Being born and raised in Houston, I have no real concept of small-town Texas. That is, until my aunt moved to the cutest little house in Boerne, Texas. We’ve been enjoying cowboy Christmases ever since. Most of my time spent in the town has been at my aunt’s house and, even if we were to have time for a lunch or shopping in town, they’d all be closed because Christmas. But my aunt got married a few weekends back and I seized the opportunity to tack on several activities to really get to know Boerne. What I learned: Holy moley, that small town has a big personality!
First of all, Boerne is pronounced “Bernie”. Why does Texas try to fool us? Looking at you, Bexar County (pronounced “bear”). Also, “Cibolo”, which appears in a lot of Boerne landmarks, is pronounced “sib-oh-low” and means buffalo. Secondly, Boerne is not really a suburb of San Antonio. Yeah, it’s pretty close, but it’s unfair the group the two based on proximity!
Super special thank you shout out to Boerne Visitor Center. Tori helped me get in touch with all these places I got to go and try out. Everyone is so proud of their town, so don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone to ask a quick q or schedule a visit! Anyways, read up on a good Weekend at Boerne’s! 😉
Farmers market and Cibolo Nature Center
You know you’re in small-town territory when a farmers market is popping on a Saturday morning. First thing we did upon arriving to Boerne was head to the Cibolo Nature Center. Cutest little hiking and picnic spot is worth a stop if that’s your thing. We didn’t have too much time to explore, but would def return.
The Farmer’s Market at the Cibolo is the gosh darn cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Things you can find at this weekend market: homemade soaps, kolaches, local coffee, honey, plants and produce, puffy taco truck, handcrafted jewelry and more. It’s also on the property of a historic house museum that’s free to walk around in. Very quaint. Much cuteness.
Shopping on the Hill Country Mile
The one thing I knew about Boerne from my aunt is that the shopping is tip top. From cute boutiques to antiques and more. I will say though, this small-town shopping doesn’t translate to small-town prices. Everything was priced like you’d expect in a boutique in Houston (read: overpriced). But some things weren’t outrageous and would come with a story. Ps. This reminded me so much of shopping in downtown Ruidoso!
Some shops we liked:
- Dang Sassy: Cute clothes and hilarious little gifts. From the dish towel that says “Don’t worry dishes, no one is doing me either” to the shirt that says, “judges tex-mex solely on queso.”
- Flashback Funtiques: Think pin ball machines, funky Coke-bottle shaped refridgerator, turn of the century till, and more. The shop owner is nice and will offer you a Shiner.
- Boerne Wine Co.: I mean… do you even need to know more?
Beer at Cibolo Creek Brewing Co.
I’ve made it a (good) habit to find a local craft brewer everywhere I travel. I love beer and getting to know places. Cibolo Creek was an easy find. It’s right on Main Street where the shopping is, so we started there with a flight before bouncing around the shops. If you’re easy going, I recommend the flight so you can try all their classics. However, I wish I would have just gotten the Boerne Blonde or the Postman Pale Ale and/or the Weiss’ Hefeweizen. The vibe of the spot is SUPER chill. Cute inside with a food menu, and there are patios galore: Back, front and side.
Wine at Saint Tryphon
It’s Hill Country, so I expected to find a great winery! This one is brand new — first opened in February — but that doesn’t mean it’s anything to sleep on. The owners are a young couple with the most interesting story: Both were on track to be Orthodox Christian monks when they met at church and just decided to get married instead. We met with Siloan, who had worked in wine sales for a big wine co, and decided he wanted to branch out on his own to make a wine that’s baaasically organic. A tasting with Sil means three things: yum wines, endless wine knowledge and loving on his farm dog, cat and mini horse. You gotta go, y’all. If for snowflake, the mini horse, alone.
We tried these wines:
- Blanc du Bois: Easy drinking and very floral!
- Mourvédre: Never had this type of wine before, but it was pretty good for what it is.
- Tempranillo: Texas tempranillos are pretty great, and this one was no different.
- Rosé de Mourvédre: This one was my favorite. I’m such a rosé fan and knowing that this one has way fewer additives than normal rosé made me not feel so bad about getting a full glass after the tasting.
