One of my favorite things about Boerne is how easy it is to feel like you have escaped to an entirely different place compared to our beloved Houston. After 3.5 hours in the car it feels as if you have entered a whole different state. Plus the city’s walkability is ideal for out-of-town visitors. So when I made plans for an overnight trip to the city, I also made a simple itinerary: eat, shop, and see what Boerne has to offer.
I met my guide—my college roommate who grew up in Boerne—on a Thursday morning, and we parked in a central location along the downtown stretch of Main Street known as the Hill Country Mile. The strip is actually 1.1 miles, so think of it as a Texas-sized mile. We started at Boerne City Center, a sort of luxury mini-mall that’s home to several specialty shops, including Baby Love Boutique and The Art of Eloquence, which is a writer’s dream with designer stationary, writing implements, and gift options. I left with a few additions to my desk and a mental list of must-haves for a future nursery or baby shower. For lunch, we met two friends at the Cypress Grille, where we took advantage of their daily special. (Homemade chicken pot pie? Yes, please!) We decided that the full meal experience can’t happen without dessert, so we tried the warm bittersweet chocolate cake—with four spoons, of course. Luckily we snapped a photo before diving into the decadent plate of warm, powdered-sugar-covered cake with fresh fruit trimmings.
After lunch, we returned to contributing to the local economy. Boerne’s downtown hosts the kind of stores where your purchases are tenderly wrapped in colorful tissue and packaged in paper bags customized for the stores—no generic plastic bags here. My guide made it a point to take me into a shop called Celeste because she saw on Facebook they were having a 50% jewelry sale. Speaking of social media, Boerne is an ideal subject for avid users like myself. The shop and restaurant owners post their latest finds—and discounts—on Facebook. Keep an eye on #Boerne. Down the block, we opened the door to Carousel Antiques and Fickle Pickles, where we savored the sweet, garlicky smell of homemade pickles. The “help yourself” bowl near the door invites shoppers to taste their original recipe, and I took a jar home for my husband. He’ll use them to top burgers made on his new grill. By now it’s time to check in to my accommodations for the evening. I was lucky to be one of the first guests to enjoy the adorable James Street Livery Guesthouse, a new construction rental property with a historic feel I discovered on VRBO.com that is in the heart of the Hill Country Mile.
After a restful night’s sleep, I met my friend for breakfast at The Dienger Trading Company. This place is a combination of bakery, bistro, bookstore, and boutique. An illustrated timeline along one wall tells visitors the story of the historic building and its name-sake Dienger family as fixtures in the Boerne community since the 1880s. With no itinerary for the day beyond breakfast, we decided to check out one of the city’s nature-made attractions, the Cibolo Nature Center, located on former ranchland along the Cibolo Creek. We took a few hours to leisurely enjoy the center’s walking trails, watch for wildlife hiding among the reeds on the wetlands boardwalk, and lounge in hammocks swung among groves of oak trees. We also took (and posted) photos and videos of the babbling creek. Then it was time for my last meal of the trip, and 259 Brantley’s Bistro sent me home on a high note for lunch—and with leftovers after I ordered their muffaletta, a notoriously large sandwich packed with meats, cheese, and house-made olive spread. Of course we saved room for dessert. I’d never heard of fried pecan pie. Can’t picture it? Trust me, it makes perfect sense.
Before I even leave the city limits, I’m hoping to return soon to fill my stomach with homemade goodies, my shopping bags with treasures, and my lungs with fresh Texas Hill Country air.