By: Elizabeth Wheless
While the semester has just begun, the cold weather already has me counting down the days until spring break. One of my favorite ways to recharge while impatiently waiting for sunnier days is by planning a weekend trip. If you take a look at my calendar, it’s already filled with about four or five weekend getaways, which are honestly just an excuse to fuel my travel addiction. As a native Texan, I’ve discovered so many underrated towns, events, and hidden gems that are only a few hours from Dallas. So, grab your girls, stock up on snacks, and get your playlist ready for a road trip around the beautiful state of Texas!
One of my favorite getaways nestled in the Texas Hill Country is a town called Fredericksburg. Settled by German immigrants, Fredericksburg is known for its beautiful wildflowers, wine vineyards, rich history and small town charm. This unique town is enjoyable year-round, and once you visit, you’ll feel like you’ve unlocked a well-kept secret.
My first stop in Fredericksburg is always Vaudeville. The historic building, which was once a German domino parlor owned by my great-grandfather, now houses a curated shop adorned with Baccarat butterflies and custom leather backgammon sets. Go downstairs and grab a table at their restaurant, which serves fabulous dishes crafted with fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. Enjoy a walk down Main Street where you can pop into the various shops, galleries, and even get a quick history lesson at the Nimitz museum. For those of age, channel your inner sommelier at one of Fredricksburg’s many wineries or if you’re feeling sporty, take a morning hike to the scenic Enchanted Rock. Regardless of how you spend your weekend, there’s something for everyone in Fredericksburg.
LUCKENBACH + MARBLE FALLS
Just a short drive from Fredricksburg are the towns of Luckenbach and Marble Falls. Luckenbach is known for its dance hall, popularized by the iconic country artist Waylon Jennings, which hosts up-and-coming artists nearly every weekend. So grab a pair of boots and get ready to Two-Step at this Texas landmark. About an hour further is the town of Marble Falls, where your first stop must be Bluebonnet Cafe, known for serving over 15 flavors of homemade pies. For a pick-me-up, check out the Beloved Cafe, where you can sip delicious coffee and walk around the shop’s art gallery.
If you’re willing to venture further south, a must-see is the adorable town of Round Top. Wander through the antique show to find vintage gems or perhaps bump into well known designers such as Marion Crosby and Hunter Belle. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the cult-favorite Kemo Sabe hats, which were previously only available in the resort towns of Colorado. Well, you’re in luck, as they have opened their newest outpost right in downtown Round Top. After working up an appetite indulging in retail therapy, grab a bite to eat at Lulu’s or Papi burger to end your perfect day in Round Top.
The Houston Rodeo, running from February to March, is a must see! If traditional bull riding and a livestock show aren’t your cup of tea, check out the carnival and concerts located within the rodeo. This year’s performers include Luke Bryan, Jonas Brothers, and many more. In my opinion, Houston has the BEST Tex-Mex, so make sure to stop by Armandos, El Tiempo, or Pappasitos for a post-concert meal.
Fort Worth is only a short drive away and is perfect for a day trip or overnight stay. Check out the iconic Stockyards, enjoy a cocktail at the Drover Hotel, and indulge in some stylish western wear at the Maverick. Notable local restaurants include Joe T. Garcias and Cooper’s BBQ. For those in the mood for a more educational experience, spend the afternoon at the Kimbell Museum of Art or the Fort Worth botanical gardens.
Austin is the melting pot of Texas and a wonderful city to visit all times of the year. Explore shops and restaurants on South Congress and nightlife and live music on 6th Street. Tan and swim at Barton Springs or treat yourself to an afternoon of pampering at the Lake Austin Spa. When it’s time to get on the road, don’t pass up P. Terry’s burgers for a road trip snack to end the weekend on a delicious note.
Graphic: Tatum Thill