I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, so my move to San Antonio felt very fish-out-of-water. Although I was far from a farm kid, San Antonio felt much like a bustling city to me. It was all very exciting: tons of restaurants, shopping to beat the band, and traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. Okay, so not all of it was glamorous.
All of my time in SA was in the general North Side, and while I loved the convenience of our location, I started to feel like my life was being led in my car – and my kids aren’t even old enough to be heavily involved with activities yet! Call it nostalgia, but a huge part of me wanted a quieter feel to my already harried days.
Off to Boerne we have headed, and let me tell you – it’s great (for us)! I realize it is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but we like the feel of a smaller community. The main consideration for anyone looking to move to a smaller town outside San Antonio lies in how committed you are to either dedicating your life to your new town (i.e. giving up/being picky about the activities, restaurants, and even friend-time in SA, and focusing on making all of your extracurricular activities in your new hometown), or how willing you are to spend
an eternity a lot of time in your car driving to and fro. Some people don’t mind that; just reminding you to be realistic.
Relocating, even if it’s only 30 minutes away from your previous home, can feel like a pretty exhausting switch. New service providers, new grocery stores (us creatures of habit can be royally thrown by our bread isle being in a different spot), and new places to play with little ones. My kids are 2 and 4, so summer camps aren’t really an option yet, making summers
incredibly long full of opportunities to find things to do and places to play. My list is by no means exhaustive, but here are a few staples I’ve discovered in my 2 months here that my Littles have loved here in the heart of Boerne:
* River Road Park: You don’t have to live in Boerne to know about this favorite feeding feathered-friends frenzy… Pack a lunch (and a BUNCH of bread) and head to River Road (i.e. Highway 46) for an entertaining romp with various duck and goose species. Beware: the birds can be pretty aggressive. Don’t shy away from “shooing” them away – or send your two-year-old fearless boy “to pet them” – that’s a sure bet to scatter them. Also, I would suggest you eat first, then feed them. They’ll still sit there and stare at you, but they are bolder after you’ve actually given them bread. Another ideas is to grab some Kuhl frozen yogurt or a Sno-Biz Hawaiian Shaved Ice (both are just across the street, off Main), then enjoy your treat while feeding the ducks. If feeding the fowl doesn’t blow your hair back, try using the winding trail to walk or jog, or grab that line and lure and stand on the fishing dock to catch a bid ol’ catfish!
* Getting Outdoors at the Cibolo Nature Center: This spot instantly became a favorite because it provides the best of all worlds for Littles… Outdoors, creatures, water, a fort (or pirate ship, according to my kids), a sandbox (the kids’ favorite, not mom’s favorite), and it’s FREE! This area of Boerne is absolutely gorgeous – it felt very transporting and majestic to me during my first visit. The trees along the river are enormous and provide much-needed shade when the heat is anguishing. We bring “beach toys” like shovels and trowels to play in the dirt/mud, and nets to catch fish and tadpoles in the river. Make sure your packing list includes lots of water (I couldn’t find any water fountains), bug spray, a chair for mama, water shoes, bathing suits, and an old blanket or towels to sit on. There are plenty of spots for a picnic at CNC as well, but bring a plastic bag for your trash because the trash cans are few and far between. Lastly, remember that this is a very outdoor adventure – be prepared for messy (stinky) kids! It’s well worth the laundry and before-bed baths, though, I promise!
* Playing at City Park: These are the things I love about a small town: There is a park; it’s called The Boerne City Park. That’s all. No bells and whistles. Love it. The great things about this said park is that there is a giant shade over the bulk of the play structure, which we all know is both wise and necessary, saving overly sweaty (and therefore cranky) mammas from dealing with scalded bottoms from a frying pan of a slide. The only part of the play area that is not shaded is the swings, which happen to be my son’s favorite part. Poor me. Next to the park are the soccer fields, tennis courts, and a pool. I have not personally experienced any of these, but look forward to doing so in the future.
* Dining Out: The only downside to Boerne is that there aren’t tons of kid-friendly restaurants (as in, has a huge play-place or yard), except for the lauded The Dog & Pony Grill. We love Soda Pops on Main (outdoor seating) and the accompanying Sugar Shack for special occasions. Soda Pops also has a Saturday Hot Rod night – the kids adored seeing all of these vintage cars and trucks almost as much as my husband and I did. And there’s always the beloved Bear Moon for a yummy sweet treat!
* Walk (/Jog/Bike) on a Trail: We are located near Currey Trail, which is a 2 mile paved trail very near downtown Boerne. It’s a great way to unwind in the evenings or to walk some of the energy out of your dogs in the morning. My kids love their bikes, so I usually walk with them as they speed along. The area is quiet but not secluded and it feels safe to traverse alone with kids. I have heard that there are trails at Herff Ranch neighborhood, though I have not experienced them myself. Cibilo Nature Center is filled with trails, as well, should you not be in the mood to romp in the river; these trails are not paved, so appropriate footwear is a must. Hurry up, cooler weather, so I can utilize these great trails mid-day!
I am so looking forward to discovering what else Boerne has to offer… I have heard great things about the beach on Boerne Lake, but haven’t made it out there yet. My kids have played in the fountains near the gazebos (is that even allowed?) with my mother-in-law, and we hope to enjoy the movie in the park next summer, since it starts so late. I’d love to hear from “more experienced” Boerne parents!!!
Fellow Boerne mammas, what am I missing? If you live here, comment below and let us know where else parent’s can take kids of all ages around the great town!!