I’m just back from from my first trip ever to Austin, Texas. I’d happily go again. I was visiting two of my college roommates. Such a pleasure. They picked me up at the airport on Thursday night, took me to dinner here, then housed me, then fed me some more. In short, whole hog hospitality.
Oh, and showed me the city. Friday morning we walked around and over Lady Bird Lake. Gorgeous weather.
Then we went to lunch at Zocalo, for Tex Mex. Here’s the exterior of the restaurant – which seems, despite the ordinariness of the image, to capture something of the city. Rangy greens, outdoor tables, a comfortable relationship with parking lots.
And the interior – again, Austin. Modern, with evidence of craft. Very chipper.
Then off we went to see outdoor sights. Here’s Barton Springs. Please do keep Austin weird, if you can. Weird, comfy, and beautiful. Up in the parking lot someone was playing the guitar and singing, others were advocating conservation and signatures. Down in the water, floating. Swimming in the natural pool open to all. Pretty girls in bikinis and tattoos chatting.
And we were off to see the view from Mount Bonnell. Californians may not think this place is actually a mountain but they would be silly to so note. Vistas are all.
Then out to dinner again. This time at Laundrette. Note the matchbook font below. Austin’s distinctive lettering helped characterize the city for me. You see this one a lot too.
I commenced my dinner with a Wild Honey cocktail. Mezcal, honey, lemon, chili tincture. Delicious.
Saturday morning, we went out on Lake Lady Bird again, this time in a motor boat. Damn I love a water jaunt. Ray Bans forever.
You can drive your boat up and down the lake, touring shore buildings. Turns out billionaires build really artistic and interesting boat houses.
But Austin still has some older and more ramshackle affairs. You can easily imagine living there. At least I could. At least in October.
We ate one more lunch. Look at that tree. Austin wins at trees. And does pretty dang well at food too. This place, Vinaigrette, served top notch salads. Hit the spot.
My friends and I turned 60 this year. So did some of their other friends. Apparently, they had attended a traditional group lunch to celebrate, everyone in a necklace like this. I tried it on. Was offered the chance to bring it home, even. Was honored, but also worried that the dangling clanging might alarm security at the airport.
Just I was ferried to the airport, my friend’s cat chased a lizard into her house. Imagine three 60-year old women organizing to chase said lizard back out the door. A broom, my bad advice, other good advice, team work, and there went the lizard – with a flourish of its long tall tail.
Doing my best to keep Austin weird. And to enthusiastically endorse. It’s a city worth visiting on a vacation and one to embrace if life brings you there to live.
Oh, and just in case you you do go, my friends recommend the following hotels:
- The Four Seasons Austin
- The J.W. Marriot on 2nd at Congress
- Hotel San Jose
- Hotel Saint Cecilia
- The South Congress Hotel
For restaurants, I’d recommend every one of the places I mention above.
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