East Main Street, Fredericksburg
Narrow your focus to these two blocks of the city’s famed shopping stretch.
1. SOMETHING DIFFERENT II
Cowhides and lassos may be de rigueur in other local home-decor shops but not this one. Just inside the bright-red front door (there’s no signage), you’ll find furnishings and accoutrements that are exotic and traditional, unusual and urbane. The colorful vignettes let you visualize how dynamic your own living room or dining room could be if only you added that acrylic ghost chair, white stalagmite vase, or Zulu basket made of telephone wire. 221 E.Main, 830-997-2734, somethingdifferentII.com
2. HOMESTEAD AND FRIENDS
The first museums, known as wonder rooms, displayed personal collections of curious objects. So too does this three-level antiques shop filled with intriguing finds from sixteen countries. Browsing is like playing a game of I Spy with an anthropologist: an English oak beam table here, silk Chinese headdresses there, old French theater seats downstairs. Co-owner Tim Bolton describes his treasures—well-loved books, ecclesiastical items, wrought-iron beds—as “not fussy or froufrou,” though there is a wing devoted to all things shabby chic. 230 E. Main, 830-997-5551, homesteadstores.com
3. RATHER SWEET BAKERY AND CAFE
Rebecca Rather’s eatery lives up to its name. The Pastry Queen tempts would-be dieters with Pink Pig shortbread cookies, praline-topped cheesecake, and Texas Big Hairs lemon-lime tarts (the bigger the meringue, the closer to God!). Even if you eat too many breakfast tacos or gorge on a bison burger at lunch, you can grab a treat to go from Rather Sweet, Too next door. Just try to walk away from a slice of the chocolate buttercream cake, which is as big as a brick but as light as a marshmallow. 249 E. Main, 830-990-0498, rathersweet.com
4. DER KÜCHEN LADEN
Whether you’re Mario Batali or marvelously inept at making anything other than burned toast, you’ll find the answers to all your cooking queries in Jerry and Penny Hughes’s labyrinthine kitchen store. As he shows one customer how to use the cordless crepe maker, she explains to another how to bake traditional German springerle cookies with a patterned rolling pin. By the time you leave—armed with a 21.5-quart pressure cooker, a cast-iron aebleskiver pan, and a kaiser roll stamp—you’ll be prepared for quite the culinary undertaking. 258 E. Main, 830-997-4937, littlechef.com
Fashionistas with a yen for wearable of-the-moment pieces could get in a lot of trouble in a place like this. The Fredericksburg native behind the counter, Cassell Heep, charms a wide range of women with looks that are laid-back but luxe. Disappear into the dressing room with a sheer orange Trina Turk blouse, high-waisted indigo Corey Lynn Calter shorts, a pair of Sam Edelman tigereye-embellished cage sandals, and a raffia Mar Y Sol clutch and emerge a chicer version of yourself. 306 E. Main, 830-997-1844, rootfashion.com
Above the racks of clothing and shoes at this children’s boutique hangs a sepia photograph of a bonneted baby named Beulah, the great-grandmother of the proprietress. Here sweet smocked dresses and lace-trimmed culottes coexist with gold Mooshu Mary Janes (squeakers in the soles teach kids to walk heel to toe) and diaper-soft Rockabye-Baby tees with screen-printed images of John Lennon. Mamas can scoop up Michael Stars maternity basics and patterned Hooter Hider nursing covers. 308 E. Main, 830-990-2932, shopbeulahs.blogspot.com
7. FREDERICKSBURG PIZZA KITCHEN
“Friends don’t let friends eat corporate pizza,” or so advise the Chicago brothers who run this walk-up counter in the corridor next to the Nimitz Museum. Which means you’ll find only the freshest ingredients. The square-cut pies—like the Hill Country (topped with venison sausage) and the Nimitz (with pineapple, Canadian bacon, red onion, and bell pepper)—have a thin crust, but you can get a Chicago-style deep-dish version if you call a day ahead. 326 E. Main, 830-990-4044, fbgpizzakitchen.com
8. HOUSE. WINE.
The sun has begun to set, your credit card is worn-out, and your tootsies are tired. And then you wander into this wine lover’s haven, where you can while away the rest of your evening. The 250 selections are sold by the glass, bottle, case, or truckload. If the Sassicaia ($122.50 a glass) is a tad too extravagant, there are plenty of recession-friendly choices under $20. Another day of shopping comes to a blissful end. 327 E. Main, 830-997-2665, intohousewine.com