Brenham is an inviting country town nestled among the sprawling farmlands and oak forests of South Central Texas. This small community, located off of Highway 290 between Austin and Houston, is home to the Blue Bell Creamery, a thriving arts scene, and its fair share of great shopping and dining. But there are more things to do in Brenham than its great entertainment. Brenham is just a few miles from the birthplace of Texas, Washington-on-the-Brazos, and the fertile lands that surround town contain four unique wineries and farms that you can visit. In many ways, Brenham is a great starting point to experiencing the past and the present that make the Lone Star State what it is today.
With so much to see and do, it may be tough to figure out where to get started. We’ve got you covered. Read on to discover some of the best things to do in Brenham.
This one is kind of a no brainer. Brenham has been the home of the Blue Bell Creamery for more than 100 years, making it something of an institution here. Every year, thousands of people head to the creamery to try the delicious ice cream right from the source. The creamery has an ice cream parlor where you can enjoy a scoop (or two) of this sugary sweet confection, a visitor center where videos and exhibits present the company’s history, and a country store if you’re in a souvenir buying mood.
Milk a cow. Harvest some vegetables. Pet a goat. Hug an alpaca. If you’ve ever wanted to do any (or all) of these things, you’re in luck. A few of the farms and ranches near Brenham are more than happy to have you lend a helping hand. For example, at the Jersey Barnyard in La Grange, home of the famous cow “Belle” from Blue Bell Creamery’s commercials, you’ll have the chance to milk a cow and bottle feed a calf. While you’re there, you’ll hang out with miniature horses, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, and goats, as well. On the other hand, the previously mentioned Barrington Living History Farm encourages its visitors to participate in the daily chores. So if you decide to plant or harvest some crops, or any of the other chores around the farm, you’re getting a history lesson along with a taste of the farm life.
Don’t think we forgot about those alpacas. Travel 15 miles west of Brenham and you’ll find Peeka Ranch Alpacas, a 60-acre farm home to 100 alpacas. Not only will you get to pet and feed these adorably furry creatures, but you’ll also get to savor scenic views of the ranch’s hay meadows and oak-tree-covered hills. A small gift shop stocked with alpaca wool products is on hand as well, just in case you want to take a souvenir home with you.
Many of the most important moments of the early history of Texas played out near where Brenham is today. The Texas Declaration of Independence and the republic’s first constitution were created at present-day Washington-on-the-Brazos in March of 1836. Much of this history is remembered at the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park, which occupies nearly 300 acres about 20 miles northeast of Brenham. The park features quite a few things to see and do. Start at Independence Hall, the building where the original 59 delegates fashioned the Declaration of Independence and the state’s first constitution. From there, you’ll be primed to visit the Star of the Republic Museum, a modern two-story facility that highlights Texas’ remarkable past with interactive exhibits and artifact displays.
This may already sound like a lot to see, but don’t worry. There’s more where that came from. The Barrington Living History Farm, the former home of the last president of the Republic of Texas, Dr. Anson Jones, resides within the park as well. These days, the farm is occupied by costumed interpreters using 1850’s era methods and tools to tend to the farm, providing a unique look at what life was like in Texas at that time. Spending some time on a ranch while learning about the history of the Lone Star State near where the republic was born? It doesn’t get any more Texan than that.
Sample an award-winning Blanc du Bois or Cabernet Sauvignon at the Pleasant Hill Winery, or try wines made from prickly pears or cranberries at the Texas Star Winery. The other two wineries, Windy Winery and Saddlehorn Winery, are easily reached as well. Since all four wineries are close to town, you can make any trip to Brenham a wine sampling adventure. If you do, we suggest you bring along a designated driver so you can fully enjoy all the great flavors of Brenham’s wineries.
Want to attend a play or a symphony? No problem! Brenham is home to the only professional theatre in Washington County, and there is a state-of-the-art performance hall that routinely hosts concerts nearby. Unity Theatre, located in a renovated warehouse in downtown Brenham, brings in professional actors, directors, and technicians from around the country to produce dramas, romantic comedies, musicals, and other types of shows. Meanwhile, the 500-seat Dr. W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center provides a compelling space for theatrical, musical, and choral performances by Blinn College students and guest performers. Both venues offer visitors and locals alike the opportunity to enjoy a top-class show without having to be in a big-city venue.
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