Travel Tuesday: Fredericksburg Offers Rustic Beauty

by Babs Chandrasoma on December 15, 2015 in Living Texas, Travel,

If you ask folks around the area for their idea of Fredericksburg you would likely receive a lot of answers involving the more than 800 bed and breakfasts, wine, beer and great German food, but a visit to Fredericksburg has so much more to offer.

About 20 miles east of Fredericksburg, the town of Stonewall and the home of the The Sauer-Beckmann Farm, Lyndon B Johnson State Park, and Texas White House are all must sees for the entire family. Rich in Texas history, both political and personal, you will leave with an appreciation for the individuals that first settled in the area and our 36th President, Lyndon B. Johnson and his family.

The Sauer-Beckmann Farm provides the opportunity to be immersed into the daily life of an 1800s working farm. Established in 1869 by the Sauer family, the sights, sounds and aroma transport you to the era of rural farm life. From making cheese from the farm’s cow to meals on the functional wood-burning stove, this farm offers a genuine experience.

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Courtesy photo

In 1900, the Beckmann family purchased the land from the Sauer’s and remained living on the land until 1996 when the land was donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The tour provides lots of  information, and one of the most serendipitous was that one of the Sauer children was actually a midwife at the birth of future President Johnson.

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Courtesy photo

Johnson was raised on the land, now part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, known as Lyndon B. Johnson State Park, donated by the family in the 1970s, to preserve and educate visitors.  It has been said that “a weekend at the ranch was like adding fuel to a car” for President Johnson.

Known as the Texas White House, the Johnson family donated the family home in 2008 opened for visitors and tours. Take a step back in time and see the house exactly as it appeared during the Johnson term (1963-1968). As you walk through the house, it is easy to envision the daily life of any 1960s family, yet notice the three TVs grouped together in various rooms — but you’ll have to take the tour to find out why.  

LBJ plane
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President Johnson was known to have friends, family and guest over for movies in the airport hangar located on the ranch. In keeping with tradition, the TPWD launched the Movies under the Stars series in 2009. If you happen to be in the area during the summer months check out this free family fun event!

Vaudeville exterior signUp for a little shopping and lunch with a cultural flair? Check out the Vaudeville Bistro. Part Bistro, part art gallery and part luxurious home furnishings, Vaudeville has it all. Established with a healthy respect for the area, the owners melded their own styles by keeping the integrity of the Hill Country panache yet, adding a fresh twist.  

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If being outside and active is more your style, then take a bike tour of Fredericksburg and explore an entirely new side of this quaint German town. Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg and Texas Bike Tours team up to create a custom ride based on the your interest and activity level. Josh with Jack and Adam’s will get you geared up, and Deaton, with Texas Bike Tours, will serve as your guide on this custom journey which can include stops to historical sites or, if you prefer, shops and wine tastings. Experiencing the details of the city on the bike tour offered a new “view” and deeper insight to the rich culture and traditions embedded in Fredericksburg.

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Cabernet Grill Warm Maple Pecan Pumpkin Crumble with Spiced Cider Crema poured. Courtesy photo

End your day at Cabernet Grill Restaurant located in the Cotton Gin Village. Executive Chef and Owner, Ross Burtwell, opened the doors in 2002 with the idea to feature local ingredients to develop an interesting menu and pair meals with great local Texas wines. Unique elegance, in combination with the laid back Hill Country feel makes this setting special for everyone.

With the Fredericksburg area being home to more than two dozen wineries, Pedernales Cellars has evolved into a family affair with Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken at the helm. The entire family supports the winery, each adding their own special talent, to create a winery rich in tradition.

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Boasting 100% Texan by selecting only grape varietals able to be produced within Texas has earned Pedernales many top accolades in the wine community. By building into the hillside and using geothermal systems they are home to the largest underground barrel cellar.

Great pizza and pasta along with family-created artwork make West End Pizza a distinctive change from many of the cuisine in Fredericksburg. Many of the recipes are family traditions handed down, including Hal’s Grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs, along with authentic brick oven pizza and homemade desserts. Open seven days a week with a full bar and live music every weekend, you cannot go wrong.

“On top of the world” is the best way to describe the peak of Enchanted Rock, known to be the geological heart of Texas. A windy 30-minute drive from Fredericksburg this natural granite formation was created over 50 million years ago as magma slowly bubbled to the surface. For centuries, the rock has had a special glow on clear nights after a rain and the Tonkawa Indians believed the rock was enchanted; hence the name.

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Courtesy photo

I highly recommend adding Enchanted Rock to your lists of places to see. A word of caution though, the hike can be strenuous and with the Texas heat, challenging so be sure to bring water and take your time enjoying the climb.  

The Hoffman Haus is a rare jewel in the world of Bed and Breakfast accommodations, creating the perfect blend of romance and elegance. I was fortunate to stay in the Basse House, considered the gem of the complex and I completely agree. Throughout the cottage is exposed rock along with delicate home touches including fresh homemade cookies.  

The Basse House also features  a common seating area and full kitchen with rustic butcher block countertops, a fireplace and gorgeous artwork. One of the bathrooms even has its own fireplace, complete with candles, a whirlpool tub and a custom Texas star on the shower wall.  To start your day out right, a delicious, warm breakfast is delivered to your door each day at 9am.

Celebrating a special occasion, Girlfriends Weekend or just looking for a reason to get away, the Hoffman Haus will meet all your expectations for a warm Hill Country retreat.