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From Old World Wines to Modern Takes on German Fare, Sample Everything Fredericksburg Has to Offer in 3 Days

Between removing wild bees, working our cows, and constantly monitoring our little mixed flock of chicks, this girl was ready for a getaway. Our anniversary was coming up and provided the perfect excuse to start planning an escape.

A little research and we found ourselves dreaming of Fredericksburg, Texas. Peach orchards, wildflower seed farms, vineyards and wineries, hiking, and scenic drives…yup sounds good to me!

Day 1, Arriving in Fredericksburg

We pulled up at Cotton Gin Village just after 4 pm after six hours of driving. The ivy-covered walls and wine bottle gas lanterns lead to the entrance of the courtyard. Cascading waterfalls from grain bins and galvanized tubs splashed down into koi ponds topped with lily pads.

Nostalgic antique farm equipment peeked out from under wild pomegranate trees, rose bushes, and cedar trees. Festive string lights hung over a central patio with a dozen or so tables and a fire pit. Settled around the pebbled path that wound its way around the courtyard and to the Cabernet Grill were seven 19th century log cabins.

Cotton Gin Courtyard
One of the rustic water features in Cotton Gin’s courtyard

The porch of our cabin was covered with a cedar plank and tin roof. Entering, the living area was washed in natural light from two windows high on the wall near the cathedral ceiling. Gathered around a sandstone fireplace were a large leather couch and antique armoire concealing the television.

A table with a variety of 30 or more coffee and tea K-Cups, and a small but functional mini kitchen made up the rest of the space. We decided that snagging dinner and browsing the boutiques we passed on Main Street, just 3 miles up the road, would be a leisurely end to a day spent riding in the car.

Cotton Gin Village
The view from our porch

The malty and savory smell of brewing and grilled meat wafting from the Fredericksburg Brewing Company was enough to tell us we didn’t need to look any further. The stainless and copper tanks behind the bar greet you as you enter but these aren’t just for show, they are where the beer magic happens.

They also add to the industrial-meets-old-world charm of FBC. Low lighting, exposed timbers, and whitewashed stone speak of the building’s original construction from the 1890s, while the massive stone fireplace adds a welcomed homeliness. After a couple of Pioneer Porters, Enchanted Red Rock Ales, an Ale burger, and a Rueben, we were set.

We made a block or two of window shopping then headed off to Old Tunnel State Park to watch the nightly emergence of 3 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats. Between May and October, they take up residence in the old, abandoned railroad tunnel and come spiraling out each night at dusk in search of food. Truly impressive.

Fredericksburg Brewing Company

Day 2, Tasting Fredericksburg

Waking up to find a woven basket filled to the top with homemade breakfast tacos, sticky danishes, sweet strawberry yogurt, and tangy orange juice was the perfect way to kick off a busy day. Before the temperature started to climb too high we set off for Wildseed Farms, just 7 miles east of Fredericksburg on U.S. Hwy 290.

Wildseed Farms consists of two hundred acre meadows of wildflowers with walking trails, a boutique selling wildflower seeds and unique gifts, a Biergarten, and Wedding Oak Winery‘s wine tasting room.

Wildflowers at Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg Texas
Wild flowers gone to seed and ready for harvesting

After making a lap around the meadows bustling with butterflies, we ducked into the Biergarten to cool off. Then over to the boutique to pick out wildflower seed to plant at home. Passing up a wine tasting goes against my nature so before leaving we paid a visit to the Wedding Oak tasting room.

There Dr. Terri Krakower and Damien Schillaci not only made excellent wine recommendations but also excellent local “don’t miss” recommendations. While tasting Dr. Krakower’s favorites of Tioja 2014, Sangiovese Hill Country 2013, and Terre Rouge 2013, she recommended a brewery in Blanco to check out, and a scenic country road to get there.


She also explained how the winery was named after the gnarled 400-year-old matrimonial oak tree that stands on the grounds of the original winery in San Saba.

Continuing down Hwy 290 (also known as Wine Road 290 for the 15 Wineries along it) we stopped in at several wineries, swirling and tasting. There is also a shuttle service that runs tours of Wine Road 290 if you or a group decided to hand over the itinerary and keys.


