Its springtime and wanderlust is beginning to overtake even the most sedentary of folks. We have had quite an unusual winter and have had to remain cooped up in our homes for the better part of four months. Now that the sun is shining and warmer air is rustling the trees, why not take a jaunt out to the heart of the Texas Hill Country and visit Johnson City.
We have plenty to offer. Bluebonnets and other wildflowers color our roadways. Our parks provide places where children can play, families can cook out or a bench where a person can sit and relax and enjoy the day. A walking trail also runs through the town beginning at the LBJ Settlement entrance and culminating at the City Park where our playground and pool are located. The concession stand has just been upgraded, so if you happen to drive in during a ball game, stop and get a burger or hot dog and watch a great game of softball!
For history buffs, Johnson City is home to the LBJ National Park and Boyhood Home. Located just off 290W, the park headquarters houses a gift shop, exhibits and two video presentations where patrons can learn about President LBJ. You can tour the boyhood home of the late president and then walk through the Johnson Settlement using the self-guided nature trail. The trail is less than a mile long and takes you past the LBJ family log cabin that was built in the 1860s.
For nature lovers, just across from the City Park is the Chantilly Lace Butterfly Gardens. The gardens are planted with a variety of plants that naturally attract all species of butterflies. The LCRA Nature Park is a short ride from the gardens. Just follow the spur to HWY 281, cross the road and follow the sign to the park. Drive through the park until you reach the Pedernales River. Pick a picnic table or find a tree to sit under and enjoy the ambiance of the hill country. Also, Town Creek is being cleared of all non-native species. Take a walk down the creek between Hwy 290 and Pecan to observe the natural flora and fauna of the Hill Country. This is a work in progress, but it is a must see for those interested in the natural beauty of the Hill Country.
If you are hungry, we have several culinary options from which to choose. First, we have our own brew pub, the Pecan Street Brewery, that brews its own beer here in JC. They also offer brick oven pizza, salads and more. The Hill Country Cupboard is a Johnson City landmark and it best known for its chicken fried steak. East Main Grill provides a slightly more formal dining experience; however, shorts and flip flops are more often seen inside then coats and ties.
The 290 Diner serves genuine “diner” food and makes the best iced tea around. Our two Mexican food restaurants, El Charro and El Agave, both prepare authentic tex-mex, Ronnie’s BBQ is just as good as, if not better, then any BBQ you will find in the Hill Country. If you aren’t hungry, but you require refreshment, drop by Kenny’s Cantina for an ice cold beer or the 4R Bar on Hwy. 290 and 281 behind Jagged Edge for a game of pool.
Or, stop in at the Black Spur Emporium for coffee, espresso, a latte, smoothie or tea. Once you’re refreshed, venture into their shop where you will find western and eclectic gifts and home and yard décor. Whittington’s Jerky (celebrating their 50th year in JC) sells not only their world known jerky, but also Texas food items and gifts. Rural Roots, Heritage Antiques and Emporium, Pieces of the Past, The Old Lumberyard, Junque Dynasty, the Gypsy Lady, Nest Vintage and Jagged Edge are some of the other shops where you will find great gifts as well as something for yourself. Lovestruck Confectionary, where taffy and chocolate are made on-site, as well as Stidham Outfitters Supply, which offers range goods and ranch wear, are two of our newest additions.
If you are in the mood for a glass of wine , travel down 281S and turn onto A. Robinson Road (RR 2766) to visit Texas Hills Vineyards. They are the only vineyard within Johnson City limits. Their award winning wines are available for tasting in their tasting room. Tours of the vineyard are offered as well. Further, on the square, Taste Wine & Art offers the largest selection of wines in Blanco County from which to choose while also displaying fine art from various artists in several mediums including paintings, photography, drawing and sculpture. The art is also available for purchase. In addition to the gallery at Taste Wine & Art, just down the sidewalk is A. Smith Gallery. This gallery is unique in that it exhibits the work of both amateur and professional photographers through juried and invitational exhibitions. The themes change frequently, so each visit will bring a new experience. The photographs can also be purchased. Across from A. Smith Gallery is LMC Murals and Fine Art. You can view the artist’s (Lee Casbeer) completed work as well as pieces that are currently in process. The artist specializes in art restoration, murals and portraits.