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3 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Texas Tailgate

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Austin Things To Do

There's nothing quite like Texas football - from high school level to the NFL, fans around Texas flock to cheer on their favorite teams. Many will agree, one of the best parts of football is how it brings family and friends together in the All-American pastime known as the tailgate. Open up that tailgate, put up your antennas, and get the BBQ smoking - here we unveil the 5 must-haves for the ultimate Texas tailgate.

1. Yeti Cooler

The Seider brothers, both avid hunters and fishers, started Yeti in 2006 with a vision to create coolers that would exceed the expectations and needs of the outdoorsman's lifestyle. What they created with their home-grown Austin company completely revolutionized the cooler industry. Designed with 2-inch thick polyurethane walls, these coolers are not only durable enough to keep out grizzly bears, but keep ice frozen for days on end. A Yeti will be sure to keep your beverages cold for an entire day of tailgating so you don’t have to worry about the ice running out. Now these incredible coolers come with collegiate designs, including a handful of Texas schools: UT, A&M, TCU, and Tech. If you don't need a whole cooler, Yeti also offers a Rambler Colster to keep your 12 oz. beverage of choice crisp and refreshing for hours.

2. Local Brews

The cheap country songs Nashville churns out today may reminisce of glory days spent drinking PBRs and other cheap brews, but any good Texan likes to keep it local and crafty when it comes to stocking their tailgate bar. The state is brimming with stellar craft breweries and distilleries to keep the crowds around your watering hole happy. Some of our favorite places to stock up in and around Austin include:Live Oak Brewing Company: With a name that pays homage to our state tree, this local brewery has been whetting the palettes of Austinites since 1997. While favorites like the Big Bark Amber, Hefeweizen, and Pilz have long been available on tap in local bars and by the keg, the Company promises that these brews will also be available by can this winter. For big tailgates this fall, you’ll have to stick with Live Oak by the keg, but who's complaining about 62 pints of refreshing deliciousness?!Thirsty Planet: If you’d rather have bottles to fill up your Yeti, Austin brewed Thirsty Planet can accommodate, with their popular Thirsty Goat Amber, which is available at HEB, Whole Foods, Spec’s, and an assortment of other retailers. This particular brew is a crowd-pleaser, and bonus, Thirsty Planet is also planet conscious - re-purposing and recycling the materials used during production...so you are basically helping the environment with every gulp.Real Ale Brewing Company: Another favorite in Austin bars, Real Ale Brewing Company brews less than an hour away in the small town of Blanco, nestled in the folds of the Texas Hill  Country. Their most popular year-round beer is Fireman's #4, a smooth and balanced blonde ale so good that it medaled at the Great American Beer Festival. Canned, kegged, or bottled, you can pick up a supply of Fireman's 4 at a number of local retailers.

3. Brisket

Most Texans would tell you they are proud of Texas' heritage - there's a distinctly Texan nostalgia and mystique shrouding this vast, variable, and sometimes unforgiving land where cowboys of old toiled to raise cattle and earn a living. During the 1800s, in the boom of Texas ranching, Texan cowboys drove millions of cattle north for rail distribution to other parts of the US. Ranching is still a big deal here, and if you know anything about Texas BBQ, you know that the quintessential meat of Texan tailgates, born out of Texas' ranching heritage, is the beef brisket. Fine Texan brisket requires 4 essentials:
  • Quality beef: Look for a cut with marbling and a fat cap that render a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
  • Wood chips: Soak them in water before throwing them in the pit to lend extra smokiness to your end product.
  • Dry Rub: Typically a mixture of good ole salt and pepper, with additional spices as you see fit.
  • Patience: Plan on smoking that brisket slow and steady (up to 2 hours per pound of meat), but this is no problem since there's plenty of football to be watched.
If you'd rather just pick up your gameday meat from a tried and true local smoker, check out one of the following:Franklin Barbeque: This is THE place to get BBQ in Austin right now. If you plan to dine-in, bring some beer and a chair for the wait, and be forewarned - when they run out they run out. For a gameday order, make sure you plan well in advance and preorder here.The Salt Lick: This place has the ultimate Texas BBQ experience. You could spend hours out at their sprawling estate in Driftwood - tasting wine at the Salt Lick Cellars and chowing down on their family style bottomless BBQ plates, but you can also order online or have them cater your tailgate.Whether you're a Longhorn, Aggie, Red Raider, or a Baylor Bear, we hope that you have a season of memorable tailgates and enjoy some great Texas football!
 

