City of Austin Off-Leash Areas

Ready to let Fido run free? Don’t want to risk a $500 fine?  The City of Austin has 12 off-leash areas.

  1. Auditorium Shores, 920 W Riverside Dr. Austin, TX 78704
  2. Davis White Northeast District Park, 5909 Crystalbrook Dr Austin, TX 78724
  3. Emma Long Metropolitan Park, 1600 City Park Rd Austin, TX 78730
  4. Onion Creek District Park, 7001 Onion Creek Dr Austin, TX 78744
  5. Shoal Creek Greenbelt, 2600-2799 Lamar Blvd. Austin, TX
  6. West Austin Park, 1317 W 10th St Austin, TX 78703
  7. Walnut Creek District Park, 12138 N Lamar Blvd Austin, TX 78753
  8. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd Austin, TX 78704
  9. Red Bud Isle, 3401 Redbud Trail Unit Cr. Austin, TX
  10. Far West, 6916 Great Northern Blvd. Austin, TX 78757
  11. Mary Moore Searight Metro Park, 907 W Slaughter Ln Austin, TX 78748
  12. Norwood Tract at Town Lake Metro Park, 1009 Edgecliff Terrace Austin, TX 78704

Just because your dog is off-leash doesn’t mean there are no rules:

  • Dogs must be within sight and sound control of Owners/handlers at all times
  • Dogs in heat are not allowed in off-leash areas
  • Rabies vaccinations are required for all dogs as required by State Law
  • Owners/handlers must clean up after their dogs and deposit waste into a trash can
  • Aggressive dogs must be removed from public spaces immediately

Nonstop Flights from Austin, Texas

I’m never really going to afford a private jet and am far to cheap to fly first class (heck I usually fly Southwest Airlines and there ain’t any first class seats).   To make flying easier I look for nonstop flights from Austin–makes the flight quicker (often cheaper) and certainly lessens the chance of delays as well as lost luggage.  You can fly to a surprising number of cities nonstop from Austin—London, Boston, Orlando, Washington, and my favorite during ski season Salt Lake City.  ABIA’s website has been kind enough to list all the cities and airlines that offer Nonstop service from Austin at http://www.austintexas.gov/department/nonstop-flights-out-abia Continue reading

Mt. Bonnell – Huff and Puff up 102 steps for a great view

Mt. Bonnell Park, site of a Texas Historical Marker, (3800 Mount Bonnell Road) offers one of the best lookout points publicly accessible in Austin, 775′ above the eastern bank of the Colorado river (known as Lake Austin).  The park is 1 mile past W. 35th street on the top of Mt. Bonnell Road (also accessible by 2222).  There is usually ample parking at the base, but be careful about leaving valuables in the car–the parking lot does have a reputation for car break-ins.

Mt. Bonnell Park, Austin, TXThe summit of Mt. Bonnell is 190′ about the parking lot–102 steps will take you most of the way to the top.  The stairs are paved and have a nice handrail; it is an easy climb.   If you don’t like steps, you can also get to the top by using a gravel pathway.

From the top you can see the city to your back (ok if you’re short you might have to hop up on the picnic table), Tom Miller Dam (near Hula Hut) on the left, and 360 bridge on the right.  The park has 5 picnic tables so if you get there early you can have a nice picnic as the sun sets or just enjoy the breeze.

Dry Creek Saloon, one of Austin’s legendary bars, is close by on Mount Bonnell Road.  Mayfield Park (with peacocks) and Laguna Gloria are on 35th street.


