A Parents Getaway Guide to Texas Hill Country - Gruene, TX
Each year my husband and I try to schedule a parent getaway to recoup from the daily hustle and bustle of having a toddler in tote. We of course cherish every day we spend with our little titan, but we also enjoy spending a couple days a year sharing each others company and indulging as adults. We normally schedule our getaway during our anniversary weekend or whenever it is best for grandma and grandpa. We are lucky to have two sets of amazing grandparents who offer to spend so much time with our little titan for date nights or getaways! Thank you to the grandparents for all that you do!
Atlas spend this trip with Nana and Ut-oh while we traveled to Texas Hill Country in Gruene, TX. We come here often because we enjoy the scenery and small town feel, but also like that it is near Austin and San Antonio, TX. The location makes for a cozy getaway with lots of options for nightlife and activities during the day. During our parent getaways we make an effort to schedule activities that would normally not be enjoyable with a toddler. Things like shopping, sleeping in, wine tastings, concerts, eating at nice restaurants, etc. Pretty much anything you used to do before you had your first child. Ha-ha. We plan an itinerary and schedule as many adult activities as possible into one four day weekend. This way we get it out of our system and ready for the next year of titan adventures.
We greatly enjoyed our 4 day weekend in Gruene, TX, and we greatly recommend it to all the moms and dads out there. See our list of top 10 activities for a relaxing parent getaway to Texas Hill Country:
1. Plan a shopping trip to San Marcos, TX Premier Outlets. These outlets are awesome with all the big name brands like Ralph Lauren, Columbia, Gap, Neimen Marcus and even a Kate Spade outlet. Prices are much more affordable than regular malls, and so its a great time to stock up on essentials for the year without baby. Perfect for an early Christmas shopping trip. Stop by Centerpoint Station for a burger and fries before heading out. This restaurant is across the highway from the outlets and also has a super cute boutique attached.
2. Go cave exploring at Natural Bridge Caverns. We had debated taking Atlas to Natural Bridge Caverns last spring when we were in New Braunfels. After our experience this past weekend we are glad we didn't take him. The caves are a beautiful site to see, but they are also very humid and lots of hiking up stairs and steep walkways is required. There are also strick rules against touching any of the cave walls or walkways to prevent human oils from discoloring the caves. This was hard even for us as adults, so our little titan would have been a challenge to handle. I recommend parents go visit the caves as a romantic adventure, or wait to your little titan's are older to include them.
3. Spend a lazy morning in a cozy cottage near Gruene Historic District. My mother in law helped us book our stay at Gruene Cottages which is walking distance from shops, coffee houses, restaurants and bars in the Gruene Historic Distance. The location is perfect because it is close to everything, yet far enough away for a quiet morning in. It was so nice to sleep in one morning and not get started on our day until we felt like crawling out of bed.
4. Have brunch at Buttermilk Cafe in New Braunfels, TX. After you crawl out of bed Saturday morning go have brunch at the Buttermilk Cafe! Don't let the wait time discourage you, because it is definitely worth it. Order a slice of the buttermilk pie with your coffee while you wait for your breakfast to arrive. Our brunch was so delicious, that I can't wait to go back.
5. Visit the Buckhorn Salon and Texas Rangers Museum in San Antonio. This museum is across the street from the Alamo and features a collection of over 520 species of animals, including an impressive horn and antler collection lining every inch of wall space. I'm not normally a fan of taxidermy, but this collection was actually really neat to see. If your husband is into the history of law-enforcement like mine, the Texas Rangers Museum will be right up your ally. Grab a cocktail at the glamorous cherry oak bar in the downstairs salon, and then head upstairs to mossy through the exhibits for an afternoon.
6. Spend an evening on the river walk in San Antonio. Our first stop on the river walk is normally Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant to grab a frozen margarita and chill under the colorful umbrellas on the patio. The food is delicious, but the atmosphere is even more delicious! After dinner we like to grab a water taxi to Hotel Havana to grab a drink at the Ocho Lounge. This is beyond one of my favorite hang out spots in San Antonio, the downstairs bar is very romantic and cozy with dim lighting and red candles. We plan to one day stay at Hotel Havana as the rooms are gorgeous, but currently just a little to pricey for our budget. Hang out there and then walk back to the downtown square before heading back to Gruene.
7. Visit the shops at Gruene Historic District. Historic Gruene is very quaint with coffee shops, restaurants, backyard hang outs and cozy shops under the old water tower in downtown Gruene, TX. We picked up some vintage inspired kids toys at Got Toys and then stopped for a pumpkin latte at Gruene Coffee Haus. Most of the stores are fashioned out of old brick and mortar homes, which I adore. The back door of Element 29 leads to a backyard hang-out that serves draft beers. We accidentally walked into a private high school reunion, but the bartender still served us anyways. It is a really cool hangout spot which I unfortunately didn't get the name. Stop by Element 29 and you will find it! After a beer stroll over to the Gruene General Store to pick up some special souvenirs and home-made treats.
8. Have a nice dinner at the Gristmill. The Gristmill is an old cotton gin renovated into a steakhouse on the banks of the Guadalupe River. Ask the hostess to sit outside under the trees, you can see the river from the patio and it is a very relaxing environment. Order a slice of the pecan pie with ice cream for desert. It is served warm and delicious, a perfect amount for two!
9. After dinner at the Gristmill catch an evening concert at Gruene Hall. Purchase your tickets in advance so you can hopefully find a band you are familiar with! The concert hall fills up fast and there is very limited seating if you want a spot to relax. I was a little disappointed with Gruene Hall because I thought as it was the oldest dance hal in Texas, that there'd be dancing. The hall was so packed that there wasn't any room for two-stepping. It is still an evening experience worth having, especially if you are like us and hardly get to enjoy night life. We could barely keep our eyes open past 10 o'clock! Haha!
10. Before leaving Gruene grab a goodbye lunch at Gruene River Grill. Try the shrimp wontons for an appetizer, they are spicy and delicious! The couple sitting next to us ordered a Bloody Mary cocktail which was dressed with mint, I will definitely be trying one of those next time. Ask to sit in the room with the giant fireplace which is lined with a bookcase which goes to the ceiling. The space has a mixture of rustic and glamour which I found very enduring.
That completes my top 10 activities for an adult getaway to Texas Hill Country. I hope all the parents out there get to enjoy some time together this year! Let us know in the comments section some of your favorite getaway spots for parents! We hope to one year visit Fredricksburg, TX which is our in-laws favorite getaway spot.
Until our next adventure,
A Titan's Mother