Brenham, Texas

Article by Deborah Scanpaico
Photography by George Hosek

Brenham’s Bounty

Midway between Austin and Houston nestled in the rolling hill country of Texas, lies Brenham, the county seat of Washington. Established in 1844, this country town is the perfect place to relax.

One of the best parts of Brenham is driving there, especially in the spring. Brenham is the center to several Bluebonnet Trails, the region of country roads devoted to the display of the state flower.

Whether traveling along U.S. 290 or the smaller farm to market roads by car or motorcycle, sheets of green fade to a blanket of violet in the untouched landscape paintings of nature. Many make an annual pilgrimage for the perfect family photo.

When you walk around downtown Brenham, you walk back in time. The courthouse that sits center stage is surrounded by offices and shops, which sell antiques, apparel, and art. Eateries range from bistros selling delightful sandwiches and soups to cafes with the best pie in town.

During the weekend, you will come across many folks walking their dogs or just lounging on the courthouse steps.


Brenham’s flourishing historic business center is a result of the town’s participation in the National Trust Main Street Center, a program devoted to the restoration of a downtown’s prosperity.

Brenham is home to Blue Bell Creameries, known in the South as having “the best ice cream in the country”.

Tours are available during the week, Visitors can buy a souvenir at the gift shop and then stroll outside the creamery with their ice cream snack. Blue Bell, established in 1907, is celebrating its 100th anniversary and has just been granted a Texas Historical Marker in acknowledgment of the creamery’s role in the community.

The Blue Bell Aquatic Center across from the creamery offers an indoor pool open all year-round in addition to the outside summer family pool, with equipment for kids.

Brenham is dedicated to ensuring that its residents have the opportunity for an active lifestyle. It has several parks dedicated to softball and baseball.

Soccer fields are scattered about Holt Park, the largest of the parks. Most are outfitted with barbeque pits, playgrounds, and pavilions.

If team sports don’t sound interesting, just walking or jogging around the Blinn College campus or downtown Brenham is incentive enough for a workout.

Blinn College, which was founded in 1883 and began as a ministry, has a beautiful campus. The college’s earliest structures blend with the contemporary buildings in a seamless flow.

This two-year accredited institution was the first county-owned college district in Texas and has become one of the largest junior colleges in the state.

In the spring its all about wildflowers, people from across the country converge on Brenham and Washington County to see bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, evening primrose and many other kinds of wildflowers blooming along the side of the roads and in the fields and pastures.

All the roads around Brenham seem to have wildflowers, but if you feel adventurous you may want to take the back-roads, you never know what you may find over the next hill or around the next bend, this is one time getting lost could be a good thing.

Professional and amateur photographers are a common sight in the spring, many people from Houston make the two hour drive to photograph their kids sitting in a field of bluebonnets, or to get unique portraits of their family and friends.

Additionally, about 12 miles north of Brenham, Lake Somerville affords its guests a chance to go fishing, boating, hiking, skiing, camping and just about any kind of recreational activity you can imagine.

This 11,630 acre lake has 85 miles of shoreline and contains two state park units, the 2,365 acre Birch Creek located on the north shore and the 3,155 acre Nails Creek located on the south shore on the west end. There is also lake access with public boat ramps, picnic tables, camp sites on the east end of the lake, near the dam.

Whether you spend one day or many, Brenham’s laid-back, welcoming charm will entice you to return for years to come.

Wildflower Adventure
I just couldn't take it any longer, after seeing all the wildflower pictures I just had to go see them for myself.  I woke up at 3:45am and stepped onto the porch to check the weather, as soon as I walked out the door I knew it was going to be a perfect morning for shooting flowers...   New
Cultural Attractions

Unity Theater is a non-profit, professional theater located in historic downtown. Set in as restored warehouse, the 125 seat intimate theater offers a variety of plays and musicals throughout the year. 979-830-8358

Dr W.W. O'Donnell Performing Arts Center, home to the Blinn College Theater Arts program. A 500 seat theater is the setting for the college's theatrical, musical choral performances, as well as guest entertainers. 979-830-4024

International Festival-Institute at Round Top, showcases the Texas festival Orchestra and internationally regarded conductors, performers and chamber music groups in concert. European-styled 1,100 seat concert hall, a renovated chapel, restored Victorian homes and extensive herb & flower gardens. 979-249-3129

The clear, pure voices of Brenham Children's Chorus members can be enjoyed at several concerts during the year. 979-277-6540

Visit www.BrenhamTexas.com for upcoming events.

