Photo: Silvio Ligutti/Shutterstock

Quaint Historic Towns, Wineries, and Iconic Ice Cream: Exploring the Gorgeous Brazos Valley, Texas

Texas Insider Guides
by Jori Ayers Feb 23, 2024

Brazos Valley, located in central Texas where the Southwest meets the Southeast, covers seven counties over 5,000 square miles. About 380,000 people call the region home. While Texas A&M University in College Station is the biggest name in the area, Brazos Valley is most defined by the small towns that dot the landscape. It’s here where you’ll find Navasota, the Blues Capital of Texas, as well as another side of Texas wine country east of the better-known Hill Country wineries.

For a trip of your own, start with three quaint towns that embody the lifestyle of the Brazos Valley: Brenham, Navasota, and Bryan.


Downtown Brenham

Brenham, TX, USA - December 29, 2016 - The Blue Bell factory in Brenham

Photo: Nina Alizada/Shutterstock

Downtown Brenham is filled with local businesses and historic Main Street is the central point in town for shopping, dining, and entertainment. A couple of standouts include Brown Water Cigar Bar, food from Ninety-Six West, refreshing beers from the Brazos Valley Brewing Company, antiques from Antiques Country Store, and gifts from Woman’s Cave.

Blue Bell Creameries

Brenham, Texas - June 12 2019: POV hand holding ice cream scoop in a cup at Blue Bell Creameries factory

Photo: University of College/Shutterstock

You can’t visit Brenham without taking a visit to Blue Bell Creameries. The iconic ice cream producer started in Brenham in 1907, and gets its name from the mass of flowering bluebells that cover the land each spring. Take a tour around to learn about the company’s history, see how the iconic and beloved ice cream is made, and grab a couple of scoops (or a gallon) at the ice cream parlor on your way out.

Blue Bell Creameries: 1101 South Blue Bell Road, Brenham, Texas 77833

Ant Street Inn

Old meets new at the boutique Ant Street Inn, which is a registered historical landmark in the heart of downtown. Antique furnishings are found throughout, and rugs and stained glass are in every room. A back veranda is lined with rocking chairs to enjoy the view of the fountain and gardens, and event spaces make it an ideal location for family gatherings and retreats. The on-site Brenham Grill is a local favorite. Ant Street Inn is the ideal place to get out on the town without needing a car thanks to its central location near shopping, dining, and live music.

Ant Street Inn: 107 W Commerce St, Brenham, TX 77833

Flying Horses Antique Carousel

The Flying Horses Carousel stands as a cherished relic of American amusement history. These were carved in the “country fair” style that evoke the appearance of a quickly running horse with manes and tails shaped to evoke forward motion. They were found in Clay, Texas, in 1930 by Hugh Durden after a carnival wasn’t able to pay rent and ditched the carvings in a pasture. The owner of Brenham Furniture Repair refurbished the 24 horses. They’re a rare example of the dwindling number of classic wooden carousels across the nation. As one of only five surviving examples in Texas, and recognized by the National Carousel Association as the oldest in the state, this carousel holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

Flying Horses Antique Carousel: Located in Fireman’s Park on Ewing St, Brenham, TX 77833


Downtown Navasota

Stroll along Washington Avenue to see historical sites and beautiful architecture. You’ll also find plenty of local businesses downtown, including Patout’s Wine Shoppe for a wide variety of wine, beer, and food that can be consumed on-site or to-go; Bless Up Boutique and Embroidery for cute, customizable clothing; and babywear at Paris Pink and Cowboy Blue Baby Boutique.

BeeWeaver Honey Farm

The BeeWeaver Honey Farm started in 1888 and has been around for 130 years after 10 bee colonies were gifted to the Weaver family. Five generations later, the bee business is firmly still in the family on this beautiful farm in Navasota. Learn all about the bees from the beekeeper Roosevelt Roberson, grab a drink from WildFlyer Mead Co., and enjoy a sweet snack from Fly By Sip ‘n Snack. Along with the honey and the bees, the farm has different accommodations where guests can stay on the property: Binford Corner (a century old school house), glamping options at Honey Farm, camping at Bee Weaver, and the stunning loft I had the chance to stay in called The Loft at the Honey House.

BeeWeaver Honey Farm: 16481 County Rd 319, Navasota, TX 77868

Bryan-College Station

George H. W. Bush Presidential Library

FEBRUARY 28, 2018 - COLLEGE STATION TEXAS - George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

The George H. W. Bush Presidential Library is a library and a museum on the west side of the Texas A&M Campus. The museum was dedicated on November 6, 1997. It’s also home to the burial site of the 41st president of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and his wife, Barbara Bush. Along with detailing the history of the Bush family and presidential memorabilia, the museum has rotating exhibits.

George H. W. Bush Presidential Library: 1000 George Bush Dr W, College Station, TX 77845

Downtown Bryan

Historic downtown is the perfect place to hang out with friends and family. Downtown Bryan blends historical buildings with modern nightlife and shopping options. Here, you’ll find locally owned stores like Corner of Time Antiques, Old Bryan Marketplace, and Sparrow Lane. To refuel, stop by Caffe Capri or Ronin Farm & Restaurant, owned by a husband and wife team who source ingredients from their farm.

Milton Parker Home Bed & Breakfast

The Milton Parker Home is a historic landmark and the second oldest building standing in downtown Bryan. Built in 1885, it sits on four acres just five blocks from downtown. The house has five bedrooms (four upstairs and one downstairs), each of which features a private luxury bathroom. There are two grand parlors and a dining area facing a stunning view of the oak-covered grounds, and the home has been updated with luxury finishes while retaining its 19th-century vintage charm throughout.

Milton Parker Home: 200 S Congress St, Bryan, TX 77803

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