Our trip to Austin
For our anniversary, we took a long weekend trip to Austin (our soon-to-be hometown!). We ate, we laughed, and it rained a lot. Here are a few photos, if you'd like to see...
We left Dallas early Saturday morning and got to Austin just in time for lunch. Of course, we chose to eat at our favorite little taco place – Tacodeli. It's a huge local hit, but the line is never too long and the staff is so friendly and helpful. I always order the Otto – black beans, bacon, cheese, and a giant slice of avocado wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla.
Across the street from Tacodeli is an entrance to the Greenbelt – a seemingly endless system of hiking and running trails that run along a creek. Having gotten so much rain lately, the creek was pretty wild and fun to watch. The access across from Tacodeli leads to a pretty rocky part of the trails, and I was surprised to see how much Penny enjoyed it! She even stuck her paw in the creek... and this is all coming from a Dallas-dog who won't even step on wet grass. So I guess Penny is pretty granola now. I had a good laugh about it.
After our walk we visited a few apartment complexes, since we went with the intention of finding a home! Chris starts work mid-September, and I start seminary classes at the end of August. We figured our anniversary was the right timing to come and put a deposit on something. Saturday proved to be pretty promising, but we didn't make a decision until the next day (I'll get to that later). After our hunt, Penny was getting pretty tired and adorably grumpy. She would refuse to walk anymore and just stand there making sad sounds. We picked her up and headed over to SoCo to get checked into our hotel.
Last year, for our first wedding anniversary, my parents got us a gift card to stay two nights at a unique hotel they had heard about in Austin, Hotel San Jose. Coincidentally, when they gave it to us was the week we found out we would be moving to Austin! We decided to save the gift card for when we needed to go apartment hunting. The hotel really was unique – it felt like an oasis in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle of South Congress. Covered in ivy with only a few rooms, Hotel San Jose emits a unique style that's effortlessly cool. Penny gave the platform bed two paws up :) Our favorite part? That Jo's Coffee was located on the premises (and offers complimentary coffee in the hotel lobby from 7am to 11am). We were well caffeinated all weekend.
Saturday night, we got to enjoy my anniversary gift to Chris – tickets to the Legend of Zelda Symphony! We completely "nerded out" and loved every minute of it. The games were special to Chris from playing them as a kid, and during the last few weeks of our senior year of college, he pulled them back out again (such a typical "goodbye" to college life!). The music is especially wonderful, and it was fun to get to hear it all played in-person by a full orchestra. The venue, the Long Center, was gorgeous with a huge balcony area that faced downtown. Luckily, a fellow Link fan noticed our poor attempts at a selfie and offered to take our picture for us!
So, where was Penny during all of this? Well, we heard about this amazing service called DogVacay...
We found a sitter named Stacey, who rocked. She lived close by our hotel in an adorable duplex and was sitting another dog, Bandit, the same night. Stacey used the DogVacay app to send us video and pictures throughout the evening (which totally soothed my #momguilt). What was really amazing to me was that having Penny go to Stacey's house cost the same as sending Penny to daycare, where Penny's usually one of 20 dogs in a small room without consistent human interaction. Stacey was even kind enough to offer to help out with our move when we come back to Austin, and said Penny was welcome anytime (because how could you not love that face!). DogVacay and Stacey for the win!
Sunday was filled with leisurely coffee-sipping and naps – we had grand plans of exploring outside but it rained off and on all day. In the afternoon, we went back to one of the apartment complexes we visited and put down a deposit...! I had done a ton of research prior to our trip, and the one complex that we just happened to drive by and say "let's check it out" ended up being the perfect one. We got a great deal, it had all of the amenities we were hoping for and more, plus an incredible view...
This will be the view from our apartment...! I can't get over it. It's in a great quiet, established neighborhood and only five miles from where Chris will be working downtown. Penny and I will have plenty of fun working and studying from home and checking out the local running trails.
Naturally, we had to celebrate with food! We drove around to see what our selection was close by and happened upon a P. Terry's with outdoor seating (so Penny could come). We had heard this chain was an Austin gem and I'm so glad we stopped to try it. One of our cheapest and most delicious meals. (We also popped in the local PetCo and it was unlike any PetCo I've seen before. So excited to take Penny there on the reg!)
Sunday night, Chris had made us dinner reservations to celebrate our anniversary at a seafood restaurant called Perla's. Our friends, past Austin-ites, told us "if you're going to go out to celebrate, Perla's is the place to do it." We ate the best fish of our lives, plus a pretty kickin' mac and cheese. I made sure to tell Chris that next time I'm sick, Perla's mac and cheese will make me feel better instantly ;) This picture above has a pretty sweet story to it – my best friend gave birth to her first baby (!!!) that Sunday and all day I was gushing about it. I was talking to Chris at dinner about it while he looked up something on my phone, and he happened to snap a few pics of me, mooney-eyed. When I realized he'd done that, I sent this one over to my sweet friend and let her know I was on cloud nine for her. Of course she sent a way cuter picture of an hours-old baby boy back to me :) :) :)
Monday morning, we grabbed a delicious breakfast and headed out of town a little earlier than originally planned. I didn't think there was any real reason for doing this other than we're morning people, and by 8:30 we'd done all of the Austin things we had left to do on our list, but Chris had something else in mind... a pit-stop in Waco just for me! So insanely sweet. We ate lunch, grabbed coffee at Common Grounds, and popped into Chip and Joanna's storefront, The Magnolia Market. We didn't stay long (partially because I wanted to buy everything and needed nothing, but mostly because we'd left Penny in the car and I couldn't escape thinking about her overheating alone), but I'm so glad we went. After that, we were able to stop by the hospital on our way home and hold the sweetest newborn! I have to say, it was a pretty great weekend.
Have you ever been to Austin (or are you from Austin)? I'd love to hear your suggestions for what we should do – and eat! – when we move in just a few weeks!