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Travel Tuesday: Yuletide Cheer (& Cheers) In Fredericksburg, TX

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Or better yet, Fröhliche Winenachten!

We know today’s actually Das Halloween (impressed by our German?), but that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about Christmas and all the other December holidays we love.

Fredericksburg, TX has deep Germanic roots—as well as deep-rooted grapevines—so it only seems appropriate that anyone wishing to experience a German-accented holiday near Dallas with more than 50 wineries, a vacation to the charming town is due.

It’s a Texas town we’ve fallen in love with and are happy to share as part of our ongoing Travel Tuesday series about LGBTQ-friendly destinations, must-have travel gadgets, and queer-centric events around the globe.

Located 4.5 hours southwest of Dallas by car (or about an hour’s drive from either Austin or San Antonio if you prefer to fly to one of those hubs), Fredericksburg has long been on our must-visit list. But it wasn’t until last year that we finally had the opportunity to experience the quaint little town during the holiday season.

The Marktplatz on Main Street is the center of holiday happenings. Photo by T. Rawls.

Despite its conservative leanings, we felt welcome everywhere we went and even had multiple cars slow down to scream out, “Merry Christmas!” and honk their horns in an impromptu bit of music. As gay men, we’ve had people slow down to yell lots of things at us before, but never holiday greetings.

It’s a town that takes its yuletide celebrations very seriously, including a nightly music presentation and countdown to the lighting of the Marktplatz in the center of town. So if you need a quick dose of Christmas cheer, start booking now (or make a day trip from a longer stay in another hill country town.

Of course, we recommend at least a couple of overnights in Fredericksburg, but whether you’re going for a day trip or a long weekend, we’ve got you covered. We’ve broken down our recommendations by the time of day so you can easily craft an itinerary that best suits you and the way you vacation.

Morning Rituals

Caliche Coffee is great hot or cold. Photo by Caliche Coffee.

Start your day off with coffee and a hearty breakfast at one of two fantastic local spots. Caliche Coffee serves small-batch coffee roasted by their in-house Ranch Road Roasters. Unlike most coffee houses, the breakfast items here are made to order and range from a variety of avocado toasts to eggs benedict.

Another unique place to get your caffeine jolt is Woerner Warehouse. Grab a seat, place your order, then shop around the numerous antiques and home goods offered by a variety of purveyors. It’s one of the only places in town where you can dine and get a dining room table.

Mid-Morning Shopping

Flying Cow Tallow products will make your skin glow.

Frederickburg’s super-quaint Main Street features nothing but small businesses, so you won’t find any big-time chains here, making it a fantastic place to find unique gifts or procure something special for yourself.

Our favorite spots include Flying Cow Tallow for some out-of-this-world skincare products; San Saba Soap Company for wonderful pecan-oil body products, including scented oils and handmade soaps; Fredericksburg Pecan Company for pretty much anything you can imagine made out of the tree nut; and Quintessential Chocolates/Chocolat for some awesome booze-filled chocolates.

Das Peach Haus is just one component of Fischer & Wieser’s flagship property.

Another fantastic place to shop falls a little off Main Street, but it’s a great place to kick off an afternoon of wine tasting at the wineries around the area. Why? Because the Fischer & Wieser flagship property has a gin distillery on-site, Dietz Distillery, and you know the old adage of “liquor before wine, you’ll be just fine.” You should also load up on a huge array of sauces, jellies, and other fine culinary products inside Das Peach Haus (also on the property, which sits on the shores of a great pond—perfect for sipping a little wine.

Mid-Afternoon Adventure

What you see is what you get in Luckenbach. Photo courtesy of the Fredericksburg CVB.

The town of Luckenbach is a strange place, indeed. With no full-time human residents (there are lots of cats, though), it’s a great place to catch live music every day accompanied by a cold beer. On weekends (starting Thursdays) you can get burgers and other food items, making this an ideal stop for lunch to fill up before All. That. Wine.

Happy Hour in Wine Country

The vines at Signor Vineyards.

Though many of the grapes used in Fredericksburg wines come from the Texas High Plains, several places along the wine route have boutique vineyards for small-batch wines (and great photo ops). We visited four wineries (leaving more than four dozen left to explore at a later date) and can highly recommend the quartet of tastings we experienced. Add Signor Vineyards, Texas Wine Collective, Texas Heritage Vineyard and Lost Draw Cellars to your list. Each has a completely different approach to wine, as well as the venues in which you can enjoy them on-site.

Early Evening Dinner

Carnitas nachos with a glass of wine at Hill & Vine.

We were legitimately blown away by the quality of the culinary scene in Fredericksburg and two of our favorite spots for dinner are the fun and casual Hill & Vine (get the pork chop!!!) and the elegant but approachable Sage Restaurant & Lounge. We had excellent meals at both, but Sage delivered one of our top meals in any city in a long time.. It was truly spectacular.

End-of-Day Dessert

Boozy ice cream is one of the new offerings at Clear River Ice Cream, Bakery & Deli.

You’ll find plenty of ice cream shops in town, but Clear River Ice Cream, Bakery & Deli makes everything in-house, including holiday flavors, traditional peach or pecan varieties made with local fruit and nuts, as well as a new lineup of ultra-boozy flavors. Clear River’s also a fun place for lunch one day thanks to its vast menu of sandwiches, salads and incredible soups.

Late Night

The Treehouse Room at The Evers House.

Some people want to go out after a full day of exploring, but for us, late night is more about melting into a comfy mattress and recharging for the next adventure. The Evers House was our home base this trip and it was one of the most amazing B&Bs we’ve ever stayed in. The rooms are spacious and packed with the comforts of home (some even have jacuzzi tubs). Plus, a picnic basket arrives at your doorstep each morning with a hot, fresh breakfast depending on the whims of the kitchen. One day we had breakfast tacos, hashbrowns and doughnuts, the next morning it was blueberry pancakes and yogurt parfaits. There’s a nice firepit outside, and you can stroll to (or choose to stay at) their sister property next door, The Winchester Lodge, which features a pool, too. Both properties are just a block off Main Street and all its festive eating, drinking and shopping destinations.

A vacation in Fredericksburg will certainly get you in the holiday spirit, so yank down those fake cobwebs and put the skeletons back in your closet until next year. It’s going to be Santa Season soon and we want to make sure you’re adequately prepared to get your jollies.

Fredericksburg, Texas