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Trip Planning for Fredericksburg, Texas

OUR FAVORITE PICKS FOR A GREAT WEEKEND GETAWAY

Article by Kaylene Mathews

Photography by DyeAnnaBee from Pixabay

Once the quarantine restrictions were lifted, my husband and I began making plans to get away to Fredericksburg, Texas. A quiet little town with a rich German history, the best Texas wines, great food and plenty of shopping, Fredericksburg is our favorite Texas weekend getaway.

Wineries

We enjoy trying new wines, and Texas wines have become some of our favorites. Wine Spectator calls Fredericksburg "Hill Country's unofficial capital of food and wine." There are numerous wineries and a variety of services to chauffeur you around. On our first visit, we took a Cellar Rat Wine tour and visited four fantastic wineries. Cellar Rat was a great option because the guide educates you on the winemaking process and takes you to the top-end wineries. We not only got to try great wines and meet the winery owners, but we also got to take a peek behind the scenes at the winemaking process.

The second time we went, we took our WNI wine club with us. My husband planned the entire trip using the help of TripAdvisor and the Fredericksburg Visitors Guide. On that visit, we had a designated driver and toured the same wineries that we had been introduced to on our first visit. We have continued our love of the Texas red wines and introduced our friends to our favorites, Kuhlman CellarsWilliam Chris Vineyards and Calais Winery.

 We love red wines, and these wineries didn't disappoint.

Calais Winery

Our first stop, Calais Winery, is a smaller operation located almost entirely underground. The obscure entrance gives the tasting room an air of mystery, while the underground location helps the winemaker take advantage of the natural cooling qualities of the ground. Calais Winery is named after the French region Calais, where the owner is from. We enjoyed generous sample pours of wine served with a bite of fresh homemade bread. Our favorite from this cellar was the Gravitas.

William Chris

Our next stop was William Chris, where we got to meet Chris of William Chris, who happened to be there that day. We were surprised with a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process and treated with a complimentary cheese board to accompany our tasting experience.

Our wine tasting host shared several interesting facts and stories about the winery and the origins of some of the cellar's most famous wines. One such story was about a white wine named after William's mom, Mary Ruth. Moved by the narrative, one couple in our group ordered an entire case to be shipped back to McKinney.

We recommend this winery as one of the best places to have a picnic lunch with a large patio complete with views of beautiful vineyards. For your picnic, we recommend grabbing some carry-out sandwiches or salads from the Hye Market restaurant. Drive around to the back of the building to place your to-go order. A word of caution: Give yourself some time, as the deliciousness of their food has made them extremely popular, and you might have to wait. But it's totally worth it!

 For the price, our favorite wines from William Chris are Skeleton Key and Enchante.

A side note about this winery: The owners are passionate about fighting for legislation to require Texas wines to be made with 100% Texas grapes. Currently, if you purchase a Texas wine, the grapes may not all be from Texas. They are working to change that. You will only find 100% Texas grapes in William Chris wines.

Kuhlman Cellars

Our last stop was Kuhlman Cellars, where we had our own private tasting room featuring excellent food pairings to complement our wine. During this tasting, we learned about how certain foods bring out flavors in a wine that you might not otherwise notice. It made the tasting experience richer and more exciting as our taste buds exploded with flavor.

One pairing, in particular, was with their unique seasoned almonds made with fresh seasonings imported directly from France. They were like nothing I had ever had before. You can purchase these almonds and take them home to recreate your tasting experience. Educated on our taste and smell senses, we left with a heightened understanding of truly experiencing the flavor and nuances of different wines.

Kuhlman also has a large outdoor area with picnic tables and a couple of cornhole games on the backdrop of beautiful vineyards.

Our favorite Kuhlman wines are Kankar (made with California grapes) and Alluve (a Texas red blend).

Breweries

If you're more of a beer person or just want to add some variety into your beverage consumption, we recommend two breweries. Alstadt Brewery and Fredericksburg Brewing Company.

Altstadt Brewery

Alstadt is located outside of town along the main drag. It's housed in a beautiful building of rich German architecture. We sat in a large room in the back that was filled with long community seating tables and a stage for entertainment at one end. We were entertained by a German folk band while we dined on German favorites as well as some American classics, accompanied by bold, hearty beers.

