Beer & Brats in Texas Hill Country
Just north of San Antonio, the picturesque town of Boerne awaits with charming inns, big breakfasts and a natural wonder too beautiful to name.
Nestled in Texas’ Hill Country, Boerne combines good old Southern hospitality and proudly maintained German roots. German immigrants first settled this land near the cool waters of the Cibolo Creek over 150 years ago. More than 140 historic structures remain in the town today, evident with a stroll down Haupstrasse, or Main Street. Coupled with plenty of shopping, the inviting aromas of hometown bakeries, a brewhaus on the creek, 100 acres of hiking trails and quaint bed and breakfasts, Boerne makes for the ideal getaway.
Conveniently situated on central Main Street, the charming rooms at Crescent Quarters Inn are anything but cookie cutter. With options ranging from the Sportsman’s Room, decked out in sports gear galore, to the elegantly attired French Room, you can wake up on the weekend to a free full breakfast.
Ye Kendall Inn has grown quite a bit since its humble (four-room) beginnings in 1869. The clawfoot tubs are still there, but now this 36-room hotel also contains modern comforts, including showers and a spa. Multiple meticulously restored structures plucked from around Texas let you lie your head in a schoolhouse, carriage house or split wood cabin.
Boerne does not disappoint when it comes to food. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served with a side of small town charm. Pop into Bear Moon Bakery & Cafe for a tasty breakfast treat or people watch on the patio behind Epicure while biting into a fresh pressed panini.
The Dodging Duck Brewhaus draws inspiration from its picture-perfect view of the Comal River. Cozy up with a house-made craft beer and watch the waddling ducks across the street. Locals love the Heart of Boerne Salad that serves up hearts of palm and artichokes over mixed greens, dried cranberries, pecans and bleu cheese. Douse the whole shebang with a celery seed vinaigrette.
Walk into The Peach Cafe‘s front door and you’ll likely feel like you’ve arrived at grandma’s house for lunch. The old home houses a popular lunch destination, with a tiny but satisfying menu of quiches, soups and salads. Start with plump cheese muffins and don’t leave without relishing a scoop of Blackberry Peach Cobbler.
For a special night out, The Creek serves fresh seafood and top quality meat in an elegant setting that still manages to conform to the Hill Country’s laid-back style. Expect attentive service and impeccably prepared dishes such as Texas Ribeye, Veal Piccata and Trout Amandine. The Creek fills up fast, so come early or call for a reservation to avoid a lengthy wait.
Stroll down Main Street to score antique goodies and fashion-forward finds at Ella Blue and Melvin Rose, then browse more boutiques offering everything from butter-soft leather purses and belts to Irish tea and shortbread. Mary Brogan’s Irish Cottage is a red-shuttered gem. The dim interior is packed with favorites straight from the green isle itself, and the Texas Tartan Tearoom serves customers a taste of Ireland every Friday afternoon.
Pop into 259 for a well chosen selection of home decorations and women’s clothing. Stay for lunch on the outdoor patio, tucked away from the bustle of Main Street and serving soups and salads. Things pick up on the weekends with tapas and wine Friday and Saturday nights.
Pottery, homemade tamales, jewelry and richly colored clothes compete for space in the packed Victorian house at Fiesta on Main. The carefully curated collection of Mexican goodies includes folk art, toys and brightly colored paper flowers, in addition to local favorite rich pecan chewies and traditional Mexican Paletas, chilly popsicles guaranteed to cool you down on a burning day in Boerne.
Boerne’s prime location means nature is never far away. Near Main Street, Cibolo Nature Center contains miles of trails and multiple ecosystems, including a typical Texas tall grass prairie and multiple parks only a short drive away.
Leave Boerne via Highway 46 for a taste of Texas-sized nature at Guadalupe River State Park. Hike alongside the enormous cypress trees that line the river and marvel at the clear blue water below. Dip your toes in or throw caution to the wind and join the kayakers for a swim. Tubing is welcome and if you’re lucky enough to catch the area after rain, the four rapids along the river promise (kid-friendly) thrills.
After a brief stint as a moonshine distillery in the 1920s, Cave Without a Name stood silent until curious children poked their heads into the cave’s sinkhole and decided to explore in 1935. Today, it’s easy to see why the impressive underground expanse was once deemed “too beautiful to name.” After climbing down 126 steep steps, your guide will point out the particulars of the stunning surroundings. Look for the collection of stalagmites that look remarkably like the nativity scene and keep your eyes peeled for a rare sighting of the blind Texas salamander.
Photo credits, from top: The Creek restaurant, Ye Kendall Inn, breakfast at Bear Moon, shopping on Main Street and The Cave Without a Name. All photos courtesy of visitboerne.org.