Friday, August 16, 2013
“Over the last few weeks, we reconfirmed the Iron Rattler is safe to ride, and to make guests feel even more secure, we added a seat belt restraint to each seat,” the statement reads. “The safety of our guests and employees is our company's highest priority.”
This coaster features a staggering drop of 171 feet with an amazing drop angle of 81 degrees; rolls at a blazing top speed of 70 mph; and thrills galore with four over-banked turns — more than any other hybrid coaster, and the first of its kind to feature a completely inverted barrel roll!
To see the Iron Rattler in action check this San Antonio Express-News slideshow.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
The Top 50 New Restaurants for 2013 list has been published by Bon Appetit. They chose six in Texas and the Live Music Capital of the World has three of them: Jeffrey's and Josephine House; Ramen Tatsu-ya; and Sway.
Jeffery's is a long time Austin fine dining supper tradition in the Lone Star State and Josephine House is their new brunch and lunch service.
Austin continues to enhance its reputation for great food, and when coupled with its FunBelt sister city San Antonio you are offered an incredible menu of dining opportunities; I believe the variety of quality cooking in in the Texas Tourism District rates it high among the USA's most flavorful areas. Y'all come, enjoy.
"Travelers visiting the Live Music Capital of the World can fill up on pizza before heading to a show. Renowned pizzerias include Frank & Angie's, Giovanni's Pizza Stand, and Roppolo's where guests can try the "Italian Mex" pizza, which honors Austin's Tex-Mex heritage with spicy flavors of jalapenos and red and gold peppers."
One TripAdvisor traveler commented, "Best pizza outside of NYC."
I am a long time big fan of the "A Pie as You Like It" thin crust cheese pie cooked at Frank & Angie's, build it yourself. They'll deliver to some downtown hotels.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The flagship Whole Foods Market store has announced a renovation to continue through the end of the year. They say construction will happen in phases to ensure the convenience of shoppers isn't compromised.
As part of the flagship remodel, all of the prepared-food venues will be upgraded, including the kitchen, salad bars and hot-food bars. All the food venues will have a new look and feel, and some are being relocated entirely.
The reviewers at Fodor's recommend dining at the Fifth Street Seafood Corner and taking advantage of the Whole Foods wine selection.
Whole Foods built the flagship in their hometown and across the street from the best record store and the best bookstore in Texas; Waterloo Records, and Book People. This is a great Texas tourism culture stop for Austin visitors.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
These gardens are on magnificently endowed parkland with large trees, natural grottoes and aquatic features integrated into a design of spectacular beauty and tranquility. A perfect Texas tourism camera stop for Austin visitors.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
My Texas tourism headline link shows the variety of new bars and restaurants this old area is attracting. The best part of this expansion is the entire W 6th, Red River, and E 6th nightclub-restaurant scene can be covered on foot, a super pub crawl. Nearby are several hotels so the rout is perfect for downtown Austin visitors.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
"Classic dining turns up at this venerable 1894 Bouldin Creek estate where peacocks stroll the lovely grounds, and the beautiful setting is a mainstay for weddings and celebratory Sunday brunches."
Monday, July 22, 2013
“First and foremost, Norman Rockwell was a storyteller. In order to tell the story he had to be much like a film director.”
In 1916, Rockwell sold two ideas to the Saturday Evening Post, kick-starting a 47-year relationship with the publication, producing 327 covers.
Rockwell's war-bond posters of 1943 — “Freedom of Speech,” “Freedom of Worship,” “Freedom from Fear” and “Freedom from Want” — are “the most iconic paintings in American art. It's been estimated that they have been seen by more people than any other works of American art,”
Rockwell began using photography in the mid-'30s, often recruiting his Vermont and, later, Massachusetts neighbors as models. Check this link for an example.
The Fiesta Texas coaster drops from 171 feet at a steep 81 degrees, the speed of the Iron Rattler reaches 70 mph. This ride has four over-banked turns — more than any other hybrid coaster, and the first of its kind to feature a completely inverted barrel roll!
Friday, July 19, 2013
Here's a great review on the often awarded Guenther House breakfasts, served 7 a.m. - 3 p.m..
Thursday, July 18, 2013
ESPN said Austin’s distinct culture and live music scene were factors in the decision. "There's a huge Mecca for BMX right behind us: downtown Austin. People already come here from all over the country to ride BMX, skateboard ... It's going to be awesome."
Featuring the world's best athletes in Skateboarding, BMX, Moto X and Rally, the annual X Games continues to be the most compelling event on the network's action sports calendar. Other cities that host the Summer X Games are Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, Barcelona, Spain, and Munich, Germany.
