Bonus Points for Boerne
A weekend of fine art, dining and shopping
By Katie Jackson
Small town charm? Check. Fine dining and specialty shops? Check. Two checks later and my husband and I were raising our wine glasses. The toast was to Texas Hill Country’s answer to our prayers for the perfect weekend getaway. For being just a 40-minute drive from San Antonio, Boerne feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
A weekend in Boerne was our eldest daughter’s idea. She doesn’t have a medical degree, but when she prescribed a few days of “distinctive accommodations, activities and cuisine” for mom and dad to have fun with, we didn’t hesitate to fill it. Now that my husband and I are officially retired and the kids are all doing their own things, we’re embracing more indulgent escapes. Ironically, our newly-developed refined tastes go hand in hand with our soft spot for those smaller, historic communities that always leave you wishing you could have more than one hometown. That explains why it didn’t take us long to fall head-over-boots for Boerne.
Art on Haupstrasse
Our love affair with Boerne began on Main Street, or as the locals call it, Haupstrasse. Forget your average sleepy historic district because Boerne’s downtown, although historic, is dynamic and even cutting-edge when it comes to its cultural offerings. Our first stop was the Carriage House Gallery—a fairytale-like stone cottage featuring art from a dozen local artists. We timed our visit so it coincided with the monthly Second Saturday Art & Wine event. As we gallery-hopped (with the help of the free trolley service) along Haupstrasse we were met by other art enthusiasts and friendly locals also out enjoying the live music, tapas and wine tastings.
While collecting fine art is my favorite pastime, my husband is a self-taught sommelier, and it made my night to see him in his element in Boerne’s downtown wine bars. He picked up every brochure on the region’s wine tasting tours and even agreed to check out a local microbrewery with me because he knows I’m more of an ale aficionado. Later that night, as we checked into our luxury suite at the Legendary Texas Polo Club at Phillip Manor Square, we were so excited for the following day’s itinerary that we thought we’d have trouble falling asleep. But no, the second our heads hit the soft pillows in this boutique B&B we were out like a light and dreaming of the cypress-lined backroads we had taken on our scenic detour into town.
Market Days and a country drive
One of the best parts of staying at a bed and breakfast is the delicious spread you wake up to, but that didn’t stop us from saving room for a mid-morning snack. We had heard rumors about the outstanding apple and ginger scones at Boerne’s Bear Moon Bakery, and we figured we’d need more fuel to see us through an hour or two of browsing the booths at Boerne Market Days. Most of the vendors, craftsman and entertainers at this outdoor event were homegrown talent, and we walked away completely convinced that in our next lives we’d raise our kids here.
But for now, we were empty nesters, and we wanted to make the most of our time as two semi-sophisticated adults simply out enjoying themselves in the heart of Texas Hill Country. Although we could have spent all day relaxing in Boerne—sipping lattes in one of the inviting coffee shops and pretending we were lucky enough to live here—we opted to go for a drive instead. Just outside of town we encountered fields of wildflowers and the pastoral, rolling hills that give this region its name. 90 miles northeast was the alluring city of Austin, but we were so enamored with Boerne that we didn’t want to stray too far from town.
It’s amazing how much of an appetite you can work up after something as effortless as a relaxing cruise through the countryside. But later that night, as we sat down to traditional Texas-style BBQ, we actually tossed a coin for the last bite of brisket. Boerne has quite an impressive selection of quality dining establishments. On a similar note, it would be a big mistake to underestimate the town’s noteworthy shopping scene.
Winding down our weekend
From funky little boutiques to antique emporiums and specialty shops featuring everything from high-end home furnishings to trendy designer clothing, Boerne truly has something for everyone. As we shopped our way along the Hill Country Mile—the most up-and-coming section of Main Street—we felt like kids in a candy store. I guess you don’t outgrow giddy! Each shop was just as neat as its neighbor, and by the time we returned to the River South Arts District and made it back to our room, we were so pleased with our purchases that it was almost hard to part with them when we left for our afternoon adventure at the Cibolo Nature Center.
While walking along the Woodlands Trail, my husband grabbed my hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. He didn’t have to say anything because the look in his eyes told me there was nowhere else on earth he’d rather be. As much as I’d like to say our weekend was wonderful because we were alone and enjoying each other’s company, that wouldn’t be telling the whole story. No, because a huge part of what made our perfect weekend getaway so perfect was the place. Bonus points for this weekend definitely go to our daughter who made the brilliant move of introducing us to Boerne.
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