In the September 2013 issue, writer Michelle Burgess delves into the history and restoration of the beautiful Comal County Courthouse in New Braunfels, a German-flavored town between Austin and San Antonio. You can visit the New Braunfels Chamber's website to gather dozens of ideas for things to do during your visit, but here are some of our favorites:
This iconic dancehall was built in 1878 and brought back to life in the 1970s. Today, it hosts live music nearly every day of the week. Cheap beer, free horseshoes out back, and a great restaurant next door (The Gristmill) make an evening at Gruene Hall topnotch.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch and Natural Bridge Caverns
These two sister attractions could fill an entire day-or several days. At the wildlife ranch, you can drive through 400 acres that are home to more than 50 different animal species from around the world. An on-site restaurant, a petting zoo (those pygmy goats are cute!), and a well-stocked gift shop add to the fun. Nearby, you can explore one of Texas’ premiere show caves at Natural Bridge Caverns. Tours are matched to different adventure levels (from relatively easy walking tours to intense crawling tours), and a new zipline course takes things to new heights.
Dry Comal Creek Vineyards and The Grapevine
At Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, owners Bonnie and Franklin Houser are experiencing success with Black Spanish grapes, a variety that resists the dastardly Pierce’s disease, a bacterial infection that is the bane of most Texas winemakers. You can tour the vineyards and enjoy samplings of wines in the cozy tasting room. And if you want to explore more about Texas wine, drop by the Grapevine in Gruene, a tasting room and retail shop that specializes in wine from the Lone Star State.