- Petillent Naturel: This one came with a wine lesson. You thought there were just champagnes and artificially fermented sparkling wines, right? Wrong. This sparkling wine is fermented similar to champagne, but warning, it’s a little murky. Still pretty freaking great for what it is.
Burgers at Soda Pops Patio and Grill
Down on one end of Main Street is the cutest little retro, drive-in feeling spot called Soda Pops. You gotta get the Magnum burger. It’s a double patty burger with cheese and some green chili pepper topping that is enough spice and flavor to last you a week. We also got the foot-long and some fries.
Dessert at the Sugar Shack
If you’re not in a food coma from the Magnum, head next door to the Sugar Shake for ice cream! it’s sure to be adorable and delicious.
Brunch at The Dienger Trading Co.
The Dienger might be my favorite culinary recommendation in Boerne. First of all, it’s picture perfect. From the exterior columns to the inside’s adorable wall papers. I wanted to take all the photos already and THEN was presented with the cutest brunch entree’s known to man. Definitely get the crabcake benedict and or the chicken salad, which comes with two in-house croissants! This is also a great spot for dinner (they even have wine dinners — one is on May 18th!) and/or shopping. There’s a store right in the same building with stuff from all around the world. Hence “trading co.”
Outdoorsy adventures at Boerne Lake
Apparently, Boerne Lake is the town’s best kept secret. The small lake has picnic areas and a sizable parking lot, but you do have to pay $10 per car entry into the park.
There are no motor vehicles allowed in the lake, so it’s super serene! What is allowed are kayaks, paddle boards and sail boats (yes, sail boats!!). Rentals from Hill Country Paddle Sports were super cheap and the guys are very nice. Right now, they just have a van at the park, but soon they’ll get their own structure and storage area. The sailing co. is brand new. It’s called Trisum Sailing, and Captain Chapa (with his wife and his dog, Sombra, as first mates) do private sails and lessons or corporate events! As you probably could tell, everything is improved tenfold when a dog is involved. Sailing with the crew and Sombra was so freaking fun.
Day drinking at Random and Bovines and Fins
Saved the best for last. Random is the cutest beer garden just around the corner from Boerne Lake, so we felt like we earned a beer at least after the stand-up paddle boarding. Little did we know we were getting great beers, wine and food with hours of entertainment on the huge Random property.
Again, this cutie patooty spot is run by an adorable married couple, Mary and Mike. They met in the construction world in San Antonio — him with his construction company, her, an interior designer. The rest is history.
So, safe to say, Random with its barn bar and onsite restaurant, Bovines and Fins, are all perfectly constructed and amazingly decorated. B&F has a bar made from a legit airplane wing. I meaaannnnn!
When there, all beers and booze is Random’s responsibility, while food (not counting the outdoor food trucks) is Bovines and Fins, which is a brand new restaurant and is fine dining meets home cooking. We hung out with the chef plus Mary and Mike for way too long, considering we had to drive back to Houston later that day. Mike even gave us a super impromptu wine tasting — if you don’t like beer, no worries, Mike has you covered.
Cave exploration at Cave Without a Name
The tour was a full hour long and they have them pretty regularly throughout the day. You’ll learn about stalagmites and stalagtites, cave bacon, cave fried eggs, chair formations and more — one of those wasn’t real. Plus, you get to learn about the three brave little punks who followed a sheep/goat/farm animal down a sinkhole to discover the cave by lantern light. And about how the owner made moonshine near the entrance during prohibition time. There are bats, salamanders, cave streams and, fair warning, at one point the tour guide turns off all the lights. GASP!
Most of the time, I’m bunking with my aunt during my Boerne visits! There are a few cute B&Bs in town as well as plenty of AirBNBs to choose from. I loved my stay at the Hampton Inn – Boerne. They have a pretty sweet pool and a yum breakfast each morning.
PS. We’ve got plenty other Hill Country guides too! Check ’em out.
- A Houstonian’s Guide: Austin in 24 Hours
- A Houstonian’s Guide: Glamping in Austin
- A Houstonian’s Guide: The Ultimate Girls’ Weekend in Bee Cave and Dripping Springs
- The Dos and Don’ts of Fredericksburg
- How to Float the River in Texas
- A Houstonian’s Guide: 48 Hours in the Hill Country
- A Houstonian’s Guide: San Antonio in 24 Hours