Central Texas Foodie and Sightseeing Tour ~ Part 2

30 Jun
Wimberley Deer

Deer at my parent’s house in Wimberley

Next stop: Tubing the San Marcos River, just 20 minutes down the road from Wimberley. It’s a spring-fed river and a nice and cooling 72-degrees year round, as it was in the mid-90s. It’s also a great bargain for your money. Just eight bucks gets you a Lion’s Club float tube and a shuttle back to the parking lot. It’s about an hour and a half lazy float to the end, where you are greeted with three thrilling waterfalls to splash down… and hold on to your hat and sunglasses! Wow, what a blast!

San Marcos River Tubing

First falls on San Marcos River at Rio Vista Park ~ photo credit Jesse Knish

You can exit the river after that and walk back a short distance and go down the falls as many times as you want. I went down them twice, but the kids must have made 10 runs down them. We even got a personal lecture earlier in the float from some conservation folks who travel up and down in canoes to tell us about the endangered wild rice plants that are found only in that river, and to stop pulling them up and throwing them at each other. Whoops! There was plenty of wildlife to view along the float, including great blue herons, various hawks, ducks, and some other interesting birds I could not identify. My brother brought his underwater camera and caught lots of good video and photos, but he’s out on a film shoot this weekend so I don’t have any of his photos of the tubing trip. I’ll update this post later when he has a chance to send them to me.

As most of the relatives have now made it into Texas, we had our first formal gathering at my parent’s house in Wimberley for cocktails, and then headed off about 15 minutes away to Driftwood to an Italian Restaurant and Winery, called Trattoria Lisina. My daughter said, “Are we finally not having any Tex-Mex?? Is that all you eat here?” Well, yes, sometimes. 🙂

Arriving at Trattoria Lisina

Arriving at Trattoria Lisina

Upon arriving there you really feel you’ve been transported to another place and time. Beautiful scenery, beautiful restaurant, fabulous food and wine. We all ate delicious and finely presented meals and drank plenty of good wine, then toured around the place and even played Bocce Ball on one of their many courts on the premises. So many beautiful young couples were sipping wine at the various picnic tables scattered around the property, and I can only imagine how many proposals have happened there!

Wine and Laughs at Trattoria Lisina Fountain

My sister and family friend enjoying wine at laughs at the Trattoria Lisina Fountain

Big Family Reunion Day: This was the day we spent all day at 7-A Ranch just outside of Wimberley on the Blanco River. This is a once-private ranch that has recently opened up the to the public. Five bucks for parking gets you unlimited use of the river-side ranch park, Cowboy Town and the Pioneer Museum.

Floaters on Blanco River

Floaters on Blanco River

We got there early to grab some prime shaded spots under the trees, and enjoyed the day floating the river and eating deli sandwiches and such. So much fun! We even watched a kid pull in a huge fish from the river right next to us! The Cowboy Town was quaint and just what you would expect, and the Pioneer Museum came complete with a real-sized Jackalope and a mummified Indian. Only in Texas, I tell you.

Jackalope at the Cowboy Museum.

Jackalope at the Cowboy Museum.

We ended the day once again at my parent’s house, where we feasted on 20 pounds of Texas-style BBQ brisket that my mom had started on the grill, then cooked all day in the oven to finish it off.

Platter of BBQ Brisket

One of Several Platters of Mom’s BBQ Brisket

Pot of Charro Beans

Sister’s Big Pot of Charro Beans

My sister made some outstanding Charro Beans, and my sister-in-law made mounds of pasta salad and other side dishes. BBQ and Tex-Mex were definitely the theme of the week, the Italian restaurant aside. After all day in the sun, we all pretty much passed out by 11 pm to our various residences.

Last Day: We have to go shopping/sightseeing on South Congress! Our flight wasn’t leaving until 7 pm, so we got packed up in Wimberley and traveled back to Austin to do the hip tour of the various boutiques, thrift shops, and restaurants on SoCo in Austin.

South Congress Austin

South Congress in Austin ~ photo credit overyonderlust.com

My daughter said she HAD to find a pair of white cowboy boots. After stopping in Allen’s Boots, nary a white boot was to be found. But just as well. They have pretty much every boot you can imagine (besides white), but after picking up a few pairs and glancing at price tags from $500 to $2,500, we quickly scooted out of there. No wonder they had a cop at the front door. But we ventured into a trendy thrift shop called New Bohemia, and lo and behold three pairs of white boots were staring us right in the face.

New Bohemia Austin

Vintage Boots at New Bohemia ~ photo credit amyinaustin.blogspot.com

One pair fit my daughter perfectly, and we left beaming with the new purchase on her feet and her sandals she was wearing in a bag. At another hip shop called Parts and Labour, I bought my one and only personal souvenir of a ceramic coaster with a photo of the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue taken at night along the Austin Town Lake park. My drink sits next to me on it now.

We walked up and down SoCo, amazed at how many people are out and about on a Sunday afternoon on a 95 degree day. What’s nice is many of the shops have water misters that cool you down as you traverse up and down the street. We wanted to stop for a slice of pizza at Home Slice, but the line at the window was about 15 deep. Then the burger joint HopDoddy across the way had almost 30 people in line just to get in to the establishment. Are their burgers really that good? I was wondering if a celebrity was in there dining.

We settled on grabbing a bite to eat at the Lucky Robot, some hip Asian-Fusion place where you order your meals from an iPad, which has serious warnings that the iPad will self destruct and robots will attack you if you leave the place with one of them. We didn’t. I sampled some of my sister’s Asian dumplings in a plum and cranberry sauce, while I ordered a big bowl of steamed edamame with Himalayan salt.

Jo's I Love You So Much Austin

i love you so much ~ Jo’s graffiti on South Congress, Austin

I had my daughter snap a photo of me on her iPod of me standing on the side of the iconic Jo’s coffee shop graffiti. This graffiti shows up now on everything from t-shirts to coasters, and wedding photographers use it as a backdrop. So Austin.

Darn, it was time to leave to the airport at this time for our flight back to Oregon. We missed the finale of the day of watching the bats exit out from under the Congress bridge at dusk, which most everyone else got to do. But I do remember that phenom from my college days, but I hear their numbers are 10 times more what they were back when I lived there.

So here I am back at home, back to the grind of work and every day life, but I’ll never forget that week in Central Texas. Oh, one last note: My daughter was able to tour the University of Texas at Austin campus with my sister while the rest of us watched a family reunion slide show.

UT Austin Campus

UT Austin Campus ~ photo credit University of Texas

UT is my alma mater, and she’s now expressing great interest in attending there. We’ll see how that goes in the next four years as she’s just entering high school this year, but I swear if she decides to go there and gets in, we are moving back to Austin! Woot!

Thanks for persevering these two long posts, but it was fun to journal this. Happy Trails!

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4 Responses to “Central Texas Foodie and Sightseeing Tour ~ Part 2”

  1. loveyourdna July 1, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Looks like a great ol time! I’m making the beans for 4th of July… second batch so far. I love the creaminess of those pinto’s!! OLE!

    Like

  2. Karen July 10, 2013 at 5:51 am #

    Having grown up in Texas, I enjoyed following along on your visit…brought back lots of memories.

    Like

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