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BRENHAM STORIES
FINDING FUN & HISTORY IN BRENHAM & WASHINGTON COUNTY: Take a chance – a chance with time travel. Just an hour and a bit away from the hustle and bustle of major metro areas in Texas is a quiet stretch of countryside split by Hwy. 290, the road that connects Houston with Austin. Wrap yourself around rolling green hills draped with winding country roads that lead to adventure…laid-back adventure. Grab those modern devices (cell phones and GPS) to search for and find a plethora of geocaches stashed around Washington County. “The Birthplace of Texas GeoTour,” with 28 caches, stands as the first officially organized geotour in Texas. Completing the tour will provide a glimpse of many of Washington County’s top attractions. Downtown Brenham is the heart and soul of Washington County and features a wide array of antiques stores and specialty shops set in historic buildings clustered around the courthouse square. There are a variety of restaurants, art galleries and museums, and live performances are staged at Unity Theatre and at Blinn College’s Performing Arts Center. Brenham is also home to Blue Bell Creameries, founded in 1907 and the maker of “the best ice cream in the country.” Girlfriend outings can feature a world of things to do – or not do – in this scenic setting, including cozy lodging at a bed & breakfast, visits to shops and art galleries, and a stop at nearby wineries to spice up the time together. Here’s a suggestion for a day’s worth of fun and soft adventure: Shopping, Dining & Wineries 10:00 AM • Downtown Brenham shopping, art galleries, antiques, lunch 1:30 PM • Dessert and shopping at Blue Bell Creameries’ Country Store 3:00 PM • Tour & tastings at Pleasant Hill Winery and/or Windy Winery 6:00 PM • Live music at Home Sweet Farm Market & Biergarten The City of Brenham and other local groups host a number of annual events for visitors to enjoy including summer concerts, wine walks and a holiday Christmas Stroll and Lighted Parade, to name a few. Take a look at the Events tab online at www.VisitBrenhamTexas.com or the VisitBrenhamTexas app (it’s free) for ongoing updates. Speaking of things to do, here is another suggested itinerary for making the most of your time among the green rolling hills: Chappell Hill & Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site 9:00 AM • Visit the Chappell Hill Museum and other sites in the village 10:00 AM • Shopping along Main Street 11:30 AM • Lunch at Bevers Kitchen or Chappell Hill Bakery & Deli 1:00 PM • Explore Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site 4:00 PM • Visit Texas Star Winery and/or Chappell Hill Lavender Farm The Washington County area was one of the earliest in the state to be settled, part of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old 300” land grants. The village of Independence counts both the John P. Coles Home (circa 1820s) and the historic Independence Baptist Church (circa 1839, the oldest continuously operating Baptist church in the state) and other historic sites among its assets. Baylor University was founded here and the ruins of Baylor Female College still stand, surrounded by a peaceful park and playground area. This park is renowned as one of the best places in the state to check out bluebonnets in the spring. A well-marked walking trail and illustrated signage along the way provide the complete story. Garden lovers, and anyone who enjoys scenic views, simply can’t pass up the renowned Antique Rose Emporium which features 8 acres of landscaped grounds filled with antique “found” roses and many other native plants. Here’s a suggestion for enjoying this part of the county: Independence, Navasota & College Station 9:00 AM • Stroll and shop at the Antique Rose Emporium 10:00 AM • Visit Old Baylor Park, Independence Baptist Church & Museum 11:00 AM • Tour the John P. Coles Home 12:00 PM • Lunch at Café M. Bloomers, shopping at Martha’s Bloomers 2:30 PM • Experience the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum Around the corner and down the road lies the village of Burton, about 10 miles west of Brenham and right on the edge of the great antiques-hunting trail on FM 237 north and south of Round Top. Antiques excitement happens in spring (late March, early April) and fall (late September, early October) and draws nearly 100,000 shoppers to the area for a grand revelry of searching, scavenging, shopping and buying. But in between those two major events lies a quieter time. The Texas Cotton Gin Museum, with tours of the 1914 Burton Cotton Gin offered twice daily, brings the history of cotton to life. (Ever tried to remove cotton seeds from a cotton boll? It ain’t easy!) Here’s how to sample this corner of the county: Burton & Round Top/La Grange 10:00 AM • Visit the Texas Cotton Gin Museum and Burton Railroad Depot 11:30 AM • Lunch at the Burton Short Stop 1:30 PM • Explore Round Top Festival Institute, Henkel Square, Bybee Square 4:30 PM • See the Peeka Alpaca Ranch and Gift Gallery 6:00 PM • Enjoy tastings at Saddlehorn Winery For fans of scavenger hunts, check out #Adventure290. Pull off Hwy. 290, pick up an “Official Passport,” and find and record a clue at each small town along the route between Houston and Austin – including Chappell Hill, Brenham, Burton, Carmine, Giddings, Paige, McDade and Elgin. Just locate the answer to each question listed on the Passport to earn points toward a prize package. You don’t have to complete the trail in one day. Visit several times! When done, mail your completed entry form to the address listed on the Passport to receive a prize package. (Find information about the Passport on any one of these town websites or on Facebook.com/adventure290.) If you’re ready to relax, refresh and reconnect, Washington County is the right destination for you. View the wide variety of lodging choices available in the surrounding area online. You’ll find options from name-brand hotels to quaint B&Bs to private cabins, all with their own personalities. Once you’ve chosen your lodging in the country, be prepared to hear the sounds of the country -- roosters crowing and cows mooing -- not car horns or sirens! Make plans now to reconnect in Brenham and relax a while.

Historic
Simon Theater

979-836-6980 | www.thebarnhillcenter.com

Washington On the Brazos

936-878-2214
www.wheretexasbecametexas.org

Hot Nights
Cool Tunes

www.downtownbrenham.com
Facebook.com/DowntownBrenham

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