Brushy Creek Regional Trail

Brushy Creek Lake Park
Oh, Brushy Creek

One of the best parts of living in Avery Ranch is the proximity to great golfing, amazing neighbors with Texas-sized Avery Ranch spirit and memorable vistas thanks to Brushy Creek.

I knew we lived a super-short drive to Brushy Creek Lake Park but it wasn’t until one day on my dog walk when we darted between two boulders near Rutledge Elementary that I realized we could pick-up the expansive Brushy Creek Regional Trail (BCRT) just a few minutes from our front door in The Landing – no car involved!

With cooler Texas weather on its way, why not grab the family, pack a picnic and make a day of nature’s greatness? Let’s take an online stroll of some of my favorite moments along the trail. Hint: click on the pics for a larger view!

Ready for big views and curvy curves, like this?Brushy Creek Regional Trail Curves

Even my Labs Boomer and Harley stop to smell the wildflowers.

Brushy Creek Regional Trail - Smell The Wildflowers

In the cooler months the lake’s rising fog can be surreal.

The Fog At Brushy Creek Regional Trail

Luckily, in Spring the bluebonnets of Brushy Creek awaken to remind us of their natural beauty. Don’t they look like a “sea of blue?”
Brushy Creek Regional Trail Bluebonnets

And then there are special bluebonnet moments like this!

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Bluebonnets With Boomer And Harley

And unexpected moments like discovering the “Dino Dig” for the first time at Champion Park.

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Dino DigAnd surprises like finding wild deer looking at you mere feet from the trail. Hello, dear deer!

Wild Deer At Brushy Creek Regional Trail

What’s that big rock doing here? Is this granite? 

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Granite And The Railroad Line

Oh, yes it is! And it has a magnificent story behind it!

Texas Historical Commission Granite Sign At Brushy Creek

When you finish reading the historical marker, why not admire the train trestle’s architecture?! This is the same Capitol Metro train line that runs through Avery Ranch into downtown Austin!

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Train Trestle

Speaking of interesting shapes, look at this riverbed rock formation!

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Rock Formation

And here’s another formation that’s several feet tall!

Brushy Creek Regional Trail - Another Rock Formation

Back on flat ground Boomer and Harley head full steam ahead for open ground…

Dogs Walking At Brushy Creek Regional Trail

 … In search of rippling waters like this watering hole. This spot cooled them down for sure!

Rippling Waters At Brushy Creek Regional Trail

Following the rippling waters will take you to a really, really big watering hole (a.k.a. Twin Lakes Park). We were glad the ducks and geese were willing to share the lake with us. 

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Twin Creek Lakes

Canoeing on Twin Lakes is always fun!

Canoeing At Twin Lakes Park

Gazing at wildflowers along the trail is also fun!

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Wildflowers

“Sunset time” is probably my most fun-time … it makes the perfect ending to a great day at Brushy Creek!

Brushy Creek Regional Trail Sunset

I hope you enjoyed these pictures! Have some of your own you’d like to share? Post them on the Home Style Austin Facebook page – we’d love to see them!

I hope you enjoy all the best of Brushy Creek,

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider

 

 

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512-222-3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

 

 

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Texas Wine Country

Texas Wine Country By Home Style AustinTexas. Is. Wine. Country!

As a native Texan who’s been lucky enough to live on an Italian vineyard for a few weeks, I thought I was pretty familiar with what to expect when in wine country. Turns out I had a lot more to experience and enjoy.

At first blush, while Texas wine may not seem as impressive to some as Napa, Italian, Spanish or French wines, it wasn’t until this spring when Wine Enthusiast named our very own Texas Hill Country a 2014 Top 10 Wine Travel Destination in the world when I became promptly determined to make an in-person visit into our nearby wine country. Oh sure, I’ve enjoyed Texas wines over the years (usually buying them from the market) but this newborn acclaim left me thirsting to learn first hand about why the Texas Hill Country had so much to offer.
Springtime Texas Grapes

Setting The Stage

First off, let’s take note of some interesting stats about Texas wines that may surprise you (they surprised me):

