Texas has more great, small towns than any other state. I especially favor 6 of them. This year Ruth & I visited Fredericksburg for the first time, and it quickly became #6. In the Texas Hill Country about one hour northwest of San Antonio, Fredericksburg is on our repeat list for 4 reasons.
We were there in February, 2015, and the weather was awful. We went primarily to visit the 5 Compass National Museum of the Pacific War, which I blogged about on June 9. It was so comprehensive that it took most of a day to see. My favorite part was the Nimitz Museum that I blogged on September 9. It rained all day and ice and snow were forecast for the evening.
The first group of German settlers–120 men, women, and children–arrived in this part of Texas in 1846. Over the next couple of years 5,000 more German immigrants came, and Frederickburg was on its way. Its Pioneer Museum with 10 historic structures like the Arhelger Bathhouse celebrates this heritage, but we didn’t have time for it after spending so many hours in this town’s biggest attraction, the Pacific War Museum. The entire town still has a German flavor, and it’s the kind of place that has continuous festivals. Its 34th Oktoberfest, for example, occurred in 2015.
Fredericksburg’s attractions are both many and diverse. Wildseed Farms, reportedly the largest working wildflower farm in the United States, is here. Between May and August peaches are in abundance. There are more than 2 dozen wineries close by and most have tasting rooms. Wine tours are increasingly popular. There are 80+ restaurants of uneven quality. The best is called The Nest, which was one of those crowded, reservation required places where everyone seems to be from somewhere else, causing me to wonder how they too managed to find the best place to eat.
There are two towns of special interest close to Frederickburg-Johnson City and Luckenbach. Ruth & I spent time in both. Johnson City is home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Historical Park. Geographically between Fred and John, the LBJ Ranch offers ranger-guided tours of the Texas White House. Luckenbach is an icon among country music fans. I’ve blogged about both.
The 3nd reason to go back is to scale a rock. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area includes an enormous, climbable pink, granite dome. When we had the opportunity, however, it was a 36 mile roundtrip in freezing February rain with an iffy forecast.
The 4th reason is the Texas Rangers Heritage Center, this towns newest attraction. This facility to honor Texas Rangers began its existence in San Antonio in 1936. In 2011 it leased property in Fredericksburg and began moving there. Phase One was scheduled to open in May, 2015, but this didn’t happen until September. The tower below, the Ranger Campanili, that we saw under construction is part of the first phase and destined to become this complex’s most remembered structure.