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Sweet Summertime Reads | Oh, the Places We Would Go (in NY + TX)…

Sweet Summertime Reads - Summer Beach Reads Feature with Fiction Folio and GReads!

Welcome back for this week’s Sweet Summertime Reads post! This week we’re discussing road trips. Yesterday Ginger shared her desire to road trip along the California Pacific Coast Highway. (Sidenote: Five years ago, Magan called San Diego home and Ginger’s post made her extremely nostalgic. Friends, if you ever have the chance to drive with your windows down and meander along the PCH, please, please do so!) But back to business — for our road trips, we thought it would be fun to share a few places we’d want to take one another if we got to hang out together in our hometowns. Are you ready? Buckle your seat belt!


Well, you see. I grew up in a town of 350 people. Yes, as in that was the population. There were NO stop lights and a blinking intersection made its way town as I was making my exit. The nearest Wal-Mart was about a 30 minute drive away. As you can guess, there wasn’t a whole bunch to see there. I’m kind of cheating and taking Estelle (and you!) on a road trip through Austin, where I currently live. It’s way cooler. And there’s a ton more to do. (Also! Estelle will be visiting me in a few short weeks so some of these things might really be happening, y’all!) 

One of my favorite, favorite locations in Austin is Mount Bonnell. It’s a lookout point over Lake Austin. You have to climb tons of steps to reach the top, but the view is so worth it. On a clear day, you can look left (south) and see downtown Austin. Turn your head 180 degrees to the right and you can see the gorgeous lake curving around the city.

Oh, and you wanna know why this spot is a favorite of mine? It marks the beginning of my marriage to Dustyn. He proposed to me here one somewhat rainy November day almost TEN years ago. We climbed out to the farthest overhang and he feared for his life so he didn’t drop down on one knee (he doesn’t have the best balance), but he whispered sweet words to me and asked me to be his wife. *swoon*

mount bonnell - a place to visit in austin texas

Left Image from Austin Parks & Rec; Right Image from Austin Night Owl

Next up on our road trip would either be Hamilton Pool or Barton Springs Pool. It can be your choice, I promise. You see, we’re doing a summertime feature, so I’m assuming that you’re visiting in that time frame…and guys, it’s HOT here. We’ll need to cool off, especially after our climb up Mount Bonnell. Hamilton Pool (below, left) is absolutely gorgeous. Stunning really. It just seems like it’s carved right out of the earth. And Barton Springs Pool (below, right) — well, it’s about 68 degrees year-round, according to the Parks & Rec website. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

And our final stop for the day would most definitely have to involve some food, right? I think yes. We’re hypothetically going to have a long day of climbing and swimming (or getting a tan). We’re going to be hungry after all of that. AND, I can’t let Estelle or you guys come to Austin, Texas and not have some BBQ. Allow me to introduce you to one of my most favorite BBQ locations, The Salt Lick. There are a few locations around Austin, but I wouldn’t be a good host if I didn’t take you to the original out in Driftwood, TX. It’s located about 30 minutes outside of Austin, and has more seating (read: picnic tables) and BBQ than one could possibly imagine. Their food is absolutely delicious. In fact, my stomach is growling right now. Yum, yum.

the salt lick -- places to eat in austin texas

Image from Trip Advisor

So that wraps up my day trip through Austin, Texas. Whatdya think? When are you visiting? 😉


Greetings! I’m going to tell you something revolutionary: New York City is really hot during the summer. If someone (Magan, perhaps) asked me what time of year they should visit, I would probably suggest the fall or Christmastime. But alas, I will play tour guide for any of my pals when they come to visit. Here are a few of the stops I think that Magan (and you!) should put on your to-do list for your next Manhattan visit!

I’m going to start with the good stuff. Forget the romance in Serendipity. How about the friendship? I always loved that scene where Kate Beckinsale and Molly Shannon had dessert at the restaurant of the same name. Known for this delicious frrrozen hot chocolates and lovely vintage/eclectic decor, this little gem of an eatery is worth the long wait. (For those of you who are wondering, the actual real food a.k.a. not dessert is super delicious too.)

