Given the Gruene Light

One of the 'best kept secrets' in Texas is only a short drive from Austin

One of the 'best kept secrets' in Texas is a short drive from Austin

Gruene Hall Texas
The town of Gruene was named one of the best secrets in Texas. Gruene Hall/Facebook

The popular tourist destination of Gruene — a history-steeped former town in Comal County — is now on the radar of even more visitors. Men’s Health magazine has named it one of the top off-the-radar getaways in the lower 48 states.

“Though it’s not technically its own jurisdiction — Gruene is part of New Braunfels, a small city about 45 miles southwest of Austin — aficionados of the Lone Star State need to make this place their best kept secret stop,” the magazine declares in its April 2018 print edition.

Note to Men’s Health: Gruene actually isn’t much of a secret to a lot of Texans, but we’ll take the compliment nonetheless.

The magazine’s ode to Gruene, part of its "Where Next 2018" article, gives a nod to the historic district’s “world-class barbecue” — with a shout-out to the “melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork” at CBQ Smokehouse — as well as to Gruene Hall, the oldest and best-known dance hall in Texas.

Men’s Health also recommends Gruene Mansion Inn if you’re inclined to stay overnight.

Gruene (pronounced “Green” for the uninitiated) appeals to an array of visitors, including antique shoppers, wine enthusiasts, river tubers, food lovers, music fans, and boot scooters. In terms of food and fun, one of the biggest draws in Gruene is the Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar, which is housed in a replica of an 1870s-era cotton gin that sits along the Guadalupe River.

German cotton farmers originally settled Gruene, which was formally established in 1872. However, residents abandoned the town in the 1920s following a boll weevil plague. The boll weevil is a pest that destroys cotton crops.