Hello, Internet! I am back from a recent one-week vacation in Texas and all I can say is…. it’s refreshing. We hadn’t been on a real vacation since our honeymoon back in 2016, when we went up to New England, Boston, New Hampshire, etc. It was long overdue and this was a trip that we’d been planning for probably two years. We’d hoped to make it down south in 2018, but the cards just weren’t in our favor. However, we finally did it!
My husband is actually from Texas; he was born there and lived there when he was younger, then again for a year during high school. He definitely has a special connection to the state, and has a lot of family there on his mom’s side, so I am incredibly grateful that we got to take this trip and that he could share all of these wonderful experiences, places and memories with me.
Our trip began early on Saturday, May 18. A 3:30 a.m. wakeup call allowed us plenty of time to get to the airport before our 5:45 a.m. flight. I’ve never flown before, and Ryan hadn’t flown in many years, so we wanted to give ourselves enough time to get our boarding passes, get through security, etc. without having to rush.
As it turns out, I was somehow…. not nervous at all for the flight! Which makes no sense, because I used to get nervous just going on a bus trip to New York City; but hey, I’m not complaining. Honestly, I think I was more excited than anything. We flew to Chicago (Midway) and had a longer connecting flight there…. and then, before you knew it, we landed in Austin!
We flew through Southwest Airlines and I can’t recommend them enough. I was initially very nervous about the idea of not having assigned seats, so I did fork over the additional money for Early Bird Check-In. In the end, I’m glad I did. We were in the “A” boarding group for every flight and were two of the first 30 people to board every time. That eased my mind a lot, as I knew we’d have a great choice of seats *and* be able to sit next to each other. I know some people say it isn’t worth the extra money, but for me, the peace of mind was worth it and then some.
Our first stop once we’d gotten through the airport, got our luggage and picked up our rental car (through Silvercar, which I can’t recommend enough!), the priority was food. Naturally, being in Texas, we headed to Whataburger. Yum! I had a chicken finger sandwich with BBQ sauce and cheese, and fries and a drink. This was my first Whataburger experience and I certainly enjoyed it.
From there, it was off to downtown Austin for a tour of the Texas State Capitol. What a great tour – FREE, a little long and slow, but incredibly informative. We got to see both the Senate and House of Representatives, learn about the history of Texas and see some truly wonderful architecture, too. After the tour, we drove through a nearby college campus and stopped at an H-E-B and a Boot Barn before heading to our home for the next two nights, my husband’s grandmother’s farm in Coupland.
I also got to see some of the area where my husband grew up, including the high school where he went for a year. It was so wonderful to be able to see part of his history and learn more about his past.
Dinner was “real” Texas BBQ at Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse. The turkey was delicious, but I was surprised at how no-frills everything was. Paper plates, paper cups, good portions, plain white bread? and everything just picked up at the counter a la fast food service. The rest of our first day was spent relaxing and sleeping, because apparently the travel had just worn us out!
After Sunday morning church service in Elgin, we headed to Golden Chick for lunch. Other than that, it was another day of relaxing, with a lot of family time with extended family, some of whom I’d never met. We also stopped at Jack In The Box for dinner, another “first” experience!
From Austin/Coupland, it was off to Dallas on Monday morning. Stay tuned for more!