Since I’ve been blogging about all the many places to see and all the many fabulous things to eat in Austin, I’ve got a Texas-sized arsenal of ideas for where to take our friends when they come to visit.
There’s only one problem.
When really special girlfriends are coming for a weekend – only for a weekend – how in the world do you narrow it down?? There are plenty of helpful to-do lists out there, but, I had a huge dilemma on my hands!
How was I supposed to combine 100 Things to Do in Austin Before You Die…
with 100 Things to Eat in Austin Before You Kick the Bucket…
with 100 Places to See in Austin Before You Keel Over?
Well, I made lists for a couple of weeks while I pondered, researched and thought it through. That’s what any self-respecting hostess does when her girlfriends are coming. The girlfriends who’ve known each for umpteen years but haven’t been in the same room together since 1979. That’s why I chose this itinerary. No loud restaurants. Lots of memory-making spots. Time to talk. Lots and lots of time to talk.
After a nail-biting trip down I-35 in the rain and in the dark, ain’t nobody wants to go out to dinner. Cheese, crackers, chips, salsa, nuts, and wine – with a generous square of Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark will make even the most weary traveler forget what they’ve just been through!
Everyone loves pretty much anything from Trader Joe’s, especially if they’re visiting from a city without one, so you can’t go wrong with a cheese board and a little something sweet for Friday night late arrivals.
Breakfast at the Historic Driskill Hotel
What would a weekend in Austin be without a visit to the historic downtown hotel where LBJ met Ladybird for their first date? Texas oil-baron-opulence is in the air at The Driskill – along with the distinct aroma of gingerbread and coffee. I just love the Driskill.
If you can resist a Texas-shaped pecan waffle at the 1886 Cafe, you might not be from around these parts.
Next – A Visit to a Winery
You only have to live in the Texas hill country for about 22 minutes to start understanding that wineries have made a home here. A very beautiful home. Every winery seems to sport its own personality and flair, and I have enjoyed each one we’ve visited, but I chose to take my friends to the Duchman Family Winery after I read that one of their wines made Texas Monthly’s Ultimate Texas Gift Guide 2016.
Someone may or may not be getting this for Christmas.
The rain was still coming down hard, but we didn’t let it dampen our good time. We just turned the car north and set our sights on some shopping.
Keepin’ it Weird on South Congress
There’s just so much to see on South Congress! Serious shoppers can find absolutely anything they’re hunting for – but so can the savviest of souvenir selectors. There’s weird and bizarre, normal and stylish – but a visit to Austin almost requires a walk down South Congress, even in the rain. You can always stop and warm up at Jo’s over a steaming toasted marshmallow latte.
And a photo, of course.
Or a box of macarons from La Patisserie. (This is a MUST!)
Time for a Relaxing Dinner Near the Capitol
Most of the time, a horse-drawn carriage clops by and is easily hailed for a slow stroll down the most beautiful street in all of Texas, but it was still raining, so after a quick drive around downtown and a drippy view of the Capitol Building, we walked to Manuel’s for dinner and flan (good grief, there’s a pattern here!), followed by more walking (yay!) and a stop at a relaxing little spot that will remain unnamed. Apparently, it’s a little bit of a secret. However, if you come visit, I’ll take you there. More walking – and off to lay our contented little heads to bed. I had more plans for these sweetie-pies the next day.
Sunday Morning Church
There are lots of good churches in Austin, but none are situated on a more beautiful hill country campus than Riverbend. I was looking forward to taking my friends to our church. We grew up in the same church in Amarillo, and I knew they would want to see where Mike and I spend Sunday mornings here in Austin. As always, the music was wonderful, the message was great – and everything was decorated for Christmas.
Brunch at Clark’s Oyster Bar
Our time together was coming to a close. It was time for one last great taste of Austin – so I took my friends to Clark’s. You can read my review here, but I’ll just say this for now: The food was good, and it was a great place to continue our marathon catch-up conversation.
One Last Stop Before Heading Home
If you’re nice like these dear friends, you might feel a little guilty not taking something home for that sweet husband who watched football and missed his wife all weekend. Nothing says I missed you like a bag of cashews.
We had such a great weekend. It’s just plain comforting to laugh with the ones who once giggled in the same gawky spin-the-bottle circle. It’s also kind of hard to put into words what it means to spend time with people who’ve known you since you wore your hair in a bun with hot rollers piled to the ceiling. Maybe we should make our own new list: 100 Ways to Grow a Lasting Friendship While Eating Bean Dip.
Nah – you don’t really need 100 ways. Just a weekend every now and then.
Encouraging intentional adventure and hashing it out with the best of friends,
PS – When was the last time you spent a weekend with friends you’ve known forever? Where did you go?