Wildflower Fields Are Right Around the Corner.
Most of us greet the arrival of spring with great excitement. Watching the trees come back to life, dressed in a bright and happy neon green, has a tendency to make every step seem lighter. Here in Texas, we can expect an added colorful display as the fields explode in color. Nature’s generous gift should be enjoyed up close and with a willingness to temporarily release day to day concerns as you take a breath and realize that life is strong and unstoppable. Join with other enthusiasts by getting in your car and driving out to see the spectacle. Add your car to the collection of vehicles abandoned along Texas roads as people run for the fields to become part of something grand and awe-inspiring and so very temporary.
It’s a good thing nature’s display isn’t limited to a small area. You’ll find wildflowers in many places, but for us, the ultimate destination is the area surrounding the stretch between Washington-on-the-Brazos and Round Top. It doesn’t hurt that the country roads out here are defined by hills and bends, resulting in fantastically scenic views of the surrounding landscape.
For some, a trip of discovery to locate the perfect field, take some pictures for the sake of having some hand-held memories and then returning home is perfectly satisfactory. The most important thing is to simply go and see it for yourself.
For others, a full day of immersion feels necessary and you start looking for some add-on activities. A great place to start is Washington-on-the-Brazos. Here, you’ll find a nice little package of options. You can choose to simply walk along the trails, enjoying a scenery set against the backdrop of the Brazos River, or you can decide to pay for some admission tickets.
If you enjoy history, the Star of the Republic Museum, dedicated to preserving Texas heritage, offers much to see and learn. Texas independence from Mexico was declared here and the museum focuses on the years between 1836 to 1846 when Texas existed as an independent republic, before joining the United States. Another of the three sites available to visit is a replica of Independence Hall, where the declaration was signed and which is located on the old Washington town site. The third, and probably most interesting area for children to visit, is Barrington Living History Farm. The farm was home to Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. You can choose to pay admission for just one of the sites or get a pass for all three.
From Washington-on-the-Brazos, I like to head to Chappell Hill. It’s a very picturesque small town and I enjoy walking around looking at the old buildings. This little town hosts a popular Bluebonnet Festival every April. Also in Chappell Hill is the Chappell Hill Masonic Cemetery. This is very much a historic cemetery and is the final resting place of several members of the Travis and Crockett families, as well as veterans of the fight for Texas Independence and the Civil War and many victims of the yellow fever plague in the late 1860s.
Make sure to follow Old Chappell Hill Road as you head toward Brenham. This route is a bit challenging for drivers due to all the curves and the somewhat narrow road. Drivers won’t have much of a chance to enjoy the surroundings, but everyone else in the car can look forward to beautiful views.
Consider stopping at the Blue Bell factory if you’re ready for a treat, or the kids need to be reinvigorated. It’s possible to take a tour of the factory, or you can just head straight for the large ice cream parlor and adjacent gift shop.
If you enjoy plants, which you likely do since you’re out here enjoying the wildflowers, your next stop should be the Antique Rose Emporium. This place is a favorite of mine and I’ve written about it before on my blog. The story includes plenty of pictures if you want to take a closer look.
The Emporium has a large selection of plants for sale, but it also offers the most amazing display gardens I’ve ever come across. With a completely informal and natural style, the beds are tucked in among a collection of old buildings that look so much happier than the buildings you normally find at historic building museums. Since you’re in the area anyway do not miss the opportunity to see this magical place. Really. You have to go.
Continuing on, head to downtown Brenham. It’s an older town but one that is full of life and fun to explore. We discovered some really nice stores here, and they weren’t of the antique store variety that often seem to be the only stores populating older towns. You’ll find several restaurants, one of which included a small Blue Bell ice cream parlor. If you skipped the Blue Bell factory stop earlier, here’s another chance for an ice cream.
After Brenham, head toward Round Top - population 93. You won't find much action here. It’s a quiet little place, but enjoyable nonetheless. You won’t regret the beautiful drive to get here and there’s plenty to see despite the somewhat abandoned feel of the place. It seems to now mainly serve as a gathering place for large popular events. There’s a yearly antiques fair that takes place here, and there are some galleries and small stores. The town has a number of eateries that get great reviews, so you should have no problems finding a place to enjoy a meal or dessert before returning home after your day in wildflower country.