Genuine kindness, authentic stories, and community pride made for an ideal girlfriend getaway in Bryan, Texas. Here is what you must see & do.
The countdown was finally over! The gals and I were gathering for a wine-tasting, BBQ-infused getaway in Bryan, Texas. Downtown beckoned with its history, food scene, and shopping. Where else could you watch live fabrication of felt cowboy hats? Our retreat kicked off at The Stella Hotel, recognized as the #6 hotel in Texas by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, 2022. It was the perfect place to launch a girlfriend getaway in Bryan, Texas.
Luxury and Campfires Go Together at The Stella Hotel
I’m a sucker for a comfy robe in my room, and The Stella Hotel, an Autograph Collection Hotel, did not disappoint with a seersucker Frette bathrobe. The sweeping views of the countryside took my breath away. And the little details such as leather tufted furniture, wagon wheel chandeliers, and nods to the Texas A&M University Aggie Spirit captured the essence of Central Texas.
While waiting for the gang to arrive, I explored the Lake Walk. A growing community surrounds the hotel with outdoor activities, including 3.5 miles of walking trails. An outdoor pavilion for live events and inviting picnic tables were just across the street from the hotel. In addition, a 75-foot-tall observation tower provided magnificent views across the lake and golf course.
Cocktails Kick Off Our Girlfriend Getaway
Finally, everyone arrived, and it was time for cocktails and authentic Texas treats at Campfire. This gathering place welcomed us with comfy Adirondack chairs next to a roaring fire pit. What better way to see the wide-open Texas skies?
We wasted no time ordering Campfire specialty cocktails and smoked cheddar pimento cheese with crispy cajun cracklins. Stimulating conversation and laughs lasted into the evening while we enjoyed the outdoor patio.
East Coast Delicatessen in Downtown Bryan
The next day started with remarkably fresh bagels at Zeitman’s Grocery Store. Without a doubt, this is where the locals come for Jewish delicacies, freshly made pastries, and an opportunity to chat with Blake Zeitman.
The Zeitman family came from Odesa, Ukraine, searching for the American Dream. Blake reinvents the family’s 131-year-old tradition in his cozy deli, bakery, and grocery store. His passion for the quality of food and his Bryan community is inspiring.
Zeitman’s makes over 50 dozen bagels from scratch on the weekends. I went for it with the Uncle Maxxie—aged white cheddar on a pile of succulent pastrami and fried eggs on my chosen Everything bagel. Also, buy a loaf of banana bread made with Blake’s mother’s 40-year recipe.
Exploring Next Door: College Station on a Girlfriend Getaway in Bryan, Texas
Bryan is adjacent to College Station, which is home to Texas A&M University. When you visit Bryan, plan to spend some time in College Station.
Legacy of the 12th Man
Our first day in Bryan was a little rainy, so we decided to head indoors. Since College Station is home to Texas A&M University, we ventured off to tour Kyle Field to experience the school’s famous college spirit.
Kyle Field impressed even the non-football fans in our group. The tour took us through the luxury boxes, the enormous Hall of Champions, and the player’s tunnel on the field. In addition, our student guide, Kia, shared the traditions around the Aggie gold class ring.
We also learned that the students stand in honor of the 12th Man throughout the game. Aggie squad player, E. King Gill, was called to suit up and join his team during a challenging game. He never played on that day in 1922 but stood the entire game earning the moniker of the 12th Man. His legacy of loyalty and willingness to serve continues to live in the Aggie community.
Tour a Presidential Library
The George H.R. Walker Presidential Library and Museum is on the Texas A&M campus. Most of us had never been to a presidential library, so we weren’t sure what to expect. The space nicely laid out the life of President Bush from his youth to his final sky diving jumps. The museum also covers Barbara Bush’s legacy.
We had a grand time taking photos of ourselves looking presidential in the replica Oval Office. The rotating exhibit, Mandela: The Official Exhibition, was a moving tribute to the freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.
A Girlfriend Getaway is not Complete Without a Winery Visit
Messina Hof Winery has been growing grapes since 1977, becoming one of the Lone Star state’s biggest producers of 100% Texas wine. We experienced the breadth of their award-winning vintages in an oak-barrel stacked tasting room. Our host guided us through the Bonarrigo family history and how to savor each pour. We were blown away by the quality of the wine. Most of us purchased the velvety Private Reserve Papa Paulo Port.
We wandered to the estate’s Vintage House Restaurant to continue the festivities. Again, many of us opted to try dishes infused with Messina Hof wines. Dessert included the crowd-pleasing flambéed cherries prepared tableside with house-made port fudge and poured over ice cream. This sweet treat was a delicious addition to a fabulous girlfriend getaway in Bryan, Texas.
Authentic Downtown Bryan
The following day started with The Village, a vibrant coffee house serving all-day brunch. We stepped up to order—the White Pumpkin Latte and the Pulled Pork Biscuit Stack were calling my name. We enjoyed the monthly artist exhibits and conversation while waiting for our food.
After a satisfying start, we explored the Saturday morning Brazos Valley Farmers’ Market on Main Street. There’s no better place to get a sense of community than at a local market. It’s also a pleasant place to find artisanal gifts and try new foods like pickled okra.
A Girl’s Gotta Shop
Bryan’s shopping scene is filled with eclectic boutiques and locally owned shops. Our favorite was Catalena Hatters, who produces custom-made cowboy hats onsite. It was fascinating to watch and even more tempting to buy, the hats being hand-shaped using nothing but steam to the buyer’s specifications. We also shopped until we dropped at the adjacent Texas Rose Boutique, filled with exquisitely detailed leather purses, unique turquoise jewelry, and stylish country clothing.
Working Up an Appetite
No trip to Texas would be complete without BBQ. The aroma of smoked meats wafted through the doors as we entered All the King’s Men, next to the restored art-deco Queen Theater. We had a snack of candied pork belly, which was smoky sweet pork bites of heaven. Add some grown-up mac-n-cheese and chopped brisket, and you have a hearty lunch.
We spent the afternoon chilling at the welcoming Kinder Hill Brew Lab. The husband and wife team, Laura and Jason, brew one-of-a-kind small-batch beers. Their menu constantly changes, with one to two new releases a week. The menu ranged from lagers to sours, while wine and cocktails were available for the non-beer drinkers in our party.
Family Farm Cuisine
Ronin is the fruitful collaboration of the husband and wife Brian and Amanda Light, serving garden cuisine from their farm. So fresh, the basil for my cocktail had just been picked and brought to the restaurant 30 minutes before we arrived. The rustic, open-concept space wisely uses the newly-renovated historic Ice House on Main. We loved the Instagram-worthy tables made from refurbished floors suspended from the ceiling. Our meal together was the perfect ending to an adventured-filled trip.
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The Spirit of Bryan Infused Our Girlfriend Getaway
Genuine kindness, authentic stories, and community pride in Bryan added to our getaway experience. We were able to reconnect, learn a few things about ourselves, and discover a gem of a town in the Lone Star State. Let Wander With Wonder be your guide when planning your next trip to Texas or anywhere in the Southwest.