It’s a time of the year when Main Street is transformed into a wreath-covered avenue, complete with glittering lights and a German Christmas Pyramid — it’s Christmas Time in Fredericksburg.
Take a day trip or spend the weekend in Fritztown. You’ll be able to learn a great deal about Fredericksburg’s German heritage while taking in some of the best shopping and entertainment in Central Texas.
The Short Story of Fritztown
The area, settled in 1846, was founded by Prince Frederick of Prussia. As Texas continued to settle and grow, so too did the railway system in Texas, and in 1913 the town was connected to San Antonio by rail.
The first settlers were German and brought with them their culture, language and way of life, making the early days of the state of Texas a very colorful one. You can still hear remnants of this “Texas German” language around town. “Fritztown” was the nickname given to Fredericksburg, which is still local slang for the area.
Take a stroll to downtown Fredericksburg and Main Street, and be transported to a different time in Texas. While you enjoy the ample shopping, eating and drinking to be had, don’t forget to admire the historic buildings that still carry with them the history of the town.
Keidel Memorial Hospital is once such building, which was built in 1909 by the son of Fredericksburg’s first physician, Dr. Wilhelm Victor Keidel. These days it houses a kitchen accessories shop, and it’s a great remnant from an earlier and simpler time in Texas.
And for all of the war historians out there, keep this town on your list. Known as the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, the decorated Navy veteran that had a major hand in the naval history of WWII.
Be sure to check out the National Museum of the Pacific War, which tells the story of Nimitz’s life. Take a walk around the Nimitz Hotel, which was built by the Admiral’s grandfather in 1852, another tribute to some of the earliest founders of Fredericksburg.
You’ll find authentic biergartens around town like Fredericksburg Brewing Company, where you can purchase a beer to enjoy with the rest of your shopping, as open consumption is legal here.
And you’d be missing out if you made your way out to the German town without sampling some of their famous wines, also portable for your shopping enjoyment. Lincoln Street Wine Market is a favorite stop where you are literally surrounded by local wines ready for pouring.
Shopping in the town is made even more fun with a drink in your hand, but don’t forget to check out some of the choice boutique shops along the main avenue. From leather goods to kitchen goods, from clothes to toys, you have your choice of souvenirs to take back with you and the family.
Agritourism the Texas Way
Many Hill Country people will be able to tell you the exact type of weather and temperatures to harvest Fredericksburg’s famous peaches, which became a staple in the agritourism business here.
Due to the sandy soil and high elevation of the Fredericksburg area, by 1921 the town was well-known as the Peach Capital of Texas, offering 4 distinct types: Burbank, Hale, Elberta, and Stark varieties.
You can find the peach stands along U.S. Highway 290 as you drive into downtown. Keep an eye during harvest time, which usually happens in the spring and summer months from May to August.
Another reason to head out west to Fritztown is for their extensive collection of wineries, all offering their signature tastes of the Hill Country. Dozens of wine makers have decided to call Fredericksburg home, like Fiesta Winery and Fredericksburg Winery. Take a drive down 290 for some of the tastiest Malbecs and Merlots this side of the Colorado River.
And if you’ve ever been in the Hill Country in April or May and smelled the sweet scent of lavender in the air, you might not be far from Fredericksburg. This herb is one of the crops grown in the region, which is why you may see so many lavender scented products in town.
On The Way to Fredericksburg
It’s always a fun day trip out to Fredericksburg, but it’s even better when you can plan a few stops along the way to make the most of your drive. You can visit a town or two on the way, whether to learn about a president or grab a bite in Johnson City.
And of course, you would have a whole day or more of fun on the Hill Country Wine Trail, which is always growing and changing. See what new wineries have sprung up with each visit out to Fredericksburg … which will give you another reason to keep going back.
Don’t be a stranger to the friendly German town just a short drive out west. A visit for the weekend is simply the best.
Fredericksburg, TX (map)