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7 Best Fall Weekend Getaways From Austin

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Austin Things To Do

You may have noticed a slight crispness in the early morning air this week - a hint that fall, and with it, promises of cooler weather, is right around the corner. Here in Texas, we may not get the dramatic autumn foliage that sweeps through the East or get  to experience the joy of picking the fresh apples of the trees as Northerners do, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy fall and the reprieve from scorching temperatures in and around the Austin area. Here are some of our favorite fall getaways and events in Central Texas:

1. Lost Maples State Natural Area

Just 157 miles from Austin, this state natural area is the perfect proximity from the city for a quick weekend getaway. Known for its Bigtooth Maple Trees, this is one of the few areas in Texas you can experience the thrill of fall foliage as the trees turn shades of gold, auburn, and crimson during the months of October and November. The park offers a mix of easy trails along the Sabinal River and more challenging trails that reward hikers with sweeping views of the canyon once they reach the top. If you want to fully embrace the outdoors and spend the night camping under the stars, be sure to make your reservation online; spots fill up quickly when the leaves are at their peak.
Beautiful Fall Foliage at Lost Maples

Beautiful Fall Foliage at Lost Maples

2. Jester King Brewery

Nestled in the Hill Country just outside of Austin, Jester King brews up some amazing artisan beer in the vats hidden behind its farmhouse doors. With some Austin quirkiness in its roots, Jester King offers unique and creative brews such as last fall's 2014 Autumnal Dichotomous. Brewed with squash, longpepper, and sage, this beer "explores the nostalgic aromas and flavors of fall". If that doesn't quite sound like your mug of beer, don't fret, there are plenty of options to delight your palette. We find the imaginative and fantastical labeling almost as delightful as the beer itself. Outside of the main farmhouse, you'll find a huge pavilion with Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza tucked underneath. The handcrafted pies use fresh, locally sourced ingredients and go well with its neighbor's brews. With plenty of picnic tables, string lights, and space to bring friends, you could easily spend a lazy fall afternoon here.
The perfect place to enjoy a Fall afternoon: Jester King Brewery

The perfect place to enjoy a Fall afternoon: Jester King Brewery

3. Fredericksburg Oktoberfest

Once a year, the picturesque town of Fredericksburg celebrates its German heritage with a weekend-long party complete with oompahs and polkas bellowing from the stages, bratwurst links by the foot, attendees clad in traditional lederhosen, and of course, a steady flow of beers and ciders on tap. The event offers fun for all ages, so pack up the whole family to celebrate fall German style. If you tire of the festivities, you can always spend time shopping at the boutiques and specialty shops along Main Street or retire to one of the cozy B&Bs nearby.
Celebrate the German tradition of Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg

Celebrate the German tradition of Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg

4. Sweet Berry Farm

Fall evokes images of joyful hayrides and mounds of colorful pumpkins, both of which you can find at Sweet Berry Farm located just down the road in Marble Falls. Meander through the sprawling patch and pick your pumpkin, bump along on a hayride, or try to find your way to the end of the corn maze. There are enough activities here to keep the family entertained all day, and the prices are budget friendly as well.

5. Johnson City

Whether you pronounce it "pe-can" or "pa-con" (the Texan way), there's no denying the deliciousness of this buttery nut. Though locals have been munching on them for hundreds of years, it wasn't until 1919, that the Texas Legislature made pecans the official state nut of Texas. There are plenty of places you can buy locally sourced pecans (try Navidad Farms), but it's also fun scouting out the fallen nuts yourself. Johnson City, and several other small towns have pecan trees surrounding the courthouse in the main town square; these are great places to scout out pecans. Grab some bags and get to gathering the fruits of fall. If the pecans aren't enough to satiate, you can head across the street to the Pecan Street Brewery for some delicious burgers and beer.
Great place for an afternoon trip. Pick pecans under the large trees at the Johnson City Courthouse. Photo Courtesy of Travis K. Witt

Great place for an afternoon trip. Pick pecans under the large trees at the Johnson City Courthouse. Photo Courtesy of Travis K. Witt

6. Driftwood Estate Winery

With warm summers and mild winters, Texas has an ideal climate for growing wine grapes. Wineries have sprouted up all over the Lone Star state with a high concentration surrounding Austin, making the area like a Texan Napa. Nothing beats escaping down a wine trail and into the country to enjoy sweeping views of the hill country with a glass of wine in your hand. While there are several great wineries to choose from, Driftwood Estate Winery offers some excellent vintages that pair well with views of the vineyard and surrounding farmland just down the hill from the tasting room's perch.
driftwood-vineyard

