Grab your besties, jump in the car and head to the Hill Country.
By Niki Jones, Photos by Carrin Welch
Many towns may come to mind when someone speaks of Texas’ Hill Country—Fredericksburg, Llano, Marble Falls—but there’s one town on the cusp of major-destination status: San Saba, Texas. Nestled on the banks of the Colorado River, San Saba is picturesque and provides the perfect backdrop for a fun girls’ getaway.
Pack a bag, grab your besties, jump in the car and head northwest. Less than two hours later, you’ll cross the Colorado River and roll into downtown, where you’ll find classic Texas architecture, pecan trees and quaint shops.
Check in to The Dofflemyer Hotel. A converted bank built in 1913, this pristine property is an interior designer’s dream. With rustic brick walls, stunning wood floors and high tin ceilings, every modern detail and unique touch will have you rethinking your current home décor. At less than $200 per night, the six-room luxury hotel is quite affordable as well.
What girls’ weekend doesn’t include wine? Start it off right by heading next door to Wedding Oak Winery, order a charcuterie plate and settle in to try all the offerings, including Bridal Blush, a delicious sparkling wine, and the Rosé de Dolcetto. If you’re lucky, Penny Adams, Wedding Oak’s winemaker and viticulturist (as well as Texas’ first female winemaker), will be on hand to take you on a tour of the barrel room.
Sunset is a perfect time to take a stroll around the town square before heading back to the hotel to relax on the patio with your favorite bottle from Wedding Oak. You won’t have to travel too far to grab breakfast the next morning, since Oliver and Co. Confections and Coffee is right downstairs. The lattes, pastries, quiches and muffins are all fresh and delicious, plus there’s plenty of seating.
During the day, take a drive to Risien Park, where you can see the breathtaking pecan grove that borders the San Saba River. Take a walk on the winding canopied paths and enjoy nature in all its glory.
Texas summer days heat up quickly, but relief is just a short hop across the road to Mill Pond Park, where you can choose to cool off in either the pool or the pond. While both are refreshing, the activities at the pond are extensive. Paddleboats, floats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and even a floating island are all available to rent from Bridgette and John Mouser, the friendly owners of Up A Creek Adventure Sport Rentals.
For lunch, do not miss Youngs Burritos & BBQ, a relative newcomer to the Texas barbecue scene. The smell of mesquite wafts through the air as you enter this no-frills, family-run joint. Settle in for some of the best barbecue in Texas. The brisket melts in your mouth, the ribs fall off the bone and the homemade sauce is out of this world. Owner Lisa Young will make you feel like part of the family, as will her husband and pitmaster, Carl, and sons Jeremy and Colten. Pro tip: Try the house-made bastani ice cream, a saffron, rosewater and almond combination that’s phenomenal.
The afternoon is a perfect time to stroll up and down East Wallace Street, the town’s main stretch, where you’ll find Harry’s Boots. Established in 1939, this stunning Western shop spans five buildings and offers a plethora of boot designs you won’t see elsewhere.
Also on East Wallace Street, you’ll find Alamo Pecan and Coffee Co., a women-owned coffee-roasting business that specializes in homemade candies, preserves, nut butters and gifts. After trying a cup of the signature Texas pecan coffee, you’ll definitely want to take a pound (or more) to go.
Back toward the hotel, stop into J.C. Campbell & Co. Mercantile, a lovely, spacious two-story shop where various artists and vendors offer everything from original art to home furnishings to beauty products and so much more. Call ahead and book a private lesson with artist Anna Wilson, who will enthusiastically teach you how to distress and paint furniture.
Time for more wine! Hop a few shops down to Old Man Scary Cellars, another small, family-run winery—whose wine master is also Penny Adams. Enjoy some samples, relax in the eclectic and colorful lounge area and order a glass or three.
Every Texas girls’ weekend has to feature steak, right? Head to the edge of town to Diggs Restaurant & Club and order up a nice, big mesquite-grilled rib-eye steak. You can burn those calories off with a few rounds of pool, or dance them off if you’re lucky enough to catch some live music. Saturday nights, Diggs stays open until 1 a.m., so live it up late into the night.
Sleep in on your final morning in San Saba (It isn’t hard to do in the luxurious beds of the Dofflemyer.) since check out isn’t until noon. As you get ready to make your way back to Austin, there’s still one more thing to see: the famous Wedding Oak of San Saba, also known as the Marriage Oak. This colossal oak tree is set on a legendary Indian site, and has been the setting of countless proposals and wedding ceremonies. It’s the perfect way to end a perfect weekend.