The last time I came to Austin it was a whirlwind—a quick cab ride to the city with an hour for the state capitol (majestic dome etched in color, open, expansive), and forty minutes for the Lyndon Johnson library (exterior—an image in white, interior thoughtful, humorous, inspiring). Both sites I would recommend to anyone coming to this city.
In short—the Texas state capitol is easily summed up in one word. Awesome. The architecture is phenomenal, and it apparently is one of the few capitol buildings that stands taller than the National Capitol in Washington, DC. Nearby on the campus of the University of Texas, Austin is the LBJ Library—a building that includes an animatronic LBJ cracking his trademark jokes, while one floor beneath is a testament to his work on civil rights in this country. This library, if anything, emphasizes just how complex one man could be—and how he has the power to effect so much.
This trip has been a bit leisurely in that I still have plenty of time to see the city, and instead spent time setting up for the swarms of preservationists descending on this city. I have, however, eaten well
- Moonshine Grill (Apparently the Trout is fantastic, I loved my chicken Almondine).
- Polvos—a Mexican food place in the South Congress area. Chicken Enchilada with Mole, be still my heart.
Sixth street feels a little bit like Nashville’s main drag—music piping out of every building (though I heard it is the place to hang out for the students of UT). And the bat’s are only a few blocks away.
I also stopped by the Driskill Hotel (a member of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels Program). The building as a whole is pretty cool, but I loved the wood paneling on the ceiling, the mustangs and the glass domes on the interior. I also think it is pretty cool that it is the site of LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson’s first date and, like many old hotels, might be haunted.
More to come: Tonight is the opening plenary and reception so I’ll be tweeting up a storm—and will report back if I can by early tomorrow. In case you haven’t heard yet you can also watch the opening plenary live. It will be streaming on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s webpage (www.preservationnation.org).