Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Texas (Page 3 of 4)

Turo: A Modern Car Rental Option

When planning our Austin trip, we decided to save money and not rent a car.  Austin is a very walkable city and I never felt the least bit unsafe walking around. Uber and Lyft are prevalent in Austin as well. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper and more exciting, Revel mopeds are all over the place as well as the slightly more dangerous Lime Scooters. If you’re looking to go a little further without going through the traditional rental car companies, I highly recommend Turo.

We now have crowd sourced taxi services through uber and Lyft, grocery delivery from Shipt and Instacart, and food delivery from Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub. Now, rental cars have become crowd sourced through Turo, which allows you to rent cars directly from people. If you’re interested in unusual cars, Turo has more options than the rental car agencies. You can find a showy sports car, a camper van, or a rugged truck.

Barton Springs Pool

Where traditional rental companies encourage longer rentals, Turo allows you to even rent for a single day, which is what we did to get out of downtown Austin and head to Mount Bonnell. We rented a tiny, electric, Fiat 500, which is the exact opposite of the massive Nissan Armada we got tricked into renting to drive to the Grand Canyon last year (there are only two of us. Why would we need a third row of seats? We didn’t really even need the second row). It was the first time we had ever driven an electric car and that was an experience, but it wasn’t difficult to find free electric charging stations in Austin which made it much cheaper than renting a typical gas powered vehicle. And with a ridiculously low $20/day rate, it was hard to go wrong with that tiny car.

With Turo being so new, they’re not as common outside of the big cities. There were plenty of cars to choose from in Austin but there’s only a few available where I live. Of course, since you are renting someone’s personal vehicle there are mileage limits that the traditional rental car agencies have done away with. So, Turo may not be the best option for your next road trip, but its a great choice if you are traveling to a city and would like to be able to explore it with your own wheels.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Turo did not pay me to write this, but if they offer, I wouldn’t decline. 😉

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Wordless Wednesday: Savanna Meadow

The Savanna Meadow

Wordless Wednesday: Austin Bridge

Wordless Wednesday: Family Garden

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Waterfall in the Family Garden

After climbing Mount Bonnell, we were looking for somewhere else to explore outside of downtown Austin to enjoy the beautiful Texas sunshine. Even though it was February and I knew there wouldn’t be much blooming, we headed to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Located 10 miles southwest of Downtown Austin, the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center is the state botanical garden and arboretum of Texas.

First Lady Lady Bird Johnson opened the gardens in 1982 as a way to showcase and protect native Texas flora. The wildflower center has five distinct zones: the central gardens, the family garden (top), the Texas Arboretum, the Savanna Meadow (below), and the hill country trails. Even though we visited in February and there weren’t a ton of flowers in bloom, there was green to be seen.

The Savanna Meadow

The hill country trails are a unique area of the wildflower center with 70 acres set aside to study prescribed fires and how they affect the growth of native plants. There are about a mile of trails in this section that give visitors an up close look at fire and land management.

The Texas Arboretum features 16 acres of native Texas trees. A mile long path takes visitors through the arboretum to see the variety of maples, oaks, and more. One of the most unique features of the arboretum is the Hall of Texas Heroes which features offspring of some of Texas’ most historically significant trees. Trees on display include the Battle Oaks, Heart O’ Texas Oak, and the Matrimonial Oak. These trees grew from acorns harvested by Arboretum staff from the famous trees and planted on the grounds of the Wildflower Center.

If you are planning a visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, visit their website (wildflower.org) ahead of time to discover what is in bloom and get a lay of the land.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Hiking Mount Bonnell

The view from Mount Bonnell

After our rainy first day in Austin, we decided we wanted to get out of the city since the sun was shining on our second day. We rented a car and headed to Mount Bonnell, the highest point in Austin. We first glimpsed Mount Bonnell on our tour of Austin and the Hill Country and I knew that I wanted to return in the sunshine and climb it!

