For the past three summers, my family and I have traveled to Texas to visit with family and get a little R&R. Every year, we try to incorporate different attractions and restaurants. This year, we spent a week between Austin and Dallas. We stayed at different hotels in different parts of town than we have in the past. No trip has ever been the same, and we learn how to make the next trip better/easier. For example, this year, we washed our week’s worth of clothes in the hotel’s complimentary laundry room the night before we departed home, so all we would have to do is return our clean laundry into our drawers. We also keep a permanent “summer/winter” packing list in our Evernote account for stress-free packing. On a more personal level, I love our annual trips to Texas, because they encourage me to slow down for a few days and relish every minute of our holiday. My favorite things about our annual summer holiday are water play, warm nights, and local eats.
As a military brat, I spent the larger part of my summer childhood playing with sprinklers or filling up our plastic pool. As a San Francisco parent raising a child in an apartment, the only water play my daughter has is in our bathtub, when visiting museums (Ilse loves the water tables!), or when we visit relatives with backyards. When we are on holiday in Texas, we spend the late afternoons in the pool. This year, Ilse spent five days in a pool; she had a blast! Whether it was at the hotel’s pool or my aunt’s backyard pool, my water baby could not get enough! Ilse’s enthusiasm is so contagious, even I just want to stay in the water until my fingers shrivel like raisins.
The late afternoons are perfect for swimming because it’s still about 90 degrees outside. This brings me to my second favorite thing: warm nights. While I love the cool, temperate weather of San Francisco, I also enjoy a warm, summer night. It’s nice to be outside without a sweater or scarf and watch a little baseball. Ilse gets to wear her tank dresses and sandals all day. We weather the Texas heat with the air-conditioning in our hotel room and by imbibing lots of cold sweet tea.
Our annual trip to Texas has afforded us the opportunity to eat some seriously, delicious food. This year was exceptional, as we drank local beers, ate excellent barbeque and sweets. Of course, we did hit a sour note, by eating at a Golden Corral on our first night in Austin. In my mama’s words, “Never again!” We always try to hit up the local grocery chain to stock up on milk and snacks. Kroger, we love you!
Our annual summer holiday is a wonderful escape for us because it combines spending family time with a little adventure. I love that Ilse is building memories with her great-grandparents. We enjoy the slower pace and the quieter evenings that being somewhere different affords. Even my Type A personality is soothed to slow down when I am away from the city. I can’t wait to plan next year’s trip!
Here are a just a few of the places we love in Texas:
The Crayola Experience, Plano
Hana Market, Austin
Hard Eight Barbeque, Multiple locations
Legacy Food Hall, Plano