Austin, Texas Review – One Day to See and Do

Many people I talk to these days tell me that Austin, Texas is wonderful– from my daughter to my doctor.  Intrigued, my husband and I decided to take the opportunity of being in Houston to drive to Austin, check it out and have dinner with long time friends. 


The map provided for us at our hotel showed many activities accessible by bus or rail.  We were driving and decided to visit the Austin Visitor Center at 602 E. Fourth Street.  It was fun to see the huge mural depicting the highlights of Austin, and souvenirs, along with the chance to obtain great advice on what to see and do in Austin. This is the place to get tickets for the hop-on, hop off bus, get maps, and arrange tours. The staff at the center was knowledgeable, friendly and, extremely helpful.  Thanks to their patience, and guidance, our one-day in Austin was meaningful and satisfying.


Two Historic Houses

Around the corner from the Austin Visitor Center, where our car was parked, there were two old homes converted to museums.   These were the homes of Susanna Dickenson-Henning and author O. Henry.


Interestingly, “The 1869 home of Joseph and Susanna Dickinson Hannig was saved and deeded to the City of Austin in 2003. Joseph Hannig built this home in 1869 for his new wife, Susanna Dickinson. She survived the Battle of the Alamo and carried the news of its fall to Sam Houston, which ultimately led to Houston's defeat of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto and won independence for the Republic of Texas. For this deed, Susanna Dickinson became known as the "Messenger of the Alamo." Her home was saved, restored and opened as a museum on March 2, 2010, Texas Independence Day.”


In addition, it is fascinating that, “The O. Henry Museum offers a look into the life of William Sidney Porter in the Austin years leading up to his controversial prison term, after which he assumed the pen name O. Henry and set about transforming himself into the famed short story writer who authored such universal classics as "Gifts of the Magi," "The Ransom of Red Chief" and "The Cop and the Anthem."


Walking around Sixth Street we noted the reason to return to Austin for longer.  The restaurants that offer fantastic food and terrific music weren’t open when we walked by and we were not able to return when they were open.


Approaching the LBJ Library



The LBJ Limo


History of The Bob Bullock Museum


Replica of the LBJ Oval Office


A look at the past at the LBJ Library


Next we headed for the highly recommended LBJ Library located on the University of Texas at Austin campus. My husband and I felt that this museum actually exceeded our expectations.  A special and unexpected addition to our visit there was a temporary exhibition about "The Beatles" first visit to the U.S., which took place during LBJ’s presidency.  This exhibition was especially interesting to my husband and me because we were in England when the Beatles started to become famous and then in New York when the group came to the U. S.


A timeline at the LBJ Library


At the LBJ Library-saving ballet and much more


The Beatles Exhibition

The displays throughout the museum were engaging, informative and inspirational and when in Austin this should definitely be on the top of the list of places to see.


In addition, Amy Munice, a Chicago Splash Magazine journalist had the opportunity of interviewing the head of this museum, Mark K. Updegrove, at an event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. See Article 1 and the see Article 2



Entry to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum


History of The Bob Bullock Museum

Our good friends, the Austin residents, recommended that we visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum.  The museum is huge and beautiful.  It’s exhibit about “La Belle”, the ship that changed history was intriguing, fascinating and presented information completely new to me.  I was surprised to find the presentation of Texas history so compelling.  There was also a great café.


Texas from Republic to State


The Cafe at the Bob Bullock Museum

We filled our parking meter when we left and walked the short distance to the Texas State Capitol Building. The central hall is beautiful.  Exploring the rooms where the State Senate and House of Representatives meet was very interesting.


Approaching The Texas State Capitol


The entry of the Texas State Capitol

Dinner with friends of many, many years completed our day.  We appreciated the opportunity to catch up and the bonus exploring Austin.


Photos:  B. Keer


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