A travel essay about Boerne, Texas The Heart of the Texas Hill Country by James Bonner

Boerne, Texas Unleashed: Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Hill Country Charm

When I’m in Boerne, I like to park on River Road, across the street from two popular microbreweries, and then I walk the path by the creek. With my hands in my pockets, I stroll under the bridge, along the creek parallel to Main Street, although hidden from the main road. There’s a trail that winds behind the historic downtown. The park, and the path along the Cibolo creek, are almost always crowded with people and ducks, especially during lunchtime. I don’t “play” much, but I always imagine myself shaking off those tired inhibitions built up over the years, and cutting loose, as if I were that same platinum-haired careless kid I vaguely remember being all those years ago. I rarely think about childlike play as much as when I’m in Boerne and walking on this trail, for whatever reason.

The creek continues away from the path, where the shoreline is heavy with brush and high grass, on the path that detours up a hill toward the historic Ye Kendall Inn, you’ll walk past another piece of local history, a small, partitioned field that was, many, many years ago, a town’s public swimming pool. Today a drum circle meets there. Past the Inn’s lavish, rustic façade, a façade I can’t help but admire as I pass, is Boerne’s town square (on this side of the historic mile. There’s a gazebo in the square and a pond in front. I find a bench hidden by shrubs next to the pond and listen to the fountains coursing ripples and I get lost in the sprawl of them and like waves slapping into a cliffside the ripples pound, in their way, against the limestone wall at the pond’s edge, without a sound.

I could sit there all day but eventually force myself up and I’ll cross Main Street and walk inside Black Rifle Coffee Co., where I grab a coffee and then head back to Main Street. The historic mile is bustling with people. I’m a Main Street connoisseur, the main streets of small American towns throughout the country intrigue me. Boerne’s Main Street is one of the better main streets I’ve explored. There are coffee houses, boutiques, art galleries, microbreweries, antique shops, restaurants—all sit-down places, none of that fast food crap—shops spruced for browsing.

I walk along Main past a brimful Daily Grind coffee shop, now a part of the popular (and delicious) Boerne Grill, where my interest in coffee began. The Daily Grind is the first coffee shop where I sat for hours reading, writing, and people-watching. Every one of my favorite coffeehouses, MUD Coffee (New York City, NY), Sunset Coffee (Salt Lake City, UT), Ikonic Coffee (Santa Fe, NM), and Tru North (Livingston, MT) remind me, in some way, of the Daily Grind. Boerne, Texas, has its share of great coffee, you can’t go wrong with BRCC, Daily Grind, Dienger Trading Co., or Bear Moon Bakery, as far as coffee is concerned, Boerne got the pot. The only place I won’t go to is Starbucks (And to Electric Coffee, you are sorely missed).

I enjoy walking up and down the historic downtown mile, popping my head into shops at random—"arbitrarily,” I don’t mean to confuse ‘random,’ with Random Beer Garden on the edge of town. Sitting on a bench by the creek and watching the ducks beg for breadcrumbs and dodge cars I start to feel hungry and inch back to Cibolo Creek Brewing Co., where I order something from their unique, farm-to-table menu, and a cold beer (brewed in-house, arguably the best microbrewery on the planet), and sit outside on the patio swings, and watch Main Street.

Several times throughout the year, the city of Boerne closes Main Street to traffic along the historic mile, hosting events like car shows, “Dickens” on Main, parades, and sometimes ‘black parties,’ providing an excuse to walk the street with a beer in your hand, and vendors and food trucks to line the streets. Boerne has always, almost felt like home for me, and I have had experiences and made memories there that have inspired and shaped me and will continue to. I’m grateful that Boerne has been a part of my life. People have developed a misconception of Texas the state’s reputation is largely premised on fantasy. Texas is one of the world’s friendliest places, and people ignore that for the sake of conventionalism and generalizations. Texas has four of ten of the largest cities in the country, as well as one of the smallest (Luckenbach is tied for 2nd, it’s a music town that you should check out, only forty-five minutes from Boerne), every major geological region is represented within the state lines, the Texas Hill Country is one of the most beautiful places in the state and the country.

Boerne, Texas, is a remarkable place, culturally and geologically; geologically, Boerne is surrounded by rivers, creeks, caverns, lacks, bluebonnets, Indian paint brushes, Lanky pine, and limestone, and culturally, Boerne, originally founded by Germans in the mid-1800s, is a place of festivals, music, art, celebrities, and a rich history. Boerne has my highest recommendation of any one place to visit in the Lone Star state, in small part too, because Boerne is at the center of places like Gruene and New Braunfels, Dripping Springs, Luckenbach, Comfort, Wimberley, and Bandera, Texas, each of which may make for a great day trip.

Boerne, Texas, and the surrounding areas are a must-visit in your lifetime experience. I love visiting Boerne. After visiting the Hill Country, you can go home and tell everyone that there aren’t heaps of stodgy short-minded people, you might even be inspired to explore some of those out-of-the-way places like Port Aransas and Marfa, Texas. When you do drive through Boerne, Texas, stop at the Hungry Horse Restaurant on Saunders Street, and say “Hello” to Steve for me.

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