A trip to Texas Hill Country

Although I already reached my goal of taking 12 trips in 2016, I just can’t seem to stop travelling! Two weeks ago I packed my bags again and hopped on a plane (weirdly my first flight since March!) and flew out to visit my sister in the hill country of Texas.

Although I lived in Texas for six years and have visited frequently since leaving in 2008, I had only been to the small city of San Marcos once before, for a wedding many years ago. I was so excited to explore with a local and see what this place has to offer.

Brunch at The Root Cellar, San Marcos, Texas

Our first order of business, naturally, was brunch. Ally and her best friend Angelica took me to their favorite spot, where I scarfed down as much French toast as I could handle and then marveled at the $13 check. Definitely not in New York anymore!

Texas State University

A tour of Texas State University was necessary, and I have to say it was really fun being back on a college campus! Especially because classes just started THIS week, so there were very few people around as we explored, and the clearance section of the bookstore hadn’t been raided.

San Marcos, Texas

Seriously, San Marcos is just the cutest place – we kept coming back to the square for more food, coffee, shopping and ice cream.

Donuts from Shipley

As usual, this trip was all about the food for me. I demanded trips to Torchy’s for tacos and Shipley for donuts, much to the amusement of my sister and her friends, who eat these delicious treats on a regular basis.

San Marcos River

As you  may have noticed, it was overcast and rainy for my entire trip. A real bummer, since San Marcos is very much an outdoor town! I wanted to go tubing in the river but the weather never cooperated, so I settled for a walking tour on my last evening in town. I seriously felt like I was in a country song!

Greetings from San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos, you’ve won me over. Until next time!

P.S. You can read A’s take on my home on her blog today!

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#take12trips: Complete!

Back in January, I set the audacious goal of taking 12 trips in 2016 (an idea I borrowed from Clare over at Need Another Holiday). It felt absurd for a number of reasons, including the fact that I have a full-time job with limited vacation time, and the memory of only leaving New York City four times in all of 2015. But I set the goal anyway. The guidelines I set for myself were pretty simple – if I left New York’s five boroughs, it counted – and that certainly made it easier to accomplish. As of the end of last month, I’ve taken 12 trips – and there are more to come! Here’s a look back…

The Washington Monument on a foggy day, Washington DC
1. Washington, D.C.

I started the year by jumping on a bus to visit my friend Courtney in her new home, and we had a great weekend hanging out, eating and sightseeing – despite the rainy weather and the fact that we both had horrible colds.

Sunset in Allen, Texas
2. Dallas

Trip number 2 came somewhat unexpectedly when I found dirt-cheap flights to Dallas on my mom’s birthday weekend. It was my first trip to see them in about a year and a half, so we had a great time shopping, visiting museums and just hanging out!

Marina Green, San Francisco
3. San Francisco

My best friend and I decided to meet up in her favorite city for once – bonus that I had never been and had always wanted to go. It definitely lived up to the hype!

Sunrise on the beach in Nassau, Bahamas

4. The Bahamas

Another spontaneous long weekend away because of a cheap flight, this one motivated by the miserable New York winter.

View of downtown Phoenix, Arizona
5. Phoenix

I re-ignited an age-old tradition this year by spending a week in Arizona for MLB spring training! Bonus that I have a ton of friends and family there, and my parents joined me as well.

Breakneck Ridge, New York
6. Breakneck Ridge

My friends somehow tricked me into climbing a mountain upstate, but I was well rewarded with ALL THE FOOD in Cold Spring after.

View from One Liberty Observatory Deck, Philadelphia
7. Philadelphia

I didn’t love Philadelphia, true, but I was thrilled to take advantage of a transitional period and squeeze in an adventure!

Long Beach, New York
8, 11. Long Beach

I have, as you know, become quite the professional beach bum this summer. It’s just too easy to take advantage of!

Mural in Jersey City
 9, 12. Jersey City

I haven’t written about Jersey City at all, because I’ve just been hanging out at my friend Ashley’s apartment, but hey – the walk through Little India is cultural and the street art is on point.

Jones Beach
10. Jones Beach

Not my favorite beach, if only because it’s so hard to get to, but hey – can’t beat a day trip.

I’m excited to see just how many trips I can cram into 12 months – I’m off to Texas again on Wednesday, and I’m thinking at least one more beach trip before summer ends. But as I’ve learned – some of the best vacations are spontaneous!

A visit to the Perot Museum

Perot Museum Dallas

In the category “things I love to do but don’t do nearly enough:” visit museums! The history buff in me adores winding through exhibits, learning about anything and everything, and museum-hopping is usually a highlight wherever I travel. My parents also love a good museum, and so on my recent trip to Dallas we decided to check out the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Perot Museum Dallas architecture

Located in the heart of downtown Dallas, the museum building itself is not only gorgeous but sustainable.

Perot Museum Dallas

I personally enjoyed the mini-exhibit on animal poo, located just outside the restrooms.

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While I was never the kid into dinosaurs, I did enjoy exploring the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall. Did you know there’s a dino called the Dallasaurus? Me neither, but it’s now officially my favorite.

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While I’m not a science person in general, there are two specific types that get me excited. I’ve always loved meteorology and the weather – my kindergarten teacher got more than she bargained for when she asked if it was sunny or cloudy and got a five-minute lesson on the day’s barometric pressure. And I’ve also loved astronomy since our second-grade unit. As an adult, I’ve carried that over into writing about the space-shuttle program and exploring the Air and Space Museum in DC when we only had time for one museum. I was really excited to see exhibits on both meteorology and astronomy at the Perot Museum! And of course I had to pose in front of the green screen weather studio.

If you want to visit the Perot Museum (and I highly recommend you do, although maybe not on a Saturday – tiny humans everywhere!), it’s $19 for adults and you can get tickets here, although the line in person moved quickly. Info on parking is here, although we found a public lot just past Lot B on the map that was cheaper than museum parking. 

A(nother) weekend in Dallas

By now you all know the little secret I was keeping: I spent last weekend in Dallas, surprising my mom for her birthday! Ever since I left home at 18, I’ve dreamed of someday returning and surprising a family member. I kind of always figured it’d be my sister, but the stars aligned and I was able to go for my mom’s birthday weekend without taking any vacation time and using points to pay for the flight.  And so that’s how I ended up back Allen, Texas, for three days!

Tacos in Dallas at the Company Cafe

The first order of business, as always,  was a stop for tacos: specifically, breakfast tacos at Company Cafe. Tacos are my favorite food, and it’s a bit of a game for me to see how many I can eat in any given weekend down south.

The Perot Museum in Dallas

On Saturday we played tourists (I suppose I technically was a tourist!) and ventured to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science where I channeled my inner child. More to come on this soon!

Sunset in Allen, TexasDallas, Texas skyline

Though I spent my six years living in Dallas whining about how boring it was, the more time I spend away the more impressed I become each time I visit for a weekend. You can’t argue with that stunning suburban sunset in Allen or the Dallas skyline on a cloudy day.

Another successful weekend trip in the books.

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