Downtown Brenham

The cradle of Blue Bell and bluebonnets.

1. April in Texas means roadsides and pastures gloriously awash in bluebonnets—and no more so than in and around Brenham. Tool around for that perfect photo op, then pick up a few Lupinus texensis trinkets at the Texas Store, where you’ll find mugs, tea towels, jewelry, and silk ties bearing our official blossom. Can’t get enough? Head to nearby Chappell Hill for the annual Bluebonnet Festival (April 12 and 13, chappellhilltx.com). 119 W. Alamo, 979-836-9849

2. It’s hard to find a good soda jerk these days, but you need look no further than the friendly faces behind the counter at Must Be Heaven. With its swivel seats, black-and-white-checkered floors, and chocolate ice cream sodas (made with Blue Bell, natch), this happy little spot has all the trappings of an authentic fifties diner. The meringue-laden pies and perfectly flaky quiches make it impossible to walk out hungry. 107 W. Alamo, 979-830-8536

3. There may be a lot of B&B’s to choose from in this region, but none so meticulously remastered as the Ant Street Inn. Proprietors Pam and Tommy Traylor spent three years restoring this nineteenth-century gem, from its hardwood staircase to the one-hundred-year-old freight elevator located in one of the guest rooms. This is an antique-collector’s haven upgraded with the creature comforts (whirlpool tubs, wireless Internet) of modernity. 107 W. Commerce, 800-481-1951

4. If you’re in town on a Saturday from mid-March through mid-December, don’t miss the Brenham Farmers Market, which is housed in a bright, tomato-red building just south of the main square. The market opens at eight o’clock; arrive early enough and you can join locals at an outside table for a cup of joe and coffee cake. Strike it rich this spring with fresh fig or peach preserves, homemade canned goods, tamales, warm banana-nut bread, or vine-ripened garden tomatoes. 307 S. Park

5. Whoever said Brenham isn’t fashion-forward obviously hasn’t been to Spoiled Boutique. Ample racks lining its walls overflow with stylish frocks, sassy dresses, and hip jeans from brand names Velvet, Citizens of Humanity, C&C California, and Lacoste. Linger long enough and you’ll get some expert tips on shoes and accessories from owner Amber Westerfield, whose bubbly personality has a way of coaxing a hefty tally at the register. 110 E. Alamo, 979-836-5150

6. French château meets country cottage at Beadboard UpCountry. Maryanne Flaherty opened this European-inspired shop in 2006 and

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