Travel Thoughts: Austin, Texas

I just returned from a week in Austin for a work trip and realized while I was having all these thoughts that I hadn’t done one of these ‘travel thoughts’ posts in a long time – several years, to be exact. So without further ado, here’s a list of stuff going through my head whilst cruising around Texas.  [Read more…]

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Travel: Austin, Texas

 

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I was so excited to get sent to Austin, Texas for work back in June. I’d always wanted to go there but had never been. I had two days of play time before work, so I tried to make the best of it and see as much as I could. My college friend, Karley lives in Austin now and I got to hang with her most of the weekend. When she asked me what I wanted to do, I replied with “anything Austin.” And so she took me all over town. Here’s what we did:

 

Friday night: Honky-tonk 

I don’t know if this is Austin’s oldest honky-tonk, but it’s certainly the most well-known. It’s been voted “Best Honky-tonk in Texas” and “Best Dance Hall in the Country” soooo I’m thinking it’s pretty legit.  The Broken Spoke is such a cool place to be, with all its history. All kinds of country stars have played here and the owner is still there every night rockin’ it out and hanging with the music goers. We took some line dancing lessons, had dinner, drank beer, and saw an awesome live performance of Asleep at the Wheel. It’s must-see.

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Saturday: Stand Up Paddleboarding at Lady Bird Lake

Previously known as Town Lake, this lake is huge and beautiful. It spans a good distance along the city so it has great views. Karley works for a place called The Expedition School and was leading a group of girls scouts on Stand Up Paddleboards Saturday morning so I tagged along. We lucked out with the weather that day. It was warm, but not insanely hot yet, and the water was the perfect temperature. After learning some of the SUP basics from Karley, we played around in the cove, paddled out onto the main stretch of the lake, then came back in to practice yoga poses (unsuccessfully) on the boards. Karley also showed up some fun games like King of the Hill, where two people get on one board, each trying to knock the other one off balance and into the water. Good times. Hit up The Expedition School if you’re in Austin and want some fun on the water! They have kayaks and canoes as well!

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These last two photos taken by Karla Held   Thanks, Karla!

 Saturday Night: 6th Street

There are two ends of 6th Street. On the east end of it, you’ve got all the bars you could ask for. I stopped in for a drink at The Jackalope, a dive that plays lots of heavy metal. Since I was alone, and didn’t want any more conversation about Jesus with the guy next to me at the bar, I chose not to have my photo taken on the Jackalope. But if I return to Austin, it’s on.

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At the west end of 6th, you’ve got lots of new restaurants and great places to sit, drink, and eat on open-air patios. We had dinner at J. Blacks and were not disappointed. The drinks were great, the food (what I like to call “Fancy Southern”) was spectacular, and we enjoyed the awesome evening air and people-watching.

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Sunday: FIT Austin and Barton Springs

I had to work on Sunday but got to finally see FIT Austin. This is great small gym with tons of classes and personal training to offer. They have great space, an array of classes to choose from and showers to help get you out the door without looking a mess. I trained a bunch of newly qualified TRX instructors and  then headed out for my final night in Austin.

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 Dinner at The Shady Grove

Although there are innumerable restaurants in Austin, The Shady Grove was my favorite of the weekend. The website describes it perfectly: “Nestled under the shade of the tall pecan grove, Shady Grove serves up Austin-inspired home-cooking, cocktails, sunshine, and smiles.” We ordered food and margaritas and sat outside for a couple hours. It had gotten a lot hotter, but the shade and fans made it pleasant.

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Barton Springs

Y’ALL. Barton Springs was my absolute favorite thing in the city. It’s a natural underground spring with man-made walls, stairs, and a diving board surrounding it. It’s 3 acres! Even though it’s kind of freezing (avg. 68 degree water) we had to jump off the diving board a few times. I couldn’t stand to be in the water for very long, so we got out and did a walk all around the grounds. We then laid on the blanket on the grassy hills adjacent to the pool. It was the perfect way to end my time in Austin. At only $3 for entry, Barton Springs was completely packed when I’d tried to check it out on Friday afternoon. By Sunday evening though, the crowds had thinned and we were able to revel in the glory of the evening dusk. My phone had died by this point in the day, but here’s a link to Flickr album that shows the entire place. It’s amazing. Go there.

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If you’re going to Texas, visit Austin. If you’re going to Austin, visit these places. ; )

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Texas, Here I Come!

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Two cities I’ve always wanted to check out, but have never been to, are Austin and San Antonio, Texas. I travel a lot for work, but don’t usually get to go southwest from Kentucky, as a few of our other instructors are near already. However, I’m FINALLY getting sent to Austin this weekend and couldn’t be more pumped. In addition, I have an extra free day now, so I get to cruise to San Antonio as well. #doublewhammy

I’ve had all kinds of restaurant/bar recommendations from friends so far: Uchi, Jackalope, La Condessa, and lots of BBQ places. I have no doubt it’s going to be an awesome time. I’ve got some colleagues that live there that I’ll get to see and am looking forward to just exploring. One of the best parts about traveling is getting to check out a new place and not be pressed for time. Plus, there’s just something about going South…

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Work and play… either way, I’m just looking forward to a fun weekend in Texas. Although I want an excuse to pack and wear my cowboy boots, it’s going to be a million degrees, so that one’s up for debate…

 

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Anybody live in Austin or San Antonio and have MUST see/do recommendations? Shoot!

Happy Friday!

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