I'll post Texas tourism news updates as they come our way, check my headline link to see the video promo for X Games 2014 in Austin.
Three other chefs from Austin restaurants have been recently featured: David Garrido of Garrido’s, Sonya Cote of Hillside Farmacy, and Erica Beneke of Max’s Wine Dive (Max's also in San Antonio).
Our Texas tourism recommendation is try at least one of these excellent restaurants during your next Austin visit.
Monday, July 15, 2013
But just as there are hamburger fanatics and long distance pub crawlers, for many folks the McDonald's menue is part of modern home cooking. Those folks are loyal to the Big Mac flavor and those famous skinny fries to the extent they'll seek out dining at a historic McDonald's. And it turns out the Live Music Capital of the World is home to --the first McDonald's in all of Texas, the Capital Plaza McDonald's.
This restaurant opened in 1962. "It didn’t have indoor dining and was in the original style of a burger stand sporting the famous golden arches." It is no longer the original building, but it is the original location and the Big Mac still tastes great.
And, of course, this being the Texas FunBelt they suggest a day trip to Austin.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
"If you arrive before noon, you also miss the insane influx of people who arrive shortly thereafter. From where you get your tube and set in to the pack-out point where the shuttle bus takes you back to your parking area is supposed to be a two-hour float.
"Somehow, we turned it into a four-hour float, and what a great float!
"The San Marcos is absolutely beautiful, if you can stop people-watching long enough to take in your surroundings. There are huge old Bald Cypress trees lining either bank of the river that are not only impressive to look at but that also provide great shade for your float. The water is clean and cool (the San Marcos River is spring-fed). The river has a perfect mix of lazy parts and rapids, and deep and shallow sections. The bottom isn’t murky or slimy and there are plenty of places to pull over and sun yourself or party."
Canoe or kayck? The San Marcos River is excellent for a day of Texas tourism paddling.
Here are the latest San Marcos laws re alcohol in the park and on the river, more reasonable than New Braunfels.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Fun Fun Fun Fest has posted the full lineup for their 2013 annual event in the Live Music Capitol of the World. This popular festival has distinguished itself by featuring top metal, punk, hip hop and indie rock bands. It happens on Auditorium Shores, Nov. 8-10.
4F has too many artists to mention, but acts include Australian electronic group Cut Copy, the Walkmen, longtime California punk group the Descendants, Thurston Moore’s Chelsea Light Moving, the Julie Ruin (led by Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill), Kurt Vile and the Violators and New York rock band Television.
Here is an Austin 360 review. For your Fun Fun Fun Fest schedule and tickets check my Texas tourism headline link.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The FunBelt runs from north of Austin to south of San Antonio and is about thirty miles wide. Its six outstanding spring fed, always cool pools are: Krause Springs, Barton Springs, Hamilton's Pool, Jacob's Well, Blanco State Park, and the New Braunfels Tube Chute.
At the northwest corner of the Texas Tourism District is Devil’s Waterhole and to the far southwest edge is Garner State Park.
Tip, weekends are crowded.
All of these absolutely great swimming oppertunities are easily accessible to either Austin or San Antonio visitors.
Sunday, July 7, 2013
The popular Canyon Lake area of the Texas Tourism District is the Lone Star State’s premier location for all water sports and especially tubing. The lower Guadalupe River is controlled by Canyon Dam so the water is always at ideal levels, making it one the best tubing rivers in Texas.
"Canyon Lake is an awesome lake. It's 125 feet deep. We've got 80 miles of shoreline, over eight surface-acres of water.” Here is your boat ramp update, check in advance for ramp closings.
Central Texans know to avoid the crowded rivers in New Braunfels and their dreaded river cops (stiff fines, wrong cooler, wrong container, wrong parking, forced blood taking of DUI suspects, etc.). The always cool San Marcos River is still good fun but it also gets a bit overcrowded.
Canyon Lake is the place for all forms of water recreation:
Andy's River Toobs
River Sports Tubes.com
Shanty River Center
Here are current tubing conditions for your Guadalupe River adventure ... and check out Nichol's Landing.
Stay a few days, you'll find plenty of fine lodging in Canyon Lake. Have fun!
Saturday, July 6, 2013
"Monumental, multimedia sculptures form the core of the exhibit and provide viewers with a bug’s eye view of four carnivorous plants: Venus Flytrap, Pitcher Plant, Trumpet Plant, and Sundew. The four sculptures are over-sized, enhanced versions of real plants and show an up close plant encounter from an insect’s perspective. Each of the sculptures is a combination of materials, metal and resin design,fabrication, sculpting, and casting."
