Lori Moffatt plays hooky—and tourist—for the day
Matt Joyce explores life on Austin’s aorta, where history meets quirky
Jill Lawless’ grade-schooler runs a tight ship. Here’s her kid’s dream day downtown.
It’s a challenge to write about the place you call home, especially when that city is as multifaceted as Austin, a bustling burg flavored by music, art, and the outdoors. In the end, our Austin story is a staff collaboration: Jill Lawless explores Austin’s kid-friendly enticements, Matt Joyce rediscovers Congress Avenue after returning to town from a nine-year hiatus, and Lori Moffatt embarks on the perfect grownup “staycation” day. We had to leave dozens of worthy experiences on the cutting-room floor, so see those here. Check the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau website for details on hotels and tours, as well as maps and other information.
It’s getting tough to spend the day in Fredericksburg. After enjoying numerous day-trips to this Central Texas town, I realized during my most recent visit that Fredericksburg’s attractions—both the new and the venerable—have become so numerous that one day just doesn’t cut it anymore. Fredericksburg has become an overnight destination.
On a hot, muggy evening last summer, hundreds of people gathered inside the San Marcos Army Airfield hangar at the San Marcos Municipal Airport for the opportunity to go back in time. The day was June 6, and to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day, the Hays County Historical Commission premiered the 52-minute documentary Hays County in World War II. We all sat watching while surrounded by vintage aircraft, including a B-25 WW II bomber known as the Yellow Rose. The film included interviews with local veterans, and we gave those in attendance a standing ovation before and after the movie.
The high temperature had just peaked at 103. A historic drought gripped the entire state. But conditions couldn’t have been more perfect as I followed four other kayakers tooling around Spring Lake in San Marcos one summer evening last year. Seventy-degree spring-fed water provided all the natural air-conditioning we could want. A full moon rising above the trees illuminated the setting. As daylight faded, we paddled around a hidden bend where the limbs of trees hugging the shoreline sagged with dozens of white egrets.
The expansive Medina Dam impounds the clear waters of Medina Lake, rising like a gray apparition from the cedar-and-oak scrub clinging to the rugged tumble of hills and canyons 20 miles northwest of San Antonio. Built to harness the mercurial Medina River, this grande dame of Texas dams celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Sweeping hills, giant platters of sausage and kraut, overflowing beer steins, and hefty men clad in lederhosen playing polka till their fingers turn blue—all in Fredericksburg, a town that is both remarkably German and completely Texan.
Officially, Llano is known as the “Deer Capital of Texas.” But what is a daytripper to do in this Hill Country hideaway when it isn’t deer-hunting season? I set out for the day determined to find out.
The reasons I love Texas are endless: the state's great outdoors, history, Tex-Mex, sunsets, swimming holes ... the list keeps going. And when I hear of a place where I can experience most of my favorites in a single day, I hit the road––this time to the Hill Country's scenic Canyon Lake.