A grandma's perspective

[ed. note: Here's a guest blog post from my mother. ]


Our granddaughter has arrived and her mommy and daddy have their hands full, so it’s time for another guest blog, this time from a grandmother’s point of view. So here goes…

Retiring to the Texas Hill Country, especially when we can live in close proximity to both Austin and San Antonio (i.e. within an hour of each), is a delight. Where else can you shop at the Whole Foods “Galactic Headquarters” Market in Austin in the morning (we also call it the “Sacred Food Cathedral”), have barbeque at Fuschak’s in San Marcos at lunch, then shop at San Antonio’s Mexican Market (the Mercado) that afternoon before blowing our diets at the River Walk’s Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant that evening. And we still get to sleep in our own bed that night! Man, that’s living!

The mix of cultures in this area continues to amaze us, even though I was raised in this area. Austin is truly a melting pot, with wonderful ethnic restaurants from all over the world tucked into nearly every shopping strip. The combination of the University of Texas and all the high tech companies north of town ensures that the demand for diverse businesses and cuisines will continue indefinitely. Austin even has its own Asian-American Cultural Center as well as a rich mixture of Hispanic, African-American, Indian and European businesses and activities. Plus it’s only an hour and a half from all that San Antonio has to offer (as noted above) and about four hours or so from the beautiful Gulf beaches.

The Austin area and adjacent Hill Country seem to be festival-happy, because on most any weekend we can find some little town nearby that is celebrating everything from rattlesnakes to strawberries to, of all things, mosquitoes. We can go to regular Market Days (Wimberley’s are the best but Fredericksburg’s are a close second) on their designated weekends (first and third, respectively). Or we can rent a canoe on Lady Bird Johnson Lake in Austin, tube the Guadalupe River or go to the Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels—all within an hour’s drive of our home!

I could continue, but you get the idea. We moved back to the Canyon Lake area because it is more affordable for retirees, but our focus is still on Austin where our kids and grandkids reside. We figure an hour’s drive ensures both our freedom and the sanity of our kids, and it appears to be working out that way. It’s still close enough to run up for a meal with them or pick up our grandkids for a few days’ visit at our house but far enough away that neither of us can just drop in on the other unannounced.

All in all, I can’t think of a better place to retire. The Austin area has it all as far as we are concerned—except for our other set of kids and grandkids. Now all we need is a high-speed tunnel between the two houses and we would have it made!

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