DON & APRIL 20th Wedding Anniversary Trip in Austin, Texas
PLANNING THE TRIP
For our twentieth wedding anniversary, Don and I wanted to go somewhere that neither of us had been before. We wanted a place we could explore but also relax; a place where we could try new things, but remanence doing things we had not done together in a while as well. Don suggested a cruise, but I wanted to do something different. We had done a cruise before. When I suggested, Austin, Texas, Don laughed and joked about me being a cheap date. It wasn't long though that I had him hooked and excited about what Austin had to offer as well.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2019
We flew from Birmingham to Austin Friday morning. I had been getting over a cold and the plane trip had me a little woozy so we took it easy on Friday. We grabbed some lunch and checked into our hotel, the Driskill. I was so excited to stay in the Driskill! It appealed to me on many levels. First, anyone who knows me, knows I have a thing for beautiful buildings and the architectural features and design of the Driskill are incredible. It also appealed to the history teacher in me. The hotel was built by a cattle baron named Jesse Driskill in 1886. He owned the hotel for two years. He was forced to sell it after a hard freeze killed his cattle. With no income, Driskill could not make the payments on the hotel. Many years later, Lyndon B. Johnson would meet his future wife in the Driskill. Nearby Lady Bird Pond was named for Johnson's wife whose nickname was Lady Bird. The third thing that made this hotel so appealing was the claim that it is haunted. Two ghosts are said to haunt the Driskill: the ghost of Driskill himself and the ghost of a little girl who died after falling down the stairs. Fortunately, we saw no evidence of the supernatural during our stay. LOL!
The Driskill Hotel
We checked into the Driskill and spent some time touring this beautiful hotel.
Our room at the Driskill
The Driskill Bar
We started the night at the Driskill Bar with a cocktail.
The Hideout Theater
Next, we went to a comedic improv at the Hideout Theater. Afterwards we grabbed a quick bite to eat and went back to the hotel.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2019
Saturday was an amazing day! It started with breakfast room service - every mother's delight. We went horseback riding, visited the countryside, and then spent the night in the city. We visited a bar named for my favorite president, listened to awesome music, and ate like kings!
So, one of the big attractions to Austin was that it was the home to several of my favorite actors. I willingly admit that I am completely fascinated by actors. What an incredible career! When you are an actor, you get to be different people and experience different points of views. Actors inspire people to be better people and move people into doing great things. I wish that I had the verbiage, knowledge of human behavior, understanding of body language and mannerisms, and ability to memorize that actors have. I admire them for their ability to create the television shows and movies that entertain us. I very simply appreciate the hard work and dedication of people in this field. So, I appreciate actors, but even more so, I admire those actors who not only have incredible acting abilities but also have happy, healthy marriages and family lives as well. This has got to be difficult with all the travel and time that their careers demand. The actors that maintain successful careers, healthy marriages, and happy families are truly incredible in my book. So, feel free to laugh at me for being a forty year old who is awe struck by actors. But as you laugh at me, know that my fascination comes from wisdom because I can acknowledge my own limitations and appreciate the ability of others to achieve what I cannot; and, I can understand the difficulties involved in managing a demanding career while maintaining a happy and healthy family life.
So, I went into detail about why I am fascinated with actors because two actors influenced two of the places we visited in Austin. For 15 years, Don and I have watched a television show called, Supernatural. The two main actors in the show, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki live in Austin and own establishments there. We went to Family Business Brewery in Dripping Spings that is owned by Jensen and Danneel Ackles and San Jac Saloon that is owned by Jared and Gen Padalecki. With Supernatural in its last season, we felt moved to visit the establishments that these actors own. We are very grateful to Jensen and Jared and their families for giving us couch time together and a show that we looked forward to watching together each week!
The Driskill - Breakfast Room Service
So it is definitely worth mentioning that the Driskill has the biggest cinnamon rolls I have ever seen and they were delicious!
Drive to the Countryside
So, after breakfast, we drove to Hill Country. I wish I had taken more pictures of the beautiful landscape, but two things stuck out that compelled me to snap a picture. The first was this bridge. I don't know why. It was just... kind of beautiful. I was also enthralled with the fact that trees and bushes grew out of the rocks here. How is that even possible?
TEXAS TRAIL RIDES
Don arranged for us to go on a two hour horseback ride with Texas Trail Rides. I have been wanting to go horseback riding for years. It has been 20 years since I have been on a horse. It brought back a lot of good memories of younger days and reminded me just how therapeutic horses are for me!
FAMILY BUSINESS BREWERY
After horseback riding, we went to Family Business Brewery. I think Don was pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere. Family Business was our kind of place. We wish there was a place like this near our town. I was nice inside and had really good live music. There was a plethora of beer choices. The staff was very knowledgeable. We were especially impressed with Casey. He was a gem! He asked me two questions and pegged the beer I would like. We got a sampler of four different kinds and the one he chose for me was by far my favorite!
