Out in Luckenbach, Texas ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain

You want to go to a small town? One out in the country? One fun, unique and interesting? Well buddy do I have the place for you


Max Rhodes

The general store in “downtown” Luckenbach Texas. The store was build over 150 years ago, and is still open today. You can buy just about anything you could imagine with the Luckenbach logo on it. Photo by Max Rhodes

Max Rhodes, Online editor in chief

First off I need to say that while Travis County is under a stay at home order until at least April 30, I cannot advise anyone to go out and visit Luckenbach or any small towns. But you can read about it here, and I’m sure they’d appreciate your business when things re-open.

For the last installment of Rhodes Traveled, I covered some small “non-destination” towns. Places that you drive through to get somewhere else. I said that these places can be worthwhile to stop at, and covered some specific examples. Out west, the two towns of Hye and Stonewall in particular. But I left out possibly the best tiny town between here and Fredericksburg. This place, I believe, deserves it’s own article. Let’s go to Luckenbach Texas. 

Luckenbach (pronounced luke-in-bock) is fairly well known, even with its tiny population, which is 3 (yes that is correct). Perhaps you, or your parents more likely, have heard the 1977 song about Luckenbach written by none other than Waylon Jennings. Let me give you a quick history lesson of the town: Luckenbach was founded by German settlers (big surprise) from Fredericksburg in 1849. The population reached a height of about 500 by the turn of the 19th century, but was on the decline until the 1960s when it was essentially a ghost town. Instead of leaving the town to rot away, it was put up for sale in the local newspaper “town– pop. 3” The price tag? $30,000, which roughly equals $175,000 in 2020. No small fee. But it didn’t deter local legend Hondo Crouch. Hondo picked up the tab, and turned Luckenbach into a place to get away from the stress of life and write some country music with the boys. The aforementioned Waylon Jennings, and Texas hero Willie Nelson, as well as many others. The 150 year general store and dance hall are still in use, and Luckenbach is a destination for people across the entire state. 

Even if you’re not a huge fan of country music, Luckenbach is definitely worth a visit”

Even if you’re not a huge fan of country music, Luckenbach is definitely worth a visit. If nothing else, just driving there is fun. Let me tell you about it.  290, which takes you from Austin to Fredericksburg, is already a pretty small road compared to I-10 or I-35. The speed limit is slower, there aren’t as many big trucks, and you can appreciate the scenery a little better. Then, about 10 or 15 miles from the ‘Burg, is luckenbach road on the left. This is a tiny road with no painted center line, and a speed limit of probably 35. On both sides of the road are the rolling hills of ranches and farms. As you get closer, the road curves to follow Grape Creek (a possible inspiration for Luckenbach’s namesake, which translates directly to Gap Creek). Here you can see some old buildings, such as a school house, and a bed and breakfast or two. After a few more turns in the road you get to the town. And it is tiny. There are only three buildings, plus a taco truck. The general store is where the excitement is at. Inside they have all sorts of Luckenbach merchandise, ball caps, cowboy hats, t-shirts, stickers, you name it.  In the back of the store is the bar, and you’re likely to find someone playing guitar or banjo around a wood burning stove. Outside, there are several picnic tables around a stage, where music is played on warmer days. During the summer they will host big events in the field right next to the general store. 

Luckenbach is great, no matter what it is that you consider entertaining. If your headed to Frederecksburg or Enchanted Rock, I would definitely recommend taking the 15 minute detour to pay Luckenbach a visit.