  • Texas is the site of the 1st vineyard established in North America by Franciscan priests (circa 1662). Texas wasn’t founded until December 29, 1845, almost 200 years later! 
  • Texas is currently the No. 5 wine-producing state in the U.S.
  • Texas has 8 AVAs (American Viticultural Area) across 5 distinct regions in the state. The Texas Hill Country alone is the 2nd largest AVA in the nation, boasting over 9 million acres.
  • There are 420 growers covering 4,400 Texas acres. Over 270 wineries contribute more than $1.83 Billion of economic value to the State of Texas.
Texas Wine Country Bluebonnets

Strolling along a sea of blue at Flat Creek Estate


A Texas-Sized Wine Experience

Day 1 into Texas Wine Country I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but our well-seasoned friends escorted us for our first outing.

We soon discovered that the wineries are as wildly unique as the wines they produce. Some are simple tasting rooms while others are fully operational vineyards that grow, harvest, craft and sell from the same location. My Wine Country cheat sheet:

Vineyard ~ A farm or plantation that grows vines; when a wine is labeled as coming from a “vineyard” it means that the winery and vineyard are on the same property.

Winery ~ A facility for the processing of grape fruits to become wine; it may not always be in the same place as that of the vineyard and it may process grapes from a different vineyard.

Tasting Room ~ Usually a part of a winery where guests may sample the winery’s products.

We experienced live music, great vistas, gift shops, a few food trucks and lots of conversation and drink. People were relaxed, approachable and happy. Hill Country charm is abundant here. I think one of our favorite moments was at Hilmy Cellars when we looked down and saw live chickens at our feet!

Texas Wine Country Chickens At Hilmy Cellars

What’s all the cluckin’ about? Hilmy Cellers, that’s what! Cluck!

Tastings are a great way to sample the wild assortment of wines, often costing about $8-$12 for 5-6 samples. You may even be able to score a free sample or two if you’re specific about what you want to try. Some wineries will let you keep your etched wine glass, which will likely become a cherished memento and a beacon to return. You can often join a winery’s wine club which offers various perks including discounts, special picks or a “free” tasting or two for members’ friends each year. And of course bottles are available for purchase to enjoy live or to take back home.

You’ll likely find red and white varieties and the selection will vary throughout the year so check online before you go if you’re selective about your wine options.

Driving To Texas Wine Country

Jetting along curvy FM 1431


Wine Country Tips

Here are a few of my tips for how to best enjoy wine country.

  • Plan Your Visit. With over 40 wineries in the Hill Country alone there is no possible way you can consume them all in a day or in a weekend! Visit TexasWineTrail.com and use their handy interactive map to plan your route. We picked 3-5 wineries per day which allowed enough time to relax, unwind and enjoy the music and scenery. October is official Texas Wine Trail Month but special events are held throughout the year.
  • Start Early / End Early. Some vineyards start pouring early in the day – actually the morning – at 10AM or 11AM. They also close shop around 5PM or 6PM, so don’t plan on heading out for a night of wine country.
  • Expect Crowds. Wine Country is a communal experience and that means there will be other people around – possibly even cats, dogs and chickens. There’s no surprise that when the weekend weather is nice and in full bloom, so too, are the crowds. If you’re into more intimate experiences try going Monday – Thursday as you may find the crowds more palatable.
  • Plan A Picnic. Some vineyards and tasting rooms offer light foods. Many have an open policy with regard to you bringing in food and light snacks (please, no B.Y.O.W.). We made a run to Central Market and grabbed some artisan bread, crackers, cheeses and pestos which everyone really enjoyed.
  • Drink Responsibly. Nobody likes a sloppy drinker. If you’re making a day trip to Fredericksburg remember you have to get home safely so don’t put your life or the lives of others at risk in the twisty, curvy Hill Country roads which are sometimes hard to navigate fully sober – especially at night! Appoint a designated driver (and designated drinkers) – Even better yet there are tour companies that range from the fancy limos to the larger tour buses that can whisk you around and return you safely to home base. A super-tip from Home Style Austin follower Marcia from Grapevine: Did you know that Texas deer come out in droves after 5PM and it’s extremely hazardous on the roads? Drive safe!

