Boerne’s The Kendall Charms Travelers to the Beloved Hill Country Town
By Rose Di Grazia
A lot has changed in Boerne, Texas, over the last 20 years. Travel writer Rose Di Grazia first visited the town, nestled in the Texas Hill Country southwest of Austin, and stopped by Ye Kendall Inn, known now simply as The Kendall. Or perhaps the “historic” Kendall. After all, the hotel was built in 1859 and has hosted the likes of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bob Hope. In 2019, The Kendall is the centerpiece of downtown Boerne, a town worth visiting for its fine food, delicious wine and plenty of antique shops and art galleries to keep you busy between meals.
It’s worth a visit even if you’re not staying the night. Stop in to see the elegant grand lobby decorated in a Texas ranch-meets-Arhaus style with its giant paintings of longhorns and bluebonnets adorning limestone walls and a horsehead sculpture by the window.
The inn has a 34 uniquely decorated rooms. I stayed in St. John’s Suite, a renovated chapel. It’s one of the largest and most comfortable rooms. I loved the rustic, weathered doors that led into the bedroom. The living room has two gorgeous religious paintings to remind you this space was used for worship back in 1922. The suite isn’t far from the hotel’s beautiful courtyard and hot tub.
This place is just steps away from The Kendall lobby. Chef and owner Mark Bohanan named his restaurant after his mother and for the patio that’s surrounded by lush green trees. Sit a spell in a restored 19th-century dining room to indulge in Southern heritage foods and classic American cuisine. The menu is influenced by seasonal bounty from area farms with all fresh ingredients. Locals will recommend chicken pot pie, fish tacos and homemade biscuits. Brunch is served only on Sunday and it’s not to be missed. I loved the chicken salad piled high on garden tomatoes and topped with a creamy dressing. Peggy’s gets busy most evenings and at brunch, so it’s best to make reservations in advance.
For a more casual breakfast, lunch or afternoon coffee or tea head down the block to The Dienger Trading Co. This café is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. Check out the antique ceiling tiles from circa 1920 before you scan the mouthwatering dessert choices. I wanted to order one of everything but I settled on a lunch of tomato basil soup and quiche, which was served with fresh greens drizzled with a champagne house dressing and seasonal fruit.
After lunch I wandered into the shop just off the dining room to check out fall scarves and wraps, sweaters, baby clothes and more stuff that would make excellent gifts.
Bear Moon Bakery & Café is another spot worth visiting in Boerne with its fresh baked pastries and desserts. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, try one of the scrumptious sandwiches for lunch or their $15 Morning Buffet for breakfast.