Blanco, Texas, in the center of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, is a small town known as the Lavender Capital of Texas. With a name given like that, you know something beautiful is going on in and around that town. Blanco is an easy 30-minute road trip from northern San Antonio and about a 45-minute road trip from Austin, making it a nice getaway either way. One of the town’s official mottos is “Texas Friendly Spoken Here,” and after a day spent wandering around town, you’ll start to realize what makes this small town so special. It’s not just the laid-back vibe that this town is known for — it’s also the Texas pride that you feel as you stroll through the town. And with the Blanco River running through it, it’s no wonder this town is a place to come for adventure.
Explore Hill Country Lavender Farm
The Hill Country Lavender Farm is the first commercial lavender farm in Texas. It is home to more than 2,000 lavender plants spread across two fields. The farm welcomes visitors to cut their own lavender throughout lavender season from mid-May to July, but their farm opens up in April for visiting. If you love lavender as I do, you may want to know that the farm runs its store year-round with fresh lavender products such as soap, oil, linen spray, bubble bath, body lotion, etc.
The town holds its annual Blanco Lavender Festival at the beginning of the summer (usually in June) on the grounds of the Blanco County Courthouse and everything from soaps to lavender-laced food made from the flower is for sale.
Meander Blanco State Park
Blanco State Park is located along the banks of the Blanco River and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s. It’s now one of the town’s best places to gather with family and friends and catch a glimpse of the flowing water. Town Creek flows into the river, and many of the original benches and picnic tables are over 70 years old. During the summer, the growth of the woods will block the view, but in the fall and winter, you can enjoy these precious stone features.
Where the Native Americans once camped around the flowing waters back in the day, locals and visitors fish, swim, hike, and have picnics in the small park. The swimming hole is an excellent adventure in the summertime, and come fall, the leaves change for leaf-peeping adventures.
Visit Blanco’s Historic Town Square
The historical significance in Blanco is everywhere you turn. This is evident in its historic town square and the Pioneer Museum, where visitors can learn about the history of Blanco. Take your time exploring the square and its many shops, eateries, museums, antiques, breweries, wineries, and clothing stores. You can certainly fill up a full day of shopping, eating, and exploring while in Blanco.
My favorite store is the Olde Blanco Emporium and Market. They have everything from furniture to clothing and jewelry to spices for cooking. They even had some cute local-made items that would make great gifts for family and friends.
Experience History At Old Blanco County Courthouse
The Old Blanco County Courthouse is one of the main tourist attractions in Blanco and is a living image of Texas’ Golden Age of courthouses. It is also a National Historic Landmark, and some visitors come here to marvel at the beautiful architecture of the building. It was built in 1885 and has a fascinating history that you can learn more about at the visitor center located inside. You can tour the courthouse museum at no charge Monday through Saturday.
Also, Market Day is held on the 3rd Saturday of every month, March through November, courthouse grounds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. That’s the time I would go. I love local sales like this!
Grab Breakfast At Redbud Café
If you’re there for breakfast, be sure to check out the Redbud Café across the street from Blanco County Courthouse. It’s a casual eatery located on the square next to Brieger Pottery and is a great place to sit back and relax with a cup of coffee in hand. They serve freshly made local food with a large selection of craft beer from the local Real Ale Brewing Company. But what locals and visitors like about the place is its live music provided by popular local bands. On the weekends it gets busy, but the wait isn’t as bad as you might think. And if it is, it’s worth it. I had their signature mimosa flight along with pear & blue cheese salad with various greens and maple pecans. Both went very well together! Have you ever heard of a mimosa flight? Me either, that’s why I ordered it!
Step Back In Time At The Buggy Barn Museum
Take a trip back in time at the Buggy Barn Museum. Take a leisurely, self-paced tour exploring the changes of transportation by checking out over 200 buggies, wagons, and carriages from years gone by. Some buggies have even been featured in popular televis ion shows and films, like the remake of True Grit. Buggies are also available for visitors to take a ride through some of the most scenic areas of Blanco. It’s a great way to explore and see the beauty and the history of the town in a fun way. Also, be sure to visit the Pine Moore Old West Studio located behind the museum.
Pro Tip: Buggie rides are by appointment only.
Dine At Old 300 BBQ
For the best barbeque in town, head to Old 300 BQQ. It’s one of those places a town is known for — a good barbeque meal. Get there early for lunch and minimal wait times. We enjoyed the barbeque sandwich that was good without the barbeque sauce. But for a more scrumptious taste, please pile it on! And, I have to mention the bun: It was soft on the inside and crispy on the outside — just as I like it. But then came the dessert: a smoked blueberry cheesecake topped with fresh blueberries and drizzled in blueberry sauce. That dessert is worth another trip!
Enjoy A Craft Brew
With six craft breweries in and around Blanco, there are many choices for tastings. Real Ale Brewing Company is a local brewery with 16 signature beers and many seasonal varieties. I like my sweet drinks, so I tried the strawberry shortcake IPA, but it wasn’t really sweet — I just liked the name. Visitors can take a free tour of the brewery on designated days. Call ahead if that’s something you would like to do. And be sure to visit the taproom, if it’s open, for tasting the various beers. Beers to go are also available for purchase.
Texas Cannon Brewing Company is a brewery and restaurant in the town square. They provide craft brews and great food, and don’t forget to leave room for their amazing desserts.
Another brewer near Blanco is Old 290 Brewery & Restaurant up the road in Johnson City, about a 20-minute drive. Pecan Street Brewing and Reck & Right Brewing are two more breweries located in Johnson City. You could make a full day of touring all the local breweries. Rough Diamond Brewery is situated south of Blanco in Spring Brand, if wanting to venture that way.
Sip The Wineries
For wine lovers, check out Tenuta Bianco Bar. It’s a winery and grocery store combined. The tastings are great and the store dog, Vino, is adorable, very friendly, and will greet you at the door. The live music was great when we were there and I’d love to go back to listen to more. This is a true hot spot for the locals because everyone seems to know each other, or maybe they are just that friendly — after all, it’s small-town Blanco. Esperanza Winery was the town’s first winery and is well-liked in town. It’s down the road from the town square but worth the walk. It has a tasting room and lounge, and offers outdoor seating. La Vie Estate Winery is a little further out, but if you like the views of vineyards, you may want to take a drive out there.
Bowl A Round Of Pins
You wouldn’t have the whole Blanco experience if you didn’t head over to the Blanco Bowling Club & Cafe. This local hangout features nine-pin bowling, an old German style of bowling. I’m not familiar with this type of bowling, but the website explains it. The Blanco Bowling Club is one of only 11 in the state still in operation. They even have leagues you can join.
Stay Overnight In Blanco
A few chain hotels are available — like the Best Western Plus — which are located right outside of town and reasonably priced. Or, if you’re looking for the best hill country experience, spring for a cottage rental along the Blanco River. If those are booked, then look for the cozy ones in town. You will undoubtedly find the perfect accommodations to meet your needs in this small town. And, if not, Johnson City is right up the road.
Pro Tip: Locals are friendly and don’t mind that city life is nowhere to be seen. They love the relaxation of the town.
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