Weekend Getaway in Austin – Day 1

I’ve been to Austin plenty of times, but this past weekend’s trip had the feeling like we’d picked up and flown to California or Europe. It had such a destination feel to it. My love for the city got deeper — I think I could live there!

We headed to Austin for Liz and Matt’s wedding festivities. This post breaks down how we spent our Friday.

A funny thing. Every time we drive to Austin, we see this cloud factory puffing away. Who knew that’s where clouds come from???


Magnolia Cafe South

With a few hours before check-in time at the Holiday Inn Express – Sunset Valley, we searched Yelp and Google Maps for a brunch spot.


At noon, we pulled into Magnolia Cafe South. We were nervous about parking, but they had a decent size lot across the street with open spots.

We wrote our names on the check-in sheet. I picked up a copy of the Austin Chronicle to read during the wait. It wasn’t more than 5 or 10 minutes til we were seated. The place is bigger than it looks. We were seated outside. I enjoyed the feel of the place, the plants scattered around.

IMG_4488Sajan had the T-Rex omelette with shredded smoked turkey, cheese, avocado, and pico de gallo. I chowed down on the Eggs Zapatino smothered in what is noted on the menu as “legendary queso.”

We each indulged in a side of a hotcake/pancake. Mine was buttermilk, his was gingerbread. He found it a little too gingerbready. Mine was just right. On each pancake was a little golden wrapped rectangle of butter, which when opened, melted all over the pancake.

On our food we both splashed a little Yellow Bird habañero sauce that was sitting on the table.

Verdict: Yum.

It had started to sprinkle a little before our brunch stop. When we left, there was a rain shower for about 15 minutes. That was the most rain we saw the entire weekend, despite a forecast for nonstop thunderstorms.

Austin Nature & Science Center

We pulled into a highway parking lot next to the Austin Nature & Science Center. We didn’t specifically plan to go here, but we did want to explore some corner of Zilker Park, and this serendipitously turned out to be it.




There’s a long, scenic path to the building. In front is a mosaic-walled stairway, and a beautiful pond.


When you walk inside and see thousands of bees in a little glass enclosure on your left, you realize that they are all coming from outside near the pond, where you were just standing. Luckily, they seem focused on their work and not on finding people to sting.


Inside the building is a room with cool science museum things you can tinker around with.

Then you can walk through another set of double doors leading outside to different walking paths and places to view animals like birds and reptiles. We were getting short on time, so we left.


We stopped at human sundial. It was too cloudy. There were no shadows to make the sundial functional, but it was cool to see nonetheless.

Holiday Inn – Sunset Valley

We checked into our hotel. No complaints about the entire experience. The staff were friendly. We had a first floor room that was quick to get to. Our room was clean and comfortable. There was a big glass jar of chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies in the lobby.

We relaxed, got ready, and headed to the rehearsal at the church.

Riverbend Church – Smith Family Chapel

The campus of Riverbend Church (15 minutes west of downtown) is so massive, I almost felt like I was driving into a theme park. Everything about it was beautiful, inside and out, just like the couple that was getting married that weekend!



Neill-Cochran Museum

We headed to the Neill-Cochran Museum, just north of downtown, for dinner after the rehearsal. The building is a historic home, one of the oldest in Austin.


When we walked up, it looked so presidential. A few of us ate outside, and others ate inside. We joined them later to play some “get to know the couple” games and to sing Happy Birthday to Liz’s brother Stephen.


Dinner was catered by Freedmen’s BBQ. It was mouthwatering! Brisket, sausage, macaroni, cole slaw, potato salad, etc.

When it was over, I felt so awake and ready to hit the town! When we got in the car, I started yawning. Luckily, Tim agreed to hang out with us in our hotel lobby.

So we grabbed our stash of H-E-B snacks and munched them while chatting away at the hotel later. We looked out the window and happened to see our cousins Wes and Kasey pulling in. Turns out they were checking in that night!

We all chatted for a while. Then we called it a night.

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