A true Hill Country destination, not only for Texans, but for people from all around the world, Wimberley is a charming artisanal community surrounded by serene rivers, creeks and lush, oak-covered hills. Voted one of “America’s Ten Best Small Towns” by Travel Holiday Magazine, and frequently noted in other publications and featured on TV shows, Wimberley is truly a Texas treasure.
Long before the area was inhabited by early settlers, the region was home to semi-nomadic tribes of Native Americans. Artifacts, including flint chips, stone tools and arrowheads can still be found by those ambling in the hills. Settlers began populating the Wimberley valley area in the mid-1800’s. A veteran from the Battle of San Jacinto, William Winters, settled in what was then known as the small community of Glendale, now Wimberley, in the 1850’s, and built a saw mill and grist mill along Cypress Creek, which served the area for miles around. Glendale became ‘Winter’s Mill’. The name was changed to Wimberleyville in the 1870’s, after Pleasant Wimberley, and finally, to just ‘Wimberley’ in 1880. Many of the old structures associated with the early days of the settlers in Wimberley valley still exist, and some are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. History enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the old sites and stone buildings, many of which are still in use in Wimberley village as restaurants and shops. The Wimberley Cemetary contains the gravesites of many of the pioneers dating back to 1876, including graves of many Civil War veterans.
Today, Wimberley is a destination for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. There are numerous lodges, B&Bs and camp areas with scenic views and terrain to explore, as well as a lively shopping scene. We love Blair House, an elegant establishment with 3 private cottages and five suites on 23 acres. On Saturday nights, they have a five course gourmet dinner, often prepared by local chefs of Austin.
There is a very large artisan community in the Wimberley area, and the village square has many shops with unique, locally-made arts and crafts. One of our very favorites is MoonDance Arts. Owners Gary and Kathy Arnold design and make the beautiful jewelry themselves. The lovely little shop is easy to miss, as it is set back off of the main village in a small courtyard, but it is definitely worth the extra steps to see the gorgeous and unique pieces these lovely folks make. A Hill Country original is Wimberley Glass Works, open daily, with demonstrations daily except Monday. The artists can be seen creating beautiful lamps, sconces, jewelry, and other objects of art, which is sold in the showroom adjacent to the furnaces.
Shopping in Wimberley draws visitors from far and wide. The unique shops and local art, music, food, and community events create such a lively atmosphere, whether it is the Christmas parade or the parade on Fourth of July. On the square, don’t miss the Wild West Store, home of the “Boot Whisperer”. Ulli, the owner with her husband, amazes patrons when she eschews measurements for direct visualization of the foot, and then walks around the shop filled with hundreds of ‘lightly used’ vintage boots to pick out just the right pair, in just the right fit. Kiss the Cook is a small space literally packed with high quality and hard-to-find items for those who love to cook, or who just need to. River House is a beautiful store in an old stone house, where you can find lovely home decor, jewelry, and fine tableware.
For the adventurous, Wimberley Zipline adventures provide a two hour walking educational tour and breathtaking zipline trips at a height of up to 10 feet. There is great swimming at the beautiful Blue Hole in Blue Hole Regional Park. This is one of the best loved natural swimming holes in Texas. In 2005, the Village of Wimberley purchased the land for restoration and development into the Regional Park. Phase 2 of the restoration opened this year, and includes camping, tennis courts, a soccer field, a regional hike and bike trail and much more.
Visitors to Wimberley Market Days come from near and far, the first Saturday of each month from March to December, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a huge event and folks who love to wander will find hidden treasures as they amble among the stalls.
In addition to artisans, Wimberley is home to many musicians and performing artists. Wimberley Playhouse mounts several ambitous productions each year, including musicals, performed by local Wimberley residents. At the charming Emily Ann Theatre, special events such as the Butterfly Festival in the spring and the Trail of Lights during Christmas draw visitors year after year. This year, see the musical “Annie, Friday through Sunday at 8:15. From October 5-27, see MacBeth. The Corral Theatre is one of a kind. See movies every weekend from May 4 through Labor Day weekend – all while sitting out under the stars. Bring your lawn chairs.
A favorite place to enjoy a leisurely lunch (dinners Friday and Saturday, closed Tuesday) is the Leaning Pear. Hill-Country inspired cuisine, as local as their herb garden, with wonderful fresh soups, a very creative menu, and creative specials – this is a treasure. For those hot, hot summer days, Hawaiian shave ice aficionados will really appreciate the authentic shave ice at Tropical Sno.