A look at the attractions and character of an interesting old German town in the Texas Hill Country about 78 miles west of Austin and 70 miles north of San Antonio.
Fredericksburg, Texas offers visitors a rich mixture of history, art, food, shopping and German culture, along with the beauty of the Lone Star State’s Hill Country. Just don’t go there on Monday because many places are closed and don’t depend on your American Express card because many restaurants and shops do not take that card.
Fredericksburg is 70 miles on the auto from San Antonio via Interstate 10 and U.S. 87. It is 78 miles west of Austin, via U.S. 290.
The National Museum of the Pacific War is Fredericksburg’s showpiece. It is actually a six-unit downtown complex that includes:
• The Admiral Nimitz Museum. Fleet Admiral Nimitz served as CinCPAC, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet and was soon afterward named Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas during World War II.
• The George Bush Gallery of the Pacific War
• The Plaza of the Presidents
• The Japanese Garden of Peace
• The Memorial Walk
• The Pacific Combat Zone
• Museum Named After Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz
The Nimitz Museum, named after Pacific Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, is located in a former hotel owned by his family. The white three-story frame structure welcomes visitors at the intersection of U.S. 87 and Main Street.
Visitors can buy tickets here for the entire complex, which includes numerous huge WWII weapons, 19th Century artifacts from the Nimitz Hotel, hundreds of plaques honoring individual WWII veterans and monuments to 10 presidents associated with WWII. Tickets are $7 for adults, less for WWII vets, seniors and students.
Main Street, or Hauptstrasse as the Germans call it, features about 10 blocks of shops, restaurants, museums, antiques, book stores, art galleries, bakeries, beer gardens, city hall, the volunteer fire department, the town maypole, the 156-year-old Zion Lutheran Church and even a winery. It’s a great walk up one side of the street and back the opposite side. Numerous sidewalk benches provide resting spots along the way. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
The Magic Mile
The central shopping district, referred to as "The Magic Mile", is separated from the West Main Street shopping district by Marktplatz.
"The Magic Mile" begins just east of the Admiral Nimitz Museum and continues west to Marktplatz.
For the kids, there's a playscape, a storytelling Maibaum, a waterwheel and extensive, well manicured lawns for running and playing.
Visit the Vereins Kirche
Along the way, tourists can visit the octagon-shaped Vereins Kirche (German for community church) Museum in the Marktplatz. It was built in 1935 as a replacement for an 1847 community church. The Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post Newspaper says the Vereins Kirche served as a church, fort, storehouse, meeting hall, library and office before becoming one of the city’s local history museums. It is believed to be the most photographed building in the city.
There’s even more local history at the Pioneer Museum, three-and-a-half acres of old buildings recalling life in Fredericksburg back to 1846.
Near the western end of Main Street are several black buggies sitting in front of the Amish Market, which offers handmade furniture and food items ranging from cedar chests to jams and jellies.
Herb Farm Offers Gourmet Food
There are numerous opportunities to enjoy German food (schnitzel, sausages, cobbler, etc,), locally brewed beer and wine, as well as Texas smoked barbecue, in Fredericksburg. A few blocks off Main Street is the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, a combination nursery, spa, bed-and-breakfast, and restaurant, which specializes in gourmet foods and wines served in a garden atmosphere.
Visitors can buy or pick their own delicious peaches in several orchards in and near Fredericksburg.
In addition to a few national chain hotels, Fredericksburg offers more than a dozen bed-and-breakfast facilities, most of which can be contacted through fredericksburg-lodging.com.
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