There are times when getting out of the house is more than what some may call simple “weekend plans” — sometimes you need a change of scenery and just a touch of nostalgia to get your mind back on track.
That’s one of the reasons you might adore living in the Lake Travis area. The close proximity to the Texas Hill Country gives you easy access to quaint and historical Texas towns like Fredericksburg, Dripping Springs and Blanco — which are fun to tour for a weekend or even a day.
Not too far up the road from us is Johnson City, one of the more famous small Texas towns because of its hometown ties to President Lyndon B. Johnson. But that’s not all the town has going for it these days, in fact you can find natural state parks, fun shopping and even a brewery on the square.
You wouldn’t be in the Johnson City area long before you notice the love and homage paid to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Here you can find the boyhood home and where he was born, now located in Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historical Site.
The beautiful and well-kept ranch is a living memory of the Texas statesman and his family heritage, and boasts many of his personal keepings like his Presidential jet and a collection of the housewares from his original home. It feels like a time warp just to go into his old home, filled with 1960s appliances and rooms like they hadn’t been touched in decades.
You’ll also find the famed Texas White House on the property, along with pastureland filled with Hereford cattle, which are descended from the original cattle LBJ owned.
It’s a great time to learn a bit about Texas history and see just how one of our earlier Presidents was raised and lived.
Shop & Eat at the Square
Many Texas towns are centered around the downtown square, and Johnson City follows in that tradition.
Just outside of the Blanco County Courthouse is Pecan Street Brewing, where you’ll find some of the town’s tastiest beers. The brewery is a full service restaurant, as well, serving up burgers, sandwiches and chili to go with your brew.
If you’re in town and the hunger strikes, don’t forget to try East Main Grill Restaurant for their fresh fare, or stop in at the new Lady Bird Lane Cafe for delicious cuisine right next to the newly remodeled Science Mill.
Shopping is another reason to get out of the house, and Johnson City does not disappoint.
This vintage-hunting girl is always looking for the best in housewares and clothing finds, which is why a run through boutique Rural Roots or Mainstreet Boutique is a must-do when you’re shopping in Johnson City. The mix of bohemian tops with leather accessories is enough to make a Texas girl keel over with delight, so bring a few extra bucks if you’re in search of fun duds you can’t find anywhere else.
As with a lot of older Texas towns, you can expect to find a smattering of antique shops to pick through, including Pieces of the Past and The Old Lumber Yard just outside of the Square.
It’s a great place to spot a reclaimed vintage chair or a retro sign or two, and the prices are great compared to what you usually pay in Austin, so bring a car with a large trunk because you never know what you might walk away with.
Pedernales Falls State Park
One of the more popular places to visit in Johnson City is Pedernales Falls State Park, well-known for its beautiful and expansive hiking trails and seasonal swimming holes.
The trail down to the Pedernales River will guide you past native plants and scenery as you near your final resting spots to take a dip. Enjoy colorful flower displays throughout different times of the year and take in some of Texas’ best natural wonders firsthand.
Camping is also available if that’s your thing, so plan ahead and bring your gear to extend your stay past a day or two.
Hill Country Science Mill
One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the science museum on school field trips; that is why I got so excited to see Hill Country Science Mill open this past February.
This decommissioned feed mill was reconstructed to use for educational purposes and as a meeting place for the community to discuss scientific matters, and is open Wednesday – Sunday for science lovers, young and old.
Take a drive out to Johnson City for a Lake Travis day trip that’s fun, educational and relaxing all at the same time.
Johnson City (map)