I hope you have the chance to enjoy the special place that is Texas Wine Country!

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512-222-3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

Handy Links

Our Pick For 2014 : Most Romantic Texas Wine
Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association
Texas Hill Country Wineries
When In Texas Wine Country : Wildseed Farms
An Award Honoring Texas + Italian Wines

Texas Wine Country Charm

A little slice of wine life at Becker Vineyards

 

A beautiful view from Stone House Vineyard

Inspired by wine country? Learn more about how Texas and Italy are connected at our other passion site ForTheLoveOfItaly.com. It’ll make you a better Texan! :)

Grape Creek Vineyards, Fredericksburg

Grape Creek Vineyards ~ A fun day trip from Austin will land you in wine country enjoying a nice slice of Tuscany under a Texas sunset.

A Texas Vineyard Hilmy Cellars By Home Style Austin

View More Pics Of Wine Country On Our Pinterest Page

Wildseed Farms : One Amazing Adventure

An Adventure To Wildseed Farms By Home Style Austin
Texas Blooms

Any trip to the Hill Country must include a stop at Wildseed Farms. It’s the largest working wildflower farm in the nation and is located just east of Fredericksburg on 290.

We decided to make a brief stop here to see if anything was in bloom and we were blown away! The farm is over 200 acres largely decorated with colorful blooms that are changing throughout the year. Stepping out of our car we quickly discovered there was much more here than just the colorful fields:

  • Lantana Nursery – One of the largest plant nurseries in Central Texas – we scored some great succulents here. They also offer a large selection of pots in seemingly endless shapes, sizes and colors.
  • Specialty Foods – Salsas, preserves, hot sauces, pickled veggies – many of which were available for a free tasting. After devouring some complimentary golden caramel corn nuggets we left with an armful of stuff including Bread & Butter Jalapeño Dip Mix, Habanero Garlic Salsa and Five Amigos Fire Roasted Pepper Salsa. Score!
  • Apparel and Home Decor – There are tons of things to discover here – you can check out the virtual tour and have a look around.
  • Seed Packets – It was hard to narrow down our selection to just a few – you can even buy seeds by the pound for larger landscaping projects.

Blooms Of Plenty At Wildseed Farms © Home Style Austin

You can visit Wildseed Farms online in a click – their website is quite extensive and you can even save a tree or two by viewing their digital seed catalog instead of having one snail mailed to you. While the website and digital catalog will quickly please the armchair gardener in you, nothing beats an in-person visit to the farm to enjoy the foods, smells, colors and the countless surprises that await in full splendor.

Some Of The Amazing Pots At Wildseed Farms By Home Style Austin

We’re not surprised Lady Bird Johnson was a frequent visitor here; the farm and folks are incredibly inclusive and easy to get to know – they’re open 7 days a week throughout the year, dog friendly, encourage free photo taking and they even let you stroll among the flowers with your wine and beer from the Brewbonnet Biergarten! What’s not to love about that?

As they say at Wildseed Farms: “Come for the flowers, and stay for the atmosphere!”

Green thumbs up!

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider




~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512.222.3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

The Patio At Wildseed Farms © Home Style Austin

Regional Wildflower Mixes At Wildseed Farms By Home Style Austin

 

 

 

A Shopping We Will Go

A Guide To Shopping Austin Texas - Photo Courtesy Of Flickr User "justinjensen"

A Guide To Shopping Austin Texas – Photo Courtesy Of Flickr User “JustinJensen”

Ladies and Gentlemen – Start Your Shoppers’ Engines!

[ Sidenote from Joe: One of our recent Instagram followers in Australia asked us for our shopping recommendations for her upcoming trip to Austin. We realized we hadn’t yet shared a list of our local favorite shopping spots so here are our local retailers who we think are doing their best to make Austin a great place to shop. ]

First Thing’s First – Austin Bags Bags

As of March 1, 2013, The City of Austin implemented a flyaway plastic bag ordinance designed to help the city be more Earth friendly and reach its goal of becoming a “Zero Waste” city by the year 2040. So what this means for local shoppers is that many retailers who offer single use or plastic bags do so no longer, so let the buyer beware – bring your reusable shopping totes or get ready to carry smaller purchases sans bags. Here’s a fun video about the “Bring It Austin” movement:

The 50,000 Foot Shopper’s View

Austin shopping features many locally owned small businesses that are scattered about town. You really have to explore city neighborhoods on foot, pedicab or your own 2- or 4-wheeled favorite form of transportation to find many of them, which is what really makes Austin unique.

