Burgers in Brenham

When Brenham comes to mind, you may think of Blue Bell and rich Texas history. While that is all true, one thing you might not expect when you are here, is that you are in the middle of a foodie’s paradise. From authentic Italian food to award winning BBQ, Brenham/Washington County has it all! One staple that can be interpreted a million different ways is a big juicy hamburger with all the toppings and your favorite sides.

We’re celebrating National Cheeseburger Day by providing a bucket list of places to get an amazing burger in Washington County! Our inspiration came from local resident Michael Mullins on his quest to try all the hamburgers in the county. He has been documenting his journey on Facebook. Visitors and locals alike can appreciate this quest, as you might get the chance to have your favorite burger raved about, or even find a new hidden gem! Watch for Michael’s comments in quotes.

1.  Bevers Kitchen

Bevers is famous for their homemade pies, but don’t miss out on their burger. “Bevers Kitchen sells pies and is not known for their burger, but they should be,” said Michael. “This is a solid old-fashioned hamburger just like you would have in your mom’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon.”

2.  Brossa’s Cibo e Vino

Burgers aren’t typically what you would expect at this authentic Italian restaurant, but like the rest of the food on the menu, this burger is made from only the best ingredients… Wagyu. Served during lunch, covered in caramelized onions, their parmesan Reggiano cheese sauce, and sandwiched between a brioche bun, you will be licking your fingers non-stop!

3. Burton Short Stop

Convenience store, restaurant, and gas station all in one in Burton! You won’t want to miss their daily specials, especially their hamburgers. Make sure to grab either a piece of pie or one of their homemade cookies on your way out.

4. Country Sunshine

The Country Sunshine food truck has found its new home at Brazos Valley Brewing Company. These burgers are unlike anything you have ever tried before. “This burger doesn’t come with the lettuce, tomatoes, and onion salad that some great burgers have.  It didn’t need to. It stands alone in taste and looks.” Filled with homemade pickles, the burger is perfectly paired with amazing tater tots. Make sure you ask for them “dirty” next time queso is on the menu. Trust us. You will not be disappointed.

5. Dairy Bar

If you want an iconic establishment in Brenham, then try Dairy Bar. Established in 1985, it still makes one of the best burgers in the county. You will most likely always find a long drive through line and the inside packed with locals. “This is as local as it gets.” Be sure to add curly fries and a chocolate shake to your order!

6. Independence Store

When you arrive, you might be confused by the look of a gas station, but not to worry – you are in the right spot. “The burger came wrapped in silver foil and it was hot, the fries looked like they were made for a TV commercial.” This is the best hole in the wall you can find. “Remember when you come here to eat, don’t be in a hurry, slow down and relax. Take in the history and the wonderful folks who run it.”

7. LJs BBQ

LJ’s is known for its award-winning BBQ, but have you ever tried their burgers? “Let me start by saying this is no normal hamburger. It’s cooked to perfection. The secret for this bad boy? Smoked then grilled.” This is the type of burger you skip breakfast for and then are still too full for dinner later. They serve until they sell out, so make sure you get there early!

8. Nathan’s BBQ

Recently written up in Texas Monthly magazine for its traditional style of BBQ-ing, this family-friendly restaurant is where you will find locals on a Sunday afternoon for lunch. “I enjoyed the atmosphere and decor and, rest assured, that delicious, juicy hamburger.” Nathan’s is another staple in Brenham and a place you do not want to miss.

9. Pioneer Smokehouse

Didn’t we say Brenham has great BBQ? Well, great BBQ means great burgers. Pioneer will give you an amazing atmosphere with an even better burger. You choose your toppings to your liking and then be prepared to have to use two hands to tackle this thing. Right in the heart of downtown, Pioneer has the atmosphere, the drinks, and the burger!

10. Smitty’s Cafe & Bakery

For a place known for their chicken fried steak, they sure can do a burger right in an old gas station turned into an amazing restaurant. “Their list of burgers is long, but they do not disappoint. They make their own buns and that is what made this burger stand out.” Make sure to have a slice of pie before you leave!

11. TABU

Right in downtown Brenham you will find a restaurant that specializes in Tacos and Burgers (TABU). “Their burger made me stop and say WOW! It hits just right. I don’t know if they have a secret spice, but something was going on.” With a wide variety of burgers on the menu, you are sure to find one that speaks to you. Try the onion rings as your appetizer!

12. Wild Bill’s

When you are heading out to Lake Sommerville, you will not want to miss Wild Bill’s, adjacent to the entrance to Rocky Creek Park. You’ll walk into a nice wooden bar where you will be welcomed and order a burger where they don’t skimp on the meat. With three choices of fries for your side, you will not be disappointed with the atmosphere and the burger.

So tell us! Where is your favorite burger in Brenham/ Washington County?

 

6 Places in Brenham to Get a Scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream

 

 

Midsummer in this crazy Texas heat means one thing–it’s time for Blue Bell Ice Cream! And what better place to get a scoop of the best ice cream in the country than right in the hometown of the little creamery?

Here are SIX places in Brenham/Washington County to get a scoop of refreshing Blue Bell Ice Cream!

1. Blue Bell Ice Cream Parlor

Is it really a trip to Brenham if you don’t visit the creamery? A visit to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Parlor will take you back in time to your first scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream! Enjoy free samples, and scoops are only one dollar! The Blue Bell Country Store adjoins the Ice Cream Parlor, so you can shop for souvenirs while you’re there. Be sure to grab a free paper Blue Bell hat to complete the experience.

 

2. Must Be Heaven

Located in the heart of Downtown Brenham, Must Be Heaven is home to an old-fashioned soda parlor. Get a scoop of your favorite Blue Bell flavor, or indulge in a sundae with a cherry on top! Must Be Heaven is also known as a favorite stop for sandwiches, quiche, and homemade pie. Dine inside or sit on the patio, and don’t forget to snap a picture in front of one of their murals before you leave!

3. SCOOPS

Scoops may look like a regular convenience store, but the locals know that this inconspicuous place is the home of the biggest selection of Blue Bell flavors in Brenham! With 32 flavors to choose from, go for a double or triple-scoop!

4. R Place

You won’t find as many flavor options at R Place in Washington, but you will find BBQ and loads of character to go with your scoop of Blue Bell! Located right next to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, this is a must-stop when you visit where Texas became Texas. R Place is only open on weekends, so make it part of your weekend getaway.

5. Yumm! Sweets & Eats

Another Downtown Brenham favorite, Yumm! Sweets & Eats offers Blue Bell along with a plethora of other sweets to fuel your Downtown stroll. Don’t miss their homemade pizzas on the restaurant side!

6. Kippers Kountry Store

Kippers Kountry Store in the heart of historic Chappell Hill is the perfect place to get a scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream! Take it with you as you stroll and shop in one of Texas’ prettiest little towns.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Nights, Cool Tunes 2022

 

 

Hot Nights, Cool Tunes is one of the highlights of the summer in Washington County! And lucky for us, it is not just a one-time event. Bring your lawn chair and your friends, and join us each Saturday evening in July for live music on our historic downtown square. Admission and parking are free. Food and drinks are available for purchase to support the community and help keep the concerts free. The west end of Alamo Street features a car show by Stray Katz Car Club, which is always a family favorite.

The music starts at 7:00 pm and ends around 9:00 pm. Come early for shopping, food and the car show!

July 9th – The Fab 5

The concert series kicks off with The Fab 5, voted best cover/tribute band by Houston Press 2011-2015, they feature the music of the Beatles and other groups from the British Invasion of the '60s & '70s.

Sponsored by: Brenham National Bank | Seidel Schroeder |Budweiser - Mike Hopkins Distributing | Dahmann & Associates

July 16th – Ashmore

100% genuine rock 'n roll band out of Dallas that is coming to rock Downtown Brenham!

Sponsored by: Tippit Dental Group | Briannas Fine Salad Dressings | Associated Credit Union of Texas | Upchurch & Yates LLP

July 23th – The Brown Sugar Band

They will have everyone up on their feet, movin' and shakin' as they play Old School Rock'n Roll, Motown, R&B, and Today's Hits.

