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Summer Guide 2012

Daytrippin': Enchanted Rock and Fredericksburg

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

I live in a German town, so the idea of vacationing to a place like Fredericksburg, which sells itself with Biergartens and chocolate shops, doesn't really appeal to the part of me that wants to get away. But then there is that Enchanted Rock (fifteen miles north of the town) — the closest natural physical phenomena Central Texans have to a Grand Canyon experience. It's not a canyon at all, of course, but the largest pink granite monadnock I've been to in the U.S.

I was really thinking it was something akin to the Blarney Stone. But no, it's huge and many people want to walk up its curve like there is some life lesson up there, or some satellite view-only celebrity wedding taking place. I gave it a shot, but I had my little boy, who is not yet a two-year-old, strapped onto me in one of those baby backpacks. About midpoint I realized this was some pretty bad parenting. Everything got slippery and I was searching for any available twig to secure my steps. I decided that was enough and walked down. And in the shade, looking at an abandoned hot dog cart by the restrooms, and at the perspiring aspirants marching up the dome, my Enchanted Rock experience hit me like some kind of low oxygen fortune cookie knowledge: In this part of Texas perhaps it's enough to simply look around ... and head back into town, which has a decidedly perma-brunch attitude.

Fredericksburg is a fine place to stay ground level and walk straight lines. So you might not be into wine tasting or jazz nights, and you may have no time for metal cowboy fixtures or rare olive oil dispensers, but there is a good chance all this marketable mirth might affect your mood. I've been here twice in the last year. One time I drank beer and hung out in a motor lodge reading a mildly offensive Frank Harris collection of short stories that I'd picked up for a buck at a great Fredericksburg book nook called Berkman Books (416 E. Main). The other time I abstained from drink and just took in the sweet night air in pleasant sobriety.

The thing is that, in my head, I felt like I was buzzed both times.

Aside from the downtown, there is also Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park (432 Lady Bird), which is gorgeous and great to photograph, and makes you feel — if no one is around for your hike — like some gardener in an Asimov story. A word of caution: avoid going there when that VW car show is happening, unless you just want to look at fuchsia-painted Fuscas and spend seven bucks on a German taco, which is red sausage on a white tortilla.

Price of Trip

$42 Gas
$16 Park fee
$20 Dinner at Der Lindenbaum (312 E Main) or West End Pizza Place (232 W Main)
$20 Mad money. You'll feel like a dolt if you walk down the historic downtown shopping area and don't go in to buy something, like a sequined hat or a glass of wine or a pair of stone salt and pepper shakers.

TOTAL: $98


What to pack

Proper shoes
Wear something that you can scale stone with as well as saunter down sidewalks in.
A map of the area It seemed like no one knew where anything was and I had to stop at the tourist center to find a you-are-here plaque.
Sunscreen I don't use it because I am afraid of it getting it in my eyes. (Plus, I'm Mexican.) But everyone else lacking this phobia or appropriate melanin needs to rub it all in.


Miles round trip: 224


Threat Level: 3

Only because rock is hard (and sequins are flashy). Watch your step.

The Summer Issue 2012
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  • Daytrippin': The Upper Guadalupe Tubing, Lone Star beer, bad tattoos, sunburns, chicken fried steak at the Gristmill … it's a central Texas tradition. But it's good to remember the Guadalupe doesn't... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': The Comal River After securing your tube from one of the nearby vendors (we chose Rockin' R River Rides, 1405 Gruene, just outside historic New Braunfels), it takes about 20 minutes... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': Corpus Christi Summer has arrived, and no my friends, she is not friendly. Her seasonal fever can suck you dry as you drag your way through desolate parking lots and... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': Enchanted Rock and Fredericksburg I live in a German town, so the idea of vacationing to a place like Fredericksburg, which sells itself with Biergartens and chocolate shops, doesn't really appeal to the... | 6/20/2012
  • Daytrippin': The Snake Farm Thanks to the magical combination of severe insomnia and Animal Planet programming, I finally discovered the greatness of Steve Irwin. For years, I dismissed him as the parody... | 6/20/2012
  • Buggy summer Many news outlets have reported that this summer would be one of San Antonio's buggiest. This is a myth. While various insects are crawling (and flying) around the... | 6/20/2012
  • Pickup basketball After spending ungodly hours watching the NBA this playoff season, it's time to get off your ass, lace up your sneakers, and get on the court. But don't settle for... | 6/20/2012
  • How to survive the summer: bunkering lessons for locals Why we haven't figured out yet that even with air-conditioned rooms and air-conditioned cars it's just plain whacked to get up with the sun and stay awake through the heat of... | 6/20/2012
  • Plastic Beach Photography and fashion styling by Bryan Rindfuss. Visual Art by Erin Curtis | 6/20/2012
  • Bus or bust Yes, "Everything's bigger in Texas." I get it. The sheer size of this state is daunting to a bleary-eyed driver. We may long for cheap, fast commuter rail linking Texas... | 6/20/2012
  • Summer camp roundup CCamp Disney gives children ages 5-18 the chance to perform songs from some of Disney's popular musicals including Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid... | 6/20/2012
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