It’s known for its wineries, its peaches and berries, and the blocks-long National Museum of the Pacific War. It’s known for its shopping and dining in a charming, brick-fronted downtown area and for Luckenbach, just down the road. But what I love equally about Fredericksburg, a well-loved small-town destination in Texas Hill Country, is how out-of-the-hotel-room-box its accommodations can be.
Take your pick of adults-only settings in and around town: an herb farm, airport hangar, Pullman train car, vineyard cottage, treehouse, retro Shasta trailer, dome, or repurposed shipping containers.
Note: I received some sponsorship for my visits to Fredericksburg, but the opinions expressed are my own.
1. Pullman Train Car At Das Peach Haus
It had me at peaches. I timed my first visit to Fredericksburg with its summer peach harvest, when roadside stands, marketplaces, orchards, and restaurants overflow with blushing, fuzzy, juicy fruit. Others may be more interested in its wildflower, grape, tomato, or berry seasons, but my ears perked up at the news (to me) that Texas peaches rank up there with Georgia and South Carolina. (But don’t ever say that out loud in those other Southern states.)
You’ll find the best fresh peaches and blackberries at the Studebaker Farm stand. Don’t miss the ice cream with peach sauce at Burgs’ Corner or the peach cobbler at Vogel Orchard. At the latter two, you are able to sample products from blackberry jam to amaretto pecan peach preserves.
Das Peach Haus, Fredericksburg’s oldest retail operation, is ground zero for all things peachy. And now I’ve learned — since my most recent visit in 2021 — that it has added one-of-a-kind accommodations to its lakeside repertoire of a mammoth general store, restaurant, teaching kitchen, and full complement of tasting events.
Add history and romance to that list of reasons folks visit Fredericksburg. At this latest, you can sleep in the past on an 1894 Private Palace Pullman Car that Teddy Roosevelt once rode, smoothing out his rough riding days. Original antiques furnish its bedroom and living room spaces. But you will also find modern conveniences such as a flat-screen TV, a microwave, and Wi-Fi.
2. Hoffman Haus
What’s with all the “hauses,” or “Hauser,” as they’d say in Germany? German immigrants settled here in the 1840s and are responsible for the town’s strong agricultural roots. Hoffman Haus bed and breakfast honors those roots with vacation homes, suites, and rooms decorated in Hill Country style — a little bit of German vernacular, a whole lot of Texas ranch.
On my first visit to Fredericksburg, I stayed in the Bluebonnet Suite, named for the region’s iconic wildflower that blossoms late March to mid-May. It transported me, each minute I spent there, to the heart and soul of Hill Country with its rustic barn architectural elements. Each morning, breakfast arrived in a picnic basket at my door.
What I also loved about Hoffman Haus was that when it came time to pry myself away, it was only steps from Fredericksburg’s Main Street. During summer’s peach season, downtown was relatively quiet, and nothing could have been better than roaming the historic buildings with their boutiques, Western wear marts, antique and furnishing meccas, silver and turquoise jewelry stores, bars, restaurants, historic sites, Marktplatz central park, and wine shops.
Pro Tip: It’s worth eating a second breakfast; Old German Bakery & Restaurant on Main Street serves mammoth German pancakes and irresistible pastries for a sweet taste of Fredericksburg heritage.
3. Hangar Hotel
My next visit, during spring break, saw downtown transform into a crowded, bustling day trip destination — still charming for early morning or evening wandering. But when I was ready to escape the throngs, I was happy I shared a room with my husband at the Hangar Hotel, just a short 10-minute drive from downtown.
Reflecting Fredericksburg’s rich military and aviation history, the hotel recreates a World War II military hangar at the county airport, where you can watch private jets landing and taking off from a rocking chair on the second-floor observation deck or from the dining room. Fly-in activity is especially brisk on weekends. The rooms are fairly standard-issue but are decorated — as are the lobby, the Officer’s Club bar, and dining room — with aircraft and period memorabilia such as vintage luggage, stuffed leather chairs, sleigh beds, and black-and-white tiled bathrooms.
4. Hill Country Herb Garden
One of the most charming remnants of early Fredericksburg history persists in a vernacular architectural style peculiar to the town known as “Sunday Haus.” You can see original Sunday houses — small cottages outlying German farmers built in town for their weekend shopping and churchgoing — around the downtown area. You can tour one in its original state at the Fredericksburg Pioneer Museum. Even better, you can stay in a recreated Sunday house at Hill Country Herb Garden. Complete with a front porch swing and rocking chairs, the cottages take a step back in time, but with contemporary comfort and décor.
Built into herb and floral gardens, the complex lies within walking distance of downtown, but feels much further removed and is self-contained with a full-service spa, restaurant (to reopen this summer), and healthful inclinations.
Pro Tip: To stay in a true former-life Sunday house, book Das Soheid Sunday House vacation rental.
5. The Treehouses Of HoneyTree Farm
In modern times, treehouses have become more emblematic of weekend (or longer) stays around Fredericksburg. The Treehouses of HoneyTree Farm lie about 10 minutes north of town. In a woodsy setting, five elevated cottages with names like The Acorn and The Sapling put luxury into the treehouse experience. Architecturally innovative, they each have their own personality and exclusive amenities such as outdoor baths, decks for birdwatching, and multi-window views.
Nature-lovers, stargazers, and seclusionists will love the luxury retreat 10 miles from Fredericksburg and lightyears away from metro vibes. Onera’s collection of architecturally stunning accommodations ranges from a glamping-style “Cocoon” to a dome house and design-forward stilt house. Cedar soaking tubs, efficiency kitchens, fire pits, and observation decks complete the amenities of the eight custom vacation rentals.
7. The Vine On Middle Creek
The modern side of the German farming tradition has created more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms along Fredericksburg’s Gillespie County wine trail. Within walking distance of downtown, the Urban Wine Trail alone lists 11 wine bars. The even better news is that the county has made it legal to take your wine (or other adult beverage) along on your stroll through town.
A number of operations offer wine tours through the spread-out winery region so guests can avoid drinking and driving. There is, however, one vineyard with its own accommodations. The Vine on Middle Creek retreat completed six new luxury cottages in 2020, rentable through Airbnb. Suitable for couples to large groups, the cottages live among an 8.5-acre working vineyard that offers tours to guests upon request. The property’s lodge serves hot breakfast and provides gathering spaces for wine tasting and soaking up nature on the porch about 10 minutes from downtown Fredericksburg.
Pro Tip: For an uber-informative winery tasting with food-pairing hints, visit Kuhlman Cellars.
8. Odonata Escape
Flexible as a group or family meeting retreat or getaway for adults, Odonata Escape turned shipping containers into eight unique rental units in four buildings assembled with five containers each. Located 5 miles east of Fredericksburg, Odonata benefits from a hill that separates it from urban vibes and night lights for stellar stargazing around the fire pit and s’more makings provided by the resort.
Each rustic, modern, and slightly funky unit exudes its own personality with names like Groovy, Happy Boho, Tranquility, and Shangri-La. Stylish and bold inside and out, the units all come stocked with mini-kitchen essentials such as a fridge, microwave, Keurig coffeemaker, coffee, and dishware.
For groups that rent the entire plaza (children are welcome), the Porch House, a renovated 1880s stone farmhouse, serves as meeting and dining space. Retreat staff can arrange meals, wine tastings, and all manner of entertainment.
9. Blue Skies Retro Resort
Taking glamping to a whole new level of fun, funky, and glam, Blue Skies subtracts the labor and uncertainty from the travel-trailering experience with its five stationary Shasta units.
In 2015, Shasta reissued a limited edition of its classic 1961 trailer. Casey and Atticus Rowe bought one to travel with their then 2-year-old son. After experiencing the work involved with setting it up in sometimes disappointing RV parks, they hit on the idea of Blue Skies, where the five trailers come parked under a retro awning with a private yard. Each trailer contains a full bed with luxury linens, kitchen facilities, plus a half bath. It comes with a designated spa-like bathroom with hotel amenities, including robes and a private outdoor shower.
The private baths reside in the resort’s pavilion, complete with a communal fireplace, lounge area, and gas grill. It overlooks the 42-acre property’s year-round swimming pool about 12 miles south of downtown Fredericksburg. After opening in 2019, the resort’s spacious, spread-out qualities saw the Rowes through the pandemic, with built-in social distancing thanks to gate and room codes assigned to all guests.