Best Small Towns in the South: Fredericksburg, Texas
June 15, 2014
Fredericksburg is a Texas hill country Hamlet with old-world charm.
Story by Jordan Breal
Why We’d Move There
Nestled deep in the heart of the Lone Star State, the town of Fredericksburg was settled by German pioneers in 1846 and remains as steadfastly Teutonic as it is Texan. Its 3.5-mile historic Hauptstrasse (Main Street) is a smorgasbord of specialty shops, biergartens, and bed-and-breakfasts. The gently undulating countryside is awash in wildflowers in the spring and offers plentiful peaches in the summer.
If you’re lucky, you’ll meet a native who speaks Texas German, a distinctive (but dying) dialect handed down through the town’s founding families. Multiple generations gather every August to attend the horse races, dances, and Main Street parade during theGillespie County Fair (gillespiefair.net).
The Perfect Day
With more than 150 stores, it’s a retail marathon—including the specialty kitchen shop Der Küchen Laden(littlechef.com); Red (redinfred.com), a vintage-decor emporium located in a 1940s Buick dealership; and the blessedly old-fashioned Dooley’s 5-10-25¢ Store(830/997-3458). Refuel with a venison Reuben in the swanky subterranean bistro of Vaudeville (vaudeville-living.com). Dive deep into German-Texan culture at thePioneer Museum (pioneermuseum.net), a complex with 1840s homes and fachwerk log cabins. Then consider a pint of craft beer at the Fredericksburg Brewing Company (yourbrewery.com). End the day with more German delicacies, such as jagerwurst with mustardy pickled cucumbers at Otto’s German Bistro(ottosfbg.com).
Locals To Know
Design queen Carol Hicks Bolton and her husband, Tim, have steadily amassed a collection of ancient oddities and timeworn furnishings during their frequent pilgrimages to Europe’s best flea markets. Peruse their 14,000-square-foot Antiqüités Laboratoire de Design(carolhicksbolton.com), where you’re likely to see Carol adjusting a fanciful arrangement of taxidermy or smoothing out a pile of Belgian linens.
Be sure to take the 15-minute hike up to Cross Mountain. At 1,915 feet above sea level, the marl-and-limestone hill (which served as an important lookout point for the Comanche) offers an unparalleled panoramic view of the town below.