Two Day Road Trip:
Austin - Fredericksburg - Austin
Fredericksburg is one of the most bustling towns in the Hill Country. Leave from Austin early in the morning and plan on spending the night in Fredericksburg. Sightsee along the route and return late afternoon the following day to Austin.
You'll hit quaint towns made for antique shopping and refresh yourself with stops at wineries along the route.
9:30AM Depart Austin (have an early breakfast in Austin before you leave)
10:10AM Hit Dripping Springs, slow down to appease the local police but don't stop, unless you need a cold drink or hot coffee at Mazama Coffee Company + Roastery. Then turn right onto FM12 at the center of town, take an immediate left at the signal and you've entered downtown, historic Dripping Springs.
Upon leaving Dripping Springs, you'll be able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of farmhouses, pastures and a flurry of beautiful live oak stands. Set your cruise control and soak in the peace and solitude of the open highway.
Hwy 290 dead-ends into Hwy 281, turn right until you reach the Johnson City turnoff, take a left back onto Hwy 290. (note: the gas station on your right has good prices; now may be a good time to fill your tank).
LUNCHTIME Wander around Johnson City and find a spot to relax and have a bite of lunch. I recommend the Silver K Cafe. This is on your right-hand side of the street. Within this same plaza is an antique store to enjoy. Head over to the courthouse/town square and wander around the shops. There's a great art gallery (Debra Goldstein Fine Art), southwest of the courthouse.
Detour: Lyndon B Johnson's boyhood home is across the hwy and one block south; it's open for touring most days.
AFTERNOON Continue west on Hwy 290, passing through Stonewall (birthplace of LBJ). When you see the KOA campground and the Shell gas station, take a left onto RR 1376. Within five minutes you'll take a right onto a hidden road, called Luckenbach Town Loop, just before the Grape Creek Bridge. Follow this road into the "town" of Luckenbach.
In Luckenbach you can grab a cold one and enjoy some guitar picking out back of the post office. When you can pass a breathalizer, hop back into your car, and head back the way you came to Hwy 290. Take a left and continue on to Fredericksburg.
LATE AFTERNOON Check into your lodging and head onto the streets of Fredericksburg for shopping.
Four blocks southwest of Main Street on nearly 15 acres sits the Fredericksburg Herb Farm. Offering up a restaurant, day spa, lodging (B & B)and more..enjoy live music in the garden on most evenings. The farm's 1882 limestone house is the gift shop. Don't miss the Star Garden, with five separate planting areas.
Casual: Fredericksburg Brewing Company, Casual food. Family environment. It's a bit noisy, but situated in the heart of the town, right on Main street, it's a good place to grab a bite and a cold one before heading back out to shop. -- they even have rooms upstairs you can stay in. I can't imagine that they'd be very quiet, but talk about convenient, "Bed and Brew" all in one great location. (245 E. Main Street)
Elegant: Navajo Grill and expensive. My parents ate here on their way through and enjoyed the ambiance and the food. My kids always seem to be in tow and my pocketbook is often running low on fuel. (803 E Main Street)
9:00AM Unless it's a Sunday, head over to the Rather Sweet Cafe (249 East Main Street) for breakfast. The scones are moist and delicious. The owner has a published cookbook of her delectables. Take a seat outside and enjoy the quiet courtyard, just steps from hectic Main Street.
11:00AM/LUNCHTIME Do some final shopping or hit the Herbfarm if you didn't make it yesterday, check-out of your room and point your front hood east on Hwy 290. I also recommend having lunch in Fredericksburg. There are a lot of delightful little restaurants and you won't find many on the road home.
Next stop is the Fredericksburg Wildseed Farm on your left, about 10 minutes outside of town. Enjoy the wildflowers, buy some seed packets to plant in your yard or to send back home to your friends or relatives. They are the nation's largest working wildflower seed farm. They have a HUGE selection of seeds and plants. They have three different gift shops with collectibles, seeds, gifts, jellies, wines, garden accessories.
Continue east on Hwy 290...
AFTERNOON We're going to follow the Wine Trail and slowly (and carefully) make our way back to Austin.
These are the four I recommend in this area. Depending on the amount of time you have and your interest in wine, select one or all four. My favorite two are Becker and Torre di Pietra.
- Becker Vineyards (830) 644.2681, 464 Becker Farms Rd., Stonewall 78671. Located 11 miles east of Fredericksburg, 3 miles west of Stonewall, off U.S. Hwy 290. Exit Jenschke Lane, turn right at 464 Becker Farms Road.
- Grape Creek Vineyard (830) 644.2710, 97 Vineyard Lane, Stonewall 78671
- Torre di Pietra Vineyards (830) 644.2829, 10915 E US Hwy 290, Fredericksburg, 78624. Located ten miles east of Fredericksburg on Hwy 290.
- Woodrose Winery (830)644.2539, 662 Woodrose Lane, Stonewall 78671. Located on the south side of Hwy 290 just west of Stonewall or 14 miles east of Fredericksburg on Woodrose Lane
- More about wineries in the Hill Country?
EARLY EVENING Heading into Austin, check out the restaurants in the Barton Springs or Lake Austin area to finish off the day. I'd pick Shady Grove, myself. You can order an appetizer in the outdoor waiting area until your table is ready.