Two Texas Day Trips

Why stay at home over Thanksgiving or winter break? Get out there and explore the great state of Texas!

 

Fredericksburg

For this day trip you will need to get up early to head out to Enchanted Rock before the crowds as it is about a two-hour drive from campus. Stop by Jim’s Restaurant when you turn from US-290 West onto 71. They have big breakfasts, which you could use if you are going to hike the very steep E-Rock. Once you arrive at Enchanted Rock take the summit trail, about a 45-minute walk, to the top. From there you can see views from miles around as well as the random patches of greenery and pools of water. After your descent head into Fredericksburg for lunch at Clear River Pecan Bakery, Sandwiches and Ice Cream. What they serve is in their title, but you must try one of their cookies—to die for! If you want something a little more substantial try Sozial Haus for pizza and warm sandwiches. If you are history-inclined get a ticket to the National Museum of the Pacific War, open daily. It is located in the boyhood home of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz who served as CinCPAC, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet during WWII. The exhibits tell the story of Fleet Admiral Nimitz from childhood through his career in the navy. There is also a “Combat Zone” where you can find information on anything you could possibly want to know about the pacific theater. If you are more shopping-inclined find parking on Main Street and check out the various locally owned shops selling Texas pride items and artisanal gifts like Rustlin’ Rob’s Texas Gourmet Foods. Rest your feet at Java Ranch Espresso Bar & Café for some good coffee and delicious baked goods. Once you finish at either the museum or your shopping get dinner at Otto’s German Bistro which serves authentic German dishes like schnitzel and bratwurst. If German is not where your stomach is at, try Farm Haus Bistro’s creamy chicken arrabbiata or garlic chive crab cakes. With your stomach full start the journey back to Austin.

 

Johnson City:

 

If you get on the US-290 West around 9 a.m. you can get to Johnson City by 10 a.m. and have ample time to see the best parts of Lyndon B. Johnson’s boyhood home. Your first step should be to drive through Johnson City and stop at the LBJ Ranch, a national & state park. Take a tour of his home to see exactly how many telephones Lady Bird would allow him and find out why he sat at a certain seat in the dining room (hint: it has to do with T.V.). After taking the tour make sure to go on a driving tour of the ranch itself. If you hold off on this trip until spring you can see all of the wildflowers Lady Bird loved so much blooming. After getting your fill of presidential knowledge head back into Johnson City for lunch at East Main Grill, housed in The Old Lumber Yard. They offer soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers. If you are looking for farm-to-table fare head to Lady Bird Lane Café in the Hill Country Science Mill. They use regional ingredients, cater to most dietary needs, and serve sandwiches, flat breads and small bites. If you ate at Lady Bird Lane Café check out the Science Mill’s rotating exhibits. If you are over 21 stop at Pecan Street Brewing for craft beers like: Ladybird’s Wit a Belgian style white, Keep Calm & Carry On a strong amber English ale, and 1897 Jailbreak IPA. To see some nature head over to Pedernales State Park, if it is warm outside bring your bathing suit so you can explore the river. If it is still chilly bring your hiking boots and check out the trails. After getting your fill of nature drive to The Sculpture Ranch where over 100 sculptures by more than 40 artists are on display outdoors. Plus there is an aircraft hanger with multiple galleries and a permanent Benini exhibit. Because you will probably be tired and hungry at this point hit Texas 290 Diner for dinner for some comfort food, like fried green tomatoes and garlic-mashed potatoes before heading back to Austin.