travel notes

Archive for the ‘downtown’ Category

Clarksville neighborhood: putting down roots

In Austin, Clarksville, downtown, Moving, Town Lake on September 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Alas, the honeymoon stage is over. No longer is Austin perfectly perfect; incapable of anything wrong in my eyes. Sometimes it is too hot, sometimes the traffic is exasperating in its random unpredictability, and sometimes the people are as weird as they try to be. That said, I am still in love. The “newlywed” newness may have faded, but I’m still as committed as ever. Moving requires transitioning from visitor to resident, from tourist to local, from sightseeing to becoming a landmark. It’s time to put down roots and peel back another layer of learning this city.

I’ve moved into the little neighborhood of Clarksville, within walking distance of Whole Foods and Town Lake, as well as several amazing local cafe’s and shops. So I’ve got a couple of ideas for making myself at home. 

1. Decorate my apartment in “Leah” style with a splash of Austin flavor. For inspiration, I walk to Wildflower Organics and Wendow Fine Living. I am in love with mixing textures of burlap and cream linen, and adding pops of color to neutrals like cool grays and warm ambers. 2. Tackle a DIY project. A run to Home Depot for a lovely grey/white “Cape Cod” wood stain and I’m ready to give my my kitchen table (an old wooden thing from my grandmother’s basement) a new paint job.

3. Cook a yummy dish in my own kitchen. My menu: Coho wild salmon, hand-rolled sweet corn cakes topped with pepper-jack soy cheese, sauteed spinach and kale, all garnished with pico de gallo and homemade salsa. A great reward for a good day’s work!


Weekend adventuring

In Austin, downtown, Faith, Food, Music, Outdoors, Texas, Town Lake, Traditions, Travel, Venues on June 27, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Looking to spend a weekend away in Austin, or just get out and explore the city? Hopefully my weekend highlights will help you plan your next adventure.

Friday evening: 

Get your groove on at a live show by The Matchmaker Band: a mo-town cover band, funky, great for dancing! 

Saturday morning: 

Stroll the Farmer’s Market on 5th and Guadalupe (9 am – 1 pm).  I bought an odd-shaped heirloom tomato, and drank a mango hibiscus iced tea. I sampled locally made Kombucha Ginger drink – I love love love Kombucha! – and this small batch was just as good as any of the bigger companies I’ve tasted. Also nibbled on yummy goat cheese from Swede Farm Artisanal Goat Dairy. 

Visit some of the downtown shops such as Finch (appropriately featured on Apartment Therapy’s blog).

 Saturday afternoon: 

Stroll around Town Lake

Grab a bite at Whole Foods Market 


Saturday evening: 

See a movie at The Alamo Draft House– one of the coolest things in Austin. You order drink and food by candlelight, and enjoy a scrumptious meal while watching a movie. This is a must-do!

Sunday morning: 

Visit Austin Stone Community Church

 Have brunch at Halcyon on 4th and Lavaca St.  A hip little spot for coffee by day or wine by night. I recommend the spinach, egg, and mushroom crepe – delicious and light! And one of the better cups of coffee I’ve had in a while.

Sunday afternoon: 

Breathe, smile, be thankful 

40 days of discovering Austin

In Austin, downtown, Food, Outdoors, Town Lake on June 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I woke up today and realized I have 40 days left of house-sitting. The place I am staying is in North Austin, which is quite a few miles from the downtown “scene.” So, to turn challenge into opportunity, I will be posting a daily discovery of Austin to encourage myself to get out and explore.

discovery no. 1: Royal Blue Grocery. The one on 6th and Congress. I really can’t describe how happy this quaint mercantile made my soul. I was lost in the isles of prettily packaged organics and homemade Jeni’s ice cream, boasting flavors such as Ugandan Vanilla Bean and Brown Sugar Almond Brittle.

“how much?” I asked the guy with the long hair, tattered corduroy shorts, flip-flops, who was, yes, dipping pita chips into hummus while working.

“$11.95.” almost apologetically. My eyes must have grown large. “but it’s worth it.” He assured me. Hmmm, who knew ice cream would be an item on my to-save-for list? In the meantime, I will just dream about the raspberry champagne sorbet. Sigh…

Requirements to work here: must wear harry potter glasses, have at least one subtle tattoo, and own a pair of robin-blue vintage earrings.

(bonus) discovery: Kayaking on Town Lake. I went to The Rowing Dock off Barton Springs and for $10 could paddle around in the sunshine, enjoying the greenery of West Texas on one side, and the sight of downtown on the other. Truly fantastic.