A Long Weekend In Austin, Texas Is A Capital Idea

I’m starting to think I’m a travel whore.  It no longer matters where the destination is (well, that’s an exageration – Newark, NJ is not an option), if someone asks me to come along, I’m the first one on expedia.com.  I found that one way of combatting the letdown of moving from a city of 18 million to a town of 15,000 is to make enough plans to leave said small town.  My husband made a list of where I was going in 2013 and it is the source of a few laughs around the office water cooler.  I’ve always been a bit of a wanderer – something that becomes more of a challenge with each child you conceive.  But at the apex of my motherdom, we lived in at least five different homes, on and off, while the kids grew up.  I just can’t bear to dig in and grow roots.  I’m not really sure what that’s about but it seems to work for me and thankfully it works for my husband too.  We are in the process right now of selling the last piece of real estate we own.  My current goal is to minimize the keys dangling from my key chain which brings with it a sense of freedom and relief.  And of course, the increased ability to say YES the next time someone asks me to go away.  For the next few years, my husband and I will have to drag a few teenagers with us but we’ve got a 5 year plan and we’re six months into it.  The not knowing where we’re going is the best part of all.  Carpe the freaking diem!

Oh wait, this blog was supposed to be about spending a weekend in Austin, Texas.  That’s what a nice large glass of white wine will do to you.  It seems I’m wandering right off the topic.

So, Austin, Texas.  I’m a big fan. I stayed in three different hotels in 4 nights and I loved them all. A brief synopsis:

The Driskell Hotel – right off 6th street – completely old and authentic – it’s even haunted.  Perfect place to stay right in the heart of it all.

The San Jose Hotel – this hotel is too cool for school.  It’s in the SOCO district (south congress) and it’s basically the Brooklyn of Austin.  Very hip – very cool – almost cold.  But worth staying in (for a night).

The Gruene Mansion Inn (technically not in Austin but in the town of Gruene which is pronounced Green but not by me or anyone I was with because – duh, there’s a u in it).  This was a little bit country, a little bit disney and a lot of kitsch.  But if you are going to a Jerry Jeff concert at Gruene Hall (which is next door to the Inn) there is no better place to walk home to.  And during the day, they have amazing live music for free in the parking lot.  They pass a jar around for tips and you can buy a cold beer (or nine).

One of the best meals I’ve had since I moved back to the US was a Japanese restaurant called Uchi in Austin.  I had a reservation, it was a Monday night and I had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated.  The lines were out the door.  And I swear it was one of the best Japanese meals I’ve eaten – even in Japan (i’m cringing because I’m sure there are readers that are throwing things at my blog) but seriously, I’ve lived in Japan for 6 years and this was OUTSTANDING.

So, as a card carrying wanderer, I highly recommend a visit to Austin, Texas.

*Full disclosure – I’m writing this as I pack for my trip tomorrow to Vieques.

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