On a recent Saturday afternoon at Becker Vineyards, about 20 minutes outside of Fredericksburg, the ladies had descended. With much color on their cheeks and a little on their noses, they sampled Viognier and Albariño, Tempranillo and Cabernet, and, in the case of two groups on the premises, toasted the bride-to-be in her veil. While the odd gentleman wandered in and out of Becker’s enormous wraparound bar area, it was the women who dominated—in some cases rather ruthlessly. (Note to woman with gigantic purse behind me: dig into my back all you want, I’m standing my ground.) “I guess the ladies like their wine,” my best girlfriend commented dryly, before we stocked up on lavender soaps and Cabernet and hit the road back to town.
With more time, we would have hit more of the two dozen or so picturesque wineries outside Fredericksburg, just like all the other women weekending there, a rather shocking number of whom were bachelorettes, including one group in matching hot-pink tops and fringe boots. (Note to bride: honey, you are too young.) Instead, we spent the morning luxuriating at the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, getting mani-pedis at the spa, dining on the world’s best quiche at the quirky property’s Farm Haus Bistro—next time I’m trying the potpie, on advice of the manicurist—and petting the fat farm cat we came across napping in a patch of sun. It was quite the day of indulgence, and it wasn’t over yet.
Post-winery, we partook of a mandatory Fredericksburg ritual: a leisurely walk down Main St., plastic cups of wine in hand, wandering in and out of all the cute shops and galleries. Tippling and strolling is encouraged here, something shopkeepers the world over would do well to lobby for, as evidenced by my purchase of a $42 candle from the enticing home store known as Red (no regrets!). We then went on to Otto’s, a hot little restaurant off Main that doesn’t take reservations, and got lucky, scoring the last seats in the house. They were at the bar, where we dug into sharable plates of bratwurst and sauerkraut, heirloom tomato salad, and a fascinating bread-and-butter service garnished with finely grated beets in a nod to the town’s German heritage—delicious.
Fredericksburg Herb Farm
Wine Country Cottages
Root Cellar Café
Rhea’s Ice Cream
Rudy & Paco
It wasn’t even 8 p.m. when we got back to our adorable abode-for-the-weekend, the Petit Chateau at Wine Country Cottages, a sweet little 13-cabin property. We laughed at ourselves, deciding that we’d turned into old ladies, but the truth is we’d been unable to resist the siren call of the hot tub on our front porch. Almost involuntarily we donned swimsuits and climbed in, basking in the cottages’ pretty fairy lights, the breeze, and the soft glow of the moon. Did we break into the Cabernet we’d bought at Becker—sipping, soaking and solving the world’s problems? I’m not at liberty to say. Of note, however: the lemon breakfast pastry the proprietors had set out for us on the kitchen counter was all but destroyed before we went to bed—a decadent end to a decadent day, and the perfect cap to a glorious girls’ weekend.
Splitting a cabin in New Braunfels is a time-honored tradition, as is hitching your tube to your girlfriends’ and floating down the Guadalupe and Comal rivers (make sure you check the latest tubing regulations beforehand). A trip here isn’t complete without a stop in nearby Gruene to wander the historic district, eat at the Gristmill, and have a beer and a two-step at Gruene Hall.… The live music scene is the main attraction in Denton, a town of 120,000 located north of Dallas. If your friends are into that, get the gang together and rent out a bed and breakfast near the quaint town square. Hit the nearby eateries and shops, including Recycled Books, which has a good record and CD selection, and at night, walk over to Dan’s Silverleaf to take in a show and flirt with the college guys.... The Riviera Cabin in San Marcos sleeps 14 and features a gorgeous shaded deck jutting out over the San Marcos River. Grab 13 of your BFFs and head there for a weekend on the water—the house is stocked with canoes. And if you get stir-crazy, there’s always downtown San Marcos, with its cute gift and vintage shops and lovely spots for dining with the ladies, including Root Cellar Cafe, known for its soups and sandwiches. Top it all off with a cone from Rhea’s Ice Cream.… And for a lovely girls’ weekend destination close to home, you can’t beat Galveston. Rent a beach house, spend a couple of lazy days on the beach and cook up fresh Gulf seafood in the evenings—or go out to the Strand, getting your fish fix at Saltwater Grill, Rudy & Paco, or Bistro LeCroy. If you’re feeling wild after dinner, hit Crow’s Cantina, boogie to the blues, and try your best to fend off the salty regulars.