Really love to shop? Better wear your comfy shoes as you’ll likely be making a full day or more of shopping when in Austin. My word of caution: There are a lot more hidden gems to be found in Austin, but below are some of our top picks. We threw in some restaurants too, because what’s a great shopping trip without cocktails and food?!

South Congress Shopping - Picture Compliments Of Barbara Slough (Flickr User "Merbrat")

South Congress Shopping – Picture Compliments Of Barbara Slough (Flickr User “Merbrat”)

South Congress

South Congress – or “SoCo” as the locals refer to it – is the best place to be able to park, walk, shop and eat. In addition to some vintage and thrift stores, there is also a large antique store called Uncommon Objects filled with unique finds. There are also some other cool stores like Tesoros Trading Company and Ten Thousand Villages where you can find interesting folk arts and crafts from around the world. Lucy in Disguise is a fun and funky costume store packed with every disguise imaginable. A must do is Allen’s Boots where the smell of leather makes you feel like an instant cowboy. Several clothing stores and boutiques are also located in this area such as American Apparel and Austin’s home grown favorite By George which was named one of the country’s Top 10 Boutiques by Lucky Magazine [ listen to this heavenly choir sound effect of what receiving this award must have felt like! ].

Big Top Candy Shop Austin Texas - Photo Courtesy Of Home Style Austin (Hey, That's Us!)

Eating Soco: There are many dining options from food trucks to sit down restaurants. dog-friendly Italian restaurant Botticelli’sSouth Congress Cafe, Guero’s Taco Bar, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, and HomeSlice Pizza are local favorites. Be prepared to wait in line during peak feeding times! There’s no need to get dessert at anywhere other than Big Top Candy Shop which has been satisfying sweet tooth of kids of all ages since 2007. The folks at Big Top have over 2,000 kinds (not pieces) of candies and an old-fashioned soda fountain and shaved ice bar. A must-see-do-enjoy!

Austin's 2nd Street District
Downtown Austin

Centered around the flagship Whole Foods Market World Headquarters at Lamar and 5th and 6th streets in downtown Austin, there are lots of shopping choices including West Elm, Anthropologie, Free People, Paper Source, and others. Nadeau, The Khazana and Jaya Furniture are globally inspired, artisan and eco-friendly furniture stores in the downtown area. Just up Lamar is Whole Earth Provision Company, an Austin original since 1970 with earthy goods and unique gifts – a place Home Style Austin Brand Director Patrick says he can’t walk into without leaving with some fun purchases.

Amy's Ice Cream Shop Austin - Photo Courtesy Of Your Friends At Home Style Austin

All this shop talk has made us hungry. If you’re in this area try 24 Diner – as it’s name implies it’s open 24 hours daily (except 1 am-6 am on Wednesdays) and it has some of the greatest food we’ve eaten in Austin. A great place for conversation! Better wash down your 24 Diner treat with one of Austin’s favorite ice cream shops – at Amy’s. There are Amy’s scattered around the city (see a list here) and if you haven’t tried their Mexican Vanilla ice cream yet, your life is one maraca shy of a full set.

The 2nd Street Shopping District is also a great place to walk, shop and eat (here’s the official site). Urban Outfitters, Francesca’s and Swatch along with several local boutiques and design shops such as Girl Next Door, Hemline, Prize Interiors and more make for a nice couple hours of shopping. Go to Austin Rocks to score all of your Austin souvenirs and say hi from us to the folks at Serve Gourmet – they introduced the Home Style Austin Team to The Casserole Queens as well as Austin’s finest foodie finds.

Hungry? There are several popular restaurants in the area too. Cru Wine Bar, La Condesa, Coal Vines Pizza, Pasta and Wine Bistro, Malaga Tapas Bar, and Lambert’s BBQ.

