Fredericksburg: Romantic Lodgings near German-Influenced Town
In Texas Hill Country, it’s easy to tell when you’re getting close to the town of Fredericksburg: you’ll start spotting “Willkommen” on the highway signs. German immigrants settled here in 1846, blending Teutonic traditions with cowboy-style farming and ranching. Nowadays, it’s still common for locals to greet one another with “Guten Tag,” and the farms have blossomed into colorful lavender fields and first-rate wineries. Many staff members at First Class Bed & Breakfast Reservation Service, which populates the area with romantic, B&B-style accommodations, were born and raised here.
The staffers use their firsthand knowledge to recommend exhibits at the National Museum of the Pacific War or put together custom tours, from wine-tasting trips to spa days. Sample cuisine at any of seven local restaurants with the $20 dining voucher included in most deal options. Sweet Marley’s serves frozen yogurt in flavors such as cake batter or peach white tea ($0.42 per oz.), and Clear River Pecan Company is a '50s-style diner that loads sandwiches ($6.99) with ingredients such as maple turkey and pepper jelly.
After checking in at the main office, you can head to your chosen abode. Many of First Class’s suites stand near Fredericksburg’s historical Main Street, which also goes by the name "Hauptstrasse." Among the possibilities are 115 Austin Place, suite 2, which has a two-person jacuzzi and a private sundeck, and the vintage Pioneer Haus, which pairs shabby-chic furnishings with original stone walls.
You can also opt for quieter digs outside city limits, where, according to staff member Barney, “on a clear night, you’ll see every star in the sky.” The Appian Way cottages feature full kitchens and porches outfitted with hot tubs overlooking 40 acres of Hill Country scrub; farther east, near local wineries, exposed wood siding and a backyard filled with rough-hewn chairs and petrified pioneers give the Allison guesthouse a more rustic feel.
Port Aransas: Beach Resort in Laid-Back Coastal Town
Port Aransas—or Port A, as locals call it—is nestled along the Gulf of Mexico, 250 miles southeast of Fredericksburg, and it hosts several of First Class’s properties. Thanks to a 6-mile beach with bath-water-warm waves, Port A has a carefree, near-tropical atmosphere that distinguishes it from the rest of Texas—according to Carolyn, a First Class reservationist, “You can’t find a more laid-back place.”
Here, Pirates Bay Resort pays homage to Port A’s legendary past, when buccaneers such as Captain Jean Lafitte reputedly buried plunder along its shores. The Ahoy Matey cottage reflects the surrounding beach with palm-frond prints, a pair of propane grills, and a lagoon-style pool with a sand entrance.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.