Take in the hill country views at Driftwood Estate Winery

7. Round Top Antiques Fair

For 48 years, the tiny town of Round Top (population 90) has hosted an antique fair that brings thousands of shoppers to the area. Much to the delight of antique enthusiasts, the show has outgrown the Rifle Hall, where it was first held, and now sprawls into the surrounding fields and towns.  With literally miles upon miles of antiquing to be done, you're sure to find that perfect piece you've been looking for. Be prepared for lots of walking, and make sure to dress in layers to keep up with the ever-changing fall Texas weather. If you get hungry, be sure make a reservation to dine at the famous Royer's Café and save room for the legendary homemade pies that are alone worth the trip. 
round-top-tx-antique-fair

Antique to your heart's content at the Round Top Antiques Fair

 

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11 Ways to Cool Off around Austin Before the Summer Ends

by Apple Moving 0 comments

Austin Things To Do

With school starting again next week for most Austin students and teachers, it may feel like summer is almost over, but we know the summer heat will last for several weeks to come. Here are 11 things you have to do before bidding farewell to summer!

Go For a Swim

1. City of Austin Pools

The City of Austin operates over 50 swimming pools and splash pads that are open to the public. Our all-time favorite is Barton Springs, where you can chill out in constant 68 degree temps and enjoy some of Austin's finest people watching. Don't miss the nearby children's train that offers tours of Zilker Park to the smallest patrons and the sno-cone stand that offers additional reprieve from the baking sun. Most City of Austin pools do close on August 24th, but a handful stay open later or operate year-round. Your best bets are Barton Springs, Big Stacy, Deep Eddy, Bartholomew Pool and Springwoods Pool.  

2. Hamilton Pool

Travis County has a surprising number of parks, and among them an absolute gem - the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This breathtaking pool lies at the base of a 50-foot waterfall where Hamilton Creek drops over the edge of a limestone cliff on its way to the Pedernales River. This swimming hole is wildly popular and often reaches capacity quickly on weekends during the summer. Make sure to get there early and to call ahead for potential closures before making the drive as the pool is often closed for high bacterial levels after excessive rains. This park is open year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

3. Blue Hole - Wimberley

In 2005, the City of Wimberley purchased 125 acres of park land encompassing a stretch of the Cypress Creek with a natural swimming hole. The City's efforts to develop the land resulted in a beautiful and impeccably designed park space, with plenty of room for families to gather at the water's edge to sun bathe and picnic, clean and modern facilities, winding trails, and spacious recreational areas. Spread your blanket out and soak up the sun as you doze off to the sound of children shrieking as they let go of the rope swing and splashes as people plunge into the refreshing waters. The Blue Hole is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day (May 25th) to Labor Day (September 7th).

4.  Krause Springs

About 30 minutes northwest of Austin, in the small town of Spicewood, you'll find the impressive property that is still owned by the namesake family. With over 32 springs on the property, you are sure to find a place to cool off. Unlike most swimming holes, you don't even have to go home at the end of the night - pitch a tent and take in the Hill Country stars for a night or two. Krause Springs is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  

Float the River

The Colorado: Drive over the Mopac bridge on any given weekend, and you'll see hoards of people out kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing on Lady Bird Lake. Join the crowds and rent a watercraft from one of several docks around the lake.

5. The Rowing Dock

The dock is usually lined with a stunning rainbow of kayaks, enticing kayakers to come for a paddle. Go solo or participate in one of the Dock's special guided tours such as the Bat Paddle that takes kayakers on a 4-mile round-trip to watch the 1.5 million bats vacating their home under the Congress bridge in search of dinner. In addition to kayaking, the Rowing Dock also offers canoes and stand-up boards. Open daily 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Get Kayaks, Canoes, SUPs and more at Rowing Dock in Austin

Get Kayaks, Canoes, SUPs and more at Rowing Dock in Austin

6. Texas Rowing Center

TRC boasts the world's largest SUP (stand-up paddle) board rental operation with over 300 boards, in addition to renting out kayaks and canoes. Additionally, TRC offers sculling and sweep rowing lessons for most ages and skill sets. Open daily 6 a.m. to duskTube: If you prefer a lazier day of chilling on the water, grab a cooler and hop on a tube for a river float with some of your best pals. Several companies offer float packages on the nearby Comal, Guadalupe, and San Marcos Rivers.

