Photo courtesy TXDoT
Our trip this
time is an easy day trip from Houston
or Austin and a good
overnight trip from San
Antonio or Dallas.
We would recommend all points of departure to consider this an overnight
trip since there is so much to see and do, but if you are traveling
with pets, in-laws or children, do what you have to (within reason).
County is a mandatory stop on the Grand Tour of Texas because
of its historical significance. The abundant spring wildflowers
are icing on the cake. Highways 290 and 71 offer a
display of flowers even the driver can view without distraction
and the winding roads between Brenham
and La Grange provide
hills and curves (sometimes at the same time) that will postpone,
but not eliminate the dreaded "Are we there yet?" Churches
appear out of nowhere and it seems every cow has a barn of it's
own. Southern Fayette
County is the home of the Painted
the Brazos or otherwise) are all under the umbrella of the
Washington County Chamber of Commerce. www.brenhamtexas.org.
Their brochure is impressive and anticipates your every need. They
are even gracious enough to include some places and events on their
maps that are outside Washington
County. Area maps can be downloaded from their website.
on towns for photos, history and attractions:
- Don't confuse the highway businesses with the real town. Historical
downtown has Washington County Museum as well as lots of shops and
places to rest/eat. Abundant trees line large lawns and gardens
throughout the residential neighborhoods.
- Tranquil town with restored depot and nationally recognized
working cotton gin.
HILL - Historical Museum. Town is fine example of what active
preservationists can accomplish. Scenic Masonic Cemetery contains
graves of Wm. Travis' family. Twenty-five structures with Historic
- Ruins of Old Baylor, Gravesite of Mrs. Sam Houston, Texas Baptist
STATE HISTORICAL PARK and STAR OF THE REPUBLIC MUSEUM -
Research Library, Restored home of Anson Jones, last President of
the Republic of Texas, nature trails, gift shop, and picnic area
all in a tranquil setting.
This is definitely on the Grand Tour of Revolutionary Sites in Texas.
It has recently undergone an extensive expansion, and the parking
has been expanded as well.
Contact them at 409-878-2461.
Wesley Brethren Church - A painted church. On the National Register
of Historic Places. On FM 2502 and FM 332. 8 miles SW of Brenham
OF ST. CLARE - The nuns of St. Clare couldn't sing or fly,
so they came up with the idea of raising miniature horses to make
ends meet. TE's Local Personalities visits with the latest and most
petite addition to the family. Primadonna has one mother and lots
ONE OVERLOOKED PLACE SOUTH OF LA GRANGE
HILL STATE HISTORIC SITE - (Fayette
County) Try to include this in your itinerary. Scenic overlook
offers great view of La
Grange and the Colorado River. Ruins of the Kreische Brewery
and the restored Kreische house. Two miles south of La
Grange on Hwy 77.
BAHIA SCENIC HIGHWAY
(FM 390)-- Connects Burton
and on to Hwy 150 which takes you to Washington-on-the-Brazos.
First highway in the State to be declared "scenic" by
the Legislature. This road which once ran from Goliad
(La Bahia) to Nacogdoches
is noted for its cattle and horse ranches along the way.
Hotels | Giddings
Hotels | La
Galloways on LaBahia Trail
On the south side
of La Bahia
Trail, close to Gay
Hill you may see some cattle with white belts around them. These
are Belted Galloways and can trace their lineage back to Scotland
via Canada. If they aren't, then they're Dutch Belted Cows, which
are interesting in that they were saved from extinction by P. T. Barnum.
Perhaps he was thinking of his expanding herd when he said, "There's
a sucker born every minute". After Barnum struck his circus tent
for the last time, selected members of that tribe were chosen to reintroduce
the herd to Holland. But if they are Galloways, they can be bred for
Dairy or Meat. They grow a woolly coat for winter that they shed in
the summer. Mothers are noted for being very protective of their calves.
The above information was from "A
Field Guide to Cows". Click here for a review of this indispensable
and humorous guide to identifying our laid back landscape accents.
we are on the subject of book reviews, a more scholarly and somber
book is SOLDIERS
OF MISFORTUNE by Sam W. Haynes. This is an excellent explanatory
companion for a visit to Monument Hill, detailing the trials and tribulations
of the Dawson and Sommervelle/Mier Expeditions in 1842. You think
you've got problems! Available in the Gift Shop / Museum at Monument
Hill State Historic Site.
Be advised that the Creamery in Brenham
is only open for tours on weekdays, but their product is available
and touted throughout the area.
Close to La Grange
you'll find the Jersey Barnyard which is a perfect stop for city kids.
They can tour a working dairy, milk a cow and see "Belle",
the singing cow from the Bluebell commercials. Bluebell ice cream
is available and seems to taste even better in the Barnyard setting.
Just think! It's already been through one digestive system and you're
sending it through another. Good food is available throughout the
For newcomers to the Austin
and Houston area, we
hope this trip will introduce them to the year round diversions close
There from Houston -
via Hwy 290
Thanks to the completion of Hwy 290, one can now cross Waller County
in about 8 minutes. Chappell Hill is approx. 60 miles from Houston
and is your first stop if you want the most direct route to Washington
The alternative to Hwy 290 would be to take I-10 west to San
Stephen F. Austin State Park is here and would complement the
later visit to Washington-on-the
Brazos if your trip leans toward the historic. This park contains
replica buildings and an impressive statue
of Austin. Burned by Santa Anna, the town was restored after San
Jacinto. Unfortunately no direct road connects this park with
Brazos. That’s the bad news.
The good news if you want to visit both, is that you get to drive
Get back on I-10 and you'll be in Sealy
before you can say "posturepedic". From Sealy take Hwy
36 to Bellville
and spend some time there.
Continue west on 36 and it's a smooth short drive to Brenham.
There from Austin
Head out of town on Highway 290. Stop in Elgin
for breakfast at the City Café downtown. Continue East to Giddings
where one block south of the Hwy 77-290 intersection you'll find one
of Architect J.
Riely Gordon's Courthouse jewels. The Post Office two blocks East
on 290 has a good example of a "WPA"
mural. This one is entitled: Cowboys Receiving Mail.
From Giddings you'll
pass Ledbetter and Carmine
- two small towns with antique stores, mostly open on weekends. Carmine
has a beautiful little park and playground if you want a picnic spot
off the highway. A little further is the Washington County Line. The
next town you'll see will be Burton.