GRUENE — Tucked away within a corner of New Braunfels sits Gruene. Pronounced ‘green’, the destination is actually not a town, rather a historic district. There are countless amenities that draw tourists to Gruene, the most prominent being famous music venue Gruene Hall, where George Strait, Miranda Lambert and even Willie Nelson have played shows. A trip to Gruene wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the shops, a visit to the annual Gruene Market Days, a walk down to the river and some delicious food from a locally owned favorite.

With shows almost every day in the summer, many of which being free, it’s easy to pencil in some live music to your Gruene itinerary. Something interesting to know about the history of Gruene Hall is that it is Texas’ oldest continually used dance hall. The hall was erected as a last ditch effort to keep the district on the map, and I would say it was successful.

Built in 1878, the venue historically was used for just about anything, ranging from high school graduations to badger fights (according to the Hall’s website, http://gruenehall.com). Today, it’s a great place to relax with friends or family while catching a Texas artist’s newest set list, or to practice your two stepping skills. More popular artists will even come back to Gruene Hall to do acoustic sets. These types of shows always sell out really fast, so be prepared if one of your favorite performers is stopping by.

Shops around Gruene sell anything from custom made western hats to antiques, and in addition to these permanent retailers there is also a pop up market. Gruene Market Days run the third weekend of each month from February to November, plus the first weekend of December. The market is up and running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is the perfect place to pick up some locally harvested and jarred honey or jam, handmade leather products or just about any type of gift item you might be on lookout for. Local artisans also use the market as a place to showcase and sell their works. Shopping small and local is really easy and fun to do in Gruene, and the beautiful setting is an added bonus.

Another stop to add to your list is a walk down to the Guadalupe River to take in some native scenery. Kayakers, fishermen and tubers are likely to be in abundance. There is something extremely calming about this piece of the river that flows behind Gruene, and it is a great place to snap a couple photos to document your trip.

Making your day trip into an overnight one is very easy to do in Gruene, there are several bed and breakfasts in the area. The Faust Hotel is another local gem that can provide unique accommodations, and comes with a history all its own.  No matter the length of your visit, a trip to Gruene will be one for the books.