Pecan Grove RV Park is old and funky. Just a few sites (maybe a dozen) are for short term stays, the rest (maybe 50 sites) are permanent residents. Tall RV's need assistance getting into their site due to low power lines. You maneuver in slowly as the park manager raises the power lines over anything sticking up on your roof with a long pole!
This RV park has been here for decades and the city has evolved around it. On one side is a new restaurant (coming soon, under noisy construction during our stay) and on the other side is a fancy new apartment building. The real draw for this park is its location, walking distance to the throbbing center of Austin, plus several bars, restaurants and food trucks in the surrounding neighborhood.
The weather this week has been unsettled, we had several days that never made it above 35 degrees, mixed up a couple of days that included some sun and temps in the low 60's. On the cold days we just bundled up in many layers and walked a lot. In fact, walking was really preferable to driving because traffic is awful in Austin!
Back in San Antonio when we met up with Eric and Brittany of RV Wanderlust fame, we learned they were also the founders of The Austinot, a hyperlocal blog about things to do in Austin...the perfect starting point for our explorations. Be sure to check it out if you're looking for things to do in this city.
Austin has many faces: music city, hipster haunt, food focused, edgy artists, active outdoorsy. I'll let the photos of our week of exploring the center of this bustling metropolis tell the story.
|Texas State Capitol...on a bitterly cold, gray day.|
|A one-time Austin resident, blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan is immortalized along the Colorado River.|
From our RV park we could make a nice loop walk that included the pretty Zilker neighborhood and Zilker Park. Giant oaks are everywhere and many of the buildings on our walks use Texas limestone on their facade.
|I loved the variety of limestone on this cute older home.|
|Another classic Texas limestone facade.|
We walked several happening neighborhoods including Rainey Historical, 6th Street, South Congress (SoCo), South First. Dozens of interesting eating and drinking establishments enticed us; Austinites must really like to eat out!
|Bright murals can be found all over the place.|
Enormous Zilker Park is just two blocks from the RV park. We practically had the place to ourselves on the coldest days, but once the sun showed its face mobs of people were out walking and running, paddling and swimming (at Barton Springs). I happen to be fascinated by turtles, and there were dozens!
|Turtles with reflection, I.|
|Turtles with reflection, II.|
|Oh my that sun feels good!|
|Let's take a closer look...|
|Zilker Park backed by downtown skyline.|
Continue upstream from Zilker Park along Barton Creek and it soon feels like wilderness right smack dab in the middle of the city.
|Pretty, clear Barton Creek flows through a limestone canyon.|
|The crystal clear water flows over and around giant limestone boulders.|
These must be wonderful swimming holes in the middle of summer.
If you like to eat out you will LOVE Austin! We don't eat out very often, but the sheer volume of inviting looking eateries tempted us several times this past week. Here are the places we tried:
Casa de Luz: We met a longtime friend of Hans, Darien, at this organic, vegan, macrobiotic dining and community center. Lunch is $12 and includes all you can eat soup, salad and beverage, plus a plate of whatever is being served that day. The food was healthy and tasty, though we thought it was a little pricey.
Bouldin Creek Cafe: Our RVing buddies, Amy and Rod of Go Pet Friendly fame, stay at Pecan Grove RV park for a couple of months every winter and recommended Bouldin Creek Cafe, saying they'd never had a bad meal there...we'll second that recommendation! Delicious vegetarian creations, breakfast served all day, decent prices, inviting, eclectic decor.
Lucy's Fried Chicken: Fried chicken seems to be a "thing" in Austin (and who am I to turn down a good plate of fried chicken?), and an article on the Austinot blog helped me narrow down my choices. I really liked the chicken, Hans thought it was just okay, he would have preferred a big fat meaty breast but the basket only had small pieces in it. Good cole slaw and flavorful mashed potatoes, though the potatoes were a bit too salty.
Whole Foods Store on Lamar: I've boycotted Whole Foods for ages, I cringed at their prices and pretty much refused to step in their stores for years. But when Amy told us what a unique store this particular Whole Foods was we just had to check it out. It's a flagship store, taking up a whopping 80,000 square feet. There are numerous places to relax and buy a bite to eat within the store: sushi, cookies, bistro, baked goods, a bar...and on and on. It really is an experience and I found some reasonably priced groceries to boot! This store changed my mind about Whole Foods.
Uncle Billy's Brew & Que: Uncle Billy's couldn't be located any better - it's right next door to the RV park. We met Rod and Amy there for a drink one evening and Hans and I stayed for dinner. Tasty brews and smoked chicken, yum!
|Hans, Lisa, Amy and Rod at Uncle Billy's.|
Today we have a short drive to another RV park on the Eastern edge of Austin where we'll settle in to a calmer environment for a month, continue our explorations of this city and wish fervently for a little sun to warm our bones!