Kerrville

The annual folk festival celebrates its fortieth anniversary next month, but there's more to this Hill Country town than banjos and fiddles.
Kerrville
Schreiner Mansion Historic Site and Education Center
Photograph by Adam Voorhes

1. Grape Juice 

“At the end of the day, it’s just grape juice,” says Patrick Wilt of the hundreds of wines for sale at his hybrid shop/restaurant, which has been dubbed “Kerr­ville’s living room.” That laid-back attitude carries over to the decor (brown curtains separating tables in the lounge area, twinkle lights strung across the back patio) and the food. Old friends who congregate at the bar chow down on creative fare—try the Green Goat, an antelope slider with chimichurri—and make new friends while discussing the flavor profiles of the twenty microbrews. 623 Water, 830-792-9463, grapejuiceonline.com

2. Hill Country Living

The recently betrothed come to this classy retailer to pick out fine china from a wall of choice place settings—everything from luxe gilt-edged Vera Wang teacups to iconic Blue Italian Spode dinner plates. But even the commitment-phobic will want to upgrade their tables with Arte Italica pewter decanters and Beatriz Ball salad servers. Ask Jerry Mertz, the ebullient manager, to point out the “made in Texas” wares, like Celtic stone crosses crafted by a local mother and daughter and Texas-shape granite cheese boards hand-cut by a man in Calvert. 709 Water, 866-812-4889

3. Azul Lounge 

The 143-year-old Schreiner Building has been recently revived thanks to the arrival of an upscale department store (see Schreiner Goods) and this swanky basement watering hole. Slip into one of the semicircular leather booths and order an old-school libation—perhaps a Sazerac or a Singapore Sling—or a flight of tequila or one of the 49 types of scotch. Wednesdays through Saturdays, Hill Country jazz and blues musicians perform on a stage in front of an exposed-stone wall. 202 Earl Garrett, 830-896-9338, azulkerrville.com

4. Francisco’s 

At lunchtime, the chatter of happy eaters dining alfresco beneath forest-green umbrellas enlivens this white-tablecloth establishment. On their plates, you’re likely to spy turkey sandwiches and garden salads or traditional Mexican specials, such as cha­lupas compuestas, a rich pozole verde, and orange flan. In the evening, enjoy surf-and-turf entrées (filet mignon, grilled shrimp with a cilantro-lime sauce) in the intimate dining room, which is hung with an eclectic collection of bright paintings and tapestries. 201 Earl Garrett, 830-257-2995, franciscos-restaurant.com

5. Schreiner Goods 

In 2007 Schreiner’s Department Store closed after 138 years in business. The space has since been re­imagined by Keri Kropp and Beth Doty, who opened this fashion-forward shop in September. Local stylistas no longer have to hoof it to Dallas to try on Rachel Zoe’s ruffly dresses or a pair of Hello! SkinnyJeans. The menswear offerings (Moods of Norway blazers, Will Leather Goods messenger bags) and home goods (Istalif turquoise vases, side tables depicting Mexican movie stars) are just as well edited. 214 Earl Garrett, 830-315-5000, schreinergoods.com

6. Schreiner Mansion Historic Site and Education Center 

Though Kerrville was named for a Texas Revolution veteran, many of the town’s buildings have borne another man’s moniker. Cattle baron Charles A. Schreiner built a business empire that included a general store, a bank, and a flour mill. In 1879 he had San Antonio architect Alfred Giles design this Romanesque Revival limestone mansion, which you can wander through on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays to peruse Schreiner’s personal mementos, like the car-shaped glass candy jar he kept in his office. 226 Earl Garrett, 830-896-8633, mansion.schreiner.edu 

7. Kerr Arts and Cultural Center 

There’s no shortage of talented artists in these parts, and dozens of them display their paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs at this nonprofit community gallery. The center also hosts traveling exhibitions and juried shows, such as the Texas Furniture Makers Show. This month, you can see a display of paintings from the National Watercolor Society. Take the time to also browse the gift shop for honey dippers crafted out of mesquite, salvaged-oak doorstops, and tortilla rolling pins. 228 Earl Garrett, 830-895-2911, kacckerrville.com

8. Corabell’s 

A few blocks north of downtown, in the city’s garden district, there’s a modest white house occupied by a salon, a barbershop, and this women’s boutique. Jaylynn Perkins, a Kerr­ville native who went to California and came back with a fashion merchandising degree, will help you embrace your inner bohemian with rainbow-hued Funky People summer dresses and Michael Kors tunics. She’s also got an eye for accessories that are old-fashioned but still modern, like brightly colored wooden Violet Bella earrings that are handmade in nearby Bandera. 800 Earl Garrett, 830-895-2672, corabells.com 

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