Sponsored by: Woodson Lumber Company | Citizens State Bank | Legacy Concrete Works | Bluebonnet Electric

July 30th – The Spicolis

Houston's classic MTV tribute band playing your favorite songs from the '80's.... think Breakfast Club!

Sponsored by: Brannon Industrial Group | Strand Associates | Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union | Ant Street Inn

 

 

Hot Nights, Cool Tunes concert series is brought to you by

 The City of Brenham and KTEX 106.1

Make a weekend out of it, and stay in Brenham and Washington County! Click here for lodging.

Brenham BBQ Trail

In recent years, Brenham has become quite the destination for barbecue aficionados and Texas foodies. With TWO local smokehouses listed on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints, and several more with their own following, Brenham is a must-stop on the quest for the best Texas BBQ. To make it easier for your dining tour, we’ve mapped the Brenham Barbecue Trail.

May is National BBQ Month, so it’s the perfect time to make a long weekend of the Brenham BBQ Trail and enjoy all that Washington County has to offer!

A. LJ’s BBQ

Along with being a local favorite, LJ’s has received many accolades and recognition since opening in 2015. LJ’s was recently tapped again by Texas Monthly for its 2021 list of Top 50 BBQ Joints. Pitmasters Matt Lowery and Corey Cook were also featured in 2021 on the Today Show with Jenna Bush Hager & Hoda Kotb. Their perfectly smoked meats speak for themselves but don’t forget the sides! LJ’s famous Mac & Cheese, collard greens, German-style potato salad, and beans all deserve a place on the tray.

Local Tip: Top that famous mac & cheese with the brisket! And be sure to grab a complimentary beer from the cooler, featuring local brewer, Brazos Valley Brewing Co.

1407 W. Main St. Brenham, TX 77833 |  979-421-8292; Wed–Sat 11–3 or sell out

 

B. Truth BBQ

After opening his doors in 2015, Pitmaster Leonard Botello IV’s Truth BBQ has become a fixture on Best BBQ lists around the globe for good reason. Recently named again on Texas Monthly‘s list of Top 50 BBQ Joints, this time Truth rises to No. 3 in the ranks of Texas BBQ royalty. Every meat on the menu is a must-try. But don’t stop with the meat–if you can’t save room for dessert, then order the cake to-go, because you don’t want to miss it!

Local Tip: Call ahead to check for closures. Bring a hat or sunscreen and a friend to visit with while you wait in line.

2990 US – 290, Brenham, TX 77833  |  (979) 830-0392  |  *Call ahead to check for closures.  |  Open Sat & Sun 11 am to sellout

 

C. Pioneer Smokehouse

Pioneer Smokehouse is family-friendly and fun year-round in the heart of Downtown Brenham. In addition to delicious BBQ, they have a wide selection of beer, games on the patio, and seating inside & outside. A recent addition to Pioneer’s offerings includes a seven-seater party bike to rent and ride downtown!

Local Tip: The Hobo Nachos are a crowd-pleaser!

309 S. Park St., Brenham, TX 77833  |  (713) 876-8416  |  Open Thurs: 9am-2pm, 5-10pm;  Fri: 11am-2pm, 5-11pm;  Sat: 11am-11pm

D. Nathan’s BBQ

Long known for their ribs, Nathan’s BBQ has been serving up old-school Texas barbecue for decades. Open daily for lunch and dinner, Nathan’s has an extensive menu of meats, sides, and desserts.

Local Tip: Look for live music on Friday nights.

1307 Prairie Lea St., Brenham, TX 77833  | (979) 251-9900 |  Open M-F: 11am-8pm; Sat: 11am-9pm;  Sun: 11am-6pm

E. Cody’s Pit Stop BBQ

This local secret is bound to get out! Cody’s Pit Stop is a family affair–everything from the pit to the desserts to the Texas BBQ joint decor. You’ll love the food, and you’ll be treated like family.  Plan ahead, though, because Cody’s is only open one day a week (Saturday–or Sunday if it’s high school football season in Texas).

Local Tip: During bluebonnets season, the fields near Cody’s are a sea of blue.

