Even though it may be a little too early to float the river, Gruene (pronounced Green) is still worth the drive this weekend with the start of this year's Old Gruene Market Days.
The exclusive appeal of the marketplace, say promoters, is that all products sold are made by the vendors themselves. So, no mass-produced slop will be found in these tents -- just good, old fashioned handmade items.
Shoppers can find an array of things to take home including clothing, art, candles, jewelry, wood working and even soap. Think Fort Worth's Main Street Arts Festival, but on a smaller scale.
In addition to the marketplace, there are plenty of shops around town that sell trinkets and baubles that will undoubtedly add a little charm to your collection of all things Texana.
Of course, that's not all Gruene has to offer. There is great dining to be had in Gruene at two of my favorites, The Gristmill and the Gruene River Grill. Both offer nice views of the Guadalupe should you eat at or near sunset.
With dinner out of the way, head over to legendary Gruene Hall and throw back a couple of beers while listening to some live Texas music. On Saturday, the Zack Walther Band just happens to be having a CD release party at the venue.
You could head back to DFW that night, but the 4-5 hour drive would be a hike after a full day outside and a full meal in your belly. Check out the Gruene Mansion Inn or the Gruene River Inn as recommended and nice little places where you can lay your head for the night. If neither of those are to your liking, you can get more ideas here.
From February to November, Old Gruene Market Days run every third weekend as well as the first weekend in December.