July 27, 2015

Wimberley River Report, end of July 2015

The Fischer Store RD Bridge is still down, hoping for a temporary bridge to be in place by the end of summer. The current route without the bridge is just under one hour and thirty minutes to our place on the Blanco.

blanco river fischer texas wimberley 

We drove down solely to soak in the Blanco. The water is flowing at a good rate and super clear.

schuster family  

(BIG) 

bring cans to the river, not beer bottles 

The Red Cross is no longer handing out emergency food and drink at the end of our street. So I packed my own.

tubing the blanco july 2015 wimberley fischer store bridge 

The boys had fun racing their tubes down the Blanco.

tubing the blanco river july 2015 summer wimberley 

relaxing in the blanco river wimberley july 2015 

A big difference for our piece of the river, almost no shade. The large cypress trees on the other side had provided several shady spots in the river for afternoon soaking. Most of those were lost to the flood.  

levitating rock wimberley river 2015 

#1 son levitated a couple rocks over the river.  

levitating rocks in the blanco river 

underwater blanco river boy  

son #2 is ready to take his swimming skills to the underwater level.  

blanco river soak july 2015 

blanco river kick july 2015

fish in the blanco river july 2015 

Kat made a fish friend.  

blanco river rapids fischer wimberley 

Brugal Rum tasting at Freedmen's BBQ #RESPETO

We attended a Brugal Rum tasting event at Freedmen's

brugal tasting at freedmen's

brugal rum old fashiond freedmen 

They started us off with an Old Fashioned made with Brugal. 

brugal rum tasting austin 

A brief and informative tasting of their three varieties and various techniques and beliefs surrounding their product.  

brugal rum and cuban pulled pork at freedmen's austin bbq 

They treated us to some really good food from Freedmen. Then it was time to mix the cocktails. We each had our own bar set and an assortment of ingredients.  

making daquiri at freedmen's brugal rum tasting #respeto 

brugal rum #respeto shake  

Pour, Muddle, Shake, Strain and ... 

#respeto cheers brugal rum austin  

CHEERS! 

German Wine Tasting at Josephine House

josephine house austin tx jeffrey's

Some friends invited us to join them for a German wine tasting event at Josephine House. 

german wine at Josephine house austin  

They had around twenty five different wines for sampling. I didn't get to try them all, but I made a good effort.  

schnitzel at josephine house austin 

The food did not disappoint. There was plenty of it and all delicious.  

wine tasting at josephine house austin  

Josephine House was really nice, casual, cute, modern and fancy all at the same time. I'm looking forward to a return trip. 

July 20, 2015

last few days of cool summer breezes.

I got some outdoor work done before the real summer brain melting temperatures arrived, but make no mistake about it. The summer heat has arrived.

summer heat brain melt 

That's exactly what it looks like when the brain melts. The brain melting temps arrive mid July and stick around till early to mid September. This is when we should be in Vermont.

We are making the use of indoor spaces (air conditioning) 

summer school acc

The daughter is taking a college class. We wait for her in the student lounge.

Live music can also be found at indoor venues:

 

quiet company at winflow austin listening room 

Quiet Company played a great set at the Winflow Listening Room. The sound was perfect and the food was much improved over the last time we saw a show down there. Wonderful venue, great band, nice evening. 

mente clara with stephen blum austin central market music 

Stephen Blum sat in with our friends in Mente Clara 

I love that Central Market has a live music venue and café in their wonderful grocery store. It's been a while since we ate there. We do get the occasional pint and growler fill there.

The food was less than great. With all the fresh ingredients at hand and that beautiful kitchen, the food should be better. Kat and I split a pizza and a Caesar salad. The dressing clearly came from a jug and the pizza crust was sad. I know you can do better CM.  

July 13, 2015

Treachery of Others

More live music from Austin TX

joe ben x 

it was good to spend a casual evening hanging out with friends and listening to live music. We've been watching Treachery of Others hone their craft for over six years. 

threachery of others band austin tx 

(BIG) 

baird blanton treachery of others band austin tx 

(BIG) 

treachery of others band austin texas 

2009 at the old Bay6 when Jaeger was playing with the TOO guys  (Bay6 is where the whole scene centered back then) 

and 2015 EP release party.

