Travel Tuesday: 24 Hours in Boerne 

by Jaime Lee  on March 22, 2016 in Living Texas, Travel,

One of my favorite things about Boerne is how easygoing it is. At 30 miles west of San Antonio, it’s conveniently located in the Texas Hill County along I-10 and at the end of Highway 46, plus the city’s walkability is ideal for out-of-town visitors. So when I made plans for an overnight trip to the city, I also made a simple itinerary: eat, shop, and see what Boerne has to offer.

I met my guide—a friend from college who grew up in Boerne—on a Thursday morning, and we parked in a central location along the downtown stretch of Main Street known as the Hill Country Mile. The strip is actually 1.1 miles, so think of it as a Texas-sized mile.

Shopping downtown is a great outing for a group of friends. Courtesy photo
Shopping downtown is a great outing for a group of friends. Courtesy photo

We start at Boerne City Center, a sort of luxury mini-mall that’s home to several specialty shops, including The Art of Eloquence, a writer’s dream store with designer stationery, writing implements, and gift options, and Baby Love Boutique. I left with a few additions to my desk and a mental list of must-haves for a future nursery or baby shower.

For lunch, we met two friends at the Cypress Grille, where we took advantage of their daily special (Homemade chicken pot pie? Yes, please!). We decided that the full meal experience can’t happen without dessert, so we tried the warm bittersweet chocolate cake — with four spoons, of course. Luckily we snapped a photo before diving into the decadent plate of warm, powdered-sugar-covered cake with fresh fruit trimmings.

After lunch, we returned to contributing to the local economy. We stopped into several boutiques along Main Street, including Alley on Main and Ella Blue. Boerne’s downtown hosts the kind of stores where your purchases are tenderly wrapped in colorful tissue and packaged in paper bags customized for the stores—no generic plastic bags here. My guide made it a point to take me into a shop called Celeste because she saw on Facebook they were having a 50% jewelry sale.

Down the block, we open the door to Carousel Antiques and Fickle Pickles, where we savor the sweet, garlicky smell of homemade pickles. The “help yourself” bowl near the door invites shoppers to taste their original recipe, and I take a jar home for my husband. He’ll use them to top burgers made on his new grill.

These beds are beyond words. Courtesy photo
These beds are beyond words. Courtesy photo

By now it’s time to check in to my accommodations for the evening, and I was lucky to be one of the first guests to enjoy The William, a recently renovated boutique hotel with second-floor rooms overlooking Main Street in the heart of downtown. The hotel is a sister property to the historic Ye Kendall Inn located a block over and owned by the same family, but the two have polar opposite vibes. Where The William has crisp white linens, marble floors, and modern, sleek furnishings, Ye Kendall Inn maintains its 19th-century ambiance with dark wood, lush window treatments, and period-appropriate decor.

After a restful night’s sleep on a bed that’s more cloud than mattress, I met my friend for breakfast the next morning at The Dienger Trading Company. This place is a combination of bakery, bistro, bookstore, and boutique. An illustrated timeline along one wall tells visitors the story of the historic building and its namesake Dienger family as fixtures in the Boerne community since the 1880s.

Be sure to plan proper attire if you plan to hit the trails. Courtesy photo
Be sure to plan proper attire if you plan to hit the trails. Courtesy photo

With no itinerary for the day beyond breakfast, we decided to check out one of the city’s nature-made attractions, the Cibolo Nature Center, located on former ranchland along the Cibolo Creek. A word of advice to visitors: bring appropriate shoes. Pointy flats aren’t ideal for tip-toeing across stones near the creek’s banks. We took a few hours to leisurely enjoy the center’s walking trails, watch for wildlife hiding among the reeds on the wetlands boardwalk, and lounge in hammocks swung among groves of oak trees. We also took (and posted) photos and videos of the babbling creek.

Then it was time for my last meal of the trip, and 259 Brantley’s Bistro sent me home on a high note for lunch—and with leftovers after I ordered their muffaletta, a notoriously large sandwich packed with meats, cheese, and house-made olive spread. Of course we saved room for dessert. I’d never heard of fried pecan pie. Can’t picture it? Trust me, it makes perfect sense.

My final stop before heading home was Epicure, a high-end shop known for unique culinary finds. Before I even left the city limits, I hoped to return soon to fill my stomach with homemade goodies, my shopping bags with treasures, and my lungs with fresh Texas Hill Country air.