The Clarksville neighborhood around Lynn and 12th Street is a nice place to take a stroll. Although there isn’t too much shopping, there are a couple unique stores like Nau’s Enfield Drug, an old fashioned soda fountain, Fresh Plus Hometown Grocer and Sledd Nursery.

Eating Clarksville: There are also several great local restaurants in the neighborhood: Cipollina, Zocalo Cafe, Josephine House and then Jeffrey’s if you are feeling extra special.

Central Market North Lamar Austin Texas - Photo Courtesy Of Your Friends At Home Style Austin

North Austin

If thrift shopping and vintage clothing and furniture are your thing, you’ll want this local guide to many of the stores in the area with the Vintage Around Town Guide. Aside from Downtown and South Congress there really isn’t one walkable area where you can see a lot of independent stores at once outside of a mall or strip-mall format. Burnet Road in North Austin has a higher concentration of these types of stores, but not exactly “walkable.”

Zinger Hardware - Photo Courtesy Of Your Friends At Home Style Austin

The North Lamar Central Market location is a must stop if you are in the North Austin area (there is also another location on South Lamar with a Whole Earth Provision and a Cavender’s Boot City next door). Central Market is the most amazing grocery store born in Austin and you could spend hours shopping, drooling, resting and repeating! Delight your inner foodie and have lunch at the Central Market Cafe and sit out on the big deck to enjoy your feast. On weekends you can catch live music. Also in this shopping center there is a neat Hardware Store/Gift Store combo shop unique to Austin called Learn More About Paper Place Austin From Your Friends At Home Style AustinZinger and a nice pottery and gift store called Clarksville Pottery. You’ll also find a Gap, an Origins and our latest obsession ~ Paper Place Austin, which will surely delight your inner artist with cards, stationery, pens, colorful papers and a wide assortment of unique objects … we left with an armful.

East Austin

East Austin is in a state of change where old multi-cultural neighborhoods are being gentrified with hip urban lofts and trendy nightlife. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of culture, history and an urban vibe yielding a source of local controversy.

The East 6th Street District is a great place to walk and check out a few unique spots. More known for bars and food trucks, there are a few interesting shops to see. Clayworks Studios sells stoneware items made onsite. Green & White Grocery sells a super funky mix of herbals, spiritual paraphernalia and Latin American religious items. The owner is a true ol’ Austinite. If you like gardening, East Austin Succulents is a peaceful place for a stroll among nature’s art for the eyes. There’s a coffee truck on site, too!

West Austin

One very cool shopping experience that is a bit of a drive on the West side of Austin off Highway 71 in Bee Cave named Revival. Revival is a fun architectural salvage and vintage furniture store with a lot of repurposed items and unique home decor items. “Hamlet the Pig” and a few chickens also wander about the outdoor areas of the store so you’ll truly feel like you were in an authentic shopper’s paradise. Also in the area is a retail shopping area called Hill Country Galleria with a Whole Foods, Dillard’s and other major chain stores along with a few boutique shops and restaurants, including another Amy’s Ice Cream Shop!

Texas Hill Country Wineries - Photo Courtesy Of Your Friends At Home Style Austin

If you were to keep heading into far west Austin (ok, let’s call it day-tripping from Austin), you’d land in the amazing Texas Hill Country. Beautiful views will treat your senses to a different form of “shopping,” while one of my favorite cities – Fredericksburg – offers some of the best shopping in all of Texas. Wine country? Texas has it and you’re right in the middle of over 35 area wineries scattered throughout the Central Texas hills. More information is here regarding the Texas Hill Country Wineries. A visit to Austin without a visit to this part of the state requires a return adventure! Think we’re bragging? Maybe a little – this year the Texas Hill Country was a Top 10 wine travel destination in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Shopping Malls

The Domain is the newest of Austin’s large shopping malls. In fact, a Phase 3 was recently announced and will be anchored by Nordstrom. The Domain is an outdoor urban mall with all of the major upscale retailers and nice dining options like Gloria’s Latin Cuisine, and North Italian Restaurant. There is also a new Whole Foods that just opened here with tons of seating for having a bite to eat with a side of live music, too, so check our their events schedule.

