Summer Fun

So, you want to run away from home?

THREE HUGE reasons why you should head to Brenham and Washington County this summer!

Reason #1  -  Amazing, Delicious, BBQ from Texas’ best Pit Masters featured on Brenham’s BBQ Trail

Reason #2 - FAMILY FRIENDLY GRAPE-STOMPING FUN AT LOCAL WINERIES

Pleasant Hill Winery  - Experience “Crush for Fun”, offered four consecutive weekends in July and  August. You get to pick the grapes and stomp “Lucy-style” and put your footprints on a T-shirt.

Windy Winery - the Harvest Grape Stomp offered weekends in July and August is summer classic fun with picking and squishing grapes … and of course, making purple feet T-shirts!

More wine tasting and micro brews

Saddlehorn Winery - Escape to the picturesque countryside of Burton, TX to sip and savor award-winning wines. Open daily.

Texas Star Winery  - Nestled in beautiful Chappell Hill, enjoy award-winning wines in a charming tasting room or out under the trees.

Brazos Valley Brewing Company - Located a block from historic Downtown Brenham, this independent craft brewery is a ‘must do’ while here.

#3  FESTIVAL FUN FOR EVERYONE

 

July 4th Picnic at Barrington Plantation  - Experience an 1850s style Independence Day celebration! Musket firing, toasts and a reading of the Declaration of Independence will commemorate the day. Bring your own picnic basket, and enjoy al-fresco dining.

 

Hot Nights, Cool Tunes  - Saturday evenings July 11, 18 and August 1st; Bring your lawn chair and gather around the historic downtown square to listen to the sounds of live music and walk through the classic car show. Admission and parking is FREE!

 

 

Summer Sip  - August 8th; stroll through unique shops in historic Downtown Brenham while tasting signature drinks offered by local merchants.

 

Chappell Hill Lavender and Wine Fest - August 8th; fields of lavender provide a beautiful backdrop for this annual event that features tastings, crafts, music, demonstrations and a place to unwind.

When you’re ready to run, make Brenham your finish line!

The Temporary Normal

Who would ever guess that now when someone refers to ‘The Good Old Days,’ they are indicating a time in our history that began just eight short weeks ago. They are reminiscing about a time before an invisible, scary virus turned lives upside down ... when life as we knew it suddenly changed.

Lucky that in Brenham we know a thing or two about combining the past with the present so that we can enjoy ‘The Good Old Days’ again without too much fear or anxiety. In fact, we are pretty proud of offering friends, family and visitors a way to experience the past while enjoying modern and clean conveniences.

Just take a stroll through Downtown Brenham and you’ll see beautiful examples of combining old and new. Exterior walls of well-preserved historic buildings are adorned with beautiful contemporary murals created by renowned artists from around the country.

And, while you are out walking in the fresh air (on our uncrowded small town streets), feel free to pop into one of our friendly shops. You’ll find convenient hand sanitizing stations, not only to keep your hands clean but to give you peace of mind in knowing that we take your well being seriously. Our merchants look forward to seeing you again, but know it’s important to maintain small numbers in their shops for the health of everyone. You won’t get any hugs (not that they won’t want to) but, you’ll feel a genuine Texas friendliness and see a lot of warm smiles ... albeit some behind masks ... and that’s okay!

Throughout our area, dozens of restaurants have worked diligently to provide an environment that respects social distancing while serving some of the best food you’ll put in your mouth. Mexican, Barbecue, American or Gourmet ... doesn’t some good comfort food sound perfect right now? Whether you opt to dine in or order take out, we think you’re going to love biting into something that’s not another one of your own home cooked meals! Seriously!

We want you to fill your days in Brenham with fun and laughter and a feeling of safety. You can be secure in staying overnight knowing our lodging has been scrubbed to the max. Our hotels, including our downtown boutique hotel, Ant Street Inn, have established extreme cleaning protocols to sanitize and prepare rooms to ensure your stay is pristine so both your mind and body can relax during your stay in our area.

So, when you feel ready to take a break from home ... head our way ... we are ready for you.

We miss you and can’t wait to show just how much!

Finding Holiday Magic in Brenham & Washington County

This is my favorite time of year … waiting and anticipating the first cold snap of the season … when the air turns crisp, leaves begin to float gracefully to the ground, coffee tastes better and animals and children alike seem to get a boost of extra playfulness. It’s magical.

Sounds a bit like the opening of a Hallmark movie, but … it is real. Brenham and Washington County can’t be replicated. This is true Texas. Unapologetically Americana. Authentic.

Fall wouldn’t be complete in Brenham without candy-littered streets from the annual homecoming parade, including of course, homecoming queen hopefuls waving from convertibles. It doesn’t get much more Americana than this, right?

October boasts creatively dressed scarecrows posed in front of Downtown Brenham shops. Each one lovingly put together by dozens of schoolchildren and individuals alike, who have put their hearts into these straw creations, in hopes of winning one of the many prizes. Local spirit and pride are reflected in each entry.

Our community of Chappell Hill, located just 15 minutes east of Brenham, throws its annual Scarecrow Festival. This popular event draws huge crowds to its tiny town to shop, eat and welcome the season with a smile. Tent-lined streets are full of holiday shoppers, happy to escape big city mass merchandise to enjoy unique street vendors and small-town life.

