In mid-November I spent a week in east Austin in a beautiful house with Starky and Rufus, two super sweet dogs. The house sit was scheduled for 4 days or so, but the homeowner, Tim, very kindly offered to let me stay an extra few days when he returned. This was a huge help in the planning process since I frankly didn't have any solid plans between Austin and my next planned house sit.
Starky and Rufus are professional loungers, better than most dogs I've met, and they take their work seriously. Unless someone knocked on the door or it was meal time, they found the softest available spot, spread out, and snored the day away.
We took a walk to the local park once a day in the morning and spent a lot of quality time in the backyard since the kitchen floors were being replaced. Rufus is reportedly a ferocious squirrel hunter, but I never saw him do much more than raise an eyebrow at one while we were hanging out.
With the reno happening, I decided to stay with the dogs for the most part, leaving for short periods of time to grab groceries or check out a vintage clothing store. I also spent a lot of time watching The Crown, which I am now completely sucked into.
When Tim returned I spent a couple of days roaming through antique and vintage shops like the Austin Antique Mall, the Antique Marketplace, Big Bertha's Paradise, New Bohemia, and Revival Vintage. If you're ever in Austin and interested in checking out vintage purveyors in general, the Austin Vintage Around Town Guide has a good round-up of what's out there.
I also checked out South Congress, because a visit to that hipster paradise is pretty much mandatory. There are a lot of great shops and even better people watching, plus a ton of restaurants and bars. I popped into Torchy's Tacos to pick up some sauce for a friend I'll be seeing down the road and took a taco to go (a Democrat, for the record - delicious).
I had a solid infusion of comfort food at Sap's Fine Thai after a morning of wandering around an antique shop for an hour or so. The owner was walking around congratulating other customers on not ordering boring old Pad Thai and expanding their horizons, but it had been forever, I was tired, and their Pad Thai hit the spot!
After more meandering I stopped in for a glass of wine at the completely deserted Carousel Lounge. It was cool, dark, and quiet inside, which was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. This place is super popular, but I luckily hit it at the introvert hour.
On Monday morning I headed off for two days of camping, courtesy of Hipcamp, an alternative camping platform that offers everything from high-end rental properties on the beach to primitive camping on both private and public land. My first stop was at a winery about an hour north of Austin.