Sunday, August 28, 2011

Austin, nice to meet you, week 1

Friday is for New Finds will be consumed with learning Austin for the foreseeable future. Consider yourself warned!

Last weekend Andrew turned 20.  Yes, you heard me correctly...TWENTY!  Can you even imagine being as young as me and having a twenty-year-old son?  Since within the week of his birthday we'd moved cross-country and into our new home in Austin, we hadn't really planned anything for him.  Here's where living in a funky city comes in super handy.  All we had to do was ask him what he'd like to do with the family on a Friday night downtown.  And, then, we just hop into the car and drive the 10 minutes up the road.  Pretty simple!

Turns out Drew can create a pretty perfect Friday-night Austin itinerary.  Thought you might enjoy for yourself

1.  6:00 pm, dinner at an Austin favorite cafe, Magnolia Cafe.

From the Magnolia website:  "Fresh food cooked with passion in a comfortable setting, kind of like your favorite aunt's giant kitchen, if she had one. Open 24/8."  For the record, I had the Voodoo Blue Cheese Burger and it was delicious!  Also, the iced tea was perfect and the service excellent.

2.  7:30, wait on the Congress Avenue bridge for the nightly departure of 1.5 MILLION Mexican free-tail bats from under the bridge into the Austin skyline. By the way,  I called the bat hotline (yes, you heard that correctly) to find out what time to expect them to put on their show.  

their bat pose
We're told that from the months of March to November, this seemingly ordinary city bridge houses the largest urban bat colony in North America.  They leave their daytime sleeping quarters and forage for dinner, about ten to thirty-thousand POUNDS of bugs.  Between the fun tourist attraction they offer and the free pest control, maybe bats should be the city's mascot instead of longhorns?  Based on all the bat-shaped memorabilia around I'm thinking some people just went ahead and made that decision on their own.

 I really wasn't certain I'd be able to watch this flapping procession, so compromised by videotaping it instead of just watching.  Unfortunately, there's some kind of glitch that's keeping me from posting the video and my still shots aren't very clear.

Even with my squeamishness, this was an amazing sight to behold and I'm so glad Andrew talked me into going.  

After watching the smoke-like columns of bats fly into the horizon, we turned around on the bridge and saw this.  

3.  Shopping on South Congress. 

So many quirky, delicious, delightful shops.  Unfortunately several were closed by the time we got there (really, Austin?  on a Friday night?) but we found these wonders all the same.

New Bohemia Retro Resale 

Big Top Candy Shop

My kids after a Friday night in Austin:

Can't wait to come back to this store when it's open.  Yes, that's a cowboy riding a rabbit.  Keep Austin weird, right?

Also, you really can't beat living in a town where the residents dispense good will like this, can you??
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