Family Vacation Journal: Austin, Texas

Giant donuts and scenic riverside trails make it is easy to fall in love with the Lone Star State

By: Chelsee Lowe
The writer and her daughter at the Texas State Capitol building // © 2014 Chelsee Lowe
The writer and her daughter at the Texas State Capitol building // © 2014 Chelsee Lowe

When it comes to big cities, I’m easily smitten. All it takes is a few days of excitement and I’m doodling skylines in my notebook and envisioning a near-perfect future in my new urban dreamscape. Last fall, our weekend getaway to Austin proved no different. Olivia was just one year old at the time, but the Texas capital wooed her just as it wooed my husband and me. The romance surely began on the southern banks of Lady Bird Lake.

Lined with miles of heavily-wooded walking and cycling paths, the Colorado River reservoir named for Lady Bird Johnson was one of our first Austin sights, and certainly our favorite. We walked west along the water’s edge, tossing breadcrumbs to ducks and geese and watching as local crew teams rowed out of sight, their oars as steady as a heartbeat. The next day, we walked east to the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge to take photos of the downtown cityscape. When our feet were too tired to go further, we hopped onboard the nearby Zilker Zephyr, a miniature train that whisks riders around a riverside section of 351-acre Zilker Park.

While our outdoor adventures had us starry eyed, our culinary escapades were equally swoon worthy. We ate migas tacos from Taco Deli for breakfast, pizza from Home Slice for lunch and a board of barbecued meats from the very trendy Easy Tiger on East Sixth Street for dinner. Then there were the astonishing creations from Gourdoughs, a donut shop housed in a glossy Airstream trailer. In true Texas fashion, the delicious and freshly made “Naughty & Nice” sugar cinnamon cruller had the heft of a brick and could easily feed three people.

Our bellies were full and our hearts heavy on the final day of the trip, so we parked ourselves on the undulating grassy hills of the Texas State Capitol and made indefinite plans to return to the Lone Star State. Surrounded by century-old Bur oaks and caught in the pink glow of the capitol building, who could help but fall in love?

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