In the hub of the Texas Hill Country lies Kerrville, a purebred-Texas community of 20,000 which sits on the Edwards Plateau eco-region and is noted for its rugged country of stony hills, broad divides, rangy cedar, towering cypress and the beautiful Guadalupe River.
Kerrville lies 60 miles NW of San Antonio on I-10 and is 104 miles from Austin, 248 from Houston and 306 from Dallas, making a “trip to the Hill Country” easily accessible from all parts of Texas.
Sparkling spring-fed creeks meander through the rugged terrain and rolling hills of the Guadalupe River Valley, where the focal point is the wandering Guadalupe River, which roams through the valley overlooked by scenic hills and ranches.
Kerrville actually has a bustling downtown, where you can park the car and explore on foot, seeing a lot in a very short time. The original H.E.B. Grocery Store, famed Texas chain, began in Kerrville. Stand in front of 211 Earl Garrett and reflect that Mrs. C.C. Butt’s Grocery Store was opened in 1916 with an investment of $50! Pick up a historical tour map and see where the Smokehouse, Arcadia Theatre, Pampell Opera House and Schreiner Dept. Store were housed.
Walk across the street and enter the Hill Country Museum (open Wed-Sat. 11:30-3:30), built in 1879 by expert masons and stone carvers from Germany for Capt. Charles Schreiner, a foremost and prominent developer of Kerrville.
Notable is the parquet floor, made of ten hardwoods, and period furnishings and artifacts from the 1850s to 1930s. Ask your docent about the “tunnel” the Captain used to store money for his cowboys!
Next door, in the former post office, is the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, where fifteen art and cultural groups have made this a premier art destination.
It features changing exhibits throughout the year, highlighted by the Texas Furniture Makers Show each fall. Events are listed on Center's website.
Walk on down to Water Street and stroll through some of the galleries…a great choice is Rivers Edge Gallery at 832 Water St. Roxie the dog will “welcome you”, and stunning western and contemporary art, prints, sculpture, carvings and more may entice you into a purchase. Find something you like and let their expert custom framer turn it into a personal treasure for you. Further on down, step back into time at Sunrise Antique Mall, another two-story old mercantile now housing dozens of antique vendors displaying and selling china, glassware, furniture, vintage clothing, books, Coca Cola memorabilia, art, and more. A smiling Rosetta is usually on hand to welcome you and listen to your tales of “we used to have one of these” as your prized purchase is rung up for a keepsake of the day.
You’ll have time before lunch to head out to 1550 Bandera Hwy. to the Museum of Western Art. Wind your way past manicured grounds up to the entrance, where bronzed Western sculpture and the building’s rugged timber and stacked limestone exterior lead you into 14,000 sq ft of gallery space, dedicated to the talented artistry of those whose passion it is to preserve the culture of the early west, Plains Indians, mountain men and more.
The “Journey West” children’s gallery will entice your youngsters to climb up into a real chuckwagon, crawl into a real teepee, peer into trunks filled with wagon supplies and learn about the long journey west from a youngster’s viewpoint. Allow a minimum of an hour. This will surely be a highlight of your trip!
Hungry? You now have a decision to make, and it’s a hard one! Great restaurants abound in Kerrville, and a dozen or more offer up views of the beautiful Guadalupe River, so take your pick and head west out of downtown onto Junction Hwy. How about some Northern Italian creations at Rivers Edge Tuscan Grille, surrounded on three sides with water views. Or try some home cookin’ at the Lakehouse, or Billy Gene’s specialties at BG’s Steakhouse, or even Chili’s or a quick stop at Starbucks?
Further on down is Jazz, a Louisiana Kitchen, Guadalupe River Club, or rustic Café Riverstone, featuring savory creations such as pecan encrusted antelope. You won’t make a bad choice. They’re all good!
After lunch you have a few choices. Keep heading west out to Hwy 27 to FM 1340 for a very unique photo op in an unexpected place…. fascinating replicas of Stonehenge and Easter Island, erected in an open field. On the way back, stop at old Ingram loop and check out the galleries and boutiques…Clint Orms Silversmiths and Engravers showcases stunning silver buckles….ask who some of their famous clients have been – you’ll be impressed!
Prefer to walk off lunch? Try the Riverside Nature Center, with self-guided nature trails wending their way down to the Guadalupe. Great for bird and butterfly watching, this center is dedicated to the natural resources of the Hill Country and features 150 species of wildflowers, cacti, and many native trees. Take time to walk inside the nature center and visit “Martha” the tarantula and “Lizzie” the snake, and check out the nature-based gift shop on site.
Maybe you’re into hand crafted jewelry? Visit the headquarters of James Avery Craftsman, off of I-10 exit 505. The creations of Avery craftsmen are now sold in retail stores in some of the more upscale malls throughout the state. Visit the welcome center and watch the 15-minute video explaining the history, then view craftsmen creating stunning pieces. Of course, there’s a retail shop … take home a treasure!
Worth the short drive is Camp Verde, where you’ll find the Camp Verde General Store, just 10 miles south of town near the intersection of Hwy 173 and FM 480. Back in 1854, then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis commissioned Congress to appropriate funds for an experimental operation to use camels for military transport. Learn what happened between 1856 and 1865 and what became of the camels. For over 150 years, this has been a general store and post office, so take time to mail a postcard and have fun exploring the wide array of specialty gift items, jewelry, t-shirts, candles and more, then refresh yourself with a cold drink or ice cream before you head out of town.
There’s much more... golfing, tennis, Kerrville-Schreiner Park, the famed Y-O Ranch, riding, biking, canoeing or kayaking on the Guadalupe River, wildlife and birdwatching, and more. Make this a hub and explore other Hill Country areas such as Fredericksburg, Bandera, Boerne or San Antonio.
See for yourself why Kerrville has such a high repeat visitor rate…it is a result of people truly “losing their heart to the hills.”
Information Courtesty Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau