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Less than an hour south of Austin is Gruene, Texas, an area with a colorful history that’s perfect for a day trip or weekend away.
Founded in the 1840’s, Gruene was once a booming transportation and commerce center. However, the boll weevil disaster and Great Depression hit the town hard, and Gruene was basically a ghost town by 1950.
With the help of friends, many of Gruene’s most important buildings were restored and designated as historic landmarks. Today, Gruene Historic District is a lovely town with an old-time feel that’s easy to appreciate.
During your visit, check out these things to do in Gruene:
- Browse the many shops on Main Street. You’ll find antiques, gifts and more. Two of our favorite shops are Black Swan Antiques and Gruene Antique Company.
- Visit Gruene Hall, the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas. They have performances there all the time. See the calendar here.
- When it’s time to eat, go to the Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar by Gruene Hall. Gristmill has delicious pina coladas. And though we haven’t had them yet, we hear that the ribs are amazing. The trick is this: they’re not on the menu. But don’t be too shy to ask! All the regulars say the ribs are phenomenal.
- Time your visit to correspond with Gruene Market Days. They run on the third full weekend of every month, from February to November and the first weekend of December.
- If it’s the holidays, enjoy the town lighting, Cowboy Kringle and the Annual Gruene Pony Express Ride.
If you’re looking for a low-key day away from the city, Gruene is absolutely perfect. Don’t forget that this article is just a summary of our podcast episode. Take the time to listen for the fascinating history of Gruene and more on our favorite things to do there.
We’re still getting to know Gruene – what are your favorite things to do there?
Photos via Flickr CC, courtesy of Kyle Dickson, Sean McMains, David Hamill and David B. Nash.
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