(Part of the Austin Rocks series of posts by a local about things to do and see in Austin, Texas)
A free morning in any destination is a wide-open invitation to explore.
While I’m always ready to jump out of a hotel bed and get out there when I travel, it’s a lot easier to roll back over on a weekend morning when I’m at home, in the Austin metro area.
That needed to change, so my husband and I launched ourselves out of the house to spend what I consider to be a perfect morning in any location:
- Great breakfast
- An artsy/cultural thing to feed the brain, and
- Some way to burn off breakfast before it’s time to go find lunch
Here’s what we did for a perfect Austin morning….
There are two Austin locations for Snooze, An A.M. Eatery – we went to the south Austin Snooze so that we’d be set up to work ourselves back north.
An itinerary that is some sort of a loop is ideal.
Although Snooze was not started in Austin (the first one opened in Denver) it is certainly popular here. It features a “pancake flight” on the menu, which is similar to a craft beer flight but makes a lot more sense at breakfast (although if you want some beer at breakfast, who am I to judge?)
In the photo at the top of the post, you can see my pancake flight….left to right is the Pancake of the Day (Brownie the morning we were there,) then their Blueberry Danish Pancake (probably my favorite,) then a Sweet Potato Pancake (close second.) The sausage links were excellent, too, and a lot of the menu items are sourced locally.
When he was student at the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts in the 1950’s, my father (a native Austinite) actually took a sculpture class with Professor Charles Umlauf, but I’d never visited the small Umlauf Sculpture Garden tucked into Zilker Park downtown.
I enjoyed seeing pieces from Umlauf’s many decades of work, laid out in a pleasant garden setting with plenty of benches.
I thought that the 1970 sculpture of a skater looked a lot like Peggy Fleming, and it turns out that it IS modeled after Fleming….
(from the Sculpture Garden website) “Like many Americans in 1968, Umlauf was transfixed by the first televised coverage in color of the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. Inspired by Peggy Fleming’s grace, he paid homage to her with this bronze balanced on a single blade. The 19-year-old Fleming won the only gold medal for the United States.”
I called my Dad from the Sculpture Garden’s parking lot, and he confessed to making a “C” in Umlauf’s class – “I could have done a lot better, but I was too busy chasing after a fellow student named Dolores. Always regretted not working harder.”
Life lessons come at you in some unexpected places.
Other artsy Austin places to see – the Blanton Museum of Art on the UT campus, Mexic-Arte downtown, and The Contemporary Austin (two locations, the Jones Center downtown on Congress Avenue and the other to the west, at the Laguna Gloria estate.)
The local indie Austin Chronicle has 10 can’t-miss Austin art museums and galleries.
A Walk in the Woods (With Peacocks)
Our last stop was to take a stroll on some of the paths in and around the Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve to the northwest of downtown.
It includes an historic cottage and gardens (you’ll often see people there for bridal and quinceañera photos) plus over 20 acres of wildlife habitat and trails.
The big draw, though, are the many peacocks wandering around and hanging out in the trees and on the roofs of the cottage and outbuildings. A pair were given to the original cottage owners as a gift in 1935, and that started a population that is still growing today.
The peacocks are not particularly tame, and they don’t seem interested in accommodating all of the park visitors who approach them trying to take photos, but be patient and move slowly; your moment will come.
My Dad remembers the area well, because he camped nearby in the 1930’s with his Boy Scout troop.
“It was just brush all around back then, and I didn’t know about the peacocks. That night, a few of them started hollering and screeching, and it scared the hell out of me.”
We had a good laugh about that, which capped off a perfect Austin morning.
What’s a perfect morning in YOUR town? Tell us about it in the comments.
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