I’ve never been much of a city gal. I like being near one and to take advantage of its culture, but I like grass, greenery, and seeing the horizon. So living downtown where parking blows, traffic gridlocks all day, and cement is the only thing that ever touches my shoes, wasn’t really something I sought out.
Now, give me the opportunity to live right on the outskirts – gaining benefits from both sides (neighborhood and city), you’ll find me with my bags already packed. Then again, I somewhat live out of a suitcase so my bags aren’t far from being already packed anyways.
I’ve had my eyes on Clarksville for years. It’s a historic neighborhood on a hill with cute, relatively modest homes, and is less than a mile away from the bustling downtown. White picket fences still exist here. Even Austin’s original pharmacy and fountain shop is still taking orders. We found an adorable apt studio 1/2 block West 6th street on Blanco.
When I say studio..I’m talkin’ 400 sq ft. It’s amazing how, when a layout is designed well with cubby holes and lots of built-in cabinets, we don’t need a lot of space.
1 month – extended another 2 weeks because we weren’t ready to give it up. We probably would have stayed longer if it was big enough for Kitty and SXSW didn’t raise prices for vacation rentals 3 fold in Austin. This is the longest we’ve stayed in a home since August 20th.
Walking everywhere, everyday: I could walk to Whole Foods in 5 min. flat. Yes, I timed it. Rounders Pizza: 3 min. Tacos & Tequilas: 8 min. 24 Diner: 5 min. Counter Cafe: 6 min. A big park: 3 min. Sweetish Hill Bakery: less than a min. Clark’s Oyster: :30 seconds. SECONDS. I kid you not. This got me active and enjoying our 75 degree weather (or 27 degree weather dependent on the day).
Cozy: I felt super cozy and safe every time I stepped into our house. Everything was high quality – from the pillows to the throw blankets, soft and comfortable was the trend. Almost every light had a dimming feature. While studying hotels, I’ve been consistently hearing, “put $ into lighting because it changes the entire feel.” I now know first hand how that can make you feel.
Like a hotel: We arrived to a bottle of wine, a welcome note, a personalized “in the neighborhood guide,” books on Austin, shampoo and conditioner toiletries, and paper pads with the home address stamped on them: it was little touches, but made it feel like we were on vacation in Austin. Strangely enough, those little touches gave me more appreciation for this town through the eyes of a tourist.
More walking: Instead of just walking to bars and restaurants, we set out one Saturday to walk across town. We ended up at Mueller BBQ way on East 7th and Pleasant Valley (that is the same distance as walking from Mopac to 1-35 in downtown Austin), stopped at the new Alta’s cafe on the water and walked the Hike & Bike trail back. Another day we walked to Peter Pan golf! Another day to I-35 on the trail.
One very early morning, we woke up to cheer on Austin Marathon runners at the start line. We walked to the Capitol and found it smothered in fog. I’ve never been to a marathon, and I honestly wouldn’t have driven there and dealt with parking. But, it was a 15 minute walk, and it sounded like a cool, different experience. I’ll be honest, I kinda teared up at how amazing it was to see thousands upon thousands of people, of all different sizes and ages, pushing themselves to reach a goal.
You really do see things in a different way when you walk: I think it’s easier to appreciate the details. Home # 9 stands as the one that really made me start taking notice of the day-to-day beauty in things. The joy that comes from simply smiling at people instead of looking away when you pass them on the sidewalk. Waiting that extra 2 seconds to hold the door open for someone. The beautiful sound of a small water fountain in someone’s yard. The laughing and clinking of glasses at a restaurant…even if you’re not at the table.
This house experience seemed to be a turning point in how I move through my days and appreciate the little things: that’s one ah-ha I plan to always remember.
Onward to our next LifeVenture,