2828 Industrial Blvd., Brenham, TX 77833  | (979) 421-0514 |  Open only on Saturdays* 11-3 or sell out   |  *Open only on Sundays during high school football season 

F. Chappell Hill Bakery · Deli · BBQ

Chappell Hill Bakery, Deli & BBQ is the perfect stop for a weary road tripper. The meats and meal plates are amazing, and the bakery will make your sweet tooth sing. They are famous for their kolaches, and their BBQ & pie have previously received an honorable mention in Texas Monthly’s coveted list. The dining room is big and can accommodate sizable groups.

Local Tip: Stock up at their market with meats and treats for the rest of your trip!

8900 Hwy 290 E, Chappell Hill, TX 77426  |  (979) 836-0910  |  Sun – Thurs: 6am-8pm; Fri – Sat: 6am-9pm

G. Chappell Hill Sausage

Chappell Hill Sausage is sold in grocery stores across the state, and they happen to be based right here in Washington County. The meat market also houses a shop and restaurant, featuring their renowned sausage, barbecue, bacon, and other meats. From a burger to the brisket to the fresh smoked bacon, you can’t go wrong at Chappell Hill Sausage.

Local Tip: Order one of their honey-glazed hams for the holidays!

4255 Sausage Ln., Chappell Hill, TX 77426  |  (979) 836-5830  |  M-F: 8am-5pm; Sat: 8am-3pm

 

Burton Cotton Gin Festival

Did you know that the oldest operating cotton gin in the United States is located in Burton, Texas?

Every year, this historical treasure is celebrated at the Burton Cotton Gin Festival. A day filled with FREE fun for the whole family kicks off with a parade followed by a classic car & tractor pulling contest, demonstrations, live music, shopping, family activities & contests, and all the food and refreshments you would expect from a small town of German heritage!

Experience the sights and sounds of the old cotton gin in action as festival goers witness the baling process. And don't miss out on a tour of the Texas Cotton Gin Museum, where you can learn about the foundation of the gin and the story of how it was saved from becoming the site of a convenience store.

 

Burton Cotton Gin Festival - Burton, Texas

April 23, 2022 |  10:00am - 6:00pm

Free Admission

10:00am - Parade

11:30am - Bubble Gum Blowing Contest

12:00pm - Tractor Pull Contest Begins

12:00-2:30pm - The Jodie Mikula Orchastra

12:30pm - Pie Eating Contest

1:30pm - Cotton Seed Pulling

2:30-4:00pm - Sean Orr & Texas Gold

3:00pm - Cotton Gin Produces a Bale

4:00-6:00pm - Black Cat Choir

 

Demonstrations throughout the day

Visit the Texas Cotton Gin Museum for more information.

Toast the New Year with Downtown Brenham’s Uptown Wine Swirl

Leave 2021 Behind … Welcome 2022!


Purchase at participating Downtown merchants:
$35 before 12/31 or $40 after 12/31

Purchase online:
$40 before 12/31 or $45 after 12/31

BUY NOW!

Bring your ticket purchased at a participating Downtown merchant, or your receipt if purchased online, to the Courthouse Gazebo the day of the Swirl. Turn it in and show ID to receive your wristband, keepsake tasting glass, and shopping bag. Enjoy!

Swirl participants on sidewalk

Don’t delay--quantities are limited!

Swirl participants in Alamo Alley

Spend time with family and friends relaxing and tasting wine from all over the world. Swirl leisurely through quaint establishments nestled in Brenham’s beautiful downtown National Register District.

Swirl Participants in store

Fresh air, plenty of shopping, and wine at every stop!

Swirl participants taking selfie

Finding Holiday Magic

Finding Holiday Magic

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 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!

 

Weekend Getaway with S.A. Foodie

Weekend Getaway in Brenham with S.A. Foodie

Recently, S.A. Foodie visited Brenham & Washington County.  She had great things to say & took some AMAZING photos!

Check her out on Facebook to see all the fun she had while she was here!

🚗 RECOMMENDED TEXAS GETAWAY 🚗
I recently went to Visit Brenham/Washington County, Texas for the weekend to explore their...

