Glorious Check-In: Lake Austin Spa Resort

Welcome to Austin sign

Austin has to be one of my favorite cities. Friendly locals, stellar live music and BBQ served by the pound around every corner. What’s not to love?

Earlier this year I took a drive 30 minutes outside of downtown to spend two night at Lake Austin Spa Resort, situated on 19 lake-front acres in Texas Hill Country.

Lake Austin Spa

As you’d expect from a place with “spa” in the name, Lake Austin is all about relaxation and rejuvenation. At check-in, you’re given your own water bottle with your name on it (hydration is important!) and encouraged to wear your plush robe out and about around the hotel, even to the dining room where health-focused meals are served day-round. It’s easy to find a cozy space to yourself both indoors and outdoors here. This hammock on the water (above) was my favorite reading spot, while the library (below) was my spot of choice for coffee in the morning.

Lake Austin Spa Bird Room

There’s a walking path that makes a little loop around the grounds. The gardens here are just gorgeous, with herbs, vegetables and flowers that are used in the hotel’s seasonal menus and organic spa treatments (you can read the interview with the resort’s “Director of Flora & Fauna” I wrote for Jetsetter here). There’s a pool in the midst of it all, the grape-scented aroma of the Texas Mountain Laurel perfumes the breeze around you as you swim.

Lake Austin Spa Gardens

There’s a long list of daily activities to keep guests busy, too. Sign up for dozens of fitness classes from yoga to dance, or take advantage of the resort’s waterside location with options like kayaking, standup paddle boarding, and sculling. Here I am doing my best tree pose on the lakeside yoga deck.

Lake Austin Spa Yoga Deck

They also offer themed weeks and guest instructors on a regular basis. In September, they’re running a culinary week with cooking classes and a Green Chile Festival and a Meditation week in November. Check out the full calendar here.

And, of course, there’s the spa where, besides trying one of their hundreds of treatments you can take a swim in the lap pool housed in a beautiful barn, lounge in a cabana by the outdoor pool and have lunch at the Aster Cafe. The spa is open to visitors as well as guests, with day packages available as well as a la carte options.

Lake Austin Spa

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From Around the World Wide Web

Kinfolk Swimming Holes

image via Kinfolk 

Here are some bits and pieces I’ve enjoyed reading this week. Have a glorious weekend!

Exploring swimming holes in upstate New York with Kinfolk Magazine 

A road trip from Wenatchee, Washington to Portland, Oregon on Hither & Thither 

Incredible old houses you’ll recognize from the movies on Country Living (the house from Money Pit is for sale!)

A roundup of the best spots to eat and drink in San Francisco’s Tenderloin in the New York Times

Drooling over this story from Garden & Gun on the best Southern breakfast joints (here’s a slideshow with more photos of the dishes)

Lots of great finds from Design Tripper‘s adventures on the road, including Manka’s Inverness Lodge

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Glorious Eats: Food Boats in New York City

Water Table New York

image via The Water Table

I’m a sucker for novelty alfresco dining. Delicious food served in an out-of-the-ordinary outdoor setting? I’ll buy that ticket. This summer, the waterways around Manhattan have some of the hottest seats in the city. Here are some of my favorite boats-turned-restaurants to try before the fall:

Grand Banks Oyster Bar

Grand Banks
Docked at: Pier 25 Hudson River Park

New this summer, Grand Banks serves sustainably sourced oysters, seasonal small plates like red snapper ceviche, fluke crudo and fried squash blossoms, cocktails and wine aboard the historic F/V Sherman Zwicker, the last of a fleet of schooners that fished the Grand Banks of the North Atlantic (read more about the boat’s fascinating history here). Tables are first come, first served and, if you like what you see, the boat is available for a limited number of private events.

The Water Table lobster roll

The Water Table 
Sailing from: Skyport Marina (23rd Street & FDR Drive)

Cruise around New York Harbor aboard a repurposed Yard Patrol Boat built for the U.S. Navy in 1944. The three-course, New England-inspired menu served on Saturdays and Sundays runs $75 and includes chilled cucumber soup, a Maine lobster roll and an ice cream float, while Sunday’s $50 menu stars lobster mac and cheese. Cocktails and craft beer are also available for purchase and reservations are required.

North River Lobster Company Opening at Pier 81

North River Lobster Company 
Sailing from: Pier 81 (W. 41st Street & West Side Highway)

Also new this summer is North River Lobster Company which specializes in, you guessed it, lobster in all forms. They also serve other seafood like shrimp po’boys and fish tacos, and have a raw bar offering. The boat goes out for a 30 minute sail every half hour (check the sailing schedule here). Beer and wine are also available and seating is first come, first served.

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Glorious Getaway: The Graham & Co.

Graham & Co

I’ve always got my ear to the ground for weekend getaways within a few hours of New York City and, after a friend raved about her recent visit to Graham & Co. this 20-room boutique hotel has just moved to the top of the list. It’s in the Catskills, which means easy access to nearby hiking trails and swimming holes in the summer, and Hunter Mountain for skiing in the winter. They offer free bikes for exploring the town of Phoenicia’s Main Street and it’s a short drive to the region’s other charming towns like Woodstock.

Graham & Co movie

There’s lots to keep guests busy at the hotel, too. During the summer they host family-friendly movie nights under the stars. There’s a badminton court, hammocks for relaxing in and the pool, which is fed by an artesian spring on the property.

Graham & Co room

Graham & Co room

Each room is decorated with little knick-knacks hand-picked from local shops, plus Tivoli radios in all and kitchenettes in some. And breakfast is offered on weekends. Note: they get booked up way ahead of time, so be sure to reserve early.

Graham & Co

Graham & Co breakfast

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All photos via Graham & Co. 

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