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For many San Antonio locals, a day trip or weekend getaway to the Texas Hill Country once meant a drive to Fredericksburg, where we’d go to enjoy shops, restaurants, holiday festivals, parks and natural attractions. But on the way there, many of us happened upon the delightful city of Boerne and its busy Hauptstrasse (the German name for its bustling Main Street) and realized we need drive no farther.

Boerne is closer to San Antonio than most other equally attractive Hill Country towns, so it is a popular destination for Alamo City locals and visitors alike. An affluent little town that’s big on fun, Boerne was founded by German settlers in the mid-1800s. In those days, the downtown Alamo City was a long wagon-drive away, but because modern-day San Antonio has grown and sprawled to the northwest, these days Boerne is San Antonio’s close neighbor, situated only 25 miles northwest of downtown, just above Loop 1604 on Interstate 10.

But its proximity to San Antonio is but one of many reasons that Boerne (pronounced “Burr-nee”) has become the go-to place for locals seeking a little getaway: Myriad activities and entertainment options offered there lure visitors and keep them coming back. And because it sits at the edge of the lush natural Texas Hill Country, it’s also popular with fitness fans, nature enthusiasts, cave explorers, antique seekers, birdwatchers, wildflower followers, food lovers, art lovers, motorcyclists, car club members, wine aficionados, bed-and-breakfast-goers and more.

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Boerne’s Main Street is home to antique shops, cafes, art galleries, home design furnishings and accessory shops, clothing stores, bakeries, bistros, fudge shops, candle makers and even cooking gadget shops. There are also wine bars, restaurants, high-quality lodging options, parks, riverfront picnic areas and other attractions to please visitors.

Boerne is also known for its historic buildings and its deep German roots, apparent in such places as its old limestone Episcopal church, the historic Ye Kendall Inn and the green Main Plaza Park with its old-fashioned gazebo-style bandstand.

Over the past three decades, Boerne’s downtown has seen a remarkable revitalization, and housing developments such as Fair Oaks Ranch and Cordillera Ranch have created upscale neighborhoods with golf courses, clubhouses, grand Hill Country-style homes and parks near excellent schools — all integrated seamlessly into the area’s lush natural landscape.

But even if you’re just spending the day in Boerne, it is a wonderful place to visit and shop for antiques, collectibles, furniture, home accessories and more. Go to the VisitBoerne.org website, and you’ll learn about all that Boerne has to offer, including upcoming special events.

Shops in Boerne are not just full of clothing and knickknacks. In fact, art is an important part of everyday life, and the city celebrates its artisans in its many galleries and studios. To see the best art in Boerne, be sure to take part in its Second Saturday Art & Wine trail events, which happen between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. That’s when visitors and locals alike peruse the many participating shops and art galleries, and many gallery owners and merchants serve complimentary beverages (including wine for age-appropriate visitors) and free hors d’oeuvres for everyone. Local musicians provide entertainment, and some artists work on their art on the sidewalk. In the spring, there is also an annual Parade of Artists event that showcases the best art of the Hill Country.

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Other great not-to-be-missed events include Boerne Market Days, the Parade of Artists, Berges Fest, Boerne Chocolate Walk, Wings over Boerne and Dickens on Main, a beloved  family-friendly celebration of the holiday season. No Hill Country getaway would be complete without stopping for a bite to eat. There are a number of options for unforgettable meals here, whether you’re into fine dining or just a casual lunch with enchiladas and a margarita. Several Boerne hotels, resorts and restaurants feature fine dining experiences. Other local bistros and cafes also offer delicious fresh seasonal fare in a more casual setting. Little Gretel on River Road and The Creek Restaurant overlooking Cibolo Creek are always favorite spots for a special dinner.

If you’re in Boerne for a girlfriend getaway or shopping day, don’t forget to carve out some time to pamper yourself. It’s surprising that in such a small town there are so many day spas and salons where you can indulge in a massage, manicure/pedicure, facial or even a new haircut and style.

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If you have more than just a day, you may enjoy an overnight stay at one of Boerne’s many area bed-and-breakfast inns, where you can sit on a porch on a rustic cabin overlooking the hills or stand on a balcony overlooking Main Street. One popular bed-and-breakfast-style inn is the New Orleans-themed Crescent Quarters on Main Street. But don’t just stay in town when you get to Boerne — walk off some of the fine food you’ve had there and get out of the stores — there are so many natural wonders to enjoy in the area. Why not explore nature’s finest attractions, like the Cave Without a Name, Cascade Caverns, the Kruetzberg Canyon Natural Area, the Cibolo Nature Center and Enchanted Springs Ranch?

Whether you’re heading to Boerne for the first time, or you’re a regular visitor who hits the antique shops each month, or you’re a family heading there for a festival or special downtown event, this Hill Country town has a lot to offer, and you don’t have to drive far to discover its charms.

 

by Janis Turk
Photos courtesy Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau