Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Something Old, Something New

By Ashley Donde

Boerne- Dienger Tracing Co. Coffee“I think it’s crooked,” I said to my husband, Sean, as I examined the painting I had hung a few days prior. It was the only piece of art in our new home, sitting lonely on the large blank canvas of our living room wall. We sold most of our non-necessities before the big move, and this one painting—a wedding gift, now 15 years old—was the sole surviving art piece.

“We don’t have time to fix that now, sweetie, we need to head out,” Sean gently reminded me as he grabbed my small suitcase and put it in the car.

After six months of packing and prepping—and the actual move itself—we were exhausted and in need of a getaway. The drive to Boerne, Texas, was fairly quick and I was intrigued by its cultural background, as it was settled by German immigrants, plus its historic charm and easy access to outdoor fun, so we decided to make a weekend of it and see what the Texas Hill Country had to offer.

Getting away from it all

The move had required us to spend a lot of nights in hotels, so now I preferred something more romantic for our getaway. My husband, being the wonderful genius that he is, did some research and booked the James Street Livery Guesthouse in Boerne.

This home-away-from-home was the definition of charming. It’s a new building created with cozy, old-world style, filled with historic accents and décor. The combination created the perfect environment for us to relax and enjoy some downtime. I would have been content spending the weekend lounging around the guesthouse, drinking tea and people-watching on the front porch from the comfort of a rocking chair. But we aren’t exactly “lounge around all day” kind of people, so we set out for an afternoon kayak.

In the Hill Country, it’s easy to find ways to spend quality time with nature. We headed to Guadalupe River State Park, where people go to kayak, swim, tube, canoe and fish. As we paddled slowly down the river, the scenery was like a painting with massive bald cypress trees framing the water. Serene and relaxing, we soaked in our surroundings, enjoying the sounds of birds chirping and the occasional dragonfly landing on our legs or paddles.

Date-night delicacies

After a few hours clearing our minds on the river, we headed back to the guesthouse to clean up for dinner. Sean took me to The Creek, a restaurant that radiated romance, from the classic décor—which, along with our guesthouse, gave me lots of ideas for sprucing up my own home—to the gorgeous tree-filled views and delicious food. Light poured in through the large windows, and gorgeous wood floors and crisp white tablecloths set the scene. It had “date night” written all over it.

We shared crab cakes as an appetizer, a long-time favorite of ours. “Cheers to new beginnings,” Sean smiled, as he clinked my wine glass. We reminisced about our 15 years together, and talked about our goals and dreams for the next 15. He scarfed down his scallop entrée, while I leisurely enjoyed every bite of my filet mignon. Typical us, I thought, and smiled at how even when life is unpredictable, some things never change.

With full bellies, we spent the remainder of our evening relaxing in the rocking chairs on the front porch of the guesthouse. “We really needed this,” I sighed, as I looked over at Sean. “We do too much running around and not enough enjoying the scenery.” He agreed, and we talked about how we could remedy that when we returned home.

Take-home treasures

Main Street WestThe next morning we walked to a bakery and café along the Hill Country Mile—the historic downtown area, only minutes from the guesthouse. Strolling down Haupstrasse (meaning “Main Street” in German), Sean and I soaked in the charm of the area, filled with specialty shops, local eateries and locals enjoying their mornings. One bakery caught our attention as we approached and we decided that flaky pastries and warm, rich coffee were just what the doctor ordered…or at least what enticed us the most. Between sips and munches, we talked about our plan for the day, which entailed visiting an antiques show.

The Boerne Antiques Show happens to be nationally acclaimed, with vendors bringing items from all across the country. I’m not traditionally much of a shopper, but when it comes to antiques and home décor, I could browse for hours. Adding to my zeal was the inspiration I’d gotten from our guesthouse and The Creek restaurant.

Armed with a game plan, we made the quick drive to the fairgrounds and found ourselves almost overwhelmed with the mass of booths displaying anything and everything we could possibly need or want for our home.

We explored, hand-in-hand, trying to avoid spending our life savings, falling in love with more pieces than our home had space for. Recalling our game plan, we stuck to our budget and gathered a pair of weathered teal end tables, three paintings, an old lantern and even a necklace for me (I couldn’t resist!). We felt like newlyweds again, getting a second chance to create our dream home together, one that would reflect who we’d grown to become as a couple. Treasures nestled gently in the car, we drove back into town for a relaxing evening of wine and good conversation.

A new start

We spent our final morning strolling along the Hill Country Mile, window-shopping, people-watching and making the occasional purchase. We agreed on one more special lunch, this time at Peggy’s On the Green, which is tucked inside the historic Ye Kendall Inn. Peggy’s specializes in innovative Southern-inspired cuisine and several locals had buzzed about it to us—we couldn’t wait to try it. Sean dove into his Cuban sandwich, stuffed with pulled pork, ham and melted Swiss cheese, while I savored my pulled pork and potato hash, full of incredibly tender braised pork and topped with an egg-in-a-hole. We chatted about our time in Boerne, relaxing and enjoying the gleam of the wooden tables and floors and beautiful stonework on the walls.

When it was time to say goodbye to our weekend getaway, our car was filled with finds, new and old, that would become part of the next chapter of our lives.

“It’s absolutely perfect,” I said, grinning as Sean stepped back from our living room wall. Our antiques show finds looked stunning in our house, and our wedding gift painting no longer looked so lonely. “It’s finally our home,” I said, turning to Sean. “That does it, then,” he said with a sly look. He led me outside, as I furrowed my brow in confusion. Then without a word he hoisted me into his arms, and carried me back inside. “I’m carrying you over the threshold. Now it’s officially our home,” he winked.

Start planning your own Boerne weekend getaway.

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