I had such a good time visiting Austin in June we decided to take the whole family there a few weeks ago. Brandie hadn't seen Clint, Dawn & Lily for almost three years, and I couldn't wait to go back for more Salt Lick so we booked some airline tickets and went.
Compared to our last family trip, this one got off to a good start. We made it to our local airport with plenty of time to spare, remembered to bring the carseats and even made it through the first flight without having to resort to using the portable dvd player Erin & Geoff bought us before we left California (the ace card in my bag of tricks).
When we landed in Atlanta however, things started to seem more familiar. First we spent half an hour on the jetway waiting for our gate to clear, while our flight attendant repeatedly berated and threatened a retired lady for getting out of her seat to use the bathroom. The plane couldn't move while she was out of her seat, and we could have missed our opportunity to make the gate, but the flight attendant could have demonstrated just a little bit of sympathy. We both felt she should have just peed in her seat and let him clean it up.
The delay on the jetway ate up a good part of our planned two-hour layover in the Atlanta airport, but we still had time to grab some lunch and let Sophie run around in the nice play area they had across from our gate. Some of the other parents were taking the opportunity to catch up on their cell calls, feet up and facing away from the play area, and didn't notice their kids bullying or even spitting on others (call us over-protective) but we managed to have a good time anyway.
While we were busy keeping Sophie spit-free and Josie fed, we noticed our departure time had changed. Apparently the plane we were supposed to fly out on hadn't left Charlotte yet, due to some maintenance problems. Well, the shorter version of the story (we're on paragraph #5 and we're not even in Austin yet) is that our two-hour layover turned into an eight-hour layover. Our gate changed five times, usually without anyone notifying the passengers. Fortunately none of us got sick, but we were all exhausted and on our last nerve by the time we met Clint at the Austin airport.
Thankfully the rest of our trip went smoothly and we saw a lot of Austin in a very short amount of time thanks to Clint & Dawn's tireless efforts, even with a 2-month-old, a 19-month-old and almost-3-year-old in tow! I enjoyed revisiting and seeing Brandie experience the Whole Foods Flagship store, the Salt Lick and Amy's Ice Cream (this time I got Key Lime Pie ice cream with Ginger Snaps crushed in), and loved seeing the Austin Children's Museum and the Congress St. Bridge bat colony for the first time (video coming soon). Sophie loved riding her first train at Zilker Park, and running around endlessly with her friend Lily (video also coming soon).
We were also treated to some of the best food I've had in recent memory, which on top of the Salt Lick and Amy's included Gingerbread Pancakes at Kerby Lane Cafe, Pollo Tequila at (help, Dawn!) and the portabello crepes at La Madeleine. If you have one of these bistros nearby (it's a Houston-based chain but they're in quite a few places now, including DC) I highly recommend going!
Thanks again to Clint, Dawn & Lily for sharing their beautiful home and city with us! It was great to catch up, and amazing to watch our kids play together. As I joked to Clint, it reminded me of our first days working together. Also in case anyone didn't already know, Clint & Dawn are the ones to credit with our whole happy family, as they introduced Brandie & I one evening at their apartment over seven years ago. It took them about six months of work brokering our mutual interest, but that's a story for another time!
We're now both devout fans of Austin, and intend to go back as soon and as often as we can! We'll just try to avoid the Atlanta airport from now on, it seems to have something against us.