Texas Forever Vacation: Go West Young Man!
Vacation is finally blogged! You can read all about our travels out west, then south and back central. Texas forever, y’all.
Summer. I really do miss you.
This is why I have a blog, so I can reminisce a bit longer and take y’all with me.
If you’re new to the blog, I kinda/maybe love my state. And, we really want our kids to know and love it, too. State pride in Texas, y’all, it’s a thing.
Three summers ago, we drove 2,600 miles and saw lots of Texas. Yes, all those miles were clocked driving around the Lone Star state. This year, we decided to go west, then south and hit more of the coast, and then come back central. What providence that God allowed us to love on Texas in such a profound way, so we could pray for her recovery today. Isn’t He a good father, leading us there?
Below is our route, starting in Austin. Sheez. Texas is big, y’all.
We began our journey by heading west to Alpine and the McDonald Observatory so we could participate in the amazingly awesome “Star Party.” Book it in advance, y’all. Before the actual star viewing, we had an educational presentation on the moon. Which, in Scott’s wisdom, ending up making the solar eclipse that much cooler because we actually knew what was going on. It was incredibly well done. Even Gigi liked it. I did chuckle, though, when the row of retirees behind us were all, “Man, we would’ve paid money just to sit behind y’all and watch your kids.” Good to know we’re entertainment for others.
It was a super late night (midnight-ish) when we got back to the hotel, but it was definitely worth it. Gianna crashed in Scott’s arms around 10:30pm and stayed asleep the rest of the night. Miracle!
I think the best part was learning about the effects of “light pollution” and how it keeps us city-folk from seeing the beauty of the nighttime sky. It was SO dark out there, but what an awe-inspiring sight to see God’s creation just above us for the viewing. Magnificent in every way.
We slept in and got moving mid-morning to go swim in the natural spring waters at Balmorhea (bal-more-A). I went swimming there as a kid since my dad grew up in Pecos/west Texas, but I remember it being way cooler than what it was. Ha! We totally white trashed it when we realized we left all THREE of Gianna’s swimsuits at home. A swim diaper it was. The spring water was freezing, but the kids had a great time and we can now check it off our bucket list.
A quick drive back to Alpine to shower and we headed into Marfa, but not before swinging by Ft. Davis to take in a little history lesson.
If you’re a lover of Anthropologie, they just did a photo shoot there. Marfa is a teeny tiny (and I do mean little) town at about 5,000ft above sea level.
It was 72 with a cool breeze and we just so happened into town during Viva Big Bend!, a music festival. We reconnected with this guy from Luke’s birthday party a few years ago, enjoyed Mass at the sweetest little parish and then devoured two huge pizzas and salad (and maybe a couple of Modelo’s) at Pizza Foundation. Best pizza on the planet. True story.
We skipped the Marfa Lights (next time y’all) and rested up back at the hotel for our big day at Big Bend. And big it was.
With temps in the upper 90s and the heat index in the low 100s, Scott thought it would be fun to go hiking. Me? Notsomuch. The things we do for people we love. We first explored Boquillas Canyon. I suspect it’s lovely in December. Ha!
Then, we traipsed over to the hot springs, because why not? They were hot. That afternoon nap in the van and the shower we all enjoyed after sure was fabulous. We crashed the local DQ and enjoyed burgers, chicken finger baskets and loads of fries. We sweated out all the calories earlier in the day, for sure!
We enjoyed a little HGTV and Food Network and the kids enjoyed jumping on the hotel beds. Where else can you do that and not get in trouble? We said adios to west Texas the next morning and headed south, but not before making a tiny, overnight pit stop in San Antonio. It’s one of our very favorite Texas cities.
First, we hit up the Basilica of the Little Flower (hidden gem, that one), lit some candles and tried not to set off the fire alarms.
Then, it was dinner in the Pearl district at la Gloria and an impromptu frisbee game with complete strangers. That was super fun until John Paul nailed Luke in the head. #partyfoul
We rallied with ice cream and played tourist riding the boat cruise on the Riverwalk. It’s been ages since we’ve done that.
The kids even got to see a few old dating spots Scott and I used to frequent. And, of course we enjoyed our favorite hotel in all of SA, Hotel Contessa. Every room is a suite (perfect for us!) and it’s on the quiet end of the Riverwalk.
Y’all tired? Because I am.
Coming up next? SOUTH!
Oh, the children are growing up so fast.
Love that you share all the love of your state with your kids. It’s sometimes hard to remember that you can make an entire vacation out of what’s in your own backyard. Granted, your TX backyard is a bit larger than all sorts of other places, but there are so many fun things you can find by going on a road trip.
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