Category Archives: Texas

COVID travel blues? Be a local tourist!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is dearly missing some trips away and going somewhere new. I cancelled a trip to Vegas in May, and more recently I also cancelled a long weekend away in Austin TX as COVID rates had been increasing.

However… I did decide to do something else! I had a look on Google maps and found a few things that are nearby to me and also outdoors that I could enjoy. It’s not quite Vegas, but the point of travelling is to experience something new and different – and there are plenty of things I hadn’t seen near me.

Here are a few of the ‘new’ things I checked out recently:

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
https://fossilrim.org/

This is like safari in the middle of Texas. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is an endangered species research and conservation center near Glen Rose, Texas. The facility has over 1,000 animals from 50 species.

It was located an hour and a half’s drive from me and I went with a friend who also loves animals. We bought tickets in advance at $25 each and drove through the park to see many deer, zebra, mountain goats, and giraffes. It was a great photography opportunity too.

Interlochen Christmas lights
http://lakeinterlochentx.com/christmas-lights/

Interlochen is a local area to me in Arlington Texas famous for its Christmas lights. It’s a 40 year tradition and only open for about a week in December. There was a lot of traffic to drive in and through the neighborhood, but it was a nice and ‘safe’ evening trip from the comfort of the car. We saw a lot of different lights and it was great to enjoy other people’s serious efforts to decorate for the most wonderful time of the year!

Parr Park Painted Rock Trail
https://familyeguide.com/parr-park-rock-art-trail/

This find was definitely thanks to browsing on Google maps. It’s a section of a large forested park that displays hundreds of painted rocks. I was really pleasantly surprised by this – I expected to find a small patch of badly painted rocks, when in fact there were literally hundreds of painted rocks in many different styles. I went with an arty friend who actually enjoys painting rocks, and it was a good outing in fresh air and walking through the forest.

I had read through the reviews on Google and took the tip of parking close to the church with a parking lot, rather than the Google location that took us to someone’s house!

Lolo Falls

So, I’m not sure why this has four 5* reviews on Google, because I was completely underwhelmed when I found this! I followed the directions into a very residential area, parked the car, and wondered if I was at the right place. My friend stepped towards the little river and said she’d found it!

We spent about a minute laughing about this waterfall, then walked the path and bridge nearby. It was a nice day and a lovely neighborhood, and a good excuse for some exercise.

So there you have it! I am glad I took the opportunity to enjoy some of the attractions at my doorstep – they are easy to overlook. It’s not quite the travels I had in mind for this year, but at the end of the day, I was able to enjoy some new experiences and when I have good company, I always have a great time!

I wholeheartedly encourage you to explore what’s outdoors and close to you – whether it’s a local forest, lake, or tourist attraction. As tempting as it is to stay cooped up indoors, you’ll have more fun going outdoors, getting some exercise, and seeing something new, whether it’s by yourself or with some low-risk friends, family, or people in your household.

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Filed under Art, Safari, Texas, Travel, Wildlife

Awesome trip to Austin, Texas

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Austin so I was really pleased when a friend organised a trip there for three of us. We rented out an apartment on www.vrbo.com close to 10th street for three nights.

I was able to book return bus tickets from Dallas to Austin on www.megabus.com for a mere $4.50.

Before we got there, we had recommendations coming out of our ears for all the great places to eat and drink at. It was pretty easy to find places near the apartment and also by going to the popular areas like 6th Street and Rainey Street.

So here are some highlights…

Friday night drinks at 6th street

This street is lined with bars and some restaurants. We started the evening at Coyote Ugly, a classic dive bar with the addition of ladies dancing on the bar who were mildly abusing men, who volunteered to be abused. It was amusing to watch. Good bar with a good feel.

After a few drinks here, we headed down the street and found Pete’s Dueling Piano bar. This was loads of fun with a playoff between various musicians. Music included Backstreet Boys and some good old rap on piano. The atmosphere in here was great.

We drank a lot here… and the rest of the night is lacking a bit of details! However, when we headed out the street was alive, there were lots of food stands and plenty of bars to visit.

food-truck-bbq-austin-texas

 

Saturday visit to Rainey Street

We took Uber to Rainey Street and ended up in a fun bar called Unbarlievable. There was a big slide in the back as well people practicing with hula hoops. Food was also pretty tasty and they had cool live music.

unbarlievable-austin-texas

There are more bars and restaurants along this street, we did pop into some. I love that day drinking was completely normal and expected. It has a more mature vibe than 6th street. Both were awesome and they’re both worth a visit.

