It has been years since we had last been to Austin and San Antonio—too many years. And the last time we were there, we spent all our time in, and driving between, the two cities. This trip we decided to add a detour through the Hill County in addition to exploring the 2 cities.
San Antonio. Our trip began with a day and a half in San Antonio, where we delved into its history (especially through the Alamo and Mission San Jose), took to the water along the River Walk, and sampled a number of the city’s newer and more interesting restaurants, particularly in Southtown—an area that anyone interested in good food needs to visit. And while in Southtown, don’t forget the self-guided walking tour of the stately King William District. Or continuing even further south to bike the suburban section of the River Walk—especially in springtime, when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Hill Country. We then took local roads north to Johnson City (touring the LBJ State Park and Texas White House and unfortunately missing one of the few open days of the Benini Foundation Sculpture Ranch) and then west through Stonewall wine country (visiting more than a few of the wineries), through the quirky town of Luckenback and on to the pretty town of Fredericksburg, where we explored its main street shops, sampled some of the local beer at an outdoor music bar, explored the fascinating National Museum of the Pacific War and had a lovely dinner. Then, the next day, we drove north and east through wildflower country, where we drove past and walked through lovely displays of bluebonnets and many other wildflowers, tippled at yet another winery and experienced (as well as ate at) a fascinating barbeque stop.
Austin. This was the last, and anchor stop of our Hill Country trip. While we went primarily for the music and the food, we also discovered South Congress (SoCo), the section of the city that has assumed responsibility for “Keeping Austin Weird.” And if you are looking for food trucks, Austin is where you want to be. Turn a corner, and you will find one, or a whole caravan, usually with a bar and tables. Nor can you forget history and culture. The LBJ Presidential Library and Museum is educational and engaging, from the painful history of the Vietnam War, down to the animatronic figure telling classic, corny LBJ jokes. The Blanton Museum, meanwhile, is a treat, at least with current exhibit, in which art that is being lent and donated by University of Texas alumni and trained artists has taken over almost the entire museum. Our primary objective in visiting Austin, however, was for the music. The self-described Live Music Capital of the World is filled with clubs which cater to virtually every type of music—many of which we heard.