FREDERICKSBURG TRIP: DAY 2
While several notable wineries remain on this getaway, day two could offer the best opportunity to sample another Fredericksburg mainstay: shopping. Since a number of boutiques are closed on Sundays, whereas nearly every winery will remain open, it’s best not to leave the heavy shopping day for last.
Start off with some stamina-building breakfast and caffeine at Fredericksburg Gourmet Coffee & Tea, which offers everything from migas to Belgian waffles to curried eggs. Or if you get a late start, the homemade quiches at The Peach Tree Restaurant (which doesn’t open until 11 a.m.) are works of baked art.
In the past, Fredericksburg was known for its world-class antiquing, but now there’s a surprisingly chic array of fashion-forward boutiques, cutting edge home décor, and fine local jewelers. Root Fashion and Aura boasts glamorous labels you’d expect in a big city side-by-side with the charm you’d expect from Fredericksburg. The adjoining Beulah’s provides opportunity to deck out the little ones in hipster style.
An entire afternoon could be spent in Red, located in an old 1940s Buick dealership redux with a trendy design mindful of the vintage foundation. The home décor and design emporium is chock-full of ingenious offerings selected from a world-class team of buyers, stylishly displayed for gawking. The shop also offers interior design services throughout Texas and will ship anywhere in the U.S., which is good news as you’re likely to leave with more than you expected to carry home.
Habadashery is a vintage-modern boutique boasting obscure designers from Spain and around the world; Zertz mixes fashion with pop culture in a daring atmosphere; Dogologie offers the opportunity to dress your dog for success; and Der Küchen Laden has enough kitchen gadgets to keep an amateur chef drooling with gear-envy — and offers a perfect segue to transition from shopping to lunch.
This is as good a time as any to sample the other homegrown fermented beverage at the Fredericksburg Brewing Company, the oldest and most acclaimed brewpub in Texas. Sample the half-dozen beers on tap, many of which have won awards in U.S. and international competitions. The food is decent pub fare, with a chicken-fried steak big enough to feed a family of four. Another good option is Altdorf Biergarten. While it doesn’t brew its own beer, the beer garden may be the best in town — and the German menu is top notch.
As you head back out to continue exploring downtown Fredericksburg, take note that the town permits sidewalk consumption, allowing you to go from store to store with a glass of beer or wine. Even without a visit to a winery, you can still taste many local vintages at several tasting rooms along Main Street. For sophisticates, house.wine. combines furnishings with fine wines in a refined space that’s part wine bar, part furniture store. Mainstay Lincoln Street Wine & Cigar Bar, a great place for a glass of vino and a stogie, will remind you of a living room or friend’s kitchen. Perhaps the most unique stop is Water 2 Wine, a tasting room that ferments its own wine on site with juice from over 13 countries. With the help of on-site winemakers, you can create your own wine blend from the juices, complete with your own label, and 45 days later, Water 2 Wine will ship your custom batch of wine to you.
Mix up the shopping spree with some fine art galleries. InSight Gallery presents a modern space within a turn-of-the-century stone building, echoing the timeless collection of figurative, impressionistic and Western works. Galeria 19 is the sister gallery to the international destination in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and showcases works from a range of international sculptors and painters. Agave Gallery is a block off Main on San Antonio Street, and prominently features the sculptures of John Bennett, the 2010 Texas State Artist.
Just across the street from Agave is August E’s Fine Dining. It’s perhaps the most un-Fredericksburg place in Fredericksburg, but don’t let that sway you from visiting. The contemporary urban space seems more fitting for San Francisco or SoHo, but thankfully the restaurateurs pay big-city attention to service and detail. The pan-continental cuisine includes grilled steaks, seafood and a wonderful sushi menu with traditional items and inventive specialties like the scallop hand roll, which recreates a burrito with seaweed substituting for the tortilla. Add a raw quail egg to the sashimi for a truly memorable bite.
Another surprising option is Navajo Grill, hidden in an unassuming bungalow at the east end of Main Street. The grill turns out the best Southwestern fare in town, with favorites like hot and crunchy shrimp and crisp-skinned maple leaf duck.
Head to the other end of town for colorful nightlife at Hondo’s on Main, a daughter’s tribute to one of the Hill Country’s zaniest characters, the former “clown prince” of nearby Luckenbach. Hondo’s features live music five nights a week with local and regional acts, including top names from Austin. Just across the street, Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse often hosts Texas blues and rock even later into the night.
(Updated: 03/27/12 SB)