If outlet shopping is your thing, you’ll want to visit the Round Rock Premium Outlets Note: There’s an IKEA nearby which is sure to please your wallet.

Barton Creek Square is a Texas-sized shopper’s paradise with all of the major retailers including Nordstrom and more than 170 speciality shops. No true shopper leaves Barton Creek Square empty handed!

We could go on and on about what to specifically check out or eat at these Austin favorites but if you’re still reading this you can only imagine how much my fingers ache from a blog post this long!

Dog Friendly Blue Corn Harvest Grill In Cedar Park

In between power shopping sprints, if you’re looking for places where you can eat and hangout with your four-legged friend, check out our post for Austin’s Dog Friendly Hangouts. It’s packed with our favorite places throughout the greater Austin area.

Please email us with any specific questions – we’re glad to help a shopper out!

~ Patrick

Home Style Austin

Home Sweet Home On The Range

The Tentsile Stingray Tree Tent

Outdoor Home Living 

I have to say our team at Home Style Austin HQ was pretty much blown away when we saw these amazing tents!

Conceived as a treehouse that you can take with you anywhere, the tree tent hammock combines the versatility of a hammock with the security of a tent. “Because the world is not flat,” the makers of the tent say.

In addition to taking your spirits to a new level, the folks at Tentsile plant 3 trees for every tent you or I buy which I think is an awesome gift back to Mother Nature. High fives! Let’s watch this video to see this creative form of home living in action:

Whether you’re in your primary home or traveling in your home on the go, enjoy the very best of the great life; “Home” truly can be found wherever we hang our hearts … even in our hanging tents!

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider





~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Red Bud Isle Park

Red Bud Isle Park In Austin, Texas
Whether you arrive to Red Bud Isle Park via canoe, car or your own two feet, everyone’s in for a treat in Austin’s great outdoors.

Red Bud Isle Park is about 13 acres in size and is one of Austin’s 12 great off leash dog parks. As a proud parent of two outdoor-loving Labs, I knew I had to take them for a great day in the sun. I scored major points from my dogs and we are already planning our return adventures.

Dogs Having A Blast In The Water At Red Bud Isle Park In Austin, Texas. Photo by Home Style Austin

The park features:

  • A large off leash play area perfect for fetching toys or the sun’s rays
  • Free park entry. Note: the parking lot can sometimes be a bit tricky to score a parking space
  • Benches perfect for dog watching, people watching or just some “R and R”
  • Wooded trails great for adventuring or picnicking
  • Shorelines sporting great views of the Colorado River
  • Complimentary dog waste bags

The Off Leash Dog Park At Red Bud Isle - Photo By Home Style Austin

The park is located west of downtown Austin and west of Mopac Expressway near the beautiful neighborhoods of West Lake Hills, Tarrytown and Rollingwood. Here’s a handy map:

Red Bud Isle is a great place to adventure in Austin.

Enjoy the great outdoors . . . and more pictures below!

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider



Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

A Great Walking Path At Red Bud Isle Park In Austin, Texas

The Great Walking Path At Red Bud Isle Park

The Dogs Of Red Bud Isle Park In Austin, Texas

The Dogs Of Red Bud Isle Park

A Happy Bernese Mountain Dog At Red Bud Isle Park In Austin, Texas

A Happy Bernese Mountain Dog At Red Bud Isle Park

My Dogs, Boomer and Harley, Going Into Water At Red Bud Isle Park In Austin

My Water Bound Dogs, Boomer and Harley, At Red Bud Isle Park

The Beautiful Peninsula At Red Bud Isle Park In Austin, Texas

The Beautiful Peninsula At Red Bud Isle Park

The Nurture Of Nature

The Big Majestic Oak Tree Of Canyon Creek

One of the great things about living in Central Texas is that we’re never too far away from nature’s influence.

My family and I live in Northwest Austin near Lake Travis which means easy access to abundant hills and wildlife. So during the recent holiday break we went for many relaxing walks with friends and family alike – each trip pushing deeper into the nearby woods surrounding our neighborhood near Canyon Creek.