Posted by S.A.Foodie on Monday, November 16, 2020

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Isn’t that what mom always said?  We have locally owned restaurants who proudly specialize in creating ‘love on a plate.’  Imagine steamy, fluffy biscuits the size of your fist slathered in creamy sausage gravy; buttermilk pancakes piled high, dripping with real melted butter and syrup; farm fresh eggs, thick slabs of bacon with a side of hot coffee.  The list of morning eateries is extensive and we all have our ‘go-to’ places that help us push the reset button to face the day with a smile and albeit, tight pants!

Here’s a list of places in Washington County to get your day started off on the right foot!

  1. Andrea’s Taco Shop – open 24-hours (Friday & Saturday only) – authentic mom & pop taqueria
  2. Blue Willow Café (Burton) – Tweaked Eggs Benedict are a favorite, but so are the Banana Pancakes Banana pancakes with bacon
  3. Brenham Grill (located inside Ant Street Inn, serves breakfast only on weekends) everything from granola to eggs Florentine
  4. The Dreamliner Diner, home of a HUGE bacon, egg, & cheese biscuit (lovingly referred to by some staff members as a “baby head biscuit” because that’s how big it is)bacon egg & cheese biscuit
  5. Chappell Hill Bakery & Deli - Sausage & Fruit kolaches and traditional breakfast
  6. Chappell Hill Sausage Company (closed Sundays) – can’t get more fresh than where the sausage is made
  7. Daisy’s Mexican Food – authentic Mexican breakfast including menudo and migas migas and breakfast taco
  8. Las Americas Latin Cuisine (Downtown Brenham)– weekend brunch specials like Fried eggs & chorizo with mimosasFried egg & chorizo sandwich
  9. Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant – breakfast only available Saturdays
  10. Ninety-Six West (Downtown Brenham) – another weekend brunch favorite like smoked salmon eggs benedict along with mimosas & bloody mary's Bloody Mary and Mimosa
  11. Santa Fe Café – only open weekdays in Downtown Brenham, but a local favorite
  12. Smitty’s Café & Bakery – where everything is homemade & made from scratch chicken and waffles

And who doesn’t need a JOLT of caffeine??  Try our locally-owned coffee shops!

  1. Independence Coffee Roastery – that’s right, roasted right here in Brenham
  2. Mescalito Coffee (inside Ballad of the Bird Dog)
  3. Wired & Inspired Coffee Shop (inside The Pomegranate)

In a hurry?  Try these places for a quick & easy bite.

  1. Weikel’s Bakery – kolaches, just like homemade
  2. Max’s Donuts - donuts, kolaches and breakfast tacos

Sometimes the best things in life are FREE … or pretty close …

TOP TEN FREE THINGS

to do and see in Washington County!

 

The ‘dog days’ of summer are here and you are dreaming of having fun—something beyond the blow up pool in the backyard. You NEED to get out of the house, experience a complete change of scenery, make some memories, feed your spirit … without breaking the bank! No worries. Head to the Brenham and Washington County area! It’s an easy drive away—halfway between Houston and Austin—and a world away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.

 

  1. Window Shop in Historic Downtown Brenham and Chappell Hill

You’ll feel the stress melting away as you stroll our peaceful historic streets and experience small town friendliness and charm. Take a moment to sit in the shade of huge oak trees surrounding the Courthouse in Brenham or the historic buildings in Chappell Hill and don’t be surprised if you get a friendly wave or two. FREE!

Downtown Chappell Hill stores

  1. New Splash Pad near Fireman’s Park

Take a seat at a nearby picnic table and watch the kids laugh and play in the cool, clean water. You might just want to join them! Good, clean fun for all. FREE!

Splash Pad at Fireman's Park

  1. Peeka Ranch Alpacas

Get up close and pet these beautiful animals. You’ll fall in love as soon as you gaze into their sweet eyes, complete with enviable long eyelashes! FREE for those under 17, $5 for adults! Appointments required.