Fredericksburg Brewing Company (FBC)

FBC originated in 1994 and is the oldest brewpub in Texas. It's located in downtown Fredericksburg. We walked to FBC the first evening of our stay for dinner. This restaurant has a fun atmospheric mix of beer vat and German decor, with an outdoorsy feel Biergarten in the back. The Biergarten has a mural of a traditional German street, providing the perfect backdrop for a group photo. The menu boasted traditional German favorites, and the food was great.

Accommodations

Each time we visited Fredericksburg, we stayed in different places, all of which we recommend, depending on what you're looking for. 

During our first visit, we stayed in a quaint German B&B called Das Garten Haus. Our room was detached from the main house, giving us lots of privacy. The owner was an excellent chef and prepared a delicious breakfast for us each morning we were there.

During our second visit, we took our wine club with us. We stayed in a VRBO property called Cloverhaus located just four blocks from the main drag in downtown Fredericksburg. The property comfortably accommodated our wine club of four couples. It was a three-bedroom house with a detached fourth room that contained three twin beds that could be moved to create a large king-size bed. There were three total bathrooms, an ample living space and an outdoor fire pit.

During our third stay, we chose the Sugarberry Inn B&B located one block from the main drag. This was our favorite. We had our own cottage with a large bedroom and fireplace. It also had an outside shower, which we tried out. The grounds were immaculate and provided many common areas for people traveling with more than one group in their party. We could walk to everything we wanted to see, including shopping and dinner.

Good Eats

I already mentioned Hye Market restaurant for your wine tour lunch and the breweries for lunch or dinner. We also recommend two more restaurants for dinner, Otto's German Bistro and the Bistro in Vaudeville.

Otto's German Bistro is located just down the street from the Sugar Berry Inn. They have taken traditional German food and turned it into a gourmet delight. It's housed in a small house, so seating is limited. You will want to get reservations in advance for this one.

The Vaudeville Bistro is located in the basement of the Vaudeville retail establishment. When you descend the steps to enter this bistro, you feel like you're walking into another city altogether. A very cosmopolitan feel, this bistro is unlike any other in Fredericksburg, and the food is delicious! The upstairs shopping area is worth looking through, as it is the cross between a store and an art museum. If you're looking for something unique for yourself or as a gift, you're sure to find something at Vaudeville.

For the sweet tooth, we highly recommend the Fredericksburg Pie Company. We tried the orange bourbon pecan and Key lime pies, and they were both ridiculously good! (The pecan was my favorite!)

Other Things to Do + See

In addition to the shopping, we enjoyed hiking at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and visiting the National Museum of the Pacific War.

Located a little over 20 minutes outside of Fredericksburg is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. We made reservations for hiking one morning. The park features a pinkish granite batholith rock, which rises 450 feet above the surrounding plateau and is part of an underground mass of 90 square miles. It is one of the most massive rock features in the United States. We spent several hours hiking on and around the park and enjoyed the beautiful wildflowers that were in bloom at the time.

Due to the park's popularity, you must make reservations well in advance of your visit to secure a park entry pass. It's well worth the effort. There are also campgrounds for those who want the full 24-hour Enchanted Rock experience.

 National Museum of the Pacific War is a favorite for the history buffs in your group. Fredericksburg is the birthplace of General Nimitz, who was the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, commanding Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II. The museum has been updated and expanded in the last few years. It's packed full of interesting information and artifacts from the WWII Pacific War.

On the Way There

To break up the drive either to or from Fredericksburg, make a stop in Hico, Texas, to try a piece of pie at the Koffee Kup. Their pie menu is extensive, but you have to try the Doctor's Office just to say you did it.  

Then walk across the street to Wiseman House Chocolates. This chocolatier has several rooms of delicious chocolate treasures packaged in a variety of exciting ways. They have numerous samples to try and sweet combinations to please even the most discriminating chocolate palate.

Not more than 30 minutes before you get to Fredericksburg is Llano, Texas. We made a stop there to pick up some barbecue at Cooper's Pit BBQ to take to our B&B for dinner. Cooper's is affiliated with the Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ located in the Stock Yards in Fort Worth. Great barbecue provided for a relaxing evening in the room after a long drive.

Wildseed Farms is a must-see for the plant lovers in your group. Depending on your chosen route, you will pass Wildseed on your way to or from Fredericksburg. They have a creative collection of gifts inside and a beautiful display of plants outside. At the back of the property, they have acres of wildflowers on display to walk around on their granite pathways. It's a very relaxing stroll to take, and we recommend it highly.

There is even more to do than I've mentioned here. To plan your trip, I recommend using TripAdvisor and the Fredericksburg Visitors Guide to assist you.

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