The traveling Savage Garden exhibit was commissioned by at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio and this is one of its first stops. You'll find this unique display in the Antonio Botanical Garden until December 1, 2013.
I can add, the kids love this kind of almost gory stuff :) + very educational.
Friday, July 5, 2013
This Retreat has been featured on the new Animal Planet series, “Treehouse Masters.” It is a show that introduces people to the World of Trees and they chose to spotlight the Davis Ranch Treehouse Spa Room:
"Schedule a massage with one of our four licensed massage therapists who are on call… take advantage of the steam shower, complete with lights and music… or just sit on the porch and enjoy the quiet, relaxing sounds of the ‘country’."
The Davis Ranch Retreat is about 40 miles from Austin and near the historic town of Bastrop.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
"Restore the Fourth" is aimed at restoring the fundamentals of the Fourth Amendment of our Bill of Rights which predates and supersedes the U.S.A. Constitution. It protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures. To participate check this link to the Internet Defense League.
The campaign, which began on Reddit, has the support of several privacy and press freedom advocacy organizations, including Mozilla, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and ColorOfChange.org plus thousands of other sites, like the Texas FunBelt.
“The NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide."
"How long do we expect rational people to accept using terrorism to justify and excuse endless executive and state power? Why are so many in our government, our press, our intellectual class afraid of an informed public?”
Major cities like New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Houston have been declared by the Department of Homeland Security in DC to be within the official 100 mile ‘border’ of the United States, thus 197 million citizens and tourists are subject to electronic belonging searches without any suspicion. It all started in 2008 when.... Check my headline link for full report.
Here is how a USA patriot celebrated Independence Day in 2013.
And here's how the USA government celebrated "Independence" Day in 2013.
What most people don't realize is the bakery's co-owner happens to also be the movie's co-star, Armie Hammer. He and his wife Elizabeth Chambers oversee this popular establishment.
But it's their sandwiches and cupcakes that bring in the crowd of repeat customers. Hers' a great BIRD food review from the San Antonio Express-News. My headline links shows off their baked goodies. And regarding Lone Ranger goodies:
The duo's pastry chef created the white Hi Yo cupcakes with black masks on vanilla buttercream frosting trimmed with silver bullet sprinkles. There are also silver Texas Ranger badge-shaped cookies, kemo sabe crunch popcorn mix with spiced pecans, and Tonto's Treats, a blend of cereals, pretzels and M&Ms, rolled in white chocolate.
Plan on over indulging at the BIRD bakery, a little known Texas tourism stop for San Antonio visitors.
Monday, July 1, 2013
You'll find the complete July 1st. statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow, as per Wikileaks, at my Texas tourism headline's link. Snowden now faces the ultimate international tourist's dilemma ... no passport.
"On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic 'wheeling and dealing' over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions
"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression.
"The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person."
In addition to the traditional Woodlawn Lake 9 p.m. fireworks spectactular, there are fireworks specials happening at--
HemisFair Park: 9:30 p.m.;
SeaWorld San Antonio: 9:45 p.m. Ski Stadium (also July 5-6);
Six Flags Fiesta Texas: "Lights of Liberty," 9 p.m. (also July 5).
Heading north on the Texas FunBelt from San Antonio --
New Braunfels: Landa Park, 9:15 p.m. (music at Dance Slab begins at 7; parade downtown at 9:15 a.m.);
San Marcos: 9:30 p.m., San Marcos Plaza (part of Summerfest, 6-10 p.m.);
Austin: Auditorium Shores at the Long Center, 9:30 p.m.; the Live Music Capital of the World presents a symphony concert, the "1812 Overture" complete with cannon volley, 8:30 p.m..
“Alamo Plaza no place to promote a Nevada title fight. Alamo Plaza is the Alamo,” Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson rightly said. “It is a battlefield where brave men died to secure our liberty and should be treated as such.”
Patterson went on to call out Mayor Julian Castro, who is scheduled to speak at the event, saying the mayor and the city need to change how they think about the Alamo. [Very true. Just its tourism value as a hallowed site of bravery against insurmountable odds is immeasurable.]
"This would not happen at Gettysburg. No one would even imagine holding such an event at the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. Alamo Plaza is where Bowie and Travis and hundreds of others fell. It should be treated as the hallowed ground that it is.”
The all volunteer Alamo Rangers will be at the event to protect the Alamo from the thousands of fight fans expected at the event.