What my adventures taught me is to make the most of Austin’s magnificent views; to experience the wind, water, woods and wildlife as close as possible, not just from afar.

I first encountered the neighborhood trails from Trailhead Park then learned the area was much more than “just a park” – the lands are near the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve which provides a protected habitat for endangered song birds and invertebrates found nowhere else on Earth. So aside from the obvious beauty there’s a magnificent significance to this area.

Below are a few pictures from one of the nearby trails that connects with Trailhead Park. Tip: Click the pics for bigger photos.

While you can discover the trails from the back of Trailhead Park proper, I entered from a less obvious trail during a short walk with my Labs. Off Boulder Lane you’ll see this sign (below). Dart behind it and you’ve just entered one of the trail’s hidden entrances. Hint: veer right.

Dart Behind The Savannah Ridge Sign To Enter The Trail
This old gate can probably tell us a few stories … like answering the question “What were you doing the day your swing swung you into your resting position?” 

The Old Gate Of Canyon CreekThis fallen tree cast a pretty reflection in the water. When it fell was anyone around to hear if it made a sound?

A Fallen Tree In Northwest Austin

I wasn’t sure if this wild mushroom was poisonous or not but it sure was cool to look at. “Keep It Weird,” little shroom!

A Wild Mushroom In Austin Texas

Sometimes a “River Runs Through It.” In this case the trail runs straight through the middle of this tree. 
A Split Tree In Austin TexasCrossing a few of the creeks takes a little balance for both young and young at heart. 

Crossing The Creek Austin Texas

This field of green sure is impressive! I’ve never seen so many wild cacti in one blink of the eye.

Wild Cacti In Austin Texas

Kinda like the Tree of Souls from the movie “Avatar” this giant oak tree must be 150 or more years old. Look closely and you’ll see something I’ve never seen before – a cactus growing in a tree!

A Cactus Growing High Up In The Big Majestic Oak Tree Of Canyon Creek

The Big Majestic Oak Tree Of Canyon Creek, as we called it, is as beautiful as it is big – I could hardly capture the entire tree in one picture so let’s have a look of the tree in this video.

Near the Big Oak Tree was this stream of clear water. The water made a peaceful sound. I’m glad my Labs didn’t jump in the water so I could capture the water in its native state. What’s really interesting is that the water was running over and through a big hole in the rock that you see here.

Back on the trail this canopy of cedar trees seems to stretch for miles. 

A Trail Of Trees In Austin Texas

At the top of a hill near Trailhead Park is this great canyon view.

Spicewood At Bull Creek Canyon View

As the sun begins to set we pop back onto Boulder Lane and back to “civilization.” Funny, I never look at the tree-covered hills the same way these days.

A Sunset In Austin Texas

Whether you experience a hike, bike, run, walk or picnic always make sure to be careful when heading into the wild. Wear appropriate footwear for the rocky terrain, keep pets near (or at home) and your phone nearer, just in case. Have responsible fun, make a day of it, and “leave only footprints” as the saying goes!

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512.222.3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

 

Crazy For Trader Joe’s Austin

Trader Joe's Austin, Texas (Rollingwood) On Grand Opening Day

A Hunting We Will Go

10 years after hearing about the great Trader Joe’s, “foodie fate” determined that I would finally visit Austin’s first Trader Joe’s. Thankfully my neighbors encouraged me to rideshare to visit Austin’s first Trader Joe’s on Grand Opening Day. Was I crazy enough to tackle the grand opening craze and the much welcomed – although super messy – rain all in one morning? You betcha!

What’s In Store

Rudbeckia Flowers At Trade Joe's Austin

We arrived shortly after 10AM. The band was packing up and there were a lot of people flocking about wearing Hawaiian shirts, leis and Texas-sized smiles. Reading the Trader Joe’s website later I learned these people were the Trader Joe’s Crew Members (employees) who were hustling about. We noticed there were no shopping carts remaining. When we walked inside, I literally felt like I was inside a busy beehive. There were people everywhere. I quickly noticed there was no pulling of hair … No roundhouse kicks. No lunging for this or that. It was clear to me that Trader Joe’s knew how to turn potential pandemonium into organized chaos. Shoppers formed lines and carefully moved throughout the store. There was lots of laughing and I could almost see the sigh of relief on people’s faces knowing that Austin was no longer without Trader Joe’s.

