When Aspen goes from “going off” to going off-season, many locals hit the highways and skyways to get a different view. Water is always a nice change of pace to ease the months of mountain madness. I know people who yearly pilgrimage to Mexico and, more lately, those that go to Tulum for a disco and green juice combo get-away. Rarely do you hear an, “I can’t wait to get away from all these Texan tourists, so I’m heading to Texas!”, but that’s exactly what I am going to encourage you to do. Granted the Texas I am talking about is the Austin variety and anyone will tell you it’s not your typical Texas.
Some things you may know about Austin: 1- there’s great food and live music including ACL and SXSW to keep your mind and body grooving in warmer temps than our Aspen crisp spring and clear summer range, 2- there’s Formula One for a racy exit. But here’s something you may not realize- Austin is home to a lot of great water. It has gorgeous lakes including Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake, but renamed after Lady Bird Johnson when she died) which winds through downtown, Lake Austin, and Lake Travis, all boasting a water sport scene in full throttle. From sailing to wake surfing to tubing to paddle boarding, Austin has a way to keep its peeps cool and fit. The levels of Lake Travis suffered for a few years and some of the fave, boat-side eateries had to fold, but they are coming back; Sundancer Grill (on lake Travis and more under the radar than the famous Oasis nearby) has killer mango margaritas, crab hush puppies and fish tacos, all served with a water view and lakeside-chill vibe; Ski Shores (on Lake Austin), while no longer living up to its famous burger of yore, still can serve up some music, fun, fries and a great, lake scene. Tie up your boat, play a game of air hockey and watch the boats pass by pulling wake surfers and wake boarders doing their best to impress behind shiny, candy-colored boats built to build the perfect surf wave to ride and jump. If your knees just can’t stomach it, you can always paddle board from downtown to Barton Springs Pool for a diverse crowd of sunbathers, or trail it to Barton Springs Greenbelt, a young crowd for sure and cool temps year round. Feeling really strong? Start training to traverse the length of Lake Austin for “Tyler’s Dam That Cancer,” held yearly in June when paddle-boarders gather to stand-up paddle the 21 miles dam to dam for a cause. I grew up water skiing and am happy to report there are still a few Ski Nautiques and slalom skiers ripping by, but the wake surfers and paddle boarders who come in all ages, shapes and sizes are clearly the cool kids now.
I have fallen for Austin, all but it’s incessant and impenetrable traffic that is, so I encourage you to visit and stick to the water versus roads to fill the cravings of a winter season at 8,000. And if you can’t get away….word has it the guys from Perla’s and Clark’s Oyster Bar (two of Austin’s best in show eateries) are moving in to the old Little Annie’s space. I, for one, am going to order a half dozen and dream of my next paddle, surf and ski on these magical, winding, 70 degree lakes.
Happy Off Season To All And To All A Good Flight!