Mt. Bonnell Texas Historical Marker

Year Dedicated: 1969

Information provided by Atomic Axis’ Texas Historical Markers App

Texas Historical Landmarks App

Mount Bonnell – Rising 775 feet above sea level, this limestone height was named for George W. Bonnell, who came to Texas with others to fight for Texas independence, 1836. Was commissioner of Indian Affairs in Republic of Texas under president Sam Houston. Moved in 1839 to Austin; there published the “Texas Sentinel”, 1840. Member Texan-Santa Fe expedition, 1841. Was captured but released in time to join Mier expedition, 1842. Was killed in camp on Rio Grande, Dec, 26, 1842. Frontiersman W.A.A. “Bigfoot” Wallace killed an indian he met face to face while crossing a narrow ledge 50 feet above river, 1839. He also took refuge in a Mount Bonnell cave to recover from “flux”, but was missing so long his sweetheart eloped. In the mid-1800s Mormons built a mill on the Colorado river at foot of Mount Bonnell. Mill was destroyed by flood and the Mormons moved on west. Mount Bonnell was site of picnics and outings in 1850s and 1860s. As it is today. Legend has it that an excursion to the place in the1850s inspired the popular song “Wait for the Wagon and We’ll All Take a Ride”. As a stunt in 1898, Miss Hazel Keyes slid down a cable stretched from the top of Mount Bonnell to south bank of then Lake

Please note that there is controversy about the Mt. Bonnell being named after George Bonnell.

Uncle Billy’s now open on Lake Travis

The soft opening of Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que on Lake Travis felt more like a family dinner than a restaurant run-through – which, to this comfort-foodie, is a very good sign. After a friendly greeting and prompt seating, my dining partner and I could not decide on which of the 4 house-brewed beers to order. Our server’s solution was to bring out a sampler of each… bless him. We opted for the Amber and Pale Ales in the end, both perfect compliments to our starter of steaming fried pickles. Being something of a fried pickle connoisseur, these spears lived up to my high standards after a few necessary minutes of cooling. The hot sauce-spiked ranch dressing was a welcome surprise for a girl who always adds some heat to America’s favorite dipping sauce. 

Photos by Nicole Ryan Photography

In an attempt to try virtually every meat option on the menu, we

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The best performing Kiva microlending team is from Austin, Texas

Did you know that Austin has the highest performing Kiva city lending team in the world—http://www.kiva.org/team/austin_texas. Yep we beat cities many times our size. As of March 14, 2010 the team has loaned almost $157,000.  It was started by a “poor” graduate student…as she said last night at the AIR awards…she’s rich compared to the folks she loans to.

Join the Austin, Texas team or start your own at www.kiva.org–$25 lets you help an entrepreneur and the best part you’ll get it back to help the next entrepreneur.  The Kiva, Austin, Texas members also meet periodically and participate in local charities.

I plan on taking some pictures of my family and I’ve been looking around for backgrounds that would say Austin. Where should I go?

We have several suggestions to give your family portrait that “Austin” feel. In the spring Bluebonnet shots are mandatory for Texans, aren’t they? Year-round there are several other options:

  • Try the park on the south-side of Riverside. There is a hill next to the Long Center that will give you a perfect view of the Austin Skyline and Lady Bird Lake, and at the same time the little-ones can check out the fountains and roll down the hill.

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Kayak on Lady Bird Lake to get the best downtown view

Canoeing on Lake AustinThe water level in Lake Travis is so low right now that it is hard to go sailing or boating. Town Lake….I mean Lady Bird Lake, on the other hand, is a constant level lake with delightfully cool water.   I’ve been curious about the kayaks and canoes on the lake so I decided to head down to the Rowing Dock to rent a kayak and get out on the lake on Labor Day.

It was so busy that we had to circle twice to get parking.  However, the folks at the dock were efficient.  Soon as we turned over our license and $15 (cash or check please) at the dock they got us in a kayak built for two.  We headed to the “ritzy” part of town paralleling Stratford and gawked at the mansion.   I’ve been to a party or two at those mansions but the view from the water side is amazing.   Turning the kayak around at Red Bud Isle (lots of dogs playing in the water) we decided to cross under the Mopac bridge…it is LOUD under there.  A short way down you get a spectacular view of downtown.  I definitely need to bring my camera next time.   We did manage to see turtles basking in the sun and a couple of herons catching there dinner.

All in all a nice way to spend the afternoon.  Kayak rentals on Lady Bird Lake are offered by

Rowing Dock
2418 Stratford Dr
Austin, TX 78746
(512) 459-0999

Texas Rowing Center
1541 West Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 467-7799

Zilker Park Boat Rentals
2100 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78746
(512) 478-3852

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