Violet Crown Trail

A little over a month after the the Violet Crown trail officially opened, we finally made it over to explore the new trail.

The goal of this ambitious trail is to create over 30 miles of trail that goes from downtown Zilker park, south to Hays County.  As of right now, they have finished the trail for the six miles from Zilker to Brodie lane.  

The next phase of this project will connect the trail to the Wildflower Center and Veloway by 2016. 

There are hopes of a third phase, to eventually connect this trail to the Onion Creek Management Unit in Hays County.

Secret Beach in Roy Guerrero Park

After hearing about Secret Beach for years, the boys and I finally made it out to visit last week.  

Blue Hole in Wimberley

The Blue Hole, spring-fed by Cypress Creek, has long been known as a beautiful and refreshing swimming hole in Wimberley. 

In 2005, the town of Wimberley purchased the land and has converted this spot into an incredible regional park.  The Wildflower Center worked with the city to landscape the park, and it shows, because it is just beautiful! 

Phase II of the development opened in May, with hiking trails, soccer fields, a playground and more!

When visitors first arrive at this oasis, they are visited by a lush lawn, with large pecan and cypress trees. 

Families spread their blankets under the shade of the huge pecan and cypress trees, children pull out frisbees and balls and everyone prepares to spend a fantastic day avoiding the Texas heat!  Don't forget to pack the picnic basket!

To the left of the lawn runs the Cypress Creek, spring fed by nearby Jacob's Well.  About 500 feet of the river is available for swimming. The entire length is shaded by large cypress trees. 

At the south end of the river, the river is low, and young waders can enjoy splashing and playing. 

The northern end gets quite deep. Two rope swings hang about 50 feet apart from two different large trees.  My boys spent the entire day jumping off of one swing or another, while I got in some laps swimming the length.

The water is a pleasant 75 degrees - just perfect for a hot summer's day.  Children frequently came out with shivering lips, but a brief stand in the sun warmed them up in just a few minutes!

Tips and thoughts
* When we arrived around 11:30am, all of the parking spots in front of the pool were taken.  There is plenty of parking in the sports area, but it is a bit longer of a walk.  It is maybe only a tenth of a mile, but loaded with coolers, floats and towels, and in 100 degree heat, it can seem longer!  Go with a friend so you can drop off all of your gear first :o)

* The path to the pool is sloped with no steps, so strollers and wheeled coolers can easily make it down

* Bring a blanket and maybe some camp chairs to enjoy while sitting on the lawn.  Bring a frisbee, ball, or deck of cards for the kids to enjoy while they are standing in the sun to warm up!  And don't forget to bring a float or tube to hang out in!

* Admission is $8 for 13 and up and $4 for 4-12.

Monochrome in Austin

An old friend from college came in this week to visit, so we decided to check out our old stomping grounds on the UT Campus.  

I finally got a chance to see the new sculpture:  Monochrome in Austin.  Located at 24th and Speedway (catercorner from RLM - for those of you who made have attended UT), this 50 foot statue, 75 canoe statue  is worth checking out!

If you are looking for a fun way to spend a summer day, here is a list of some of the fun things to see and do on the UT campus.


Radiolabs Detour Austin

This year, for South by Southwest, Radiolab create a Detour for Austin called The Year That Broke Austin.  You can still download the app and take the detour.  

Want to create a Summer Bucketlist for the family?

Sometimes, the only way I can make it through these last few, hectic weeks of school is to start planning all the fun things I want to do with my boys over the summer break.

Along that train of thought, I wanted to pass on a tip that I have seen some other parents use to create a summer bucket list.  Since most of the entries have photos on them, you can use the pinterest button to create your own personalized Summer Bucket List.  Here's how:

Summer is almost here.  I can almost smell the sunscreen!

Try Disc Golf

Looking to try something new?  Have you tried out Disc Golf?

Later winter / early spring is a great time to try out a new course! (Much better than the sweltering heat of summer!)

Looking for Guest Bloggers

My little guy eating a green strawberry
 at Sweet Berry Farms when he was small.
This webpage is and has always been a total labor of love for me.

It is hard to believe, but the Austin Top 50 list is over 12 years old.  

For those of you who don't know the history, it began when my boys were small. I don't offer much personal information about myself on this page, but suffice it to say that I was a new stay-at-home mom and there were days we all really just needed to GET OUT.  

And you know I found?  When we got out of the house, we all became nicer people. I became more patient; my boys laughed more and fought less.