 

 

Music Under the Stars, BROWNOUT

Austin Texas has such a great music scene. It's been said before, but we still appreciate the talent and variety of shows we have daily.

brownout bob bullock music under the stars muts

Brownout sounded great! 

brownout muts austin texas history museum  

brownout big toe austin muts 

We stopped by Chinatown on the way home to check up on what Jorge and Kap have to offer.  

chinatown westlake sushi live scallop 

the specials board said "LIVE SCALLOPS" so we did.  

live scallop susho chinatown westlake  

live scallop sushi chinatown westlake  

Then we asked Jorge to make us a roll, his choice.  

chinatown sushi westlake  

That was one of the best rolls we've ever had.  

July 10, 2015

Summer trip day Thirteen, Bull Creek stay-cation

We arrived home early Sunday morning (also known as late Saturday night). Not wanting to waste the last day of vacation, we decided to find a swimming hole close to home. Bull Falls is just up the road from us and we'd never been. We UN-packed our swim suits and water shoes from the Vermont luggage and headed out.

bull creek austin texas 

Our first impression was positive, such natural beauty just up the road from our home. Then an empty bag of beef jerky floated near and I fished it out, stuffed it into my pocket. A woman with kids seated near me threw an empty juice pouch into the water near my feet. I picked that up and put it in my pocket. I collected an empty box of cigarettes from where we put our towel down... it soon became apparent that there was much more trash than I had pocket space.  

bull creek austin tx 

People all over the creek were just tossing their trash on the ground and into the water, making no effort at all to clean up after themselves. PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT PEOPLE!

I saw one guy slip and fall, loosing one flip-flop in the process. He laughed as he took his remaining flip-flop and tossed it into the current. A girl nearby found a dirty sock had washed up on her arm, she laughed as she peeled it off and flung it back into the water. The banks of the creek were filled with empty beer and soda cans, a dirty diaper laid in a pool of water... and the piles were increasing quickly. One group of men in the water below the falls had lined up all their empty glass bottles on a ledge.   

bull creek water falls slide 

The falls above had about a ten foot drop. I made sure I kept the boys back. I saw people sliding down again and again, but the current was fast and it just takes one good bump on the noggin to turn a fun day in the water into something more serious. HOWEVER, I watched in horror as one mother dangled her toddler (wearing arm floaties) over the falls, and she just let go. WOOSH! The kids was maybe three or four years old... sink or swim buddy! Notice the shore above is lined with discarded flip-flops. 

bull creek austin tx 2015 5th of july 

I also saw one guy slip and land on his elbow, it looked as though he dislocated his shoulder. He laid in the water for a while holding his arm. His wife came over and tugged and yanked on his arm for a while trying to correct the issue. Maybe he should be wearing real water shoes instead of flip-flops or bare feet after loosing the flip flops? FLIP FLOPS ARE NOT WATER SHOES PEOPLE! 

trash on the shores of bull creek austin, tx 

bull creek flip flop austin tx 

it was a discouraging day back in Austin. It's not too much to expect people to clean up after themselves. Nobody likes it when the police jump out of the brush and start writing tickets, but the situation on Bull Creek needs supervision.

Summer trip day Twelve, Burlington to AUS

Our flight out of VT was in the afternoon. This afforded the boys one last epic dagger battle, in a covered bridge of course.

epic dager battle waterbury vermont 

covered bridge dagger battle waterbury vt 

dagger battle waterbury covered bridge 

waterbury vermont covered bridge 

We had ground cherry jelly from Montreal, currant preserves from the Il d'Orleans,  a large bottle of maple syrup gifted from the Canadian legal team, along with an assortment of play daggers and bamboo swords from Chinatown. We were aware that TSA wouldn't allow these things as carry on items, but I had a plan. I'd just stop by the Fedex in Burlington and use my account to ship it all home. It was a solid plan, until we realized it was the 4th of July and FedEx, along with the USPS and every shipper in town was closed.

