In Castroville, you're just as likely to be greeted by a “bonjour” as you are to hear “howdy!” Texas hospitality blends perfectly with European charm in this beautiful little Hill Country town just west of San Antonio. Founded and populated by immigrants from the Alsace region of France (in the northeastern part of the country, bordering Germany and Switzerland), Castroville takes pride in its rich history, while having played its own part in the formation of the Lone Star State.
In 1844, Castroville was founded by (and named for) Henri Castro, a friend and business associate of Sam Houston. Castro brought in expatriates from Alsace, and the town was first established as a stagecoach stop for those headed west from San Antonio. (A bit of trivia here: in the UK, the “Alsatian” is the official name for the distinctive dog breed, since during WWI and WWII “German shepherd” was not considered politically correct.) While assuming an active role in the growth of the area, especially its ranching interests, the majority of the citizens of Castroville held on to their European heritage, as well. For the town's first 100 years, most of its residents still spoke in their native Alsatian dialect. Castroville grew steadily, and currently boasts a population of 3,100.
Along with a quick primer of Castroville's history, Backroads Reservations is also proud to present this listing highlighting things to see and do here. Much of the historical information presented here has been generously provided by the Castroville Chamber of Commerce, whose good folks can be contacted at the link provided for more information, and historical walking tours. We highly recommend these tours, for Castroville takes great pride in its history, and that pride is strongly reflected in the town's architecture.
One of the highlights of those historic tours is the Steinbach Haus, straight from the 17th century in the Alsace region. Built no later than 1648, this genuine two-story European house was painstakingly moved and rebuilt in Castroville with historical accuracy in mind, between 1998 and 2002. Viewings and tours of this little slice of France in the Lone Star State are available every day of the week; please check the link above for details and contact information.
For more historical perspective on the Castroville area, the Castro Colonies Living History Center offers an immersive historical experience on Saturdays and Sundays. The center serves as a museum, with period-dress reenactments by its talented and knowledgeable crew to help bring the history alive.
The second Saturdays in March, June, and September bring the Trail Market Days to town. It's a farmer's market, flea market, and live entertainment venue all in one! This event takes place in Castroville's Houston Square, and more information is available by calling (830) 538-3142.
In late August, Castroville celebrates the very first (and still functioning) church in town, during the St. Louis Day celebration. The proceeds generated by the raffles and games during this event go toward keeping this 1844 church in good working condition, as well as supporting humanitarian efforts spearheaded and supported by the parish.
Early December brings over 250 food and craft vendors to Castroville's historic downtown, during the town's Old Fashion Christmas. Live entertainment, raffles, a live Nativity play, and gorgeous holiday lighting all accent this unique shopping experience, giving the whole area the look of a quaint European village! Please contact the Castroville Chamber of Commerce (link above) for more information.
Options for a great meal abound in Castroville! Here's a quick list of the more popular spots in and around town:
Baby G's Cafe: a full spectrum of breakfast, lunch and dinner choices
Billy Bob's Hamburgers: fill-you-up burgers, sandwiches and meal baskets
Castroville Cafe: hearty home-style meals, sandwiches and salads
Cora's 471 Grill: steaks, chops, and fish, and “the best nachos in Texas!”
Fremdes: wood-fired pizza, live music, and several beers on tap
Haby's Alatian Bakery: cakes and pastries in the traditional European style
Julianna's: all-fresh ingredient artisan entrees, pizza, steaks
Sammy's Restaurant: Tex-Mex and burgers; a family tradition in Castroville since 1948
Looking to wet your whistle? Just outside of town is the Medina River Winery, where you can taste some of their wares among the lofty beauty of the Texas Hill Country! Dan's Bar, a local favorite since 1937, was originally a meat market, but they have since added a custom leather shop next to the bar. Another popular night spot is the Bumpkin Bar, renowned for its karaoke nights and pool tournaments.
Old-World European history and architecture, in tandem with our amazing cabins and the stunning views of the Texas Hill Country, all come together in Castroville—and we at Backroads Reservations look forward to the privilege to host you.