The brewery has a porch that wraps around the side and sits on a beautiful trek of land. When Don and I sat down at a table, Casey came out and started the heater for us. This brewery is set up to be family and dog friendly. There was a playground where we saw a lot of children playing. Some people had their dogs and played with them in a wooded area beside the porch. There was also a place to play cornhole. People were scattered about just enjoying the cool, sunny afternoon. We ordered burgers from the food truck and they were fabulous! This is the kind of place where friends who have kids can meet and enjoy time together. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Austin!
A NIGHT OUT IN AUSTIN
We finally made ourselves leave Family Business so that we could enjoy the city of Austin. We started off at the Roosevelt Room, moved to San Jac Saloon, and ate a late sushi dinner together. I am not sure when this happened, but police officers blocked off some of the streets so that people could walk up and down the streets without cars coming through.
The Roosevelt Room
Anyone who knows me, knows that Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite president. I miss teaching history so much! The Roosevelt Room was the perfect first stop for us. We got so lucky. It was supposed to be reservations only, but when we went in the people in front of us cancelled their reservation to join some friends at the bar next door. So, the hostess gave us their seats! The menu was huge. I loved how they had drinks organized by era. You can see a picture below of the Prohibition Era drinks and the Post Volstead Era drinks on the menu.
San Jac Saloon
Our next stop was San Jac Saloon. We walked in to country music playing and a bar full of people. The bar staff was super friendly and we ended up meeting some people there that we talked to for hours.
RA Sushi Bar
For some reason, we both started to crave sushi. So we stopped at the first sushi place we came to and had some dinner. A perfect end to a perfect day!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2019
We thought Saturday was pretty perfect, but Sunday might have been even better. We woke up late and took a stroll by Lady Bird Lake. We finally made it to Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden where we enjoyed brunch. After brunch we continued our stroll through Austin and did a little shopping and enjoyed some small cafes. We ended the day with a beautiful sunset at the Oasis.
Bangers Sausage House and Beer Garden
Bangers was a lot of fun! Don and I ordered a meal to share! It came with prime rib, two eggs, and breakfast potatoes. We had these drinks called, "Man-mosas." They were super huge mimosas in beer mugs! We listened to an awesome jazz band. When the jazz band took breaks, Christmas music played over the restaurant speakers. Don and I played, "Name that Tune." I stomped him!
Strolling in Austin
After our Bangers Brunch, we strolled around Austin. No matter where you go in Austin, every street seems to lead back to Cesar Chavez. So we commemorated it with a picture. We stopped at an Irish pub for some Irish coffees, passed some wall art that was perfect for us, and saw a car with a longhorn skull on the front. Don kept trying to get me to ride the scooters in Austin, but who knows the last time those handlebars were sanitized! I wouldn't do it, so he decided to gross me out every time we passed one by pretending to lick the handlebars! GROSS!
We saw this little French Cafe called, Le Cafe Crepe. We stopped and had, Breakfast 2! Delicious! We stopped at some shops on our walk after the Crepe shop and posed with the Willie Nelson statue in front of Austin City Limits. Soon we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for the Oasis.
Sunset at the Oasis
The Oasis is one of the largest restaurants in North America. It has a Mediterranean architectural design and sits on beautiful Lake Travis. Across the lake, there are gorgeous Mediterranean style homes situated in the hills. We got a table outside of the patio overlooking the water and watched the sunset as we enjoyed a nice dinner together. After sunset, we went into a shop and bought this beautiful hand blown orb as a souvenir of our day.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2019
Our flight back to Birmingham was at 1:00, so we decided to go to the 9:00 A.M. showing of Star Wars - The Rise of Skywalker. Everyone knows we are huge Star Wars Fans! This theater was unlike any other. We had a server who served us during the movie! It was awesome!!! Though the movie did not have my desired ending for the Star Wars Saga, Don and I had a wonderful time seeing it together.
Anniversary Surprise Cameo
Don surprised me on the trip with a cameo! So before Supernatural was our favorite show, we watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Every week, we stopped what we were doing to sit on the couch together and watch BtVS! Don, being the awesome husband who understands my actor fascination, had Nicholas Brendon - who played Xander on BtVS, do a cameo for me for our anniversary! I love my husband! He so gets me! Thanks Nicholas for your cameo! You are awesome!
To 20 More Years....
We had such a wonderful 20th anniversary trip! Don and I are lucky. We feel so grateful that we found each other and we thank God everyday for our three kids. We know that we have been blessed and are grateful for the wonderful life that we have together. Looking back over 20 years of marriage, I can say the key to a happy marriage is communication and understanding. You have to talk about everything - the big things, the little things, the serious things, and the silly things. You have to be honest and express how you feel, but with this comes understanding. It is important to listen to your spouse. You have to be willing to sacrifice sometimes and find common ground when you disagree. You have to be able to communicate shared goals and make plans to accomplish those goals. Communication is really important when you have kids - especially when you go from two kid, 'man on man coverage' to three kid, 'zone defense.'
To anyone reading our family chronicles....Let your spouse or partner know that you love them everyday. Remind them that they are important and make sure they know that you are grateful for them.