A bird’s eye view of downtown Austin from last night:
If you look close, you can spy the UT Tower, at least one moon tower, Darrel K Royal Texas Memorial football stadium, the Capitol building, the Erwin Center, the brand new Dell Seton Medical Center at UT, Frost Bank building, Austonian tower, Congress Street bridge, Long Center for the Performing Arts….. and lots more. The skyline seems to change just about every day.
I discovered a lovely park, right off Loop 360 and Spicewood Springs Road. The trail head for the Irving and Hazeline Smith Memorial Trail is on the northwest corner of the intersection. You can park right nearby. It’s an easy, flat, 1.5 mile loop through woods, grassland and near the creek. No dogs permitted, though.
After a very rainy weekend the sun finally came out Sunday afternoon. We decided to check out a couple breweries nearby. Austin Beerworks has a new and expanded tasting room and patio area that opened recently — kid and dog friendly. My Pearl Snap was great!
Just down the road, Circle Brewing Co. was serving up some good brews. I had the Alibi blond ale. Monte tried a flight.
We’re lucky to have so many local breweries nearby. We’ll hit a few more next time.
In a post earlier this year, I shared a visit to the Blanton Museum that we took, to see an Andy Warhol visiting exhibit that ended in January. When we went, we didn’t know that the museum’s permanent exhibits were temporarily closed, due to a total revamp of the permanent gallery areas upstairs. Even so, we enjoyed the visiting exhibit.
The museum’s permanent collection galleries are now open again, so I stopped by this week to check it out. They have an interesting mix of art – Latin American, early American Western, Contemporary, European, Native American, Modern, Spanish American, Ancient Greek and Roman, Film and Paper/Documents. The gallery remodel was nicely done.
I recommend a trip to the museum. I enjoyed it. Check out their website for days & hours. And keep in mind that every Thursday admission is free, and every 3rd Thursday the museum is open late – until 9pm. Parking is easy at the nearby Brazos garage. If you bring your parking stub into the museum, they can give you a discounted parking rate.
Several girlfriends and I made a roadtrip last week to Enchanted Rock state park, about an hour and 45 minute drive southwest of Austin. I have been there several times, and have hiked to the summit, but love to go back anytime. This was the first visit for my friends. We hiked to the summit and enjoyed the views. Then we hiked a couple of the other trails, which I had never done before. I recommend taking the time to do it, if you can. Remember to bring along drinking water for your hike. You’ll want it. 🙂
A survey marker atop the 1823′ summit
Make sure you check out their website before heading out for trail / park closure information and rules about pets, camping, parking, etc.
Looking SW at neighboring Little Peak from the S side of Enchanted Rock
Saturday evening, right around 7pm, the predicted “artic blast” arrived with 30 mph winds in our part of Austin, quickly dropping temperatures from the upper 70’s (Farenheit) during the afternoon to an overnight low in the low 20’s in just a few hours. Sunday stayed right at freezing at our place all day, and then temperatures last night again hit the low 20s. Tonight will probably freeze again. Things will warm up a bit before Christmas Day. Then we can put away our woolies until the next cold front comes through.
A few years back we had an outside spigot and pipe freeze, flooding one of our back rooms and making a cold mess when the ice thawed. This year, Monte designed a wooden box to house a 25w incandescent light bulb for each of our exterior spigots to keep them warm and avert disaster this time around. He cut out the pieces. I assembled them, while he wired a light socket and lamp cord for each of them. They worked great! We can put them away later this week, until the next deep freeze heads our way.
The Blanton Museum downtown currently has an Andy Warhol exhibit, running through January 29th. It is called “Warhol by the Book.” It contains his artwork associated with bookcovers, album covers, playbills, books that he published, and other of his works associated with authors. I enjoy Andy Warhol’s art, and saw things in this exhibit I’d not seen before.
Hands-on album cover exhibit. You can handle the albums and even play the LPs.
There was another visiting exhibit by Xu Bing called “Book from the Sky,” which runs through January 22nd. I knew nothing about this artist nor the work, but thought it was interesting. Over 4 years, Xu Bing hand carved thousands of wood blocks with non-sensical chinese characters/words of his own design, and then crafted traditional-format chinese books and scrolls made up with his hand-crafted characters. So, if you know Chinese, it looks like gibberish. If you don’t know Chinese, it looks like, well, Chinese. 🙂 I guess it’s supposed to get you thinking about the power of words, and also the beauty of Chinese calligraphy. It was a beautiful exhibit, nonetheless.
Their permanent exhibits are currently not open, as the museum is doing construction on the 2nd floor. But those will reopen mid-February.
I enjoyed learning something new. After we fed our minds, we had lunch downtown. A nice day.
We’ve had ample early warning that Christmas is coming. I went into a Home Depot store at the end of September and they were already filling the entire store with Christmas decorations. Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone. So, it must be close.
We went out to lunch today, and this little paratrooper greeted me on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, having landed there recently. I had to take a second look, but it’s Frosty! A little shaken up, but I think he’ll be alright. Must be one of Santa’s early reconnaissance forces.
Today I went birding with my friend, Doray, to Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. I’m a novice. I was able to get a lot of amazing photos of tree branches. 🙂 If I ever get an amazing photo of a bird, I may share here. But for now, I won’t bore you with it. We did see several kinds of birdies, so I’m calling it a success.