I’ve gotta admit, I’m a sucker for houses with character. Show me a whole town with character, and I’m completely won over. We had had a glimpse of Fredericksburg on our Hill Country Tour a few years ago. With only a few hours spent in the town, it was a place we wanted to return to. So when it worked out that this would be a good interim stop on our way to the Southwest, I jumped at the chance. Finding a great RV Park within the town’s city limit was what really sealed the deal.
There are several RV Parks in the vicinity, and perhaps others are just as good. But if you want the convenience of location to a nice little town, easy access to points of interest and a more-than-adequate place to call home for awhile, look this place up. Getting high review marks, we made Fredericksburg RV Park our choice. Even though the weather conditions were much less than ideal, we found this park clean, neat, and everything we could hope for. Trees interspersed with the sites would help when the summer sun comes out in full force. Nice facilities added to its appeal. We’d choose it again, if we found ourselves returning.
The Hill Country of Texas is a special place for many reasons, but most noteworthy of its attributes is its topography and the blooming of the springtime bluebonnets. Limestone knolls full of live oak groves and cypress-lined creeks, that is the topography you will find driving the region from Austin to the east and San Antonio to the south. Near the center of the Hill Country lies Fredericksburg, a town that clings to its German heritage, has an abundance of B&Bs, and a Main Street lined with galleries, boutiques, bistros, and specialty shops with names like Der Kuchen Laden.
I can tell at first sight if a particular town is worth lingering for a closer look. When old buildings still stand, renovated but not remodeled, when citizens care more about preservation than modernization, that is what pulls me in. Fredericksburg lived up to my standards.
Perhaps the most imposing building in town is the Fredericksburg Memorial Library, also known as the Pioneer Memorial Library or the Old Courthouse. It was built as a courthouse in 1882 by San Antonio architect Alfred Giles, who designed several of the spectacular houses of the King William District in San Antonio. You can go in to admire the building’s architecture and comfortable reading room, and also for the free Internet access!
I’m not alone when it comes to being drawn to this quaint, German town. The magazine Texas Highways selected Fredericksburg #7 on its Texas Top Forty list. Its voters noted the plentiful local wineries, its homebrews, the B&Bs, restaurants choices, shops, museums, live theater, and art galleries as the prime selling points. Just this past November, CNN Travel named Fredericksburg one of America’s Most Romantic Small Towns. Along with only 5 other named towns, it stood in good company with the likes of Friday Harbor, WA, Aspen, CO, Healdsburg, CA in Sonoma County and Ephraim, WI out on the Door County Peninsula. Not to be outdone, Southern Living listed visiting Fredericksburg as one of its chosen 10 Adventures in Texas’ Hidden Hill Country.
I think it was the simple stone houses found throughout the historical residential areas of town that really won my heart over for Fredericksburg. Already having a fondness for homes built of stone, these simple yet sturdy houses have born the test of time. They have been cared for, appreciated and made over to fit into present-day life. I spent the afternoon exploring several streets, searching them out.
Many of the simple homes were once used as Sunday Houses. Popular in the late 1800s with the farmers and ranchers who lived in the rural areas, they built simple homes in town to be used when they came in to do business and attend social functions on Saturdays, staying over on Sunday to attend church services. Once retired from ranching and farming, they used their Sunday homes as a permanent residence.
Standing as proof that Fredericksburg is a town for many diverse interests, while I spent my time wandering side streets, Chris found his diversion in a museum devoted to WWII’s Battle in the Pacific.
Chester Nimitz was a native son of Fredericksburg; his grandfather having immigrated from Germany. In 1964 the Admiral Nimitz Foundation was established to support a museum honoring him, the Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in the Pacific Arena. Composed of several different venues, The National Museum of the Pacific War is difficult to take it all in with just an afternoon to spare. In fact, the admission ticket gives you a 48-hour pass. Chris spent part of the morning and then some afternoon hours exploring the different areas. He reported how very worthwhile and informative it was, giving me a lunchtime overview.
A visit to such an authentic German town can’t be fully experienced without a little sampling of their extraordinary culinary dishes. Desiring to get the most of our short stay here, we started our day at a local coffeehouse that featured some good home-baked German pastries. Ummm! A good way to warm us up on a damp, dreary day.
And touring a town can do a lot to build up a hearty appetite for lunch. Local restaurants are ubiquitous and fragrant scents waft through the air. Soon enough, my thoughts turned to sausages, and sauerkraut, bratwurst and red cabbage, schnitzel and sauerbraten and spatzle. My German blood was warming up. Leave room for apple strudel!
And lest we would get hungry on the departing road, we found the perfect souvenir. What better way to remember a heart-warming, interesting and informative stay in Fredericksburg than to carry away a little German home-baked pie? For days to come we would fondly remember our short stay in the Texas Hill Country.
Still heading west, with a long drive still ahead,
Melinda and Chris