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Getaway Guide: One-Tank Trip to Bryan/College Station

September 15, 2012 1:00 PM

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(photo credit: http://www.visitaggieland.com/)
Sister cities Bryan and College Station have long been known as the home of Texas A&M University and its Aggies, but in recent years the area has grown into a great area for a weekend escape. This central Texas haven is a great — and convenient — place to make a quick getaway from the big-city hustle. Set in the heart of the Brazos Valley, these neighboring towns have created a folksy, yet cultured, identity. Rolling countryside, rich history, friendly folks and plenty of things to do promise a fulfilling day away.

Getting There

Bryan-College Station is roughly 90 miles northwest of Houston, a little more than an hour’s drive away. From anywhere in the metro area, get to US-290 and head west to Hempstead. In Hempstead, take the Highway 6 exit and go north about 35 miles through Navasota and on into Aggieland.

What To Do

George Bush Presidential Library & Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West
College Station, TX 77845
(979) 691-4000
bushlibrary.tamu.edu

The New Englander-turned-Texan who won the presidency in 1988 and became affectionately known as “41” is celebrated in this museum on the campus of Texas A&M. Standing exhibits and hundreds of family photographs give glimpses into the life of George H.W. Bush. Visitors may also see replicas of the Oval Office and White House press room. Areas dedicated to World War II (in which Bush served) and the first conflict in Iraq (which Bush oversaw) pay tribute to the military personnel who served the country.

Related: Getaway Guide: One Tank Trip To San Antonio

Messina Hof Winery & Resort
4545 Old Reliance Road
Bryan, TX 77808
(979) 778-9463
messinahof.com

For many years after its inception in the late 1970s, this quaint winery operated in near anonymity. But after being recognized time and again as Texas’ top vineyard, it has become a well-known producer of more than 50 varieties of wine. Tours and tastings are available every day of the week. Even tea-totallers will love the stroll through the 42-acre vineyard and rose garden. With the Vintage House restaurant and The Villa inn on site, this could be a weekend destination all its own.

Old Tyme Wonderland
18898 Highway 6 South
College Station, TX 77845
(979) 690-7212
oldtymewonderland.com

Once known as Santa’s Wonderland, a must-see holiday experience, this village has expanded to give visitors a year-round opportunity to travel back in time to life in simpler, more relaxed times. Experience small-town life as it might have been in the early 20th century. Stop by the trading post, grab something tasty to snack on and enjoy nostalgic music on the square. Don’t forget to make plans to return in December, when Santa’s Wonderland returns to deliver holiday cheer.

The Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley
111 E. 27th St.
Bryan, TX 77803
(979) 779-5437
cmbv.org

The kids will love this stop to discover adventures of all kinds. From a spaceship control panel or a construction zone to a music room with real instruments, children will learn as they interact with the exhibits in exciting ways. Even the toddlers will find a place to explore in the garden-themed play area. Young readers will also want to peruse a good book in the library before leaving.

Hurricane Harry’s
313 College Ave.
College Station, TX 77840
(979) 846-3343
harrys.bcsclubs.com

Kick up your heels on one of the two huge dance floors, or sit and unwind at the end of day of fun in this haven for authentic live Texas music. The staff is friendly, and the best in regional and national country music artists make stops at Harry’s. This hotspot attracts fans of all genres of music with an eclectic mix of sounds to dance to when the live musicians need a break.

Dining

The Republic Steakhouse
701 University Drive East #406
College Station, TX 77845
(979) 260-4120
therepublic1836.com

A weekend in the Brazos Valley would not seem complete without a solid steak dinner, and this classic steakhouse is a great place for steaks. Seafood lovers may find satisfaction as well with fare such as pan-roasted scallops and crab cakes. The elegant ambience and attentive service combine to create the perfect setting for a relaxed after-dinner coffee drink and dessert.

Lodging

Rudder-Jessup Bed & Breakfast
115 Lee Ave.
College Station, TX 77840
(979) 693-1749
rudderbandb.com

Prices: from $129 per night, based on availability and season

The Rudder name is a familiar one to Aggies, and this restored former home of General Earl Rudder has been turned into a bed and breakfast that draws rave reviews from guests who get away there. The cordial hosts have created four suites in this registered historical site that invite travelers to relax in charming southern style. Its location in the Southside Historic District means this manor is just a few minutes’ walk from the Texas A&M campus for interested sightseers.

Related: Best City Escapes From Houston

Lonnie King is a freelance writer living in Houston. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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