Topping off the day was dinner at Cabernet Grill. Roughly 50 feet from the cabin’s front porch, Cabernet Grill proudly offers the nation’s largest exclusively Texas wine list expertly paired with dishes crafted of ingredients from local farms and artisans.

If it can’t be found in Fredericksburg and surrounding communities, it comes from Texas. Executive Chef Ross Burtwell, owner and manager of both Cabernet Grill and Cotton Gin Village, is immensely proud to showcase the superior quality of ingredients his community provides.

Dinner started with an amuse-bouche of creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup spiced with cayenne and sprinkled with crispy bits of bacon. Next was a dish of Warm Texas Goat Cheese topped with cloves of roasted garlic, chopped black olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, served on grilled baguettes.

Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer
Warm Texas Goat Cheese topped with cloves of roasted garlic, chopped black olives, and sun-dried tomatoes

The main course was the evening’s special of succulent sous vide Fried Chicken accompanied by sweet and crisp tossed coleslaw, aromatic mashed potatoes, and zesty butter beans. Which just so happened to pair perfectly with a glass of recommended Prosecco.

Lastly, a warm and buttery Cheddar Apple Skillet topped with Salted Caramel Ice Cream finished off an excellent dining experience.

Fried Chicken

Day 3, Exploring the Countryside

Another fantastic breakfast of cheesy quiche and gooey cinnamon rolls topped with raspberry glaze set the pace for another Hill Country outing. Since peach stands were on every corner we knew we couldn’t leave without visiting an orchard.

Breakfast Quiche
Chef-crafted breaksfast delivered right to our door

Also off U.S. Highway 290, Vogel Orchard is a family farm stand that has been selling directly to customers since the first orchard was planted in 1953. In addition to peaches, you can also buy gorgeous blackberries, watermelons, vine-ripened tomatoes, homemade jellies, cobblers, peach butter, and homemade Peach Butter Ice Cream.

Definitely try the ice cream.


Following Dr. Krakower’s advice, we made our way to Blanco down a winding country road in search of Real Ale Brewing. Once brewed in the basement of an antique shop, Real Ale Brewery is now cranking out 200 kegs, 2400 cases of bottles, and 1200 cases of canned brew daily.

The new two-story facility just outside Blanco city limits has also recently opened up its new Tap Room. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow drinkers to look out into the surrounding trees behind the bar or out over the production floor. A door leading out of the taproom brings you out onto a catwalk overlooking the bottling process.

Vintage arcade games are lined up along one wall. After sipping a heady Baltic Porter and malty Imperial Red Ale, we set out for our last destination.

The rolling hills and winding roads are bursting with wildlife

About 45 minutes before dusk we pulled into Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Taking our time, we walked steadily up the path and onto the rounded pink granite dome of Enchanted Rock. The 20-minute walk was sometimes strenuous but mostly just a smooth incline, and well worth the hike for the view.

The view from Enchanted Rock

After watching the sunset, we heading back to the truck before it got too dark to see. A long soak in the jacuzzi tub back at the cabin was precisely what was in order. After all, it was back to herding cows and feeding chickens tomorrow.

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Jessica Pickett

Gypsy mom, storyteller, and daydreamer extraordinaire, you can usually find me researching our next adventure. An explorer, lover of craft beers, and anything outside I'm at my happiest getting lost in a new city or hitting the trails with my family in tow.


  • Stephanie Bingham says:

    Love your articles

  • Nancyleah says:

    Thank you for your sharing your wonderful experiences throughout the Hill Country Region. We at Wedding Oak Winery highly agree with your words of passion for a region we all love and want to share. After reading your blog, it makes me want to vacation out my back door.

    On your next adventure, please come visit us in San Saba. I will be happy to give you a tour of Wedding Oak Winery’s home, plus recommend several activities and hikes in the area. There is an eclectic hotel with Texas charm (The Dofflemyer) down the block, another winery, sweet bistro for breakfast or lunch as well as a brew pub. Colorado Bend State Park has the Gorman Falls trail and the Mill Pond in San Saba is perfect for a picnic. I look forward to reading your Blog!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank so very much for your kind and encouraging words! I would love to explore your winery and San Saba and will certainly start planning an escape! Again, thank you for extending your hospitality and expertise. I also write articles for and would love to write a feature article for them! They just started their own print magazine so I will query my editor to see if they would be interested in a San Saba piece! Thank you for following my blog and I will be in touch!

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