Tipster free walking tour

I always love a good free walking tour and my friend found this Tipster tour that started at the Capitol. No need to sign up in advance and you can leave a tip of your choice. Our tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. She covered a lot of the Austin history. I was surprised that the tour didn’t include any fun stuff like the nightlife, but fortunately my friends and I already had that covered. The tour was a good little walk in the centre of Austin and it was nice to see something other than bars!

matthew-mcconaughey-austin-street-art

We did see some cool street art, including this lovely picture of Matthew McConaughey!

Food recommendations

We ate very well throughout the trip. Plenty of bbq meat from food trucks and restaurants.

Here are some highlights:

  • Stubb’s BBQ

I was happy to check out the restaurant connected to one of my favourite meat marinade brands. Stubb’s BBQ was nice and busy. The food was good and meaty. The service was a little slow, but the food was tasty so they are forgiven.

 

  • Gloria’s Latin Cuisine

We found this using Google maps as it was close to where the walking tour ended. Gloria’s Latin Cuisine turned out to be a lovely little find. A classy restaurant with really great drink prices, including $2 mimosas! My friend even asked the waitress if it was a typo. It wasn’t… so we had a few. The margaritas were also tasty, as well as the food.

Glorias-latin-cuisine-austin

 

  • Walton’s Fancy and Staple

We were inspired to have breakfast here after hearing that it’s owned by actress Sandra Bullock. Walton’s Fancy and Staple is a really lovely quaint cafe-style restaurant, that also sells plants and flowers. I had the breakfast dish with eggs, toast and bacon that was tasty and filling. The mocha latter was pretty good too. We were all satisfied.

 

  • Voodoo Doughnuts

This was recommended to us and seems to be an iconic place. The line was huge when we got there on Sunday afternoon. We got a few different doughnuts between us, and I have to be honest, we were pretty underwhelmed. The doughnuts were very dry, bready and stodgy, there wasn’t really anything special about them. Fortunately they weren’t stupidly expensive, so we survived the disappointment. I’d say Voodoo doughnuts is pretty overhyped, but if you just want a doughnut with no expectations, then go ahead and join the line!

voodoo-doughnuts-austinvoodoo-doughnuts-austinvoodoo-doughnuts-austin

 

Conclusion

We all had a great time in Austin and I’d be happy to go back in a heartbeat. Getting around was really quick and easy (and cheap) by Uber, or if you felt like it there were plenty of electric scooters everywhere you looked. People were friendly and there was a really good vibe there.  Food and drink was easy to find and there are plenty of places to explore.  A great place to visit and hang out with friends!

 

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Filed under Restaurants, Texas, Tours, Travel

Dallas Museum of Art

Free art museum in Dallas Texas

While perusing my Texas guide book, I came across the Dallas Museum of Art. It’s located close to St Paul station on the DART train and the added bonus is it’s free to enter.

Dallas-Museum-of-Art

I didn’t really know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. There are quite a lot of rooms, some are very small exhibitions and others are significantly larger. I was impressed by the array of art – from paintings to jewellery and bowls to books. I was also impressed by how global the art was. I saw the works of some very well known artists including Monet, Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo.

Dallas-Museum-of-Art-Monet Dallas-Museum-of-Art-frida-kahlo

This was a really nice couple of hours of looking around at various and eclectic art. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something chilled out to do in Dallas centre.

Dallas-Museum-of-Art-japan

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Filed under Americas, Art, Other, Texas, Travel

Six Flags adventure park, Texas

I love rollercoasters so I was completely up for visiting Six Flags over Texas in Arlington. We bought tickets online on the same day to avoid queuing up. The car park seemed pretty full when we were trying to find a spot, but luckily there were hardly any lines for the rides when we got in.

The rides were pretty awesome. I really enjoyed the Batman ride, Cat woman whip and the Superman ride. Even the ‘kiddy’ rides were pretty cool! Spinsanity was also great – except we got stuck for 10 minutes on the way down. Luckily we weren’t upside down so it wasn’t too bad!

It was a hot day, but there is plenty of shade and water fountains around. We bought a refillable drink which was handy to stay hydrated throughout the day. And the Aqua man water ride helped to keep us cool!

We were surprised when all the rides seem to stop at around 6pm… turned out there was a thunder storm looming and I guess lightning and high metal rides are not a good combination. It did start raining and there was plenty of lightning and thunder, at which point nearly everyone started to make their way towards the exits. I’m glad we managed to fit in loads of good rides before nature forced us to leave. I’d go back 🙂

You can check out Six Flags over Texas by clicking here.

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Filed under Other, Texas, Travel