November continues the holiday spirit with Christmas at the Mansion, a home tour and Christmas fair held at Brenham’s beautiful Giddings Stone Mansion. The mansion’s exterior and eight rooms will feature different holiday themes, designed and decorated by Jennifer Hermann of Hermann Furniture.  There is inspiration at every turn.  Self-guided tours are available all weekend and even two separate seatings for a special lunch on Saturday (reservations required).

Antique Rose Emporium’s 32nd Annual Fall Festival of Roses is a favorite outdoor experience in November. Breathing in the cool rose scented air while taking in spectacular blooms and learning how to care for them is a unique seasonal event not to be missed.

And, what we’ve all been looking forward to all year long … the Christmas Stroll and Lighted Parade in Downtown Brenham … an event that will melt the heart of even the worst Scrooge. Downtown Brenham comes to life with residents and visitors mingling on the streets and throughout the shops. No crowded malls here, just a hometown atmosphere of genuine Christmas spirit. Brenham’s Downtown shopkeepers dazzle and surprise unsuspecting visitors with unique finds. Inside some of the antique architecture, new hip ventures are alive and well and waiting to be discovered.

The Stroll is kicked off with the tree lighting ceremony where onlookers are serenaded by a Girl Scout choir singing carols. As night continues to fall, the parade begins. Beautifully decorated and fully lit floats, marching bands, horses and dancers parade through Downtown, all to the delight of friends, family and visitors. And of course, the man of the hour SANTA makes his grand entrance to the squeals of excited children lining the streets, frantically waving to him as he passes by, perched atop a Fire Truck.

People passing, children laughing, meeting smile after smile … doesn’t just happen in a song or a Hallmark movie. It’s in Brenham, Texas and Washington County … where It’s a Wonderful Life!

Sorry, couldn’t help myself!

Photos by: Natalie Lange

Showing the Grands a Grand Time Around Brenham

Grandma of the Year … or at least a close runner-up!

When I learned my daughter who lives in Los Angeles was planning a week-long visit in August with her boys, ages 3 1/2 and almost 2, I was thrilled … and then panic-stricken. How will I entertain two very active toddlers for a week? What will they like? How can I live up to the tall ‘Texas’ tales they’ve been told by their mom?  They already refer to their grandfather as ‘cowboy grandpa’… and we don’t even own a horse?!

It was time for some serious planning, which turned out to be not so serious and truly a lot of fun for the whole family. Showing our grands around the Brenham area was eye-opening and educational … even for us … and we’ve lived here for 30 years!

Day One - Floats and Flicks

There is no better way to beat the Texas heat than by watching an outdoor movie while floating in the pool at Brenham’s Blue Bell Aquatic Center. It is perfect for kids of all ages. The ice cream-themed pool floats and decor set the scene for a lot of fun and laughter. The cost was nominal … which put a smile on Cowboy Grandpa’s face, too!

Day Two - Jersey Barnyard

Of course, Texas conjures up images of cows and our two boys were obsessed with everything cow. This meant finding a fun way to get them up close to these creatures and The Jersey Barnyard, about 45 minutes away, did not disappoint. After a short hayride we met Belle, the famous Blue Bell cow … and even got to milk her! Then bottle-fed a sweet calf. Fed the barnyard animals, which included goats, ducks, rabbits, and pigs. After all the outdoor fun in the sun, we cooled off in the gift shop that offered organic milk products and barnyard themed toys! Adults $10 and Children 2-8 $8 … worth every penny.

Day Three - Parks and Carousel

Brenham has amazing parks. Seriously great parks. Our grandkids’ eyes lit up when they entered the carousel pavilion and saw the beautiful carved antique horses. Hearing their oohs and aahs as they pointed out which one was their favorite and which one they would ride … will be one of my favorite memories of the trip. We rode round and round, listening to calliope music mixed with the laughter and “Yee Haws” from our boys (and Cowboy Grandpa). $1, yes $1 for all you wanted to ride, (from 1-4pm Saturday-Sunday) adults and children alike! The. Best. Town. Ever.

We managed to pull them away from the carousel to play in the park near the Library, complete with giant shade covers and cushioned ground cover. My favorite was the tandem swing which allows you to put your child on one side and the adult sits across and faces him … allowing you to swing together and look at one another. Just a simple pleasure that I am so glad I got to share with our boys.

Day Four - Peeka Ranch and Books

Peeka Ranch, close to Burton, is a beautiful ranch that raises alpacas. We were able to pet and feed their sweet animals. We learned all about alpacas and Cowboy Grandpa managed a great selfie with one of the sweetest alpacas! The gift shop is worth the trip alone. So many beautiful woolen products … I’ll be shopping there often. BTW … there is no charge for visiting the alpacas, but a donation box is there if you want to donate!

Time for some AC after the ranch visit, so off to Downtown Brenham’s little bookstore, The Book Nook.

The kids were smitten … not kidding. The play area captivated them while we filled our baskets with amazing finds for everyone. The children’s book area is among the best I’ve seen and the prices are super affordable. My daughter couldn’t believe her eyes and bought all kinds of goodies for her kids. The staff was helpful and kind. This quaint bookstore is a must-visit in Brenham.

Day Five - Departure

Time flew by quickly and we didn’t even scratch the surface of all the things I had planned … Blue Bell, Washington-on-the Brazos, Downtown shopping (for daughter and me) … so much more to do and see! We will have to save those things for their next visit, which I hope will be soon.

So, if you are a panicked Nana, Grammy, Grandma, looking to make some great memories with your Grands… plan a few days in our town. You will enjoy every moment … and not break the bank.