We did some quick thinking and came up with plan A, B and C. I pulled into a rest stop and we repacked our luggage. The plan was to check a bag containing the jellies, syrup and daggers. The next problem was the swords were too long to fit in luggage. I found drug store that was open and purchased some cardboard and shipping tape. I used my Ebay shipping skills to fashion a custom bamboo sword container to check as baggage. JetBlue allows one free checked bag per person, our problems were solved and our load was lighter. We made it home with all our foods and souvenirs with minimal hassle, an extra twenty minutes waiting by the baggage carousel.

burlngton vermont fourth ofjuly 2015 

We spent some time walking around Burlington.  

burlington 2015 vt 

Once again, we left wishing we had more time to spend here. Airline cancellations and diversions had absorbed the two days we planned to spend in Burlington.  

farmstead tap and grill burlington vt 

A quick round a Vermont cheeses and one last VT ale before we flew back to Austin.  We combined our heads and composed some words in a reflective moment of summer trip to Vermont 2015

VERMONT

Big tree, small tree, short tree, tall tree.

Ales and bales, sceneries of creameries, beers and deers.

Big waterfalls and tiny halls. Swimming holes and little foals.

So much charm, found at farms, and covered bridges to verdant ridges.

by the Schuster family of Austin TX 2015 

 

We also had fun at Terminal 5 at JFK New York on the way home. We ate sushi and noodles in the Asian restaurant and then moved across the way for Pizza at the Italian restaurant.  They also have a French and a Spanish restaurant right there for next time.

Summer trip Day Eleven, Waterbury and the Bolton Potholes

We packed up and said goodbye to our home in the NEK.

barton river glover vt  

Spent a quiet moment along the Barton River, in the back yard.

barton river glover vt NEK 

barton river NEK glover vt 

montpelier vermont 2015  

We are always impressed by Montpelier. Everything is so clean and postcard perfect. They were setting up for a festival. Kat was pleased that they had signage noting the event was smoke free. She had been annoyed by all the smokers on the streets of Montreal.  

dagger battle at the capitol of vermont montpelier 

A quick dagger battle at the Capitol before we continued on to Waterbuy and grabbed lunch at Prohibition Pig

prohibition pig waterbury VT 

They really are blessed with amazing craft beers in VT.  

With a solid BBQ brisket lunch down, it was time to explore the Bolton Potholes.

bolton vermont 

bolton potholes vt 

We started at the top of the Falls

swimming at bolton falls potholes vermont 

#2 son braved the cold water to show off his swimming skills once again.  

bolton potholes vermont swimming hole 2015 

bolton falls vermont 

The daughter explored the Joiner Brook upstream by herself.  

bolton potholes summer 2015 

tempting fate over the falls at the bolton potholes vt 

People with less fear of heights than myself make me nervous. It's only a sharp 25 ft drop from there... place that foot carefully. 

bolton potholes vermont 

We fed the kid at the hotel, we had reservations at Hen of the Wood.

Hen of the Wood Restaurant Waterbury VT 

heady topper at hen of the wood waterbury vermont

Heady Topper beer has quite a reputation. Often hailed as the best beer in the world. I'm here to tell you, it's definitely worth seeking out.

Hen of the Wood lived up to my expectations. The food, service and setting were perfect. The perfect ending to our summer in VT trip of 2015.  

 

Summer trip day Ten, Lake Willoughby and the NEK

lake willoughby dock

Kat and I drove around the lake and even stopped by an Open House. There was so much to love about this property on the lake complete with a dock and a boat garage. Kat was ready to go pack up our bags from the rental and move in. We did go back to get the kids so they could enjoy the lake.

lake willoughby vermont NEK 

(BIG)  The daughter brought her sketchbook and put it to good use.

lake willoughby north beach NEK 

The boys were happy to play in the sand.  

lake willoughby orleans barton vermont  

giant of lake willoughby VT NEK 

(BIG)  Forced perspective, #1 son appears as a giant wading across the lake

 

hill farmstead growler NEK vermont vt 

I brought my treasure from the day before.  

lake willougby july 2015 NEK VT 

(BIG) 

We also stopped by the South beach of Lake Willoughby, but it was too cold and windy to stay. 

lake willoughby south beach NEK VT 

We went to Saint Johnsbury for the evening.  

