Wander: Austin, Texas

Wedding/ Good House Gues

The excellent excuse of a wedding brought many of my relatives together for a fabulous family reunion this spring in Austin. Above is a shot from the main event, which was authentically Austin in its laid-back, endearingly DIY way, with an emphasis on creative food and copious cold drinks. Even if you can’t swing an invite to a stylish outdoor wedding at the Zilker Clubhouse high above the twinkling city below, leafy Zilker Park itself is still worth a visit.

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Bonus: Todd has family there too, so it was all cousins, all the time.

East Side House/ Good House Guest

Vintage Eastide house/ Good House GuestScreen Shot 2014-07-07 at 10.26.25 PMStay: We rented this desert-inspired domicile on the city’s Eastside, a quiet residential part of town that still had plenty of cafes and colorful piñata shops (purchases were made; a candy-stuffed Darth Vader was pummeled). This thoughtfully restored 100-year-old home with wide-plank hardwood floors, a claw-foot tub and back garden made it easy to slip into Austin and feel like a local. And, as with any good sanctuary, there were plenty of amusements between the bookshelves stacked with compelling reads, a piano and the record player with a handful of albums.

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Eat: We quickly became regulars at Cenote, a casual cafe and coffeehouse just a few blocks from the house.The super friendly folks there made us feel right at home when we showed up every morning in need of their strong brew. It also proved to be a spot-on place for a mound of greens or a hearty sandwich. The superb taco truck, Veracruz All Natural –  the migas breakfast taco is a must after a night out –  was also a short walk away. The mess of smothered fries goodness above is complements of Banger’s Sausage House, a German-inspired beer garden that takes license with tradition. Sausage varieties include: goat cheese and beet, a trio of duck, bacon and fig and dak bulgogi, just to keep it, you know, weird. The generous outdoor space with communal picnic tables is tucked within a row of former bungalow homes that now make up the bars and restaurants of Rainey Street.

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Do: Paddle on Ladybird Lake. This reservoir on the Colorado River is ringed by 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, but escape the relentless heat by renting a boat from one of several outfitters along the lake.

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