One of my favorite things about Boerne is how easy 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 walk-ability 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 park 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.
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 stationary, writing implements, and gift options, and Baby Love Boutique. I leave with a few additions to my desk and a mental list of must-haves for a future nursery or baby shower.
For lunch, we meet two friends at the Cypress Grille, where we take advantage of their daily special. (Homemade chicken pot pie? Yes, please!) We decide that the full meal experience can’t happen without dessert, so we try 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 return to contributing to the local economy. We stop into several boutiques along Main Street, including Daisy Pearl 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 makes it a point to take me into a shop called Celeste because she saw on Facebook they were having a 50% jewelry sale. Speaking of social media, Boerne is an ideal subject for avid users like myself. Its iconic Texas scenes make for great Instagram photos. The shop and restaurant owners frequently post their latest finds—and discounts—on Facebook. And the city’s unique name makes it easy to search Twitter for posts about #Boerne.
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.
By now it’s time to check in to my accommodations for the evening. I’m 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 king-size bed that’s more cloud than mattress, I meet 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 name-sake Dienger family as fixtures in the Boerne community since the 1880s.
With no itinerary for the day beyond breakfast, we decide to check out one of the city’s nature-made attractions, the Cibolo Nature Center, located on former ranch land 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 take 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 take (and post) photos and videos of the babbling creek.
Then it’s time for my last meal of the trip, and 259 Brantley’s Bistro sends 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. See!
My final stop before heading home is Boerne Epicure Gourmet Market, a high-end shop known for unique culinary finds. Before I even leave the city limits, I’m hoping to return soon to fill my stomach with homemade goodies, my shopping bags with treasures, and my lungs with fresh Texas Hill Country air.
Guest Blogger: Jaime Lee; writer, editor, social media rock star & master of the "Squirrel Game"