A quick jaunt to Fredericksburg shows the greatness of the Lone Star State
A Hill Country getaway is a sweet escape from the flatness of our fair city. In funky Fredericksburg, you can take your beer and wine with you as you browse the shops on Main Street. Then you can drive into the surrounding hillside to partake in wine tastings and return to your cozy in-town suite.
You can even get up early for a quiet Saturday morning drive and be home before bedtime on Sunday. All of that reminds us why Texas is the greatest state.
11 am: Caffeinate
Your first stop in Fredericksburg should be Vaudeville on Main Street, a clean country concept store with elegant furnishings, farm-to-table cafe and wine cellar. You won't believe you're still in Texas as you indulge in a croissant and cappuccino in the romantic, très chic dining space.
12 pm: Have a beer and shop around
Grab an Enchanted Rock Red Ale at Fredericksburg Brewing Company and take it with you on your way out. Open-air containers are allowed up and down Main Street.
For modern and eclectic home decor and accessories, check out Red. Whether you fancy a retro chandelier, printed pillow or funky necklace, you won't walk out empty-handed.
Der Kuchen Laden is a dream for the gourmand. The tiny shop, divided into small rooms, is crammed floor-to-ceiling with baking tools, ceramic dishes, knives, cookbooks and more kitchen essentials.
2 pm: Light bite
Opt for a light and late lunch at The Peach Tree. The family-owned, 40-year-old tea room dishes up tasty soups, sandwiches, salads and more. Be sure to reserve a table ahead of time.
4 pm: Uncork and unwind
Let the drinking begin. Drive to 4.0 Cellars and do the tasting with six wines, plus a sample of the "wine of the week." The wines come from three vineyards: Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery and McPherson Cellars. Don't leave without trying the award-winning McPherson Roussanne.
Make your way to Messina Hof to taste five wines of your choice. Feel free to stand at the bar to learn about your libation, or take a seat. And don't fret about missing your sports team play; there are TVs in the tasting room.
7 pm: Dinner time
August E's, right off Main Street, dishes up "nouveau Texas cuisine." Chef Leu Savanh gets his meat from local farms and picks herbs from his own garden. The menu changes regularly, based on what's in season.
We love the fusion with Japanese cuisine, so start with a fresh selection from the sushi menu and finish confidently with Akaushi burger, mesquite-grilled steak or stuffed quail.
9 pm: Rest up
Head to Austin Street Retreat for a quaint and comfortable Southern stay in one of five spacious suites. We like the El Jeffe, a two-story house with private terrace and fountain.
Brunch at the Hilltop Cafe. This little restaurant in an old gas station has been around for more than 25 years and reels in a crowd of musicians and folks just looking for good eats. Order Ra-Ra's huevos rancheros or a classic BLT.
Do not leave the Hill Country without stopping by Becker Vineyards. Sample six wines inside the main tasting room or outside on the patio. Take a stroll through the lavender fields, and indulge in some of Texas' best-tasting wines. Check out the online calendar for special events.
History buffs must visit the LBJ National Historical Park. See President Lyndon B. Johnson's office at the ranch, where he was born and his final resting place. You can roam around the grounds at your leisure to learn about one of our country's most interesting leaders.
Take a scenic route. Don't be afraid to drive off-the-beaten roads to admire the cows grazing in the rolling hills.