Austin Weird Ain’t Got Nothing on Comfort, Texas

Earlier this spring, my husband, Chris, and I revisited the Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden in Kerrville, Texas. Visiting the garden is always tranquil, even with many visitors. Traveling to that area of Central Texas reminded me of another peaceful weekend we spent in Comfort, Texas.

One of the things we love doing together is exploring small towns in Texas. Each one is distinctive, even their town squares and historic courthouses. And they all have their own unique Texas story.

When planning a small-town Texas road trip, we usually discuss where to go next. Yet for this weekend, Chris planned everything. I hadn’t heard much about Comfort, but I was wonderfully surprised.

Comfort, Texas, is nestled in the Texas Hill Country, 100 miles southwest of Austin. The 2-hour drive begins on Highway 290, which leads you through the fast-growing Dripping Springs before turning on Highway 87. After the quaint town of Blanco, it isn’t long before experiencing rolling hills that lead to Comfort.

Downtown Comfort

Driving down the main street is like a step back in time. The barbershop, complete with a traditional barber pole, looked as though its wood building hadn’t changed in years. Peeking inside the open door, the local barber sat in the barber chair, reading a newspaper, waiting for his next customer to come in for a cut and shave.

There is a delightful selection of shops, boutiques, and eateries. If you love antiquing, then Comfort should be on your list. Our first stop was ReDefined, a beautifully merchandised antique store with more modern pieces and other gift ideas. The owner should be called Comfort’s concierge: she happily chatted with us about her store, where else we had to visit, what to eat, and the best place for morning coffee. As a bonus, we learned that Comfort’s Annual Art Fest was happening the following day, Saturday.  

The Comfort Antique Mall has many treasures from long ago. It’s easy to spend an hour looking through all types of antiques. Comfort Coffee is where to stop in the morning to get a good cuppa. The best pizza is – you guessed it – Comfort Pizza, where they make their dough fresh daily. Tip: if you want pizza for dinner, stop by early in the day to place your order. When they run out of dough, that’s all for the day.

Historic Hotel

Our stay was at The Hotel Giles, a local landmark built in 1880. Rich in history, the outside structure is still reminiscent of its time, yet the inside rooms are lovingly restored, keeping the old-time charm. With a flavor from the past, there are the modern conveniences: satellite TV, an electric car charging station in front, and of course, air conditioning.  

The hotel has bungalows at the back of the property, where we lodged for extra privacy. The front of the bungalow didn’t look appealing until stepping inside. Its rustic interior was cozy, the bed comfortable.

Where Locals Hang

The town’s “square” is where the locals hang out on Saturday nights. It’s BYOB where all ages – even a Willie Nelson lookalike – come listen to live local musical talent. On our weekend, a young, bearded millennial performed 70s favorites and said that he was “as country as an iPhone.”  

The Secret Garden

This Butterfly Garden, open on Saturday afternoon, is undoubtedly Comfort’s best-kept secret.

Located behind the Simply Comfort gift boutique, we strolled into a shaded area with many varieties of plants. Following the path around a workshed, we saw the rest of the garden, overflowing with wildflowers, herbs, and other plants. Monarch butterflies galore were feeding on purple Bull Thistle plants.

As we neared a beautiful chapel-styled greenhouse, we came across the owner, Dinah, who runs the garden as her hobby and passion. An author of science textbooks, she and her husband met in New York City and married in Comfort. They returned in 1989, purchasing an old stone house to remodel, where they still reside. Her husband, an architect, built the gorgeous greenhouse himself. Before leaving the garden, she introduced us to her four ornamental chickens, calling each one by name (of course.)

Visiting Comfort

Visitors to Comfort will appreciate the slower, easy, and relaxed atmosphere. It could be a perfect day trip: arriving midmorning, visiting the shops, and ordering a pizza for an early dinner. One thing to remember: many main street businesses begin closing at 4:00 PM on the weekend.  

During a longer visit, plan a 20-minute drive to Kerrville to see the prayer garden or the James Avery jewelry flagship store and museum. Afterward, grab some country grub at the Cracker Barrel. 

A step back in time, unique shopping, and a secret garden – what you will find in Comfort, Texas.

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