Historical Attractions

Brenham Heritage Museum, A classic revival structure built in 1915 is on the National Register of Historic Places. Exhibits include the Elenor Cox Lamp Collection, 100 lamps from 1787 - 1940.

World War II artifacts and other items presenting the history of Brenham and Washington County. 979-830-8445

Downtown Brenham's "Main Street" District, come stroll through past and present, visit more than 40 shops and spend time relaxing in the "Wi Fi" hot spot. Brenham's downtown buildings reflect the town's early history and charm.

Burton Cotton Gin & Museum, history's alive at one of the last cotton gins operating in America, powered by 1925 Bessemer engine! 979-289-3378

Heritage Home Tours, visit Brenham's oldest house, the Giddings-Wilkin House, containing many original furnishings. 979-836-1690

Washington on the Brazos State Historical Park, the historic site is located on the original town site of Washington where Texas declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836 and which served as the capital of the Republic of Texas. 936-878-2214

Star of the Republic Museum, the museum preserves and interprets the rich history of the Lone Star State during the Texas Republic period of 1836 - 1846.

Barrington Living History Farm, experience the home of Anson Jones, last president of the Republic of Texas.

The Brenham Maifest, one of the oldest spring German festivals in the South, will hold its 119th celebration on May 8th - 9th, 2009 at Fireman's Park in Brenham, Texas.
Washington County Fair, events including the annual fair in September, concerts, rodeos, livestock shows, arts and craft shows, meetings, special events and more! 979-836-4112
What to See & Do