So during the cold winter months (cold being relative since this is Austin), I found myself combing the web, looking for fun places to go.  I created my summer bucket list.  At first it was just a spreadsheet, but as time went on, I found a webpage with links was the easiest way to track the info.

Over time, I'd share this webpage with friends who were looking for things to do. They would ask if it was okay to share with their friends. Until one day I looked at my site traffic, and it had ballooned to over one hundred visitors a day. Yikes! This was more than just friends of friends.

At that point, I decided to change the webpage domain from my husband's personal webpage ( to And the webpage was born.  That was five years ago...

Fast forward twelve years.  I mentioned my boys were small.  Right.  Well, for those of you with wee ones at home, I can tell you, the time from their first bike ride until their first car drive is a blink of an eye.  Seriously.  It was like yesterday - the bike ride.  My hands are still clenched from the car ride ;o)

This year, we are more likely to visit college campuses than park playgrounds.  

We still like to get out and explore, but between summer classes, boy scout trips and band camp... the need has changed from getting out, to the desire to sometimes just  STAY IN, if only for a day ;o)

So, that is why I am putting a call out, to see if there are any people out there interested in writing up their visit to local haunts. 

Over the years, I have had numerous people reach out to me to thank me for the Austin Top 50 list. Newcomers to town, grandmas with visiting grandchildren, or stay-at-home moms just looking to GET OUT.

I'd love to continue the tradition.  Would you be willing to help?  If so, please feel free to contact me at Send me a write-up of somewhere you've been recently along with some photos. Includes some tips for those who might also visit.  I'd love to post it to this webpage, and keep the labor of love alive :o)



PS.  If you are a business owner looking to spread the work about your location, please feel free to contact me about advertising opportunities.  But for blog entries, I am only looking for personal posts.

Touring West Texas

We recently took a Spring Break trip to West Texas with my sons' scout troop. A six hour drive from Austin will bring you to a countryside that is not only very beautiful but is also filled with things to do.  

Teen Volunteer Opportunities!

Volunteering can be a great way to teach your kids the importance of giving back to the community.   And having a teenager, I now have learned it is also highly rated on college applications ;o)

But it can be somewhat difficult to find places that will allow teens to volunteer. I have reached out to a number of local organizations, and here are some opportunities I have learned about!

South by Southwest Gaming Expo

This weekend (12pm - 8pm on Saturday and Sunday), there is a free Gaming Expo in the Palmer Events Center.  Parking is $8, but everything else is free!

The boys and I went last night and it was a lot of fun. Hundreds of game companies had their newest games available for trial. There were a lot of video games, but also some board games as well.

Explore UT

One of my all-time favorite events is happening this weekend, and it isn't just because I bleed burnt orange ;o).  

Explore UT! is the University of Texas' open house.  Many of the departments open up the doors and let you explore what they do.  The day is filled with interesting talks, experiments and hands on activities for all ages.

Go early, as the place fills up very quickly, and parking can be tough to find. Our favorite area was the UT Engineering buildings.  

Some of our don't miss events this year (based on what we enjoyed last year):

* ASME’s Rube Goldberg Machine: 20 Or More Steps to Erase a Chalkboard

* Engineer and build a balloon rocket that you can enter in a race the moon

* Design a building using toothpicks and marshmallows, and test it in earthquake conditions

* Learn how a radar gun works to measure or "clock" speed. You’ll be able to use a radar gun to test how fast a tennis ball travels when you throw it. (okay, oddly enough, my boys *loved* this and spent at least a half hour throwing the tennis ball!)

* Sample liquid nitrogen ice cream and observe flowers, bananas, a racquetball and filled balloons being frozen.

* Get a thermal look at life by taking your picture with an infrared camera, watching heat engines turn fans and power light bulbs (Another unexpected favorite!)

In addition, the Department of Theatre and Dance will present a free performance of MOVE! at 2:00 pm in conjunction with Explore UT. 

Foucault's Pendulum on UT Campus

I recently heard there was a Foucault's Pendulum on the UT Campus.  With two science loving boys and one science loving husband, I figured Christmas break was the perfect time to check it out!

Spring Break Trip to Big Bend

Looking for a great Spring Break Trip?  

Located a short six and a half hour drive from Austin, this is a great place to visit on a long weekend or short week!

We have traveled all over the US on our trips and hit many countries as well, but only last year did we discover the gem in our own back yard!  We saw things we had never seen before.  It was truly amazing and I recommend it for *everyone*!

Now is the time to start planning. 

Below are the details from our trip to Big Bend last year.

Blogging tips