Alpacas

  1. Texas Cotton Gin Museum in Burton

History comes alive with this one-of-a-kind experience. Built in 1914, the Burton Farmer’s Cotton Gin is the oldest operating gin in the U.S. The museum is full of cotton memorabilia and the store offers fun, cotton-inspired shopping.  Open Tuesday – Saturday from 10-3. The Museum is FREE for everyone.  Tours at 10 am and 2pm are FREE for children 5 and under; Students $4; Adults $6.

Model T's in front of Cotton Gin

  1. Let Giant Murals Inspire Your Creativity

Drop by the Visitor Center in Downtown Brenham and pick up a passport or download a map  here, that will direct you to all the breathtaking murals that have been painted by famed muralists from around the country. Truly inspiring—and great backdrops for selfies! FREE!

Sam Houston Mural

  1. Pleasant Hill Winery

Call and make an appointment to harvest juicy grapes that are ready for the perfect homemade jellies and jams … or your own wine making. The winery is not open on the inside for tasting, but on weekends you can always buy a bottle and enjoy a glass from the safety of the great outdoors. Grape picking is FREE while supplies last, typically through the second week of August. 

Grapes at Pleasant Hill Winery

  1. Chappell Hill Lavender Farm

Ahhhh, the sweet smell of lavender! Take a scenic drive to the Chappell Hill area and walk among the rows and rows of gorgeous lavender plants. The shop offers a variety of lavender-inspired soaps, food, gifts and more. Fresh air and lavender are FREE !  Open Thursday – Sunday, see website for hours.

Lavender fresh cut in basket

  1. Antique Rose Emporium

This 8-acre complex features nature in all its glory and is a definite “must see.” Photographers love the endless vignettes (charges apply for professional photo shoots). Gardeners are inspired by the creative uses of plants and found objects that dot the gardens. Nature lovers get their ‘fix’ of all things beautiful in these display gardens. FREE! Open Thursday – Sunday, see website for hours.

Antique Rose Emporium gardens

  1. Old Baylor Park

Sprawling old oak trees shade this historic site, where stone ruins remain from Baylor University’s earliest days. Picnic tables and a playground make this a favorite stop for traveling families. An easy two-mile round-trip walk (or drive) takes you to Independence Cemetery, one of the most soulful historic cemeteries in the area. FREE!

Ruins of Old Baylor

  1. Blue Bell Creameries

No trip to our area is complete without visiting the creamery. Browse the Blue Bell Visitor Center for all kinds of history, pictures, and videos. Savor a generous scoop of your favorite Blue Bell ice cream from the Parlor (only $1 per scoop) and a trip to the Country Store for a unique gift. Important Note: Observation Deck is not currently open, but the Parlor, Visitor Center and Gift Shop are FREE and open Monday – Friday 8am-5pm.

Blue Bell ice cream in a cup with spoon.

Plan a weekend stay to do it all!  There’s plenty to do and see in the fresh open spaces of our area—without breaking the bank. You are FREE to roam our area. See you soon!

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!

Bluebonnets and Beyond

It seems that we barely finish ringing in the New Year before people begin to ask us ‘How’s the bluebonnet crop this year?’

It’s a true obsession. A rite of passage. A Texas tradition carried on throughout countless generations. Almost a primal need to find the perfect spot to plunk down your babies, both human and fur, to ensure the bluebonnet season (and said family members) have been preserved in history. No other wildflower will do, it must be bluebonnets for a true Texas bluebonnet baptism ... no disrespect meant ... but sometimes it does feel almost as important.

Let’s be honest, finding a giant field of bluebonnets is like walking into a picture painted by the hand of God. There really is nothing like it, especially if we are lucky enough to experience a ‘Super Bloom’... oceans of bluebonnets as far as the eye can see ... cascading wave after wave, adorning our fields and hillsides.

However ... what if the Spring doesn’t give us a Super Bloom, or perhaps you miss the blooming peak by a week ... but you still NEED that bluebonnet fix.

No worries ... all is not lost!wildflowers under large trees at sunset

Take a moment and look around. It’s beautiful here, regardless of Super Blooms. Really beautiful, with so much to take in and enjoy ... beyond the bluebonnets.

Wildflowers are everywhere, in every color and are ever changing depending the time of spring or summer you visit our area. Multi-colored phlox carpet the earth, then bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and wine cups reach for the warm spring sun and Indian blankets and coreopsis let us know that summer is in full swing.

