& New Braunfels
Words by Mary Bryce
For a gorgeous weekend vacation that will refresh you, a trip to Gruene can be the perfect get-away.Originally settled by German immigrants, New Braunfels and the neighboring town of Gruene still have enchanting remnants of German culture, as well as gorgeous parks, rivers and outdoor spaces that will win your heart immediately.
If you’re looking to experience an old-school hotel that still feels like it’s stuck in the 1930s, consider staying at the historic Faust Hotel, located in the center of New Braunfels. Alternatively, if you’re interested in staying somewhere closer to the water, Gruene River Inn is located right on the banks of the Guadalupe River.
Start your day off right with some delicious baked goods from the charming Naegelin’s Bakery. (Be sure to try a few of their delicious frosted German pretzels.) Get a few extra pastries for a picnic and head to Landa Park where you can go on a leisurely hike and work up an appetite. For dinner, Alpine Haus Restaurant offers some filling and tasty German cooking.
For better or worse, Schlitterbahn is always worth a visit, especially if you have kids. Even if you don’t enjoy water parks or rides, floating through the relaxing wave pool will make even the most unenthusiastic swimmer happy. If water parks aren’t your bag, consider floating down the Comal River. Be prepared for inner tubes galore, especially in the summer. Afterwards, head to Gruene where you can eat a delicious dinner at the beautiful Gristmill River Restaurant, and try some of the fabulous chicken fried steak. If you still have energy after a big meal, take a spin on the dance floor at the incredible Gruene Hall. Built in the 1800s, the historic dance hall hosts an array of country, Americana and blues bands nightly.
Begin the day with a cup of coffee at the adorable Gruene Coffee Haus. Loaded with caffeine and ready to shop, Gruene Antique Company is the place to search for vintage treasures. Additionally, be sure not to miss Barn Pottery shop in New Braunfels, where you can find gorgeous handcrafted pottery. (Every fall Gruene hosts the Texas Clay Festival where potters from all over Texas hawk their wares.) Afterwards, wind down the weekend at Winery on the Gruene, where you can sample a variety of Texas wines on the beautiful patio.
if you go…
Gruene Hall features a rotating calendar of musical acts year round. New Braunfels also has a large 4th of July celebration. If you want to plan far ahead, The Texas Clay Festival takes place in Gruene every October.
A car is probably necessary to get to and from New Braunfels and Gruene. Within the towns themselves, be prepared to walk (or perhaps bring your own bike.)
Temperatures will be roughly the same as in Austin. In the summer, be prepared for heat and wear sunscreen.