Austin in October

I have a love-hate relationship with Austin. I love to visit, but I hate living there. This works out ok, though, because a) I don't live there now, and b) I've had some really enjoyable visits. Last weekend was one of those.

Friday I visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is one of my most favorite places on Earth. It's always beautiful, regardless of what time of year it is. I've been many times and never tire of it.

Wildflower Center:

Saturday turned dreary, but I had plans to visit the hill country with a friend. So we ventured out into the drizzling rain and drove to Fredericksburg for some late afternoon shopping. I had to go to Chocolat, a chocolatier that makes bite-sized liquid-filled chocolates. I've never had anything like these anywhere else. It's not like the chewy caramels you get at the store, or even like (most) chocolate-covered cherries. It's genuinely liquid-filled. When the shopkeepers give you a free piece, they warn you to put the whole thing in your mouth. (If you don't, you'll soon have filling spilling down your chin and onto your shirt...) Anyway, the free bribe always works; I left with a box full of Cappuccino-filled chocolates. :)

We peeked into shops until after 6pm, when most everything (except restaurants) closes up in Fredericksburg. There are several interesting eateries in town that I've been meaning to try, but when I'm in the hill country I just have to have dinner at Silver K Cafe in Johnson City (between Fredericksburg and Austin). The outside is rustic, but the inside is spacious, with soaring ceilings, orange walls and upscale Texas decor. And the food is spectacular. I had one of the specials: red snapper with tomatos and artichoke hearts on top. They also have a fantastic "peach cobbler", which is more like peach bread pudding than cobbler, but it's oh so good. The whole meal was fabulous.

Saturday night's lodging was a little cabin just outside of Johnson City. It's the kind of place that you only hear about by word of mouth, and it's off a back road where you'd never find it if you didn't know where it was. But it was cozy and comfortable and mostly quiet, aside from acorns going *thunk* on the tin roof all night long.

Scenes from the Hill Country:

Sunday we returned to Fredericksburg, with a stop at Wildseed Farms along the way. Wildseed is more marketplace than farm, but it's a plant-lover's dream. They have a huge array of seeds, live plants, pots, and garden decor, and this time of year they had a bunch of odd gourds and pumpkins on sale. It's always a great place to visit:

Wildseed Farms:

Anyway it was a great trip. I look forward to the next one, probably in the spring for wildflowers.

-- Kira