Since Magan is a photographer extraordinaire, I wanted to think of a place with some amazing views. I’ve never been to the High Line before. It’s an elevated park built on a freight line and it has an interesting mix of greenery and the concrete jungle that NYC is all about. During the summer, the park has some great events including STAR GAZING on Tuesday evenings. I asked Magan if she thought that was too romantic to include for a gal pal date but because she’s the best sport, she loved it. So not only did I think the High Line would be a great place for Magan to shoot, but we can also sit back and read on the lawn, or grab a cold drink or snack from the food trucks. So fun!

 Reading Tara Altebrando’s Dreamland Social Club last year convinced me Coney Island was a must-do. This trip (it’s about an hour out of Manhattan by subway) would have a bit of everything: Nathan’s hot dogs, a walk on the boardwalk, a dip in the ocean, and just a nice summer way to escape the city. Plus there are fireworks every Friday night during the summer. That sounds like the perfect ending to a beach day!

On Thursday, be sure to stop over at Fiction Folio to see where Tara is road trippin for Sweet Summertime Reads.

What are your favorite places to explore in your own hometown?

July 25, 2013 - 10:24 am

emery lord - I’ve been in NYC once a season for the past year…and I will take bitter cold over a city summer ANY DAY. I’m planning my first-ever trip to Austin in the fall. Can’t wait for that one!

July 23, 2013 - 10:27 am

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - Estelle: Next time I go to NYC, take me to these places! It was recommended to me on the day before I left NYC to go to the High Line, but I didn’t want to go by myself since I didn’t understand the directions that were given to me but your picture is so neat! Honestly I’d go anywhere you’d take me. You’re a FANTASTIC host for your city and I love the way your love for it makes me love it. MEANS A LOT. xo Magan: Here’s a dorky secret. For about three or four years, I had a subscription to Southern Living magazine (it just ended, sad face) and they ALWAYS feature Texas, and most of the time it seems like they have fantastic Austin nightlife or places to visit in it. And I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go there. ALWAYS. Music, sights, food, all of that. One day, and you can be my tour guide. Seriously. I love this post.

July 21, 2013 - 9:44 pm

Alexa Y. - Girls, this is a WONDERFUL post! I really, really want to go to all the places Magan mentioned in Austin (and seriously, I may just have to make it happen in the future). They look absolutely GORGEOUS, and that BBQ place sounds delicious indeed! As for NY, I’ve been to Serendipity multiple times and LOVED it, and the same goes for the High Line which is especially gorgeous when the sun sets! I have, however, not been to Coney Island and I really think that ought to be remedied…

July 18, 2013 - 1:04 am

Sweet Summertime Reads: My Dream Road Trip | Fiction Folio - […] road trip week for Sweet Summertime Reads!  Ginger and Estelle and Magan shared their road trips with you earlier this week, and today I’m going to share my somewhat […]

July 16, 2013 - 8:44 pm

Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf - Gosh what gorgeous pictures! Love love love love this post of yours…so pretty!

July 16, 2013 - 5:24 pm

Sarah B. - SALT LICK! YES! So, so, so good & totally worth the drive out of town for the original!

July 16, 2013 - 3:23 pm

Amanda @ Hell-Bent to Read - Magan, I didn’t realize you lived in Austin! I have only been once (I live in Dallas), and I loved it, but I want to make it a thing to go down a couple times a year. Also, do you plan on going to the Austin Teen Book Festival in September?

Ah, Estelle. I have been to New York once, and it was only for a day. How sad! I really want to go back and spend a week or so there.

July 16, 2013 - 10:32 am

Cassie - OH MY GOODNESS. Magan, ummm those places are BEAUTIFUL! And Estelle, I now want to go to Coney Island! Wonderful and creative post, ladies!

PS- can we sneak me in the suitcase?? I’m little!

July 16, 2013 - 9:36 am

Katie - I love that you girls will be united shortly! You must be so excited 🙂 Hopefully I finally get to meet you Estelle! Oh, and I LOVE High Line!

July 16, 2013 - 8:35 am

Ginger @ GReads! - Love love love this post! I’ve actually been to both places (Austin too many times to count since it’s right in my backyard + only once to NYC!) Salt Lick is a must when visiting Austin. Mmm their BBQ is delicious. I tried to go to Serendipity when I was in NYC, but the wait was ridiculously long & we were on a time crunch. So I just checked out the gift shop & looked around the restaurant. Very cute.

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