Wildflowers can be amazing tour guides in Washington County. They can lead you to places and experiences both expected and unexpected.

old baylor ruins and bluebonnetsA favorite stop for bluebonnet hunters is Old Baylor Park in Independence. Centuries old, graceful oak trees gently shade the area where old Baylor Female College once stood. Situated just off Highway 390, it’s a perfect location for travelers who have driven the scenic highway to relax and take photos.

While there, take a look around and you’ll discover hidden sites. The Independence cemetery is nearby where you’ll gaze on a treasure of old graves that lie beneath mounds of wildflowers that seem to understand they are gracing our ancestors who are at rest beneath. Truly a beautiful and historical place.

Texas Baptist Historical Museum welcomes visitors to discover the area’s past. This is where Sam Houston attended church ... you can even see where he carved his initials in the pew!

monument and bluebonnets

classic cars at old fuel station

 

 

 

 

 

Plan your visit around the lunch hour and come hungry! The Independence General Store (circa 1900) serves the best hamburgers around. Grab your sodas and longnecks from the coolers and order at the counter. Then, head out back and enjoy the breeze on the raised deck while waiting for your burger. No doubt you’ll be visited by the resident goat who will meander up the wooden stairs and peer through the gate to check for any leftovers ... and he’s usually not disappointed ... there’s always a bite or two left to share. Forgot to mention this is a casual affair, no tie needed. Ha!

garden and windmillTime to walk off lunch. Luckily, just five minutes up the road you’ll find the Antique Rose Emporium. This eight-acre botanical garden center offers views from every angle and antique rose varieties of all types ... not to mention a ton of native plants. It’s the perfect place to take a walk and breathe in the fresh air while surrounded by nature.

There’s so much to do and see, you’ll want to plan a weekend ... or a few days to take it all in!

Chappell Hill’s Official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas, Burton’s Cotton Gin Festival, and Brenham’s Cool Nights, Hot Tunes all land on the same date this year, April 18th. Enjoy the festivals by day and head to downtown Brenham that evening for a free outdoor concert under the stars, around the courthouse square. It doesn’t get more fun or more Texan than this ... it’s great fun for the whole family.crowd of people around cotton gin museum

Super Bloom? Only time will tell. Super Fun? Definitely … come exploring all the sites and sounds our area has to offer. There’s no better way to unwind, relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us in Brenham and beyond.

See you soon!band performing in downtown brenham people dancing in the street

Riding the Salt Grass Trail

It’s rodeo time in Houston.  Every March, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ gears up for a month of BBQ, rodeos, world-famous performers, livestock shows, auctions, and much, much more.  Kicking off this month-long celebration are the 12 trail rides that begin in February and come in from all over Texas.  But it’s the Salt Grass Trail Ride that is the “Granddaddy of Them All” which got its start back in 1952 in Brenham.

Reese Lockett was a Brenham boy who had made it big.

His rodeo abilities got him movie roles where he became friends with Gene Autry and Will Rogers. He traveled to England to perform in a wild west act for the King and also staged annual rodeos at Madison Square Garden.  He eventually returned to Brenham to work in the banking industry and own a men’s store downtown.  In 1934, he was elected mayor and held that position for the next 28 years (minus a 6-year hiatus).  While mayor, he “maintained” his cowboy status by living on a large ranch and helping organize both the Texas Prison Rodeo in Huntsville and the Houston Fat Stock Show.  But it was a trip to the Orange Bowl game in Florida resulting in cancelled flights home that evolved into the Salt Grass Trail Ride.

After he finally made it home from Florida, a few friends were talking, and Lockett vowed to “never make another trip where I can’t ride home on my horse.”  One of Lockett’s friends asked him to be an Arena Director of the Houston Fat Stock show and he was reminded of his vow.  Yet another friend thought it would be great publicity for the rodeo if Lockett rode his horse to Houston all the way from Brenham.

