Austin on the water…on Wordfree Wednesday

A walk along the boardwalk, at sunset.Boardwalk in Austin TexasA chance to see some beautiful autumn color…

Autumn colors in Austin Texas

And watch the sunlight illuminate the buildings.

austin skyline at sundownWe couldn’t help watching these beautiful spiders spinning webs along the railings…

Spider on railing

Or trying to figure out why there were belts on the handrail along the board walk…

belt on handrail in AustinBut in the end, we kept coming back to the view…

Austin skyline with paddleboarder

If you haven’t checked out the new boardwalk, please do! It’s stroller/dog/kid friendly, and the perspective on the city is beautiful.

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San Antonio Mission San José (Wordfree Wednesday)

There is some really OLD stuff here in Central Texas! You knew?  OK, new to me!  And I loved it!

Everything in Austin seems to have been built kind of last Thursday. Or at least in a year starting with a 19- or 20- .  S’alright. So is everything in South Florida. But I was delighted to discover that there are buildings in our neighboring city of San Antonio that date back to the 1700’s!

We only got to visit one of the missions (and, yes, some of these building have later additions from 1800’s), but it was still amazing. The rest on another day. but for now, here’s Mission San José.

Open door in old SA Mission Chapel at Mission San Jose Church door San Antonio Walkway Mission San Jose Church Mission San Jose Arches Mission San Jose Walkway of arches Mission San Jose Arches and sky Mission San Jose Missing roof open sky Mission San Jose Old walls Mission San Jose Arches and sky Mission San Jose Sunlight on walls Mission San Jose

Twin Lakes Park on Wordfree Wednesday

Let me be clear…I am not a desert rat. Anyone who knows me, knows I need to be around water to be truly happy. Flowing, splashing water. Which is why I was thrilled when we found Twin Lakes Park in Cedar Park….I could say more, but since this is Wordfree Wednesday,  I will let the images tell the story. 2013-09-29 18.26.33waterfall3 waterfall2 waterfall root river canyon bridge 2013-09-29 18.11.50

I found my dream cottage…in downtown Austin???

Austin dream cottage
This is not my typical post for this blog, but I couldn’t resist!

It started as a weekend walk to find the perfect first day of school outfit. As we wandered from one side of town to the other (yes, we were trying to avoid mall shopping!), Lance spotted a building he thought I would like…

I love architecture (well, most of it. Not thrilled with anything from the Brady-Bunch era) and this unexpected treat amid far too many faceless commercial buildings was wonderful. Then we looked down the street…there was more!

All together, there were three magnificent houses in a row, just blocks from parking garages and office buildings. Each wonderfully preserved (restored?) Each even still had a carriage step built into the wall to the street, where we stood imagining ladies in their finery alighting for an afternoon tea or even garden party.

There was a lot of construction at the end of the road, so we headed around the corner and then I saw it.

My dream cottage. I am sucker for cottages. The smaller, cuter, more adorable the better. And this was all of them.

This adorable little building started life as a servant’s home, then moved around a bit until it settled in it’s current location at 607 Nueces Street. I was entranced by every detail, from the elegant script house number to the very New Orleans Cafe du Monde can on the porch of this house that would look so at home in NOLA. And should those MegaMillions ever come in with my name on them (course, I have to buy a ticket first…), this cottage just might find its way to a new home, somewhere in a deep, shady, wonderful wood or a cozy seaside setting.

Now I’m psyched about looking for more “hidden” architectural wonders here in Austin. Ready to take my camera and go building-hunting. Got any suggestions?

Breathtaking Waterfront Views at The Oasis

The Oasis Restaurant on Lake Travis in Texas

One of the hardest things about moving to Texas was leaving behind the ocean.  But when a friend recently visited, and we started looking around for some where special to take him, The Oasis was recommended.

Once we arrived, we understood why.  The views of Lake Travis from this uniquely designed restaurant are enough to (almost!) make a coastal native happy.

The Good Part…

The Oasis Restaurant was built with a series of seating balconies, one above another.  The result is a clear view of the lake from almost every seat outdoors. Well-placed heat lights make al fresco dining comfortable even during one of Austin’s rare winter chills, and they tell me that the large overhangs make it bearable in summer’s heat.

The Not So Great…

While the view is well worth the trip, the food unfortunately was only average.  Small portions and so-so preparation didn’t produce a meal worthy of the lofty setting. It was sadly unremarkable, more like what you would expect at mid-tier hotel restaurant than at a place with the most romantic setting in the Austin area.

And the Rest...

The official Oasis Restaurant is just a part of a larger complex of shops, pubs and other restaurants, so we do plan to return and try some of the others.  And maybe, just because the view is so amazing, we’ll even give the Oasis itself a second try.

Lots of Steps but the View From Mount Bonnell is Worth It!

Mount Bonnell Park Austin

Yes, there are over 100 steps to reach the viewing platform at Mount Bonnell.  But when you get to the top, you’ll forget all about that burn in your muscles — the view is simply breath-taking.

Look one way, and gaze out over the water (you know, that wet stuff Austin just doesn’t seem to have enough of!). Look another, a few steps down the path, and you have a clear view of the city skyline.  Turn the other way and walk for a minute or two, and beautiful waterfront homes are in sight.

This is a great place for a picnic (yes, there are tables and benches.) Or find a rock above the water and settle down to read, write, play guitar or just enjoy the view.  Pets on leashes are welcome, parking is free and abundant, and most days this beautiful site is free from crowds.

A word of caution…Parents will need to keep a firm grip on little ones…the edges are real and the drop is significant.