Previous and future meet in quaint-but-hip Brenham, Texas

Need a charming vacation spot that weaves collectively Texas’ legendary previous with a contemporary, hip vibe? Look no additional than Brenham, Texas, conveniently positioned midway between Houston and Austin. It’s the right hub for a area stuffed with callbacks to historical past and a forward-looking vitality.

© Jacob Rhoades / Lonely Planet

Brenham’s downtown is listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations, with buildings courting to the 1860s, however wandering the atmospheric streets you’ll discover loads of fashionable boutiques and outlets – an ideal diversion. Afterward, no journey is full with out exploring the encompassing rolling panorama and small communities of Burton and Chappell Hill. Listed below are our must-do’s for this traditional and genuine nook of the Lone Star State.

 Whilst you’re admiring the artwork and historical past in downtown Brenham, find time for the native companies © Courtesy of Go to Brenham, Texas

Historic Downtown Brenham

Brenham’s downtown is filled with colourful murals that fill the streets – to make certain you catch all of them, take a self-guided Brenham Art Walk tour. For historical past buffs, there’s additionally a self-guided Historic District Walking Tour that covers historic buildings such because the Brenham Opera Home, Glissmann Pharmacy, Simon Theater, Toubin Park, and extra.

Whilst you’re admiring the artwork and historical past, find time for the native companies – greater than 25 outlets fill the quaint downtown. Puppy Dawgs and Cat Tails is a must-see for these with furry mates in search of pet beds, treats, pet clothes, and pure pet meals. Woman’s Cave is nice for presents equivalent to selfmade soaps, candles, pottery, and décor. The Barnhill House Toys and Books is ideal for youths, with old school toys, books, puzzles, and a great deal of stuffed animals.

Chappell Hill, Texas

Based in 1847, Chappell Hill is positioned simply quarter-hour east of downtown Brenham. The city is part of Stephen F. Austin’s unique colony and in its early days was a preferred stagecoach cease. It was additionally a steamboat port for cotton being shipped down the Brazos River to Houston.

There are 12 Nationwide Register spots in Chappell Hill, together with century-old church buildings, the oldest frequently working financial institution in Texas, the restored Windfall Baptist Church, and the Chappell Hill Historical Museum. For a bit of out of doors exploration, the Chappell Hill Lavender Farm has fields of lavender, a present store, courses and seminars, and even permits lavender chopping at sure instances of the yr. The city additionally holds the annual Official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas within the spring, and a Scarecrow Festival within the fall.

Texas Tidbit: Group tours can be found for Chappell Hill’s Windfall Baptist Church, the Rock Retailer, the museum, and the Chappell Hill United Methodist Church Wednesdays by Saturdays.

Old Cotton gin
Burton is dwelling to the oldest working cotton gin in America © Getty Photos

Texas Cotton Gin and Museum, Burton, Texas

West of Brenham on freeway 290 is Burton, a small city that’s dwelling to the oldest working cotton gin in America. The Texas Cotton Gin and Museum is the house of the gin, which dates to 1914, and it’s visited by 1000’s of individuals yearly. Museum admission is free and consists of quite a few displays, a present store, and a presentation on how cotton is cultivated immediately, from floor to bale. Excursions of the gin are performed twice day by day for a small price.

Texas Tidbit: The annual Cotton Gin Festival takes place the third weekend in April and features a parade, a cotton-seed-pulling contest, meals and craft cubicles, an vintage tractor present and pull, a youngsters’s barnyard, and folk-life demonstrations.

Historic Outdated Baylor Park and Vintage Rose Emporium, Independence, Texas

About quarter-hour north of downtown Brenham is Independence, Texas, one other charming small city stuffed with historical past. Based within the 1820s, it turned a Baptist stronghold when it was chosen as the location of the unique campus of Baylor College in 1845. Go to the Antique Rose Emporium, an expansive nursery devoted to roses that transport you straight to a fairytale. Eight acres are stuffed with rose show gardens, and you should buy roses of all kinds and colours. Subsequent door, you’ll discover Old Baylor Park, the location of the unique campus. In the present day, you’ll see the archaeological ruins alongside a strolling/driving path with indicators detailing the historical past of the village of Independence.

Blue Bell ice cream started because the Brenham Creamery Firm © Alizada Studios / Shutterstock

Blue Bell Creameries

Arguably among the finest merchandise popping out of Texas is Blue Bell ice cream, which has its roots in Brenham. Blue Bell started because the Brenham Creamery Firm, when the founders reworked an deserted cotton gin right into a creamery and made butter from extra cream provides. Ice cream manufacturing started in 1911, and it’s been a favourite ever since. A go to to Blue Bell consists of the Customer Middle, the place you’ll be able to take a self-guided tour of the corporate’s historical past by the Blue Bell Museum; the Ice Cream Parlor, the place you’ll be able to seize a scoop of your favourite taste; the Nation Retailer, the place you should buy Blue Bell swag; and the Commentary Deck, the place you’ll be able to watch the ice cream being made.

Fireman’s Park and Vintage Carousel

Only a few blocks from downtown is Fireman’s Park: 30 acres of park area consists of playgrounds, a skate park, volleyball courts, a baseball subject, the StoryWalk out of doors studying expertise, and extra. A park favourite is the vintage carousel, referred to as Brenham’s Flying Horses Carousel. It’s one in all solely 5 surviving traditional wood carousels that exists in Texas, and is the oldest one within the state. The carousel was present in 1930 by Hugh Durden in Clay, Texas, the place it had been left in a pasture years prior. In the course of the Nice Melancholy, a carnival that couldn’t afford to pay hire on the land they used for his or her carnival was compelled to desert the trip. The carousel was moved to Brenham, restored, and has been the pleasure of the group for many years.

In the present day it’s the right emblem of this eclectic group: Enjoyable and forward-thinking, with a deep respect for the previous.

Brenham represents a traditional and genuine nook of the Lone Star State © Courtesy of Go to Brenham, Texas