KERRVILLE, TEXAS: THE HEART OF THE HILL COUNTRY

Nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Kerrville is one of the largest towns in the region west of the I-35 corridor, with a population right around 24,000. This welcoming town is located on the banks of the Guadalupe River, and boasts a vibrant creative community.

Though originally founded as Brownsborough in the 1840s, the town was officially platted in 1856 by James Kerr, a major in the pivotal Texas Revolution. It was at that time named Kerrville in his honor. Though its growth was stunted slightly by the Civil War, Kerrville blossomed during Reconstruction, expanding with numerous ranches, for which the area is famous. Kerrville's population increased steadily from 1900 forward, with a population in that year around 1,400. Numerous business and tourism interests made their home there, and by 1995 the Wall Street Journal called it one of the wealthiest small towns in the nation.

It's not uncommon for visitors to Kerrville to extend their stays, once they discover how much there is to see and do. With that in mind, Backroads Reservations is happy to offer a listing highlighting what this jewel of the Hill Country has in store for its guests.

Late September brings the Texas Arts & Crafts Fair, showcasing the creativity of vendors from the local area, and all over the country. This fair has taken place here since 1972, and also features live musical entertainment. Stroll the grounds, and take home a hand-crafted artisinal piece to commemorate your visit!

In early and mid-October of each year, Kerrville hosts the renowned Kerrville Folk Festival. Since 1972, this event has celebrated the musical form that's been around as long as there have been stories to tell. Over the years, the Folk Festival has hosted not only local talent, but nationally-known headliners such as Peter, Paul, and Mary; Arlo Guthrie; David Crosby; Janis Ian; and Judy Collins. Tickets are available for single days, full weekends, or for the entire event.

Also in October, check out the Kerr County Celtic Festival, a celebration of the sounds, tastes and history of the Scots-Irish culture. The haunting keen of the Highland pipes echo over the grounds, where you can observe the Highland Dance Competition, the vigorous Scottish Highland Games, and sample the food and creative vendor booths for your fill of the Celtic heritage.

While you visit the Arts & Crafts Fair or Celtic Festival—or any other time of the year, for that matter—you can take in the mystic wonder of Stonehenge II, an exact replica of one of England's most famous landmarks. There are also replicas of the famous Easter Island “Tiki head” statues at the site.

Those seeking a more spirited twist to their visit will find two fine wineries in Kerrville. The Kerrville Hills Winery is perched on the highest spot in Kerr County, thus its name, and the Turtle Creek Olives & Vines Winery calls the historic downtown district its home. Both offer tastings in beautiful settings, and a chance to take home a bottle or two of their fine wines. For a full wine and food experience, Grape Juice offers an extensive and innovative menu to accompany a glass of fine wine.

In more of a beer mood? Kerrville is host to some great breweries, too! The Basement Brewers of Texas serves up a rotating menu of premium house and guest beers. Pint and Plow not only offers fine brews crafted and created on-site, but a hearty menu of salads, sandwiches, pizza and pub fare, as well.

Speaking of food, the Kerrville experience is rounded out by several great places to eat. For higher-end gourmet dining, there's the 1011 Bistro, with entrees featuring steak, fish, lamb and duck. Rails: A Cafe at the Depot is housed in a 1915 railroad depot, and features house specials ranging from grilled bison burgers to grilled salmon salad. Another local favorite is Billy Gene's, whose menu ranges from specialty salads to burgers to steak and seafood. The Rio Ranch Cafe serves up local favorites such as brisket and chicken and waffles. Looking for a hearty Texas steak? The Cowboy Steak House has been grilling them up for over 30 years. Texas is famous for its barbecue, and in Kerrville you can check out Buzzie's BBQ and Bill's Bar-B-Que, both equally famous for their mouthwatering fare. For authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex, Francisco's, Taqueria Jalisco, and Mamacita's menus are bound to satisfy your appetite. Delicious Asian cuisine is available at the Soaring Dragon, Thao Ocha, and Yeo Bo's Cafe. If a pizza's more your speed, check out the primo pies at Broken Stone Pizza Co. Whatever your mood, from the simple yet satisfying to the elegant, you won't go hungry in Kerrville!

For a strong sense of America's western history, you owe yourself a visit to the Museum of Western Art. Since 1983, the museum has prided itself in its growing collection of sculpture, paintings, and art in virtually any medium you could imagine, all featuring facets of the growth and culture of the American West. The artwork shown here dates from the beginnings of the West's settlement by Native Americans to the modern era.

The splendor of the Texas Hill Country, and the Guadalupe River, can all be absorbed in the parks surrounding Kerrville. Kerrville-Schreiner Park, Louise Hays Park, Flat Rock Park, and the Kerrville River Trail all feature facilities for picnics, hikes, and wildlife-watching—or just a simple riverside setting in which you can relax. Finally, just west of Kerrville is the Devil's Sinkhole, which during the spring and summer is home to a Mexican free-tailed bat colony of three million.

No matter if your schedule is packed, or you're stopping in Kerrville to recharge your mental and physical batteries, you'll want a setting that features the best of the Texas Hill Country. Backroads Reservations has several rentals in the area, with amenities and floor plans that will take care of you, whether you're on your own or with a full crew. We hope to see you soon, here in the heart of the Hill Country!