This December, when I string my lights and trim my tree and light my menorah, I have four new friends to help me ring in the holiday cheer. Four miniature ceramic figurines, to be exact. Dressed in wintry clothes and perched on patches of white faux snow, my people are all busily headed somewhere. One lady, clutching a bag of wrapped gifts with another under her arm, is “walking” so swiftly her scarf flies behind her.
Nestled between the lush farmland and booming wineries along US 290 east of Fredericksburg, Wildseed Farms might have caught your eye as you breezed past; it’s that splash of brightness visible through the low brown wooden fencing. In the springtime, with its nearly 200 acres of blooming wildflowers stretched out like a lush quilt, Wildseed Farms is nearly impossible to miss.
If only the German immigrants who first settled Fredericksburg in 1846 could see what they started.
Unlike last year when many Texas peach orchards struggled to survive the unusual, late-season freeze, recent rains have proven that this year’s Texas Hill Country peaches are going full throttle.
Driving to Fredericksburg from the east on US 290, it’s easy to notice that spring adores the Hill Country: This oak-studded landscape is a hot spot for wildflowers—bluebonnets, firewheels, black-eyed Susans, and others color the vistas like a painting come to life, while roadside stands open in anticipation of peaches, tomatoes, blackberries, and other seasonal bounty coming to market.
Last fall, we asked Texas Highways readers to share their favorite places in the state for our Texas Top-40 Travel Destinations. And share you did—by phone, email, Facebook, and through many amazingly detailed letters. Thousands of TH readers helped to shape the final list, which we will divulge throughout 2014, Texas Highways’ 40th-anniversary year.
Every Texas town has its distinctive qualities and attractions—just ask the locals. Given the more than 2,000 small towns that populate this vast state, that makes for a lifetime of worthwhile country drives, courthouse square cafés, and quirky local history museums. That’s why we turned to Texas Highways readers to help identify our state’s “coolest small towns.” We had a blast fielding the nominations, which came in from all across the state. Considering the “small” stipulation, we set a population limit of about 10,000, although that meant some popular nominees weren’t included. We believe these small towns reflect the essence of Texas—from peaceful porch swings to sprawling oak trees, chicken-fried steak, and six-man football—and we invite you to join us as we explore their charms.
It’s getting tough to spend the day in Fredericksburg. After enjoying numerous day-trips to this Central Texas town, I realized during my most recent visit that Fredericksburg’s attractions—both the new and the venerable—have become so numerous that one day just doesn’t cut it anymore. Fredericksburg has become an overnight destination.
The National Museum of the Pacific War in this vibrant and historic town claims to be “the only one of its kind in America” –– quite possibly the world –– “telling the entire story of the war in the Pacific.”
While working on Jennifer Babisak’s story on agritourism for the June issue, Senior Editor Lori Moffatt learned more about the challenges and rewards of small-scale ranching and farming—and of opening your land to the public—from Sid Greer of Greer Farm near Daingerfield from Tom Carnes at Agarita Creek Farms in Fredericksburg.
After failing in our efforts at suburban gardening, my husband, Matt, and I embraced community-supported agriculture by obtaining our meat, milk, and produce directly from local farmers and ranchers.