Castroville is known for its Alsatian roots—it’s called the “Little Alsace of Texas”—and those roots are on full display when you visit the Steinbach Haus.
Originally built in the 1600s, the Steinbach Haus was relocated from Wahlbach, France to Castroville. Formerly owned by the Steinbach family, the house was taken apart and shipped to Texas. It reportedly landed in Houston and arrived in Castroville in early 1998. It took four years for the rebuild and restoration work to be complete, and the building opened to the public April 8, 2002. It now serves as a tourism and cultural center.
If you visit during the right time of the year—generally April or May—the field around the house is blanketed with red poppies, and, for a second, you might really wonder if you travelled overseas and just forgot the flight. While the view outside the house is a treat in itself, going inside is like traveling to France without a plane ticket. Alsatian furniture and other donated items fill the 1,200-square-foot building.
While in Castroville, we also recommend stopping by the Landmark Inn State Historic Site, which provided lodging to folks on the road more than 100 years ago. There, you can see what life was like in the 1850s in this area of Texas.
For some outdoor time, visit Castroville Regional Park, which boasts beautiful trees, a river view and great walking trails on 126 acres along the Medina River. You can take a picnic lunch and eat there or stop at Castroville Café and enjoy one of their specials on their outdoor patio. The quiche is one of our favorites. Grab a caffeinated pick-me-up at Octane Coffee and Tea Haus and dessert at the iconic Haby’s Bakery.
Stop in for some quiet time at St. Louis Catholic Church, which boasts beautiful architecture and painting. The ornate altar is one worth seeing.
At the end of the day, grab enchiladas at Sammy’s, a staple in the community since 1948, and then get a room at the Alsace Hotel or one of the many bed and breakfasts in the area. Book a visit to their spa if you feel like indulging yourself.
In between all that, try to find time to peruse the many antique shops and small businesses downtown. Along with the items you may normally see, check out Spartan Custom Leather and Taste Elevated, specialty shops that offer truly unique experiences. Even if you don’t find something you need, you’re sure to be impressed by the niche businesses they have grown in this small, quaint town.
Finally, make time to sample parisa, a regional dish (which you will learn more about in a future issue). Pick some up at R & R Alsatian Sausage and Products, and use your Co-op Connections card to get a discount.
A visit to Castroville has potential to fill up an entire weekend. Whether you road trip there for a few hours or for a three-day vacation, your wallet will thank you: It’s like a trip to France—right here in Texas.