The annual trip this year took us to Austin, Texas. As the resident tour guide, Barb took us to some of her favorite places and some new ones as well. On most of our excursions, the red granite dome of the capitol building was a welcome sight. You may think that July is a hot month to visit Texas. You are right. We were warmed by triple digit temperatures every day and planned our outdoor activities before noon. Below are some of my favorite places in Austin.
Food – The Launderette was our first stop. This eclectic restaurant served us a wonderful lunch. It lives up to all the hype and awards it has won and would be an exciting place to try at dinner time.
We ate a couple of times at Taco Deli. My first thought was, this is going to be Taco Bell, but I was wrong. Instead it was the best taco place I’ve ever been to. Get the shrimp taco!
For dinner, the highlight was Péché. I mistakenly thought Péché was the French word for peach. It actually means sin. The food was sinfully delicious. The bar runs the length of the restaurant – a very cool touch.
Nightlife/Music – I learned that Austin is the live music capitol of the world. Although we weren’t there for any music festivals, after our meal at Péché, we went next door to Cedar Street Courtyard. Memphis Train Review played and we got some dancing in. The unique design of this venue is that three of its walls are shared with other buildings, and the front and top are open.
Culture/History – I saved the best for last: UMLAUF Sculpture Garden, Texas State Cemetery, and LBJ Presidential Library.
The UMLAUF opened in 1991 as a sculpture garden for the dozens of bronze and stone pieces given to Austin by noted 20th century American sculptor, Charles Umlauf. To borrow words from their website, “Art and nature meet in serene harmony.” Below are a few of my favorites. (Click on all photos to enlarge them.)
The Texas State Cemetery is both a historical and cultural resting place for many prominent Texans. I’m not a big Texas history buff, but I like to explore cemeteries for their unusual headstones. I was rewarded with the three below. One is very old and dated 1852 for Captain Bryant. I love how the carvings appear sinister until you look close. Two lovely ladies also caught my eye. (The famous author, James Michener, is buried here.)
The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library was my first visit to a presidential library. Had I known how interesting a presidential library can be, I sure would’ve visited more of them. The effect felt like I’d time traveled back to when LBJ was president. There were so many facts about him I didn’t know including the hundreds of landmark laws he passed for civil rights, the environment, Medicare and education. For more info, click on this site: http://www.lbjlibrary.org/lyndon-baines-johnson/lbj-biography/landmark
PS. In case you were wondering…yes, we went to the boot store and yes, we ate great BBQ. However, we didn’t go and see the bats.