Americana Alpacas, 936-870-3887

Antique Rose Emporium, 979-836-5548

Chappell Hill Lavender Farm, 979-251-8114

Ellison's Greenhouses, 979-836-6011

Glasco's Garden and Gifts, 979-836-3210

Horseshoe Junction, 979-251-8701

Martha's Bloomers, 936-825-7400

Miracle Farm, 979-836-0901

Monastery of St. Clare Miniature Horse Farm, 979-836-9652

Nueces Canyon Equestrian Center & Resort

Shiloh Ranch Horses, 979-836-0599

Somerville Lake, 1-877-444-6777

Washington County Fairgrounds, 979-836-4112

Nueces Canyon Equestrian Center, 979-289-5600

Pleasant Hill Winery, 979-830-8463

Westwood Cinema 6, 979-836-7656

Windy Hill Winery, 979-836-3252


Brenham Bed & Breakfast

A Journey's Inn, 979-836-1320

Anderson’s Round Top Inn, 979-249-5294

The Allcorn House, 979-836-6717

Ant Street Inn, 979-836-7393

Barrington Bed & Breakfast, 936-878-2844

BlissWood B&B, 713-301-3235

Bogart’s Casa Blanca, 936-825-1969

Bootstrap at Round Top, 866-664-4040

Brazos B&B

The Brenham House

Captain Clay Home Bed & Breakfast, 979-836-1916

Country Place Cottage, 979.836.6429

Eberly Ranch, 979-865-9675

Front Porch, 979-278-3809

Hackberry Hill Guest Cottages, 979-481-0843

Herban Escape B&B, 979-451-9071

Homestead House, 979-836-2674

Inn at Indian Creek, 979-289-2032

Ingleside Bed & Breakfast, 979-251-7707

Inn at Wakefield Farms, 979-251-1459

James Walker Homestead, 979-836-6717

The Kenney Bunkhouse, 979-865-5872

Knittel Homestead Inn, 979-289-5102

Lillian Farms Bed & Breakfast, 979-421-6332

Lonesome Dove, 979-289-5005

M's Hide-A-Way Bed & Breakfast, 979-830-0269

Mariposa Ranch Bed & Breakfast, 979-836-4737

Murski Homestead B & B Guesthouse, 979-830-1021

Nueces Canyon Ranch Resort, 979-289-5600

Outpost at Cedar Creek Inn, 979-836-4975

Prairie Hill Farm, 713-306-5766

Quebe Farm, 512-924-3068

Scenic Hill, 713-705-7717

Southern Rose Ranch, 979-251-7871

Stagecoach Inn, 979-830-8861

Stonebrook Farm, 979-289-3909

Sycamore Cottage Guest House, 979-337-4850

Tara Farms, 979-836-7098

Texas Ranch Life, 979-885-8338

The Brenham House Bed and Breakfast, 979-251-9947

Wellspring Retreat and B&B, 979-249-2019

Wolf Creek Cottage, 979-836-1002

Wrigley House Bed and Breakfast, 979-836-4346


Brenham Dining

Applebees, 979-830-0872

Arby’s, 979-836-2100

Bevers Kitchen, 979-836-4178

Bread Basket Café, 979-421-9765

Big Daddy's BBQ, 979-830-1619

Brazos Bell Restaurant, 979-289-2677

Cafe M Bloomers Tearoom, 936-870-3277

Casa Ole, 979-830-1661

Chappell Hill Cafe & Meat Market, 979-836-0850

Chili’s, 979-277-0900

CiCi’s Pizza, 979-421-2424

Coffee Cup (inside Tres Chic), 979-836-9505

Country Inn II Steakhouse, 979-836-2396

Domino’s, 979-251-9063

Domenic's Capital Grill, 979-251-7800

Design II, 979-830-0450

El Charro T, 979-337-9515

Ernie's an American Bistro, 979-836-7545

Fluff Top Restaurant, 979-836-9441

Funky Art cafe & Coffee Bar, 979-836-1199

Guadalajara, 979-830-8007

The Inn at Dos Brisas, 979-277-7750

K-Bob's Steakhouse, 979-836-7990

Las Fuentes Restaurant/Cantina, 979-337-9515

Legends Billiards & Grill, 979-251-7665

Longhorn Saloon & Steak House, 979-421-6700

Mariachi's Mexican Restaurant, 979-830-9015

McDonald’s, 979-836-7797

Mo’s Bar-B-Que, 979-421-9995

Monzi’s Fine Cuisine, 979-542-2201

Must Be Heaven, 979-830-8536

Purcell's Country Style Buffet, 979-836-9508

Quizno’s Subs, 979-421-9113

Red Room Restaurant, 979-251-7791

Rendez-Vous, 979.337.9200

Royer’s Round Top Café, 979.249.3611

Scoops at Westwood, 979-830-0266

Sealand Seafood & Steaks, 979-836-5600

Sonic Drive-in, 979-836-4242

Sonic Drive-in #2, 979-836-4010

Southern Fryer, 979-836-5462

Starbucks Coffee, 979-251-8742

Subway #1, 979-830-8222

Subway #2, 979-251-9400

Subway #3, 979-830-8722

SugarDaddy’s Bakery & Gift Shop, 979-337-9900

Tex's Bar-B-Que & Catering, 979-836-5962

Vineyard Wine Bar & cafe, 979-836-4069

Volare Italian Restaurant, 979-836-1514

Wendy’s, 979-421-6256

Whataburger, 979-277-1184

Wired and Inspired (inside Pomegranate), 979-836-1199

Bluebonnet Realty, 979) 836-1836

Hodde Real Estate, 979-836-8532

Ant Street Auction Gallery

Trinity Medical Center, 979-836-6173

Brenham Municipal Airport, 979-836-5452

Brenham Banner, 979-836-8473


Nearby State Parks Destinations

Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site

Huntsville State Park

Lake Somerville State Park

Stephen F. Austin State Park

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, 936-878-2214







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Content copyright George L. Hosek. The articles and photographs on this site are for viewing on your computer only, absolutely, no commercial or personal reproduction without written consent from George Hosek.