“Last month it was Kanye West, this month it’s Vegas fight promoters.” Photos here.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
The celebrations start on Fourth of July morning with community parades and become festivals that after sunset conclude with grand fireworks displays.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Book one of their exclusive balloon rides and take your family or friends and spend up to 1-hour floating above the city and the Hill Country in a private balloon all to yourself! Great summertime attraction for Austin visitors.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The folks working at Barton Creek Resort & Spa believe they have the best in Texas and here you can find some press that tends to validate their claim.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
It is a tourism fact that actions by the USA government in DC will affect travel to the USA. To maintain this blog's integrity (no advertising) I sometimes report the bad as well as highlighting the good attractions in the surrounds of San Antonio-Austin.
The bad international press from recent exposes on the USA government's misuse of power in building a personal dossier on you, and me, and others reading this blog is not something to be ignored. Travelers rightly have paranoid suspicions and reservations about vacationing in the USA.
The release of nefarious government documents by Wikileaks through Bradley Manning to the current Edward Snowden revelations signals the first steps to transparency. Most constitutionalists and freedom lovers consider these info-warriors as the NEW heroes, 21st. century cyber-heroes. They are protecting our liberty without firing a shot. These heros do it by providing openness and transparency of tax supported officials and employees in all governments --worldwide.
The TexasFunBelt and TexasTourismDistrict blog are proud to join with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, the American Civil Liberties Union, and many others to demand a halt to all personal data gathering without a public court order.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney focusing on government transparency and national security is Mark Rumold, he says:
“Now is the time for Congress to act. We don’t need a narrow fix to one part of the PATRIOT Act; we need a full public accounting of how the United States is turning sophisticated spying technology on its own citizens, we need accountability from public officials, and we need an overhaul of the laws to ensure these abuses can never happen again.”
Ray Mc Govern, retired 27 year CIA officer: Video Interview.
Ron Paul, Texan, 2012 Presidential candidate: Video Interview.
ACLU: Video Interview.
NSA leak fallout: LIVE UPDATES from RT.The Electronic Frontier Foundation urges you to join the campaign by signing your name to StopWatching.us.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Your flight will likely be at dawn or sunset, when the winds are the calmest. Balloons are launched when the winds are less than 8 mph and fly to wherever they are blown. You'll at fly treetop level and up to several thousand feet.
It a perfect summer day attraction and a hot air balloon flight by Airwolf for the Austin area is $250 per person, including transportation back to the launch site and champagne toast.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Austin scored big with four restaurants that are excellent food stops for single adults as well as families visiting the Live Music Capital of the World: Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill; Home Slice Pizza; Hopdoddy Burger Bar; and Franklyn Barbecue.
The historic town of Gruene is home made the list with its popular Gristmill Restaurant & Bar.
San Antonio visitors are invited to enjoy family friendly eating at Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steak House.
Dining at each of these restaurants provides a distinctive experience, if your family's vacation is in the San Antonio to Austin FunBelt this Texas tourism blogger recommends you eat at all six of these family-friendly winners.
Friday, June 7, 2013
This paddling trail is a 10-mile reach of the Guadalupe River in Comal County. Paddlers enjoy a 3-6 hour journey on a variety of rapids between gentle stretches.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
The most expensive rooms were in Boston, averaging $245 a night.
At the park you can stroll along the river or ride your bike and enjoy the the natural wildlife of the Texas Hill Country. Fisherman of all ages and skills enjoy day with the Guadalupe River. This is a great spot for your water recreation outing.
Guadalupe River RV Park & Campgrounds is in the Texas Tourism District just thirty minutes west of the FunBelt, about 65 miles from Austin and 35 miles from San Antonio.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Magic happens at the fabulous Arneson River Theater on the San Antonio River Walk, and has been presenting Fiesta Noche del Rio since 1958, making it the oldest outdoor performance in the United States.
The music, dancing, and colorful costumes are guaranteed to pleas the eyes and ears. If you are a San Antonio visitor in a downtown hotel over the weekend don't miss this Texas Tourism attraction.
The Garden was first made famous in Billy Lee Brammer's political masterpiece of the 20th century fiction, The Gay Place, published before the word "gay" became an euphemism for male homosexuality. The Texas Legislature honored Scholz Garten in 1966 as "a gathering place for Texans of discernment, taste, culture and erudition, epitomizing the finest traditions of magnificent German heritage in our state."
