable town where the locals care about the history and heritage of the community. It’s an ideal getaway destination in Texas Hill Country to unwind, slow down, visit a museum, sip wine and enjoy a great meal. To learn more, https://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/.

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Author Bio: Jill enjoys driving and flying to destinations off the beaten path. Her journeys have inspired others to travel to experience the same fascinating sights, culinary wonders, and unique activities around the world. When she is home she gets on her e-bike and rides for miles along the Pacific Ocean or hikes with her husband and dog named Peanut.

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