The days of the bustling turn-of-the-century Main Street are alive and well in Boerne. In the heart of this charming Texas town lies the famed Hill Country Mile, a collection of locally -owned shops, boutiques, hotels, restaurants and galleries along the historic downtown Main Street or Hauptstrasse, as the original German settlers called it. For the record, the Hill Country Mile is actually 1.1 miles long because we have to do everything just a little bit bigger in Texas. Stretching from Oak Park Drive to Richter Avenue, the Mile is home to over 46 historic properties built between the 1850s through 1920s, and more than 100 local businesses dedicated to promoting the city’s art, culture and food scenes.
Voted one of the “Top 25 Small Town Main Streets in America” by Country Living Magazine, the Hill Country Mile attracts thousands of visitors to Boerne every year. You will be welcomed with a dose of down-home hospitality, but the shops and restaurants are anything but antiquated. They feature modern merchandise and great cuisine in vintage architecture full of character.
Now, it’s time to shop, stay, eat and play!
What is Main Street without shopping? The Hill Country Mile has dozens of shops to visit, including Bechants — a selection of fine gifts, clothing and home accessories, and a reputation for exceptional, personalized service, A Little Nature Store — purveyors of outdoor gifts and supplies, and Handmade on Main — a co-op featuring one-of-a-kind handmade items. Amy Bierstedt, owner of Handmade on Main and avid maker, even established National Handmade Day on April 1st.
If the Hill Country vibe inspires you to redecorate, you have to visit Calamity Jane’s Trading Co. “We have helped decorate the Hill Country for over 16 years. We have seen Boerne grow and are so blessed to have the support from this great town and the surrounding areas. Our goal is to help you make your home beautiful!” says owner Shawn Beach. While you’re at it, pick up some original Texas art from one of the premier art galleries.
New retailers are always eager to set up shop along the Mile. Sachs Garage is one of the most recent developments and includes new stores like J. Forks — a woman-owned boutique, The Loft by BH Originals — where artist Brandi Hartigan invites guests to browse her art and enjoy a drink, and Bison Union Co. — a destination for coffee and gifts.
Other shops have joined the Mile within the past few years:
Southern Voice — a boutique carrying everything from fashion to home décor; Laurie Saunders — a beautifully curated shop for gifts and home accessories; Boerne Trading Co. — a multi-vendor store full of unique finds; Under the Fig Tree — a woman’s clothing store located inside Theis House; Black Rifle Coffee Company — a cozy spot where you can recharge with a cup of joe; The Shops at 153 Main — a one-stop destination, housing choice boutiques and eateries including Uptown Chic, Plaza Taxco, The Boerne Bookshop, Boerne Cork and Keg, Richter Bakhaus and Richter Tavern.
Having owned Alibi in New Braunfels for 13 years, Diana Ward and daughters Courtney and Lindsay chose Boerne for their second boutique. They opened Uptown Chic three years ago, and Diana was so enamored with Boerne that she made Cordillera Ranch her home, “We fell in love with the Hill Country and the quaint, friendly downtown of Boerne. We knew Boerne was an up-and-coming area.”
The Hill Country Mile includes three beautifully appointed hotels. The Kendall is a restored circa-1859 stagecoach stop with 34 uniquely decorated rooms and three one-of-a-kind suites located in a former Lutheran chapel, a carriage house and a historic cabin, all on the grounds. The Phillip Manor is a 150-year-old secluded property with four private suites. Finally, The William is a luxury boutique hotel with balconies overlooking the bustling Main Street below. Venture a bit off the Mile to find The Bevy, a DoubleTree by Hilton, which provides the classic amenities you would expect from the well-known chain and more than 15,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space.
Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktail hour, the Hill Country Mile has you covered with tasty eats from over 20 dining options. Boerne Grill and Bear Moon Bakery offer delicious breakfast and lunch options, such as handcrafted coffees, oatmeals, sandwiches and sweet pastries. Popular casual comfort spots are 259 Brantley’s Bistro and Compadres, serving up burgers, nachos, outstanding BBQ and everything in between. More elevated dining options include The Creek, Cypress Grill, Peggy’s on the Green, Botero Tapas + Wine and Richter Tavern. For a unique find, check out The Dienger Trading Co., where you’ll discover a bistro, bakery and boutique housed in a 137-year-old grocery store. Just off the Mile, Little Gretel is continuously praised for its German and Czech cuisine, and it’s another hot spot for breakfast.
Prost, y’all! (That’s how we toast in Boerne.) Right now, the craft beer scene in Boerne is exploding. Along the Mile, you can pub crawl your way through Tusculum Brewing Company, Cibolo Creek Brewing Co., Free Roam Brewing Co. in the old Green Bull building, and Dodging Duck nearby on River Road.
If you want more cardio than shopping provides, the Mile-adjacent River Road District has beautiful walking paths along the banks of the Cibolo Creek. Here, you can fish, hike, picnic and bike along the shady and peaceful trail systems. The historic buildings lining the Mile make for a fascinating walking tour, and art enthusiasts can also take in Art Al Fresco, a public art collection of 14 permanent sculptures located throughout the downtown area. Maps for both of these self-guided tours are available at the Visitors Center. Boerne’s Main Square, marked with its iconic pavilion, is the backdrop to many hometown events, including Boerne Market Days, outdoor movies and folk concerts. One of the most famous concerts is Abendkonzert featuring the Boerne Village Band. Founded in 1860 by German immigrant Karl Dienger, this group is the oldest continuously active German band outside of Germany!
Boerne is a thriving community that promotes its arts, natural resources and economy through tourism and the initiatives of new businesses. Many families choose to call Boerne home for its peaceful atmosphere, wonderful schools and excellent quality of life. While it might seem quiet at first, there is so much to explore. As we like to say, our name rhymes with ‘journey’ and that’s just what you will experience while shopping, staying, eating and playing in Boerne.