The store was smaller in size than any of the lore shared by the TJ following. But what it may lack in size it offers in spirit and assortment across produce, floral, fresh and frozen foods, bakery, cheese, beer/wine and more.

The Texas Themed Trader Joe's Reusable Grocery Bag

Why Trader Joe’s Earned My Love … And Will Earn Yours

  • The Floral Department. I was genuinely impressed by the quality, assortment and prices of TJ’s flowers. One of the best floral collections in Austin.
  • 99 Cent Greeting Cards. Tucked next to the floral section are the cheapest cards we’ve found outside of ones we make by hand. With other stores offering greeting cards commanding $6, $7 or $8, it’s nice to find options that are easy on the wallet.
  • Cheese To Please. Surprisingly affordable *and* tasty, we never leave without 2-3 chunks of gold. Gruyere, Italian Truffle, and Jalapeño Cheddar Pub Cheese are some of our favorites.

    Trader Joe's Italian Truffle Cheese

  • Olive Demi-Baguette. Any olive-lover will surely love a loaf or two of this bread which is perfect for oil dipping. Word has it when we race around the corner only to find the store loaf-less, our hearts drop.
  • Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce. Just when I thought nothing could top my long-time favorite Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Mustard, in walks this stuff … a new house staple! Try some of this sauce on gently-microwaved spinach and presto – you have a super-tasty salad in mere seconds.
  • Cheddar & Horseradish Potato Chips. The slogan for this chip should be “Bet you can’t eat just one … BAG!”
  • Cookie Butter. This is a gingerbread spread that’s way more versatile than the hazelnut chocolate stuff. Good thing a spoon wasn’t within reach or I might have had some pre checkout.
  • Chocolate Croissants. Two words – try them. Don’t let the fact that you’ll find these in the frozen section deter you from enjoying their pure chocolatey greatness. Click the picture below for a close-up view of these coming out of the oven. Freshness!
  • Raisin Rosemary Crisps. Calling these “crackers” is an understatement. “Crispy sweet and savory bites of Heaven?” That’s more like it.
  • Bacon Cheese Bread. Enough said. Want the recipe? You can score it here.
  • The Trader Joe’s Reusable Grocery Bag. The Texas proud design on this shopping tote meant three found their way home with me. Make sure and look at the bottom of the tote for a special surprise. I’m sending a tote or two to my Texas-loving friends in Italy and at $.99/tote I seriously think this makes a more clever and cheaper gift wrap than any other wraps I can find.
  • No Weird Stuff. Contrary to the “Keep Austin Weird” T-shirts, when it comes to food ingredients, let’s leave out the weird. All of Trader Joe’s private label products contain no artificial flavors or preservatives, no msg, no synthetic colors, no genetically modified ingredients, no partially hydrogenated oils … you get the drift.
  • New Treats. With 10-15 new products coming to store each week I know we’ll always be able to find new treats to delight our tastebuds.

 

I Heart Trader Joe's

I left with many goodies to last me at least a week or so and I’m already planning my return trip back for another adventure. I was so excited to see, learn and experience first hand what others told me about I decided to gift magic via hand-selected Trader Joe’s gift basket to each client of mine who lists or finds their new home with me.

What – am I crazy? For Trader Joe’s? You betcha!  : )

~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

PS ~ So where can you find all this goodness? 

Trader Joe’s Austin (Rollingwood)
2805 Bee Caves Road
Austin TX  78759
(512) 306-1032
Trading Hours: 8AM-9PM Daily

Two more Trader Joe’s stores are coming soon to Austin – The Arboretum and Downtown. Will I be there come opening day? You can expect it! Check Trader Joe’s website for store information and to sign-up to receive their newsletter.

Shopping Trader Joe's Flower Market In Austin

Click This Picture To See A Close-Up View Of Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants Hot Out Of The Home Style Austin Oven. Shazam!

Click This Picture To See A Close-Up View Of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants Hot Out Of The Home Style Austin Oven. Shazam!