Kingdom taproom Saint Johnsbury  

I worried that the Kingdom Taproom would not be kid friendly, I was wrong. They even had a kids menu with some delicious mac-n cheese on it. They also enjoyed French Onion Soup. I had a place on the river marked for dinner so Kat and I held out.  

saint johnsbury vt, passumpic river 

The restaurant on the Passumpic river had a gorgeous setting, but the food was just OK. Hey, they can't all be awesome.  

paul schuster  

I found something I liked.  

sunset from hwy 91 VT 

The sun set as we drove home on HWY 91. 

 Funny thing about driving in VT, everybody drives 65 MPH or below. I'm used to the TX HWY where everybody is driving 75-85 MPH.  I often had to apply the brakes when I realized I'm flying past people at a much higher speed.

We enjoyed staying up late catching up on Parks and Recreation while Kat and I finished the growler at home.  It was a good day.   

 

July 09, 2015

Summer trip day Nine, NEK and the Hill Farmstead

I had arranged a house rental for a couple nights in NEK (North East Kingdom). We quickly adapted to our new "home".

glover vt

I was able to play my music and make our breakfasts at home. It felt good to slip into the usual morning routine.

I found a stash of Hill Farmstead growlers in our new home. I took this as a sign from above. Kat and I jumped in the car and sped off to get it filled.  

The GPS tried to kill us getting there. It sent us up a STEEP, NARROW and ROCKY off-road path. I pushed our little AWD rental car and it went, and went up some more... but I finally had to call it... we were still a couple miles to go and we had no cell coverage. I had to reverse out for almost fifteen minutes as it was too narrow to turn around. Kat studied the map on the Yelp app and plotted a new route in disagreement with the GPS. 

SHE DID IT! We found ourselves at the top of a mountain using passable dirt roads. We made it, along with a whole bunch of other beer pilgrims already waiting for their growler fills.  

 

hill farmstead brewery vermont NEK

I'd read one yelp review that the wait to get a growler filled can take two and a half hours... I didn't believe it.  

hill farmstead brewery vermont growler line 

I think it was true. We came on a week day and waited over an hour to get our borrowed growler filled. We tasted  few of their offerings while we waited.  

hill farmstead brewery vt north east kingdom 

Hill Farmstead Brewery growler fill vermont vt nek 

They have a strict process to be followed, complete with a form to be filled out and instructions of exactly how to place it in the box (IT MUST BE FACE DOWN!). We passed the test and left with our filled growler.  

glover vt 

The expansive space of our NEK home gave the kids ample room to do what they do... game.  The fast and reliable wifi was well appreciated.

kids on elecronic devices glover vt 

Each kid had their own bed. They appreciated that.  

kut streaming on the ipad in glover vermont 

Kat was able to do laundry and stream KUT.  

parker pies draft beer glover vermont 

Just a short drive up the hill to Parker Pies. I saw they had Hill Farmstead on tap! I took it as another sign from above and ordered one.  

Hill Farmstead draft beer parker pies NEK vt glover 

...and just like that...

a sign from the heavens Hill Farmstead NEK Vermont from Parker Pies 

(insert harp sound here) a rainbow appeared over Parker Pies.  I'm listening universe!

parker pies glover vt NEK pizza and beer  

Parker Pies made a mistake and landed a third pie on our table that we didn't order. They let us keep it and it was one of the best pizzas. Locally made bacon with Maple Syrup really made it special! I don't usually care much for maple syrup, but this opened my eyes! It was like magic on that pie. Now I know what to do with that Male Syrup that was gifted to us by the Canadians of Montreal. Thank you universe, Hill Farmstead, Montreal legal team, and Parker Pies.  

 

July 08, 2015

Summer trip day Eight, Oh Magog! Lac Memphremagog.