7. ATXcursions

To maximize your experience, consider hiring a service that will pick you up and drop you off in downtown Austin, such as ATXcursions. They provide everything (including the cooler and ice) except for the actual drinks and food, and offer float trips on rivers within about a 45-minute radius of Austin. ATXcursions offers float trips on most Thursdays-Sundays into mid-October. Check their booking feature for up-to-date availability.
ATX Excursion private & group tubing excursions

ATX Excursion private & group tubing excursions

8. Kayak Camping

If you're craving more adventure, consider taking an overnight kayak trip on the Colorado River. The small islands in the middle of the Colorado are public land, which means they may be used for camping. Pack your kayak (and waterproof bag) and find an island of your own to call home for the night.Just 30 minutes east of Austin, the Bastrop River Company has everything you need for your kayak camping adventure. Go the self-guided route, and BRC will send you off on your voyage with instructions and your kayaks for a 2-3 day excursion. BRC also offers a glamping trip for those that aren't quite as into being one with nature. Like an abbreviated summer camp for grown-ups, this cushy trip comes with guides, catered meals around the campfire, tents & bedding, and even a toilet! Open Sunday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Moonlight Kayak trips with Bastrop River Company

Moonlight Kayak trips with Bastrop River Company

Waterparks

Whether you have kids or are just a big kid yourself, you're sure to have fun screaming your way down spiraling waterslides and splashing through the chlorinated and shark-less wave pools at these nearby waterparks:

9. Hawaiian Falls Pflugerville

This chain operates 7 waterparks in the U.S. and in addition to the water fun, its Pflugerville location also boasts an adventure center replete with over 1500 feet of zip lines and 1000 feet of ropes courses. While the waterpark closes for 2015 season on September 7th, the adventure park is open year-round. Waterpark open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through August 24th; open weekends through September 7th.water-parks-pflugerville

10. Shore Club Volente Beach

If you grew up in Austin, chances are you ventured out here at least a time or two as a kid, but the place now won't be quite like you remembered it. A spruced up version of its old self, the Shore Club overlooks Lake Travis and offers its patrons a handful of rides, multiple pools, a sandy beachfront, volleyball courts, and an upscale bar & grill. A more affordable option than most waterparks, this place is great for the whole family. Open select dates through September 7.

11. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

I can still remember the Schlitterbahn jingle boasting "the hottest coolest time in Texas" that played relentlessly on the radio every summer during the 90s. In case you're wondering, Schlitterbahn translates to "slide" in English, which is fitting given that the New Braunfels resort has miles and miles of slides, rides and coasters to cool you down on even the hottest Texas day. Around since 1979, this park is a can't miss on any Texan's bucket list and now includes 4 other locations including Galveston Island, South Padre Island, Corpus Christi, and Kansas City. Hurry in! The summer season ends September 20th.Hurry out and enjoy the last five weeks of Austin's summer! 

Best Patio Restaurants in Austin

by Apple Moving 3 comments

Austin Things To Do

With an average of 228 sunny days a year, Austin is the perfect place to dine outside. Here we bring you some of our favorite patio restaurants in Austin.

Olive & June

On the northern edge of the Bryker Woods neighborhood, just off of West 35th street, you'll find Olive & June, an Italian eatery with an inviting 3-stories of patio space. You'll feel like you are perched in the grown-up version of your childhood tree top hideaway as you feast on Mediterranean delicacies with a Texan twist. Don't miss out on the generous weekday happy hour, which offers 50% off on select beverages and all appetizers until 6:30 p.m.
2nd story patio at olive & june

The view from the 2nd, out of 3 total stories of patios at Olive & June

Yellow Jacket Social Club

This unassuming hipster hangout is one of the hot spots in the newly revamped 78702 zip code (previously mentioned in our blog as one of the trendiest zipcodes in Austin). Shrouded in bamboo and shaded by oaks, the pup-friendly outdoor space makes you feel as if you are miles away from the city. Relax and enjoy a cold drink and some tasty, reasonably priced grub. While the Frito pie is a delicious and guilty pleasure, the menu accommodates healthier eaters with a variety of salads and sandwiches to choose from.

Mozart's

Just above the Tom Miller Dam, on the eastern edge of Lake Austin, Mozart's coffee offers a spacious deck to take in lakeside views. Mozart's opens early and stays open late, so it's equally perfect for a peaceful morning cup of joe or a late night dessert run with decaf. In December, Mozart's puts on a delightful and impressive holiday light show at the top of every hour.

