Review of AustinPosted: May 2, 2011
Alan and I just got back from a three day weekend trip to Austin, TX. It was so relaxing and rejuvenating to get to spend three entire days just the two of us with nothing to do but eat, drink, explore, and sleep. The idea of a trip to Austin started with a Groupon deal I saw for Habitat Suites- One night stay in a suite for only $65! I instantly thought, what can be an excuse for us to go to Austin? Alan’s birthday, of course! So, we bought two of the Groupon deals and planned on a weekend trip to Austin, TX to celebrate Alan’s birth, which is this Wednesday May the 4th.
Habitat Suites– A Review
I liked the idea of staying at this place because it is labeled as eco-friendly and titled Austin’s “Green Hotel”. Check out their Green Philosophy here. The entire property was filled with plants, flowers, and vegetation growing everywhere, which was great. The location is just north of the UT campus and within a few minutes drive to the downtown area. The staff was very friendly and I loved that they offer fresh apples at the check-in counter and instead of matchbooks they have scratch books (little scraps of paper in the disguise of a matchbook. The suites are large and equipped with a fully functioning kitchen. The property has “Quiet Hours” from 9:00pm-9:00am daily, so if you are looking for a nice quiet place to relax, this is it. The only thing I didn’t like was that the location is right next to a large mall. I guess this could be nice for some people who want to shop at a mall on vacation, but I was hoping for a more sanctuary… but, not a big deal. Complimentary snacks and drinks are served 5:00pm-7:00pm, which was great because we were hungry and wanted a snack before we headed out to explore the downtown area. The snacks weren’t anything fancy or gourmet, but definitely better than what most hotels would offer to guests for free. Habitat also offers complimentary breakfast for guests which was beter than I expected but again, nothing gourmet about it.
Trail mix, mixed nuts, pretzels, gold fish, mixed greens salad, fresh veggies and dip, fresh fruit, cold cuts, bagel bites, nachos, popcorn, spring rolls.
Dos XX, Shiner Bock, Coors Light, Bud Light, red wine, white wine, blush wine, sodas, coffee, tea, water.
Organic cooked oats, scrambled eggs, beans and rice, steamed veggies, vegetarian breakfast patties, link sausage, hash browns, waffles and syrup, biscuits and gravy, toast, bagels, organic local honey, jams, organic yogurt, fresh fruit, whole grain cereals, coffee, tea, juice, milk, rice/soy milk.
The food in Austin is soooo delicious! I was wishing we could have two lunches and two dinners each day, there are just too many places it was so hard to pick just one. These are the eateries we ended up selecting:
Home Slice Pizza- We shared the Margarita pizza. One of the best pizzas I have ever had.
The Flying Carpet Moroccan Souk- We had the vegetarian wrap. Oh man, this was so good! I definitely recommend stopping by the little trailer on South Congress and trying some of this Moroccan goodness.
Crepes- Another little trailer on South Congress Street. We ordered the Rotisserie Chicken crepe. This was tasty but I would have rather had one of the dessert crepes instead.
The Snack Bar- We only stopped in here for drinks but the menu looks great. They serve local organic food in an eco-friendly and creative way.
Amy’s Ice Creams (yes, creams)- I ordered Vanilla with butterfinger and Alan ordered Kahlua with Heath bar, he won. This delicious ice cream shop is all over Austin.
Trudy’s- Famous for their Mexican Marinis which is limited only two per person. For dinner we shared the vegetarian fajitas and the fish tacos. Both were excellent! Oh and the chips and salsa, probably one of the best I have had… and I love chips and salsa.
Two fun things we did for the first time:
1. Kayaking! This was both relaxing and exhausting. It really can be whatever you make out of it! We kayaked up and down Lady Bird Lake which was beautiful and fun to watch all of the people on the trails running or walking their dogs or just out enjoying the sunny day. If you ever do this, I suggest going when the weather is very warm because the water is so cold and you get really wet from the paddles. So, you will want to wear a bathing suite and have a change of clothes in the car! Also, bring some water and a snack. There will be times where you just want to cease with the paddling and just relax and float along and snack on some fruit while you take in the scenery.
2. Watching the bats fly at Sunset! This happened at about 8:30pm and the sun really does set before the bats fly out from under the South Congress bridge. So, it was really hard to see and absolutely no way to get pictures of this. But, this was really neat to experience as I have never seen bats fly so up close before. If you go, stand up on top of the bridge instead of sitting on the grassy hill with everyone, you can see them fly much better from up top, or so it seemed.
Thoughts I had while in Austin:
1. As much as I love American Apparel and hipster fashion, I’m not a hipster and I will never be one.
2. I love that people were always outside walking, riding bicycles, or out jogging. I definitely want to live in a place where I can just walk around the town and people not think, oh no should we offer that lady a ride.
3. It seemed like there were two pre-requisites to living in Austin, having tattoos and owning a dog. I don’t have nor am I a big fan of either.
4. I was left wanting two things very badly. A bicycle and a toddler.
5. This is a funny quote!
Jen: Hey, we should give our extra piece of pizza to a homeless person!
Alan: How can you tell the difference between a homeless person and just a regular Austin person?
On that note! I love love love Austin and I love the attitude and way of life there. I love that people there are more conscious about the environment and about their physical health and about having an attitude of enjoying life than most cities in our country. I love all of the art, shopping, music, and outdoors events that seem to always be going on. If all of my family didn’t live in Dallas, I would really like to move and help keep Austin weird.
Oh, and check out this poster we bought!