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Why it ain't your daddy's Fredericksburg anymore!

BLISS AND TASTING FAT ROOM SIGNS.jpg

SO WHAT IS IT?

Something just struck me the other night when I happened through one of my favorite places in all of South Texas.

Fredericksburg, Texas just ain't what it used to be.

It's more.

And it's a little different.

Not in a bad way, just... maybe hipper.

See, I've been shooting and reporting stories in and around Fredericksburg for going on 35 years.

WAY BACK WHEN

My 'beat' as a reporter and photographer for a while years ago was mainly to cover stories all over South Texas outside of San Antonio - so I would make it to Fredericksburg as often as I could.

I remember covering some of the first wineries opening in this old German town. And since then, I've watched them bloom into a booming industry with more than a dozen labels and tasting rooms.

I really enjoyed shooting stories on a number of artisans and artists around Fredericksburg, including John McClusky, who founded the Fredericksburg Art Guild. Some of their artwork would be featured in the growing number of galleries around town.

And BTW, those galleries have collectively turned Fredericksburg into a nationally-recognized art destination.

Back in the early 1980's, I also remember covering the re-opening of the newly-renovated Nimitz Museum in what they once called the 'Steamboat Hotel' on Main Street.

It was a huge deal. The landmark ship-looking thing at the town's main intersection is hard to miss.

A few decades later it grew into the National Museum of the Pacific War, and I can tell you it was a much bigger crowd that turned out to see former President George H.W. Bush speak at its dedication.

ZEBRAS, ESPRESSO AND FROZEN SANGRIA

And now on that same very wide Main Street of Fredericksburg you can also find an art gallery truck painted in zebra stripes and topped with huge antlers.

Walk a little farther and can top off your late lunch featuring wine and famous Fredericksburg peaches with a stop at the Java Ranch Espresso Bar and Cafe.

Then stop for another capuccino at the little place with the 'Espresso-Cappucino' sign.

And for a nightcap you could stop at another tasting room for a 'Frozen Sangria,' I mean, because who just wants a regular Sangria?

If you want to get to the historic, eight-sided Vereins Kirche or community meeting house in the heart of the MarktPlatz, now you might just be able to catch a trolley.

All over Fredericksburg you'll still find the art galleries, antique shops, and bed and breakfasts which have been growing for decades.

Oh, and of course the very friendly people - which the town's been known for since the first German settlers founded Fredericksburg in the 1840's.

Way back then they even signed a treaty with the Comanche people, which is said to be the only treaty between Native Americans and white settlers which was never broken.

AND NOW... BLISS!

Now there's a store called 'Bliss,' with a sign just down the sidewalk that says 'Tasting (Fat) Room' - whatever that is.

If you get tired of walking, (at least on this night) you could take a lighted carriage ride - like those you'll find near the Alamo in downtown San Antonio.

I was in Fredericksburg for the annual Christmas Parade just last year - which was awesome.

And I noticed that the crowd had definitely grown over the years.

I was also well aware that this quaint little Hill Country getaway known for a growing population of retirees - was growing and changing - becoming known for attracting the hipsters of Austin looking for a trendy day-trip.

But it was on this particular Saturday night of Memorial Day Weekend, by the old 'Five and Dime Store' (if I can still call it that) that it really struck me how trendy some of Fredericksburg has become.

NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

Many of the buildings along Main Street strike you as pretty much the same as they were decades ago. They share the same mix of traditional German-inspired gingerbread architecture crossed with Hill Country Limestone, which helped Fredericksburg land its own National Historic District.

But today in those buildings you'll find a more ... eclectic mix of shops with what you could call a little more youthful appeal than those back in the 1980's.

It's hard to describe, but I realized that Fredericksburg now boasts the kind of art, clothing, and stuff to do that my kids would describe as 'cool.'

A couple or three decades ago, it seemed like the target demographic would have been someone older, like my mom, who would have described such things as 'cute.'

You can probably see where I'm going here.

To a kind of hip, Hill Country hangout, but with a healthy dose of history and restraint, tempered with maturity and a true small-town feel. If that makes any sense.

Trust me, it will if you go and spend any time there.

And so goes Fredericksburg.

MILLENIALS AND MORE

So yes, the millenials are here. But it's OK, older folks. (I include myself in that group, so please take no offense).

It just means there's more to do when you want to wander around for a weekend or maybe even make the leap into retirement.

On Memorial Day Weekend, most of the MarktPlatz was closed off for a big concert, which sounded pretty good to me.

And on the way back to my car, I spotted what I'm pretty sure is a sports bar. Or close enough.

Now that's Bliss!

FOR MORE PHOTOS AND INFORMATION...

I'll be posting more of the photos I shot on my facebook page, that's https://www.facebook.com/randy.beamer

For more information about Fredericksburg, check out the following websites - and tell them Randy Beamer, the guy at News 4 San Antonio, said hello.

They may not know who the heck you're talking about, though, because I just happened to be there, had my camera and put together this story.

But say hi anyway.

- Visit Fredericksburg http://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com

- Fredericksburg Texas online http://www.fredericksburgtexas-online.com




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