On January 30, 1952, Reese Lockett, Pat Flaherty, E.H. Marks, and John Warnasch left Brenham with a chuck wagon and followed the pioneer cattle drive trail, known as the Salt Grass Trail, to Houston.  Along the way, 13 other people joined the journey and drew more publicity than those four men ever expected.  In a few short years, the ride grew to over 2,000 riders. It continues every February; the 103-mile journey still marks the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with over 20 wagons from the Salt Grass Trail riding in the parade in Downtown Houston.  Lockett was the trail boss of the Saltgrass Trail Ride from 1952-1969.  This year, the ride will begin on February 21st in Cat Spring and arrive at the parade in Downtown Houston on February 29th.  The Salt Grass Trail Ride has become a family tradition for many.  Today there are grandchildren and great-grandchildren riding alongside their parents and grandparents on the week-long journey.

Lockett had a huge impact not only on the formation of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ but in Brenham and Washington County as well.  He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, served on the board of Blinn College, and as a former Maifest King (wife Hester was a Maifest Queen) he was always a part of the annual Maifest Association Celebration.

In honor of all his contributions to Brenham and Washington County, a statue by Edd Hayes, titled “Ready to Ride,” was installed near City Hall in Lockett Plaza on September 11, 2001.  I took a personal interest in Mr. Lockett’s story since I started riding Salt Grass back in 2005 when my step-sister got me involved.  I ride with wagon 21, The Rounders (who formed in 1973), and look forward to it every year.  Due to volunteering at the BBQ Contest with the Houston Rodeo, I only get to go for the weekend.  It’s always terrible weather.  It’s a lot of work, with late nights and early mornings moving rigs to the next camp. Riding all day wears you out pretty quickly but, MAN! is it ever fun.  The late nights by the campfire created a bond with people who started out as strangers but grew to be some of the best friends I have.  The kind of people who would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it, no matter the situation.  With today’s modern conveniences, camp looks a lot different than when Mr. Lockett rode.  I have to say, although I really wish I could’ve ridden once back in the early days, I greatly appreciate the campers and trailers of today instead of the bed rolls and tents of yesteryear.  I moved to Brenham in 2012 and Mr. Lockett’s statue is not too far from my house.  I drove by it for YEARS not knowing who he was or why he even had a statue.  If it hadn’t been for working at the Visitor Center, I would’ve never known about our little “connection.”

Thanks to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, the Saltgrass Trail Ride Association, and the Texas State Historical Association for detailed information.

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.

Charging Your Electric Car in Brenham

Did you know that Brenham has 4 public electric car charging stations?  The newest one was installed in Downtown Brenham this past May and when traveling through from Houston to Austin, it’s a great stop to “recharge” both your car and yourself!  Stop in for a coffee or a meal at one of our Downtown restaurants.  Spend some time browsing our quaint shops.  Or even take in Toubin Park and learn about the history of Brenham.  In addition to the Downtown charging station, there are also stations located at the Coach Light Inn, Holiday Inn, and Best Western hotels.

Traveling long distances with an electric car takes some planning.  Imagine setting out on a road trip in your electric car, only to learn that your destination doesn’t have a charging station!  You need to plan “rest stops” along the way for your car to charge.  Since it’s located in Downtown Brenham, it gives travelers a chance to experience everything Downtown has to offer while their car is “juicing” up.

The details an electric car owner needs to know about the downtown charging station in the Vulcan Street lot (across from City Hall at 200 W. Vulcan):

  • IT’S FREE!
  • It’s an EVSE-RS dual pedestal system with a standard SAE J1772 connect.
  • It charges all SAE J1772-compliant vehicles, including both electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles with a 25 ft cable, Level 2, 32-amp.
  • Find all the electric car chargers in Washington County on PlugShare.com and ChargeHub.com

Two Couples, One Weekend Getaway

Historic charm meets trendy entertainment.

My friend Julia and her boyfriend, Declan, had recently moved to Brenham, a small town halfway between Austin and Houston. When they told me they were moving, I was surprised. We’d all gone to college in Austin, and I just couldn’t picture them in a small town. Julia said I’d understand as soon as I saw it for myself. I was curious, I missed her, and I had a few unused vacation days, so I enlisted my boyfriend, Adam, to join, and we made the short drive.