Comfort

This Hill Country town founded by Freethinkers and abolitionists offers unique artisanal wares, first-rate antiquing, and a tasty $8 hamburger.
Comfort
Blackbird Antiques, Comfort
Photograph by Ryann Ford

1. Comfort Crockery

Though the name of this gallery doesn’t give you a full picture of its one-of-a-kind wares (there’s much more here than pottery), the tagline—“Fine and useful original arts”—says it all. That includes Jim Wallace’s tables made of longleaf pine and Texas ebony, Mike Geer’s mesquite fireplace mantels, Weldon Lister’s hand-engraved silver and copper cuff bracelets, and Sherri Jo Adams’s glazed bread bakers, not to mention the paintings, sculptures, photographs, and wood carvings from nearly fifty other Hill Country artisans. 402 Seventh, 830-995-5299, comfortcrockery.com

 

2. The Tinsmith’s Wife

Has the knitter (or crocheter or needlepointer) in your group gone missing? No need to send out an APB: You’ll find her at this fiber enthusiast’s mecca, where the shelves hold enough skeins of yarn—everything from hand-dyed Madelinetosh pashminas to Appleton Brothers embroidery wools—to fashion ponchos for each man, woman, and child in the state. Neophytes who don’t know a StitchCorker from a sock blocker needn’t worry; owner Wendy Solberg says newbies can learn the craft in a mere hour and a half. 409 Seventh, 830-995-5539, tinsmithswife.com

 

3. Blackbird Antiques

The secluded cottage of your retirement dreams will swing into vision when you step inside this shop, which is presided over by two unflappable pugs, Molly and Hudson. Let your inner interior decorator take over as you make a wish list: This pine bench would be an ideal perch for taking off muddy boots; that endearingly dilapidated black-canvas-and-leather trunk could hold your grandma’s crazy quilts; and those surprisingly lifelike rubber-and-paper flowers would make for a cheerful centerpiece. Not that you’ll be doing a lot of entertaining in your long-deserved hideaway. 509 Seventh, 830-995-2550

 

4. 814 A Texas Bistro

Out-of-towners inquiring about what’s good to eat are likely to receive this simple directive from the locals: Try Millard’s burger. That’d be Millard Kuykendall, the owner of this bistro housed in the 1908 building that used to be a post office. His $8 burger is eight juicy ounces of Angus beef served with lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a kaiser roll. Come back at dinner for Tweet-worthy entrées like apricot-thyme-glazed duck breast with roasted corn risotto and a double-cut Australian lamb chop with serrano-cheddar grits. 713 High, 830-995-4990, 814texasbistro.com

 

5. High’s Cafe and Store

At this establishment you can engage in a trifecta of hedonistic endeavors: eating, shopping, and socializing. The lunch menu boasts inventive sandwiches (ever had orange-chipotle cabbage slaw on your turkey and cheese?) and made-from-scratch desserts, like lemon yogurt pound cake. You can sip Texas vinos at the wine bar, thumb through rare books, stock up on locally made treats such as Nuluv goat’s milk soap, or people-watch from the rocking chairs out front. Loitering is encouraged. 726 High, 830-995-4995, highscafeandstore.com

 

6. Comfort Antique Mall

Housed in an eight-thousand-square-foot building that’s half as long as a football field and nearly as narrow as a volleyball court, this 31-vendor mall is a Venus flytrap waiting to close in on its unsuspecting prey. You’ll be happily ensnared amid the dozens of glass cases filled with curious “smalls” (diminutive doodads such as tin model cars from the fifties and carved Bakelite bangles) and the neat cubbies showcasing each seller’s obsession, from shelves of “swanky swigs” juice tumblers to stacks of opalescent Fry glass bowls. 734 High, 830-995-4678

 

7. Comfort Stampede

The line between the past and present blurs in this icehouse turned gift boutique. There are old things (a well-worn hand-tooled-leather chair, cracked porcelain pitchers) and new things (silver deer-head candelabras, skeleton keys). And then there are old things repurposed as new things (a red cabinet made of antique tin ceiling tiles, early-1900’s doorknobs that’ve been fashioned into striking bottle stoppers) and new things that evoke old things (faux-vintage metal signs, hand mirrors with engraved handles). It’s possible that you’ll go in looking for bath salts and come out with a vintage Japanese hunting vest. 738 High, 830-995-5512

 

8. Comfort Candle Company

Get ready to do some nasal calisthenics; you won’t be able to stop at sniffing just 1 (or 10 or 20) of the 43 varieties of aromatic soy candles made in this olfactory factory. Up to two thousand jars are hand-poured on site each day, and half a dozen new scents are rolled out every year. The bergamot-and-patchouli-infused Havana is the most popular, but you’ll feel compelled to smell all of them, including next-to-best-sellers Verbena et Sage, Cashmere, and White Lavender. The back of the gift shop offers a half-price stash of imperfect “seconds.” 22 U.S. 87, 830-995-4226, comfortcandleco.com 

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