NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS
There were quite a few German settlements across Texas by the late 19th Century - Shiner, Fredericksburg, Boerne, Schulenberg, Sequin, and others - most of which have become viable modern-day communities that offer charm, culture, and an Old World style of life.
But none is more prominent than New Braunfels in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, a real German settlement that still offers sausage, cold beer, a raging Oktoberfest celebration, and great German food prepared to perfection.
The Annual Wurst Fest each year celebrates the German way of life in the New World and the culture that has evolved from it. The New Braunfels Wurstfest is consistently rated as one of the top events in North America. Can't get much better than that! The Wurstfest grounds lie just inside Landa Park along the banks of the Comal River.
This unique celebration-rich in German Culture and full of Texas fun-is held annually, the festival always begins on the Friday before the first Monday in November.
If you speak the German language, you'll have no trouble finding someone to talk to on Main Street any given morning. Nearly half the residents still speak their native tongue, in spite of generations of citizenship in Texas.
In New Braunfels you can watch beer and sausage being made, participate in native German dances and always find a good German polka streaming through the night air on a warm summer night.
In 1845, Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, established a German colony on the Comal River and named it New Braunfels after Braunfels, Germany, site of his castle on the Lahn river. At that time the surrounding area was sparsely populated.
The first German settlers arrived by ox carts and wagons on Good Friday, March 21, 1845. They crossed the Guadalupe River, and were placed on an encampment on a bluff overlooking the Comal River. From this fragile beginning the settlement expanded by approximately 6,000 people as a flood of Germans immigrated to the area.
Visitors come to New Braunfels from across the world to sample the spicy sausage, scrumptious strudel, the potato pancakes and other German/Texas examples of delectable German cuisine offered across the community.
Attractions include the natural beauty and recreational opportunities offered by the Comal and Guadalupe rivers, nearby Natural Bridge Caverns (right), and the city's Landa Park.
If you plan road-tripping across the Lone Star State this winter - or any time of the year - make the charming German community of New Braunfels a must stop on your travel itinerary. Shop the unique shops downtown, explore a Bavarian Village, raft a day on the river, enjoy the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, dine and enjoy authentic German cuisine.