Monday, June 3, 2013
Wasswa, a female weighing 95 pounds and standing 41/2 feet tall, was born May 10. Nakato, her brother,weighing 125 pounds and standing 51/2 feet tall, came next. Only a few weeks old, the twins are mini versions of their beautiful mother, but with gangly legs and knobby knees.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is home to eight giraffes, including the 10-year-old father of the twins. Giraffe twins are extremely rare.
These babies will grow up real fast so quick bring the kids and camera. Afterward you'll want to visit the fabulous Natural Bridge Caverns.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Texas FunBelt Origin
The idea of a Texas Vacation Fun Belt came to me in the 1970s while driving between my Alamo Heights' home office and my Austin office at Armadillo World Headquarters. I worked with musicians, artists, writers and filmmakers in both cities. No other area in the USA has a greater concentration of talent or more diversity of expression. One afternoon it flashed through my mind:
From the south side of San Antonio to the north side of Austin is the Texas Talent Belt!
But thirty years passed ... it was 2002 before I began in earnest to establish a new tourism region which I call the Texas Tourism District. Running through its middle is the Texas Fun Belt anchored by the Alamo and the Capitol.
My goal is to have these two famous neighboring communities --San Antonio & Austin-- join hands and promote their fabulous belt to the world. Tourism unity will benefit our local entertainment - hospitality, retail businesses ... and you, the visiting traveler.
Here's the list of community leaders to whom I have spoken about formally recognizing our fabulous Texas Tourism District and its exciting Texas FunBelt....
2001 September: Austin City Council Member Raul Alvarez.
2003 July: Austin Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman.
2003 October: Austin Convention and Visitors President & CEO Robert Lander.2004 February: San Antonio Convention and Visitors President & CEO Melvin Tennant.
2004 February: San Antonio Convention and Visitors Assistant Executive Director Sales & Marketing John H. Solis.
2005 August: Austin Mayor Will Wynn.
2005 November: Austin City Council Member Daryl Slusher.
2006 December: San Antonio, Hispanic Marketing Expert & Political Consultant Lionel Sosa.
2007 November: San Antonio, Chairman & CEO Bromley Communications Ernest Bromley.
2007 November: Austin City Manager Toby Futrell.
2007 December: Blanco Mayor Pro Tem Ron Houston.
2008 January: Austin Mayor Pro Tem Betty Dunkerley.
2008 January: Austin Assistant City Manager Rudy Garza.
2008 January: Austin Director of Economic Growth and Development Services Sue Edwards.
2008 February: Austin Assistant to the Mayor Rich Bailey.
2008 June: Solar San Antonio Chairman & World's Fair Tourism Visionary William Sinkin.
2008 July: The Father of San Antonio Tourism David Straus.
2008 July: CEO Valero Energy & General Chair Old Spanish Missions of San Antonio Bill Kleese.
2008 August: Austin City Manager Marc A. Ott.
2008 August: President University Of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio & Chairman Greater San Antonio Chamber Of Commerce Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.
2008 August: Bexar County Judge Nelson W. Wolff.
2008 August: President San Antonio Economic Development Foundation Mario Hernandez.
2008 September: San Antonio Mayor Chief Of Staff Larry Zinn.
2009 January: Austin Mayor Pro Tem Brewster McCracken.
2010 January: Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole.
2010 January: Austin City Council Member Bill Spelman.
2010 February: Austin City Council Member Chris Riley.
2010 February: Austin City Council Member Randi Shade.
2010 March: Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison.
2010 June: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.
2010 August: Austin Economic & Business Development Liaison Dusty McCormick.
2010 August: Executive Assistant To Austin Council Member Sheryl Cole Beverly Wilson.
2011 September: San Antonio Mayor Scheduler Patti Puente.
2011 October: San Antonio Mayor Senior Policy Adviser Adam Greenup.
2012 August: San Antonio Mayor Chief of Staff Robbie Greenblum
"From The Alamo To The Capitol -- It's ALL Here" slogan created by Woody Roberts in 2002.
"Texas Fun Belt" and "Texas Vacation Belt" slogans created by Woody Roberts in 2007.
"80 Miles Of Fun", "Tourism District Of Texas", "Texas Tourism District" and "Texas Vacation District" "Texas Vacation Corridor" slogans created by Woody Roberts in 2008.
FunBelt icon: Texas state outline with stripe, designating a tourism belt between the Alamo and Texas Capitol, created by Woody Roberts in 2007; Texas state outline with Alamo silhouette and Star atop, designating a tourism region, created by Woody Roberts and Jonathan Lewis Clark 2008.
These slogans and icons are used internationally and copyright Woody Roberts.