Texas Travel

City Spotlight: Seguin

By Chet Garner 7.1.19

Pecans are of huge importance to the economy of Seguin, which is arguably more pecan orchard (at least by land size) than it is town.

They also carry an almost mythological significance to the town. In the early 1500s, Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was imprisoned on what is now known as the Guadalupe River, which happens to run straight through the heart of Seguin. At the time, he called it the “River of Nuts,” possibly because he subsisted on pecans throughout his imprisonment.

Some 400 years later, a dentist would honor that history by building a 1,000-pound, 5-foot pecan: the largest pecan in the world.

So began Seguin’s journey to becoming the “pecan capital of Texas.” But their claim to fame was soon to be contested.

Photo by Todd White

The World’s Largest Pecan?

Who else would build a 1,000-pound, 5-foot pecan? You might think. Well, the answer is a bunch of pecan farmers in Brunswick, Missouri, who for some reason felt it their mission to steal the title of world’s largest pecan from little Seguin.

In 1982, just 20 years after the dentist hatched his plan (or pecan), the Missourians beat Seguin soundly with a 12,000-pound, 12-foot Starking Hardy Giant pecan (their signature species).

But little Seguin — a town named after a Tejano hero who once fought for Texas’ independence — wasn’t going to concede their title so easily. They continued to stand behind their pecan, ignoring the postcards Brunswick sent to the Seguin Chamber of Commerce displaying the image of their superior pecan.

Finally, in 2011, Seguin unveiled a new pecan: 16 feet in length and now most certainly (probably) the largest pecan in the world.

Will Brunswick answer the challenge again? Only time will tell. In the meantime, you can pay your respects to the original pecan in Seguin’s downtown square and the current champion in the Pecan Museum of Texas.

Photo by Todd White

Even More Pecans

Sometimes, it’s not about size, and more about quantity. If you’re looking for a quantity of pecans and pecan paraphernalia, Pape Pecan House is definitely worth a trip. They don’t have the world’s largest pecan, but they definitely (probably) have the world’s largest collection of nutcrackers. (You can also buy pecans from them.)

Photo by Todd White

The Square

Let’s move on from this nuttiness, because there is plenty more to see and do in Seguin that has nothing to do with nuts.

Seguin lies about 30 miles east of San Antonio, and just like a lot of small towns within commuting distance from a major city, it is blowing up. The downtown square, home to the county seat of Guadalupe County, is filling up with businesses from boutiques to bakeries. Walking around, you never know what kind of shop you’ll stumble into.

Food With a View

Powerplant Texas Grill is one place you absolutely should stop by. The restaurant occupies the old Seguin powerplant and overlooks a waterfall. The setting puts this classic Texas fare over the top.

Photo by Todd White

Tacos Out Back

Guero’s Backyard is another. Craig Ognoskie, a classically trained chef from the best culinary school in America — the Culinary Institute of America — has now dedicated his life to making street tacos in his backyard. These are not just any tacos. Think seared ahi tuna, seaweed salad, and grapefruit. Braised pulled pork with blackberry barbecue sauce. Soul train tacos with short rib and collard greens. You never know what you’re going to get, but whatever you’re going to get will be amazing.

The Haunted Hotel

If you’re interested in history, one of the coolest places to go is the Magnolia Hotel. It’s so haunted they do ghost tours. I did one, and I’m just saying, we had some freaky stuff happen. Definitely worth a trip if you want a good spook.

Photo by Todd White

Island Life

Of course, one of the biggest draws is the beautiful Guadalupe River flowing straight through the town. Cross over a little bridge and though you wouldn’t know it, you’ll actually find yourself on an island on the river. It feels more like you’re in the Caribbean. On Son’s Island, you can lay out on sun chairs, rent cabanas, kayak, paddleboard, swim, barbecue — all that’s missing is the Jimmy Buffet concert. Perfect end to a perfect day.

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