Fredericksburg In the space of one recent week, I heard of three different groups of ladies who were heading to the Hill Country for a Girlfriends Getaway. Off to the charming town of Fredericksburg these travelers went, where wineries, spas, shopping, live music and great restaurants awaited them. And did I say there is an amazing array of accommodations? Don't forget, however, that men have a great choice of activities too – including the new Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course.
We checked into the Hangar Hotel – a simply charming place to stay built adjacent to the Gillespie County Airport. High flying guests can fly into the property, but the hotel is not just for pilots. It is a completely new property built to resemble A WWII hangar. With just 50 rooms, each guest gets attentive and personal service. The hotel features the Airport Diner – a totally fun restaurant decorated with bright, gleaming stainless panels, black and white terrazo floors and granite. Huge windows allow guests to watch the runway for comings and goings. They serve Bomber Burgers, homemade shakes and a Rosie the Riveter Grilled Cheese. Our room had all the nice touches – free WiFi, cool teal and brown décor, mahogany furniture with touches of rattan and a big comfy chair covered in bomber jacket leather. A small breakfast bar was steps away where coffee, juice, pastries and fruit awaited us each day.
The Officer's Club offers elegant comfort and a view of the runway. For just $75, enjoy a 20-minute ride over the Hill Country with aerial views of Enchanted Rock or, seasonally, the stunning wildflowers of the area. There is a deck off the Club – perfect for enjoying a libation and watching the planes land. Dances and entertainment are routinely held at the Pacific Showroom where the atmosphere is most definitely the Pacific Theater of WWII. Dancing in this huge space and enjoying a drink at the magnificient Tiki Bar is on our return-and-do list. Lady Bird Johnson Park is just across the Gillespie County Airport runway. The park provides an Olympic-size swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball, baseball diamonds, nature trails, and picnicking facilities next to the dam or alongside a beautiful creek.
Also located inside the park is the Bird Johnson Golf Course, a par-71, 6,686-yard championship 18-hole golf course with practice facilities featuring 20 hitting stations, two practice greens and a practice bunker to work on those tricky little shots around the green or those long sand shots that we all love. The course just underwent a $2 million upgrade and boy, does it show. Orignially a 9-hole, city-owned course, it opened in 1969. It was built on county-owned land that was deeded to the city, to remain a park. Several expansions increased its appeal but in 2011, the city appointed a master planning committee that recommended the current improvements.
Phase 1, just completed, paid for every green to be rebuilt and improved the fairway, tees and bunkers. A new water pump station was built and the cart paths were all redone. The course has hosted the Southern Texas PGA Senior Championship along with numerous charity events. Phases 2 to 5 will bring a new maintenance facility, improved parking, new cart storage, a banquet room, significant irrigation and an all-weather bridge over the low water crossing. The average green size is 5,000 square feet. Nearly 40 percent of the golfers come from outside the area. The goal for the course is more than a typical municipal course. City leaders see the draw a first-class public course can do for tourism. The has beautiful live oak trees lining the fairways. Alan Wooley, director of golf for the course, told me that four of the holes on the front nine cross over the meandering Live Oak Creek and the back nine features three lakes that five of the holes come into play with.
The Red Bird Grill is located inside the Club House. Breakfast, lunch and drinks are served daily (except Mondays.) Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course is open every day of the week except Mondays. It is located out State Highway 16 South, 3 miles south of the downtown area, inside Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. If golf isn't enough for the 'guys,' they will (everyone will) love the National Museum of the Pacific War. This stunning museum began back in 1984. The museum honors Chester Nimitz, a native of Fredericksburg. Nimitz served in the U.S. Navy and became the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific during World War II. Organized around seven components, today it is hailed across the world as a fantastic tribute to the WWII U.S. military. Plan to spend a minimum of two hours but many guests spend all day.
Exhibits focus on carefully curated facets of the Pacific combat zone such as China, Japan, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima and Midway. All the major battles and thousands of artifacts are lovingly preserved here. Videos, interactive strategy displays, a B-29, oral histories, letters, medals, uniforms, everything is intriguing. Taking it all in is a moving experience and not to be missed. But back to the girls! A must is the Frederickburg Herb Farm – it's a garden center, a gift shop, a fabulous restaurant, a boutique hotel and – a spa! Facials, body polishes, 'renewals,' reflexology, skin treatments, and the massages – all heavenly.
Shopping in downtown Fredericksburg is a fun treat. Main Street runs through town and you can get lost for hours wandering through the many lovely shops and art galleries. Don't forget to stop and taste the home-crafted beer at and enjoy the food at the great, locally owned restaurants. Here are just a few highlights:
Shopping: Fredericksburg Art Gallery focuses on original paintings and bronzes by renowned artists from Texas. The Good Art Company – just tasteful and lovely and restorative. Timeless Menagerie - vintage clothing, , “repurposed treasures” and fun. Remember Me, Too - wonderful clothing, original artwork and folk art, unique gifts, handmade soaps and Texas beeswax candles.
Dining: Der Lindenbaum (derlindenbaum.com) serves authentic German cuisine. “The oldest and most acclaimed brewpub in Texas” is the Fredericksburg Brewing Company (yourbrewery.com). Great menu, too. Hilda's Tortilla Factory – owner Hilda Bopp makes 2,000 tortillas a day! All your favorites at a very reasonable price. Farm Haus Bistro at Fredericksburg Herb Farm – a perfect lunch or dinner. Serene, elegant and scrumptious. Bejas Grill & Cantina (bejasgrill.com) where owner Eric Bryla specializes in southwest cooking and Mexican cuisine. Candy shops, bakeries and wineries abound. Eat and drink at every one! (A full list of area eateries can be found at VisitFrederickburgTx.com)
At the end of the day, when the ladies and the men gather together – where will you find the most fun loving, laid-back, Texas-appreciatin' folks? Where Everybody's Somebody – in Luckenbach. Just a few minutes from town, this is a must. Park under the live oaks, walk through the store and grab a beer in the back before heading outside to sit at a picnic table. Guitars are being strummed, dogs are lazily gazing at the guests, and often, a flirtatious smile is being thrown about the vicinty. You don't have to worry about what you wear (anything is fine), how much it costs (not much at all) or what anyone thinks (no one cares). Just sit back, gaze up at the stars and listen. The sounds of Texas will surround you. Now – plan those getaways.
Either all girls, all guys or the best of both – you will find a memorable weekend in Fredericksburg. And I didn't even get to mention that in the wider area, there is a lavender farm, dozens of peach orchards, a thriving winery trail (WineRoad290.com), tons of outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, horseback riding and 350 bed and breakfasts. Have a great time!