We stopped for the night along the Quebec end of Lake Memphremagog, at the town of Magog.

lake memphremagog quebec

It was a bit overcast, but that didn't dissuade us.

magog quebec

lake memphremagog quebec

magog quebec lake memphremagog 

These boys were happy to play on the beach.  

magog quebec 

lake memphremagog magog quebec 

magog quebec 

lac memphremagog 

swimming lake memphremagog quebec 

#2 son is a more confident swimmer.  

savateur lac memphremagog quebec le femme 

(BIG)  SAUVETEUR! HELP ME!  a slow summer job on the lake Memphremagog.

sailboat on lake memphremagog quebec 

(BIG) 

magog quebec  

The boys continued their dagger battle on the roof top deck of our hotel. We all enjoyed a nice dinner at the local Micro Brasserie, complete with duck confit, fondue and duck wings. Then Kat and I walked around the tiny town a bit.  

liquor store restoclub magog quebec

We settled at this "restoclub" called The Liquor Store. Funny, it's not a liquor store, but a restaurant and music club. They had a band playing classic rock while all the heaters were blasting on this last evening in June. It started to rain while we were there. The umbrellas are all inverted, like funnels. They draw the rain in so there were no drips, GENIUS! 

 

Summer Trip day Seven, Ile d'Orleans

quebec city breakfast at paillard

Our favorite breakfast spot in Quebec, Paillard! A large breakfast croissant sandwich (egg, ham and cheese) with a cup of fresh fruit AND a coffee for less than $8!

island of orleans quebec 

I suggested a few options for a day trip outside of Quebec City, Kat selected Ile d'Orleans (Orleans Island). 

ile d'orleans 

(BIG) 

We stopped at a place specializing in jams and Ice Cider, then we drove around the island taking in the many shades of green.  

ile d'orleans isle of orleans quebec 

Got out of the car to explore the coast.  

orleans quebec 

geological formations of orleans island quebec ile d'orleans 

(BIG) 

I had a place bookmarked for lunch, but Kat took a leap of faith and chose a small roadside diner. I was skeptical. 

cheval bland ile d'orleans quebec bistro de la plage 

Yes, this is a beautiful island. This lunch is going well so far!

cafe bistro de la Plage orleans quebec 

Duck confit always makes Kat happy. We also had duck rillettes, a puffed pastry with a seafood cream sauce and of course the kids had French Onion Soup.  

duck confit bistro de la plage ile d'orleans 

The food at Café Bistro de la Plage was good! and UNexpensive.

currant farm orleans quebec 

I'd noticed a little cottage advertising pies... Yes, pie please. 

quebec orleans island  

They just happened to have a waterfall in the back of the cottage. This place is run by the currant farm at the top of the falls. All the fruit is organic and grown on the island.  

currant farm ile d'orleans quebec 

Notice the epic dagger battle taking place in the background.  

fraises strawberries from ile d'orleans quebec island orleans 

We'd first heard of Ile d'Orleans from the strawberries. Many restaurants in Quebec use strawberries from the island of Orleans. 

If you've only had those giant American Strawberries from big box stores, the ones that have little taste and the insides are white with a consistency not unlike Styrofoam... you are being cheated.

The only other strawberries I've had that tasted this good... when we lived in Santa Cruz, my friend Cathy Shikatani worked at an organic strawberry farm. Those strawberries she gave me were the best I'd ever had before we found out about these Ile d'Orleans fruits.

quebec city walled fortified 

Back over the bridge and about to enter the Old Fortified section of Quebec.  

canada day 2015 quebec city hall 

Our hotel was across from a beautiful park and City Hall. They were prepping for Canada Day. The epic dagger battle in the background continued... this behavior raged all over Quebec.  

canada day 2015 quebec city hall 

(BIG) 

quebec sidewalk cafe dinner 1640 

Kat and I enjoyed dinner at 1640, just a few steps from our hotel. We had duck confit, goose confit and half a lobster. It did not suck one bit.  

goose and duck confit at 1640 quebec city 

 

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