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We spent the second half of our summer Texas Road Trip going up through Austin (you can read about our first few days in San Antonio here), but first, Matt had to stop off at his alma mater, Texas State University (or South West Texas back in his day). He often talks about how much he loved his time at Texas State and couldn’t wait to show the boys the campus. We happened to be there during freshman orientation so we didn’t do as much touring the campus as he wanted to, but we did make our way to the student center and the bookstore to stock up on some Bobcats gear. We also couldn’t complete a trip to San Marcos without going to Matt’s all-time favorite burger joint & pub, the Taproom Pub & Grub! Now, last time we went there I wound up horribly ill (too much heat plus too much beer) and couldn’t get off the hotel bathroom floor for the night, but I’m happy to report that I did not have the same problem this time around! I had their mushroom swiss burger which was really good! Landry, our burger connoisseur, declared (with a full mouth) “This is the BEST burger I have ever had!!! I’m going to go to college here now instead of Tech!” So now I have a different bone to pick with the Taproom! Haha!
We loaded back up and headed towards Austin. When we go to Austin, we like to stay at the Omni Southpark. It is in a fantastic location, just a few minutes from downtown, and is really a nice hotel. The rooms are well kept, and the pool is really great! It has an indoor/outdoor swim through that the boys absolutely loved; they pretended they were swimming into caves. It also has ample seating around the pool so you can watch the kiddos wear themselves out. The bar area in the lobby is quaint, and we had a couple of drinks while waited for our room to be ready.
After swimming, we went back up to our room to get ready for dinner. Remember how I said in part 1 that I prefer my own bedroom when we travel??? Well here is why! Hotel bathrooms get really steamy, right? So when I get out of the shower, I have to open the bathroom door to air it out. I’m standing in the bathroom, drying off when Luke comes around the corner and catches a glimpse of me in an ill-placed mirror right outside the bathroom door. I hear him erupt into giggles, run over to his dad and brother and screams “GUYS! Do NOT go in there! If you do you’ll see mom’s chest privates!!!!!” Chest privates? The life of a boymom is never a dull one, that’s for sure!
Once my chest privates were properly covered, we met up with Matt’s other best friend, Chris, and his baby girl for dinner! We had an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant and then headed back to our room. We had a big day of touring the next day planned so we wanted to get a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, we headed down to the Capitol Building to show the boys where our Texas Government operates. There is a really cool building on the grounds that used to operate as a land office, and now serves as an interactive children’s museum. Best of all, it’s free to go in! It was really cool, and even the boys got into it. They have displays from just about every era of Texas history; you can dress up as a cowboy from the wild west, have a sword fight from the Texas War for Independence, see how Texas cooking & kitchens have changed, and all kinds of different things. We really had a blast in there.
From there we walked through the grounds, which are peaceful and have different statues & historical sites you’ll want to take in, then up to the actual Capitol Building. The Rotunda is very impressive and features pictures of past Governors of Texas. We also visited the Senate Chamber & House of Representatives Chamber. The boys imagined what they would do if they were lawmakers for the state; Luke would decree free candy for everyone, and for Landry, it was longer school breaks! I think they missed the idea of a collective group of lawmakers working together for democracy and took more of a monarchy approach!
For lunch, we met Chris and his wife & daughter at a cool place close to downtown called Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. It has a great outdoors area & the sausages are made in-house. The food was delicious and was a nice change from all the Tex-Mex we had been binging on the last few days. After lunch, Chris had to head to work and we went back to the hotel to cool off at the pool for a bit.
Dinner was back to downtown, this time to meet one of my best friends from college, Austin (from Austin, haha). Austin is one of those friends who you can go forever without seeing, but pick right back up where you left off! Landry was very excited to meet him and have him tell a story a two about mommy from college. The problem was, all of our college stories of shenanigans incriminate each other and aren’t really rated G. We did a good job of pairing a few down! Austin wanted to check out this newer place called the Fareground over by the Congress Avenue Bridge. It has a number of different food vendors, kind of like a food truck park, and had different kinds of options for everyone. We got munchies from several places and had a great time!
When dinner was over, we walked down to the Congress Avenue Bridge to see the last Austin attraction we wanted to take in; the Bats! The bridge is home to the world’s largest urban bat colony (who counts the bats btw?) and every night 1.5 million bats fly out from under the bridge. It’s really a cool thing to see, and Luke was especially excited!!!
They take off right after sunset, so while you’re waiting you can take in the beautiful Texas sky as the sun goes down! It would be really romantic if you didn’t have two kids tugging at you every few seconds asking when the bats were going to fly out!
After we watched the bats until they flew so far away we couldn’t see them anymore, we grabbed some ice cream and took that back to the hotel for dessert.
We went home the next morning. The trip wasn’t the beach or Disney, but looking back it was a good time! It is so important to get away from the everyday routine and just focus on family time! There will always be the office, the next promotion, the next project, but the time with your kids is so short, and making new memories will stay with them forever. Even if they remember making fun of mom’s “chest privates!”
Have you had a fun, “cheap” trip lately? Where did you go? Let me know in the comments and be sure join my email list!Follow Our Story