Enjoy a coffee as you take in the view of Lake Austin

Enjoy a coffee as you take in the view of Lake Austin

El Alma

Named after the head chef and co-founder Alma Alcocer, El Alma serves up delicious Mexican dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can't miss the Sunday brunch here, replete with Bloody Marias and breakfast tacos. Aside from the food, one of the best features of  the restaurant is the flora-filled hillside deck space that lures you to stay for just one more round of margaritas.

rooftop patio el alma downtown austin skyline

The rooftop patio at El Alma

County Line

Tucked along a small inlet of Lake Austin near 2222 and 360, County Line on the Lake has been offering Texans delectable BBQ and a taste of Texan culture since 1975. Bedecked inside with Texas paraphernalia, one of the charms of this place is the audio perpetually playing in the bathrooms that teaches non-Texan patrons "how to speak Texan" by expanding their vocabulary to include such terms as "y'all" and "fixin' to". If you're overwhelmed by the level of Texan inside, mozie out to the deck to enjoy the view of the lazy creek that is home to many a turtle and occasional boats passing through. The place even offers turtle food if you are eager to feed the turtles who swarm for easy eating.

Kick back and relax on the deck at County Line on the Lake

Kick back and relax on the deck at County Line on the Lake

Contigo

The inspiration for this place was a ranch by the same name in South Texas. The owners loved the original ranch so much that they decided to bring it with them to Austin and open this restaurant on the fringes of the now booming Mueller development. The open concept restaurant is almost entirely outdoors, with just the kitchen, bar and a few tables actually under a roof. Most of the seating consists of long rustic tables with string lights overhead and a gravel floor that makes you feel like you're dining in the middle of a ranch. The menu boasts carefully crafted versions of favorite foods such as the melt-in-your-mouth grilled cheese with housemade brioche and scrumptious beef tongue hash.

Contigo outdoor dining

Casual outdoor ambiance on the Contigo patio

Dry Creek Café

Along the winding and hilly Mount Bonnell Drive, overlooking the opulent Lake Austin mansions, is a little bar called Dry Creek Café that is so unassuming that you might miss it the first time you drive by. A friendly, seasoned bartender greets you with a smile as she hands you a beer and tells you to grab a koozie from the colorful pile by the door. Upstairs on the deck, you can take in the sunset while the juke box hums with old tunes. A great place for hanging out on a unhurried Saturday afternoon, this place is so popular by word of mouth, it doesn't even need a website.

The Grove

The original sits in Westlake Hills, at the corner of Bee Caves and 360, with a 2nd location in Lakeway and a 3rd that just opened downtown on 6th street with views below of Shoal Creek. The original may be our favorite, with its massive deck, brilliant string lights, and laid back atmosphere. The Grove offers an assortment of fine wines, with some available to try by the flight, and has a menu that's sure to whet your appetite.

Grove Wine Bar patio in downtown Austin, TX

The patio at the Grove Wine Bar's new downtown location

Central Market on N. Lamar

You don't often think of spending a relaxing evening at a grocery store, but Central Market is an exception. Inside, this grocery offers a foodie's paradise of fresh produce, the finest meats and cheeses, a wine collection sure to satisfy even the pickiest palette, and a bakery with some of the best tortillas in town. Outside, a two-story patio overlooks a stage where bands will often play several times a week and a playground for the smaller customers. This is a fun place to go for a bottle of wine (you can buy it in the store and have it uncorked at the cafe) or for a gathering of the whole family. It's a great place to go when you don't feel like getting dressed up to go out.

Juliet

This new restaurant took over the space on Barton Springs previously occupied by Umama Mia and completely transformed it. As you come in from the parking lot (yes, it has its own parking!) you are ushered into an inviting outdoor oasis that is for the most part shaded by awnings and trees so you won't fry in the scorching Texas sun. If you'd rather sit inside, you'll be equally delighted by the careful attention to detail that makes the space feel refined but appealing. The menu offers Italian inspired dishes sourced from right here in central Texas.

The patio at Juliet

Escape in Juliet's Tranquil Outdoor Space

Even though summer is drawing to an end, you still have plenty of time to get out and enjoy one of these great patios before any cold weather hits, and we hope that you will!

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Apple Moving is one of the longest running moving companies in Austin, TX. We've been moving Austin houses and apartments since 1991 and we love everything about this great city. If you are moving in the future, we hope that you'll think of us and call for a free moving quote.