My trip was a combination of staying at the hipster South Congress Hotel near downtown Austin, and visiting with awesome friends in the nearby town of Round Rock. Thanks to their hospitality and generosity, I experienced much more than I would have on my own. As I write this, Boston is getting buried by a blizzard, so I already miss being in warm, sunny Texas.
Exploring South Congress Avenue...
Colorful shops and restaurants line both sides of the street, many of them boasting one-of-a-kind neon signs and painted murals. Here is a sampling... (the signs look even more amazing at night, but my less than state-of-the-art smart phone camera couldn't really capture their magic, so these are all daytime shots).
|Allens Boots, across the street from my hotel.|
I especially like the rope design framing the rectangle, and the two els shaped like boots.
Bought an awesome studded black belt with an etched silver buckle here.
|Enjoyed dinner at Guero's Taco Bar, which has outdoor seating, including a back garden.|
I recommend the fish tacos.
|An elaborate pizza restaurant neon sign, which looked really cool at night – |
I think parts of it blink.
|The Continental Club, a local speakeasy with live music.|
|LOVE the "subtlety" of this GLBT-friendly motel.|
More really cool signs – of the non-neon type...
|Hey Delicious Delicious!|
|Yes, this is a skeleton riding a bicycle framed with Christmas lights.|
|I especially like the bow tie shape – |
the way the letters go from big to small to big.
|A HUGE costume emporium. |
Yes, that is a flamenco dancing zebra in a tiered dress and hat up top.
|Please, please, please.|
Murals around almost every corner...
|SOCO Books, across from my hotel – found a cool 1st Edition Blondie book here with photos by Mick Rock.|
|Close-up of "BIG EYE" mural.|
|Horse or horsepower?|
Whoa! It's a horse, of course.
|Side of The Continental Club.|
|Close-up of Continental Club mural.|
I don't know the identity of the guitarist at left.
The middle is Jimi Hendrix, with Stevie Ray Vaughn at right.
|Please, please, please.|
|Distressed wall with "doorway" message – this is heading toward downtown Austin.|
|This shows typical flora of the region, including cacti and agave plants.|
I think The Impeccable Pig is a clothing store – I didn't go in.
|"Half Dead • Top Dogs" mural outside of The Launderette, |
an excellent restaurant my friends treated me to for lunch.
My friend took me on an excursion to Georgetown, TX, a charming and historic town with unique architecture, fun shops and restaurants. Naturally, there was a wall mural...
|Georgetown's historic architecture.|
|Took a stroll around the Beautiful Town Square.|
I found this black wrought iron electric lantern in one of the antiques shops. The tag said "1940s," though I think it might not be that old. I especially like its curled iron details and the etched glass panels. I can't decide if it should hang in my living room or bedroom.
On my last day in Austin, my friends took me to lunch at Lucy's Fried Chicken, which features outdoor picnic tables overlooking beautiful Lake Travis. It felt like a mid-summer day with sunny skies and temps in the upper 80s.
|Naturally, a friendly neon sign welcomes you to Lucy's Fried Chicken.|
(This shot is courtesy of my friend, Erin).
|Colorful sign inside the outdoor bandstand.|
The last stop on my trip was to Austin's cool Graffiti Park. My friends informed me that the park was due to close and/or relocate to another site soon, so I'm glad I got to see it. Visitors bring their own cans of spray paint, so the murals are constantly evolving and changing. Here is a sampling...
|Look up... and get high on the spray can fumes.|
YOU ARE HERE
|This cool shot is courtesy of my friend, Erin.|
|Look out! Monster afoot!|
|Yin-Yang on the ground.|
|Austin State Capitol rendered in graffiti.|