On our last full day in Austin we decided to "head out into the country". When you have a rented car, a GPS, and some time, why not? This was the plan......
Breakfast at "The Omelletry"
Go the "The Lavender Festival" in Blanco, Texas.
Go to Luckenbach, Texas.
The Omelletry - I don't know about you, but when I am on vacation, I place high value on finding good breakfast places. They don't have to be fancy, just good food, good service, good coffee. When I was in Austin in the late 70's there was an "Omelettry" and an "Omelettry West". I did some research and figured out that the Omelettry West was the one I used to go to. It was a wacky, weird Austin place. Further research showed that Omelettry West had been sold and was now a more "upscale", popular place. So we decided to go to the regular Omelettry. It had a strange mural on the front.
We had to wait a bit, but it was worthwhile. Big omelettes, friendly service and good coffee.
We then hit the road for the Lavender Festival, out in Blanco, Texas. We drove about an hour in the Hill Country, listening to country music on a bright, sunny day. Here's a link showing what the lavender festival is all about. http://www.blancolavenderfest.com/market/ Basically, a crafts fair with booths, in a genuine small town. We checked out the exhibits for about an hour and a half. Emilie and I liked the "historic courthouse" best (mostly because it was air conditioned). but I think Felicia and Rebecca enjoyed the crafts exhibits more.
Then it was off to Luckenbach. When I lived in Austin I heard a lot of talk about Luckenbach, but I had never gone there. It was talked about as this mythical place where people could go "to get away from their stressed lives and just relax and BE". It was never clear whether it was an actual City, or perhaps just a frame of mind, or maybe just a legend. It was also memorialized in one of the great country songs ever "Luckenbach, Texas, Back to the Basics of Love", by Waylon Jennings (with the last stanza sung by Willie Nelson). Wanna know why I love country music? Check this out....
We were driving on a desolate country road for a pretty long time, and the GPS indicated we were about 2 miles from Luckenbach. From the back seat Rebecca asked "Hey Dad, what is this this place we're going to, what's going to be there?". I told the truth...."Becca, I don't know, but we're about to find out."
When we came off the exit we saw a parking lot with some cars and motorcycles parked, an enclosed area that looked like an outdoor dance hall
a small building (that was actually a closed post office that is now a souvenir place)
and a bandstand with seats in front of it
I moseyed (a gait I NEVER use in NY) over next to the bandstand and asked someone if a band was playing today. She said "Yup, the South Austin Moonlighters are playing today. Should be 20 minutes or so." There were quite a few people waiting for the music so I decided to get a beer and wait for the South Austin Moonlighters. Beer was being sold out of large coolers, so I walked over and asked for a real Texas beer. The lady said "How 'bout a Shiner Bock?" I said "Yup, that'll do."
We all walked around checking out the entirety of Luckenbach, which was all right there where we were. Then the South Austin Moonlighters started playing. They opened with a country style song, but the rest of the time it was high level, high energy rock n' roll. They were EXCELLENT!!!
I youtubed them when I got home. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ir12LfEA8 They did this song (The BeeGees "To Love Somebody") when we saw them.
They played for about an hour. After they were done it was announced that the "picker's circle" would start in about an hour. I asked someone what that was, and was told that anyone who wants to come up and pick on their guitar or banjo was welcome to come and do so, and that they usually had some pretty good pickers. I liked knowing that was going to happen, but we decided to buy some souvenirs and hit the road. Rebecca bought a sleeveless shirt that says "Luckenbach, Texas" on the front and "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach" on the back. She's worn it while walking around Manhattan a few times since we've been home.
When we got in the car I said "Well, as far as I can tell, THAT was Luckenbach, Texas, what did y'all think?" Felicia and Rebecca said in unison "It was GREAT." I agreed, and added "It was not what I expected, but it was everything I expected. It was PERFECT."