The holidays are almost here—and things can get a little hectic if you’re not prepared. That’s why we advise taking a quick road trip to Fredericksburg to clear your head (and some of the items off your holiday to-do list) before the seasonal stir craziness sets in.
If you haven’t been to Fredericksburg in awhile, or you just haven’t explored the newest shops and galleries, the Art Walk on the first Friday of every month is the perfect opportunity to experience the best of Fredericksburg’s culture. The monthly event features the work of hundreds of Hill Country artists, as well as special menus and wine tastings, at various artisan galleries and venues throughout downtown. All of the galleries are open until 8:00 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to stroll around and enjoy a few glasses of wine while you shop for yourself or loved ones.
If it’s just wine that you’re interested in, then head to Highway 290—or Wine Road 290, as it’s quickly becoming known—to sample grappa produced at one of ten local Hill Country wineries. My personal favorite, Becker Vineyards, is a lovely place to taste some exceptional wines, including the incredible Iconoclast Cabernet—a smooth, full-bodied cabernet for only $10.95! (Yes, it’s good enough to warrant an exclamation mark.) There is also a three-acre lavender field on the Becker property—tucked right behind the winery—and the gift shop offers lovely handmade items like lavender soaps, pillows, herbs, bath salts and food items that are perfect for stocking stuffers.
And while buying tasteful, reliable presents for family and friends is great, I can never resist imagining the absurd things I would buy for Christmas if I were an eccentric billionaire. If you’re the same way, you can get closer to that whimsical delusion at the Wildflower Ridge Alpaca Ranch, located just a few miles from Fredericksburg. It’s free to pet, feed and fawn over the 20 or so alpacas here at this hidden Hill Country gem. And if you want to take home something from your experience, there are handmade alpaca scarves, clothes, rugs and other accessories available for purchase at the onsite gift shop.
If you need more than a day in the city, I recommend reserving one of the several guesthouses and cottages—available for weekend and week-long stays—in the downtown area. I was completely charmed by my guesthouse, the Barons Creek Cottage, located just a few blocks from Main Street. I felt like little Gretel from the fairytale as I walked back from downtown and passed through my white picket fence and front door to find the cottage owners—who live just down the street—have left a homemade coffee cake for me on the kitchen counter. Yes, they really did. And yes, I ate the whole thing. Merry Christmas to me.