Austin Trip!

We have been friends since we were kids.  Camp friends, the kind that of friends that share a special bond.  You see camp friends are special.  We used to spend 6 weeks of the summer living in extremely tight quarters laughing, crying, sharing secrets and being absolutely ridiculous.  Then the summer would end and we’d go a whole year without seeing each other (well except for some birthdays).  Our AIM conversations, a few long distance phone calls and some care packages were the only ways we kept in touch until that fateful June day when we’d all run into a new cabin screaming with delight.  So now that we are older and stretched out all over the world our friendships are still in tact because well, we’re used to the distance.  Our friendships were never based on having to spend all our time together, every weekend or every lunch.  Our friendships were based on those giggly, truly free selves that we were able to be every summer away from the pressures of our home realities.

Last year we were able to see a fair amount of each other because we were all bridesmaids in Lauren’s wedding in May and then they were all bridesmaids in my wedding in August!  Two bachelorettes, showers, weddings and all the moments in between left us in September on a friendship high with no real plans for the next time we’d see each other.  Until we realized that this was the year of the 30.  The year we were all turning 30.  It had to be celebrated and what better way than together.  The only question was – where?

Originally we thought – Vegas!  It boasts of constant fun and plenty to do!  But, we quickly reminded ourselves that 5 days in Vegas might be a little too much fun and would inevitably be pricey.  So then we landed on Austin, Texas, quite randomly too.

This past week we traveled to Austin for our Spring Break shenanigans!  Brooksie came from Amsterdam, Elysia from LA, Natalie from NYC and Lauren and me (plus boys) from Richmond! We had the GREATEST time!  Austin is very unique and fun!  We all kept saying over and over again “I’m just so impressed!  Austin is so cool!”.  It has great food, plenty to do outdoors, is walkable and tourist friendly.  There are bike rentals everywhere, live music all the time, a beautiful river and tons of charm.  We couldn’t get over how dog friendly the city was and how clean, safe and accommodating it is.

I could keep writing and give you a true play by play of the entire trip but instead I’ll leave you with my top favorite things/moments of the trip (in no particular order):

  • The pontoon boat trip we took!  So great to be on the water all day and meet new people!  Plus there were some pretty great dance moments!
  • DINO Succulents!  The succulents in Texas are HUGE!  Really!  I kept calling them dino succulents because they were like the dinosaurs of the succulent world.
  • Mexican Food – Such good Mexican food everywhere you go!
  • Barbecue – If you go to Austin and don’t get brisket barbecue then you’re doing it wrong.  Cooper’s and Uncle Billy’s were amazing!  Wish we could have gone to Terry Black’s but it was packed.
  • THE BATS!!  We weren’t sure if we’d see them since it’s still pretty early in the year but we held out and got to see them!  I don’t think all of them were there yet but there were still THOUSANDS!  We lucked out that we were standing in exactly the right spot, the other half of the bridge couldn’t see them because of how dark it was.  I may have been the only one to appreciate this part of the trip but it was seriously cool!
  • Graffiti Park – It was dirty and very crowded but I’m glad we got to see it since they are apparently going to tear it down soon!  It was worth seeing although I don’t think I’d do it more than once.
  • Barton Springs – A natural spring that the city has sectioned off as a swimming hole for anyone (who pays just a few dollars).   There were tons of people with their dogs and kayak rentals to take out to the main river!  Inside of the pool where the spring is there are natural rocks at the bottom where endangered salamanders (The Barton Springs Salamanders) live!  They have lush grass hills to spread out on and since the springs are naturally 72 degrees year round there were plenty of people out swimming!  I’d love to do this again when it is a little warmer!
  • Quality Time – The best part of this trip was getting to check in with one another and spend some quality time together.  Our first dinner together we went around and talked about what we were going to leave behind in our twenties and what we wanted to take forward with us in our thirties.  The week was full of great meaningful check ins that keep us connected.  These conversations paired with tons of giggling made for a wonderful trip.

We had the best time!  Not only because we got to see a new city but more importantly because we got to celebrate a new phase of our lives and friendship together.  Cheers to our 30s!

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Cooper’s was FANTASTIC!  They literally cut the meat right in front of you, dip in sauce and serve!  They also have AMAZING mac & cheese.

We walked over to South Congress and stopped at the Yeti Flagship store – they have a bar with Yeti coolers as the seats!

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These two love each other!  Two peas in a pod!

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I seem to mind Maryland everywhere I go!

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It’s a really funky and unique city – with art EVERYWHERE!

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I LOVE the vibrant colors of the west!

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We visited the State Capital and had to take a picture with the statue tribute to the Alamo.  Sterling is related to William Barret Travis!

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We visited University of Texas!

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I wish I had more pictures of Barton Springs but nothing could do it justice – especially since it was so big!

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On the last day before our flight Sterling and I rolled our suit cases around Zilker Park.  This river access is right below Barton Springs and dumps into the main river.  So beautiful – bright green/blue water and tons of kayakers!

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