Adventure in Austin (and Beyond): New Braunfels

Katie is one of our resident adventurers who just moved to Austin about six months ago. This week she took advantage of this excuse to explore, went to New Braunfels and fell in love with its simplicity. Get ready for the ultimate day of local restaurants and antique shops. Here we go. 

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This past Wednesday I drove an hour south for one of my favorite adventures to date. Having recently moved from Nashville, I was used to the short drive it took to get to the epitome of small towns: Franklin, TN. I hadn’t realized until exploring New Braunfels all day that I missed the smallness that only comes with town squares, roundabouts and everyone knowing their neighbor.

Looking forward to a day spent with random turns and no objections, I was excited to arrive. I left around 10:30; a definite must to ditch that Austin morning traffic. You could leave before the traffic, but I’m a regular person who loves sleep. Thus, 10:30. Heading south on 35, it’ll take a little less than an hour. I recommend listening to the La La Land soundtrack on the commute, especially if it’s sunny outside. You have complete permission to have Someone in the Crowd on repeat.

When you arrive in New Braunfels, head towards the town square. On your way, you’ll pass a couple antique shops. Immediately pull over. I turned around to make sure my first stop was Max’s Haus Mercantile and the experience laid the foundation for an amazing day in this new town. I explored all the furniture outside and quickly found a couple of baskets I needed. Who knew it was basket shopping day? However, walking inside affirmed that this was my favorite little shop in history. The owner, Norma, welcomed me with sincerity and told me a couple of times in the first few minutes to make myself at home. I did. I walked out of this first shop with pieces of art and new inspiration from my new friend, Norma. We talked about work ethic and the origins of Max’s Haus and I think I actually skipped out of the store. It was the sweetest part of my day.

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Norma even gave me a list of places I needed to check out on my adventurous day. Side note: I would highly recommend doing the same when you arrive in a new town. Find a great place, find some great people and ask where their favorite place is. It’ll save you time and effort, as well as guarantee a local experience.

After my art purchase, I went to Norma’s recommended lunch spot, Naturally Cafe.

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This was a treat. Since it’s January, I (like all of you) am trying to eat healthier. This is the spot I would go every day if I was able. They had the friendliest staff, most delicious food and an actual feel-good-about-your-decision menu.

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From here, I explored downtown for a while. Take a gander at the pictures I took and remember that it’s not my fault that I didn’t get a single picture of the town square. I’m good at other things.

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Throughout the day, I also meandered through other antique shops that are definitely worth checking out! There are so many in the whole city, but here are just two others I went to this particular day.

Adele Kerr & Co.

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Encore Antique Co.

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I stopped by a park to read, relax, and take a break from gazing at all the antiques I couldn’t take back to Austin with me. With the river and the sun, this was a needed stop. Another side note: I hit this place on my way back from Gruene. You have to go to Gruene if you go to New Braunfels. Especially make sure to go to The Oldest Dance Hall in Texas after you eat dinner. Trust me, it’s a blast!

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Later in the evening and after I relaxed at the park, I knew I had to go to this new place in town. I passed by it while exploring downtown and was waiting all day waiting to try it out. Since I’m not the most well off person in the entire world, I decided to save dinner for next time I came (which will probably be in two days), eat at home, and simply try a brew at Krause’s Biergarten + Cafe. There were a few other places Norma recommended for dinner, but this one was screaming my name. You’ll see why when you arrive there yourself. Even the bathrooms are gorgeous. Seriously. Make sure you use the bathroom while you’re there. All in all, with the exception of meeting my new best friend at Max’s, this was the highlight of my day. Maybe next time I’ll just take Norma to Krause’s and it’ll be the best of both worlds!

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Since this is only an hour south of the city, I have a feeling I’m going to venture off to New Braunfels more than I realized. It was such a slow and needed breath, and I can see making the trip for a few of the places I found this past week. Friends, go check out these spots and tell them Katie sent you. Guaranteed no one will know who you’re talking about, but it’ll make me feel like a small town local knowing you used my recommendation. Cheers!

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