SHOPPING AND CROWDS COME TO mind when you hear “Fredericksburg.” There has been so much hoopla about this Hill Country hamlet turned antiques shopping magnet that some say they avoid the place all together. But there is so much more to this charming spot than shopping—of course, there’s some truth to the hype.
The best way to avoid the typical Hill Country special is to stay in an atypical bed-and-breakfast. Fredericksburg has its share of B&B’s, but most are on the frilly side (read: doilies). So when I wanted to book a place for the weekend, I called Gästehaus Schmidt, a company that does most of the reservations for B&B’s and guesthouses in town. I asked the cheerful receptionist for a place that wasn’t frou-frou, and she had the perfect recommendation, which I snapped up. My husband, Kit, was leery before we arrived, but once we surveyed the small house—actually, two stories and large enough to sleep at least eight comfortably—we knew we had a keeper. Everything else was easy.
On our first morning, I got up early and walked along Main Street to window shop, assessing the wares so that I wouldn’t have to contend with the throngs later in the day when the sidewalks were lined with people. This proved an excellent tactic, and I was able to get my shopping done in a reasonable amount of time—not including browsing, which means looking wistfully at furniture that I have no intention of purchasing. While many of the retail stores that line this retail drag seem somewhat similar in terms of merchandise, a few stand out such as the Homestead, which