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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Around Austin Again Today

     "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

    Today we stayed in Austin for a second day. We decided to stay because we do not have to be back in Dallas until the 9th for Sheila's check-up. We may move south tomorrow to Llano and Enchanted Rock as first planned. First today we stopped to walk up to the top of Mount Bonnell which is more of a tourist trap than any kind of real hike. It did however have excellant veiws of Austin, the river and the custom homes in the surrounding hills. Then when we were done we noticed we had passed a nature center and decided to check it out on the way out. It turned out to be Mayfield Park, an early homestead of the Mayfield-Gutsch family and was a very interesting and unusual place. First of all it was free and that is always good in our book! It included a restored late 1800's cottage and gardens and ponds with Peafowl (peacocks) that have been on the site since the original ones were presented to the Mayfields as a gift in 1935. The house  and grounds were donated to the city when the Mayfields all past away. While walking the many trails over the hills and through the creeks we noticed a strange school-like building that backed up to the trail and lake. When we got out to the road we walked in and found it was the Art School at Laguna Gloria. It had studios and dormsa cafe, and a museum that was also once a rich persons old estate and when we inquired about being allowed in  they said we could tour all the grounds and the museum for free! The old mansion was built to resemble an Italian Villa and although it housed all the art work and other diplays it also had pictures of the place dating back to the original inhabitants. It all made for a very good long walk and alittle out of the ordinary. We had a great time exploring a new place we had never been, We had to keep reminding ourselves through the day that we were only in Austin and not in some far away place.

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