Eight of my closest friends from high school chose Austin, Texas as our destination to celebrate our 5oth birthdays. We chose Austin because it was in a central location, with warmish weather, and a relaxed vibe (turning 50 can be nerve wracking). It was an excellent choice. When gathering for a momentous occasion you need to be in a place where you can easily explore and easily avail yourselves of places to connect – this was essentially a conversing tour of Austin.
Connecting on these trips means eating and imbibing and Austin has plenty to choose from on this front. We were staying right off of 6th Street and my seat mate on the plane was excited to point out that one could spend 10 minutes in each of the drinking holes on that street and still not visit them all. We did not embrace this as a goal but we were happy to be in a town that offered such a myriad of social establishments that would support our goal of re-connecting.
Our home base for the weekend was a picture perfect home on Blanco Street in the Clarksville area of downtown. To see our home click here.
We decided on a home vs. one of Austin’s awesome and funky hotels because we wanted more opportunity for impromptu connections. We had 8 strong and opinionated women gathered in that house and to a person we loved it. The large and well equipped kitchen was tailor made for the vegetarian cooking lesson we had on the first night compliments of The Naked Bite.
The beds were all super comfortable not only sleeping, but for lounging as we all caught up on each other’s lives. The living spaces were beautifully appointed and made all the more inviting thanks to the owner’s good taste. On the first night, after our cooking lesson, we gathered around the fire pit in the back yard and talked and laughed for hours. Was good for the soul and the wallet. Splitting the home between the 8 of us cost far less then what we would have individually paid at a swanky hotel and with Whole Foods a 5 minute walk away we got our own breakfast supplies and enjoyed cooking and eating together every morning.
The location of our home was such that we could easily access Austin’s best social bits, but also quickly transport ourselves on foot to wander along the banks of The Colorado River on the myriad of paths that are available to explore. On our walks we felt a little bit like slouches as others ran or biked by at a quicker clips then our meander. Austin is a fit town!
We went across the walking bridge to S. Congress to explore some quirky shops and the jewel of a park Zilker Park which would require multiple visits to fully appreciate. We talked about returning with the kids to take them for a dip in the swimming hole of your dreams Barton Springs and to zip through the park on the absurdly adorable Zilker Zephyr a miniature train. The home we rented would also be ideal for 2 families to visit. A family of 5 and a family of 4 traveling together would fit perfectly in our home.
Austin is a town that caters to kids of all ages. This must be one of the reasons it’s residents so fiercely love and appreciate it. It encourages weird – it has a tagline: Keep Austin Weird. To me this translates to be who ever the heck you want to be and/or be your most authentic self and appreciate and embrace other’s sense of their best self. Austin also really love it’s canines. Usually when I travel dog encounters go way down (vs. the plethora in NYC) but not so in Austin – they are everywhere. Side bonus for me (as my most authentic, weird, self pets every dog she encounters).
We might be the only people who went to Austin and DID NOT listen to music (next time!), but hey it’s hard to listen to musicians when you are there to engage with one another and we didn’t want to be rude. That said, in the evenings, we did as any self respecting visitor to Austin should do when they are not listening to music…we drank and we ate. We had margaritas and some love note worthy crusty pizzas at The Ranch. We got cozy in the bar at the Driskill munching on truffle popcorn as we sipped a bit more tequila. We all made mental notes to come back and stay at the South Congress Hotel on our next visit as the bar was do darn inviting it was hard to extract ourselves.. And we celebrated our birthdays over…snacky bits and birthday ice cream sandwiches at Laundarette.
We all grew up in the era when Lazy Susan’s were commonplace in our suburban homes in Ohio. How fun to share appetizers on a giant lazy Susan that was the centerpiece of our perfectly proportioned round dining table. At the table we asked each other questions and listened to our articulate and thoughtful answers. We talked about who we were and whom we have become and who we might have been and who we still have yet to be. We tackled some big questions at that table. But the most important question was towards the end when we asked: where shall we meet up next? With more to see, do, hear, and discuss the answer may very well be: Austin, Texas.