Located in Covert Park, Mount Bonnell stands at 775 feet above sea level and is a great way to get a view of Lake Austin and the many impressive mansions built on its shores. As our tour guide suggested, we started at the trail at the end of the parking lot that is a more gradual incline. That way, we saved the 102 steps for our descent. The park at the top is a great place for a picnic and enjoy the beautiful Austin weather! If you are looking for an outdoor experience during your trip to Austin and you have a car, definitely check out Mount Bonnell! It was an easy hike and the view cannot be beat!

Being that Mount Bonnell is a big tourist destination, it is an area that sees a lot of break ins. There are signs all over the parking lot not to leave valuables in your car. If you are planning a visit, make sure you leave valuables that you don’t want to tote up the mountain wherever you are staying.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Visiting the Texas State Capitol

“Texas stands peerless amid the mighty, and her brow is crowned with bewildering magnificence! This building fires the heart and excites reflection in the minds of all.” – Senator Temple Houston

One of the most highly rated attractions in Austin is the Texas State Capitol. The Capitol Building is modeled after the US Capitol Building in Washington, just like the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing. Being that this is not uncommon for state capitols, I didn’t understand the appeal of Texas State Capitol before I laid eyes on it. The exterior is made of beautiful, local, red granite and contains 360,000 square feet of floor space, more than any other state capitol. The building is 302 feet tall making it taller than the US Capitol. Why? Because everything is bigger in Texas.

I had not planned to visit the capitol building until we drove by it on our tour of the city. I have seen the US Capitol. I have been inside the Michigan State Capitol. They are all the same right? I was really wrong there! This building is bigger than you can imagine. It is an impressive building and has be seen to be understood.

Built in 1888, the rotunda is decorated with a portrait gallery featuring the Presidents of the Republic of Texas and Texas Governors. Sitting on 22 acres, there are many important statues and monuments on the Capitol grounds. Guided tours are offered every day departing about every 30-45 minutes. For more information about tours, visit tspb.texas.gov.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Austin Public Library

Whimsical Staircases in the Library

Libraries aren’t typically on my must-see list when visiting a new place, but our tour guide on our Austin and the Hill Country tour highly recommended a stop at the Austin Public Library. She mentioned that the library has a coffee shop/bar (just like the library in your home town, right?) so we figured that would be a good place to hang out for a while and wait for the rain to pass.

Click to view full sizeIt was too early in the day for a cocktail, when we arrived at the Cookbook, but this teacher loved their literary-themed drink menu (left). I was sold right there! After we got our drinks, we headed up to the roof garden (below), with a view of the city that you would ordinarily have to pay a hefty sum for. There was a lot of open seating up there, I’m sure due to the rain and chilly temperature, but we took a seat looking out over the city for a while enjoying our coffees. The roof garden looked like the perfect place to hang out on a warm day in the shade of the canopies and enjoy Austin.

The Austin Library is a place I could have spent a lot more time. One thing our tour guide mentioned was the staircases (top). I believe she described them as something out of a Harry Potter book. If you are visiting, the Austin Library is a great quiet place to enjoy the uniqueness of the city with a cup of coffee or a cocktail and take in the views.

Library Roof Garden

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Rainy Day Tour of Austin

Our recent trip to Austin, Texas was a short one; we only had 2 days to spend in the city. And of course, our first day was chilly and rainy. We talked about doing the double-decker bus tour that day as a way to see the city, but tours were canceled because of the weather.  So we went back on TripAdvisor looking for a Plan B and we found a tour of Austin and the Hill Country from AO Tours instead.

The tour was a small group in a Mercedes Van which was much nicer than the recent bus tours we’ve taken in Belize and Beaver Island. The tour provided a pre-recorded narration of the sites with our guide peppering in her thoughts and updates as we went along.

The tour started in South Austin before heading to the Hill Country, which was not something I was planning on seeing on this trip, but absolutely blew me away. We ended up renting a car on our second day to see more of that area. We returned to the city and saw the Capital and the University of Texas campus. We also got to hear about the history and see up and coming East Austin.

Overall, this tour was a great way to see the city and pointed out places that I would not have checked out otherwise, including The Austin Public Library, and Mount Bonell. We learned some of the history of the area and it was a great way to relax and stay out of the rain. Our tour guide, Ari also gave a lot of good restaurant recommendations as well.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week to hear more about our trip to Austin! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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