Yellowstone National Park 3

Yellowstone National Park is truly a magical place. The park was established in 1872 as our nation’s first national park. Consisting of 3,472 square miles and situated on 2,221,766 acres, Yellowstone is located in Wyoming (96%), Montana (3%) and Idaho (1%). Yellowstone has the worlds largest collection of geysers with approximately 300 and over 10,000 thermal features.

We drove about 100 miles per day in search of wildlife and flora. I hope you enjoy this short post of the written word to enjoy the beauty that I have desperately tried to capture with my lens. Feel free to ask me any questions about what you see or would like to learn about a trip to Yellowstone. If you haven’t been ~ it’s a must experience “Bucket List” destination.

Bison are plentiful in Yellowstone and can be viewed throughout the park especially in the Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley.

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I spotted this coyote near Blacktail Pond heading towards Mammoth Hot Springs

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Early morning in the Hayden Valley just past sunrise along the Yellowstone River

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Grizzly Boar I followed for a couple of hours along the Yellowstone River near Steamboat Point. This image was taken at dusk and there was no light to speak of. Sometimes I find it’s not about a photograph,. Sometimes you just have to soak in the experience and that is what I did while viewing this amazing mammal.

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Pronghorn Buck in the Lamar Valley just past Slough Creek

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Early evening and sunset along the Yellowstone Lake near Mary Bay

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Otis having the time of his life in the Yellowstone Lake with a stick. He was in dog heaven!

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One of my favorite spots is Lake Butte Overlook. An über peaceful spot to catch a glorious sunset and gaze over the Yellowstone Lake and valley below.

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Photo Source: © 2013 Anna Sullivan Photography, Copyright All Rights Reserved

Downtown Austin 2

Since posting yesterday about SoCo in Austin, Texas ~ thought it appropriate to finish up my Texas trip with a short post about downtown Austin. Austin is the capital city of Texas. It’s also the 11th most populous city in the US. It’s vibrant downtown scene is comprised of amazing restaurants and music venues all over town.  Austin is the annual host of South by Southwest (SXSW) one of the largest music festivals in the country. Now you can see how Austin got its name “Live Music Capital of the World”. You can’t get bored in Austin, there is always a concert, festival, art show and so much more to see, hear and do. I really dig this city.

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State Capitol of Texas ~ second largest state capital in the US behind Phoenix. Located just 4 blocks south of the University of Texas, the building is surrounded by 17 monuments on 22 gorgeous acres. Well worth a visit.

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The University of Texas at Austin ~ founded in 1883 and now has over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students. “U.T.” ~ home of the Longhorns!

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Whole Foods Market ~ flagship store for the past 30 years. Largest Whole Foods at 80,000 sq ft. This store is unbelievable and we shop here almost daily when we’re in Austin. Shopping experience not to miss while visiting this hip town.

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Zilker Metropolitan Park is located off Barton Springs Road (Pecan Grove RV Park is also on Barton Springs Rd!!) with 350 gorgeous acres. It’s a quick walk from Pecan Grove and around the corner from downtown Austin. We ran Otis at Zilker twice a day and I ran the miles of trails that are available for all to enjoy. You have to visit Zilker Park when you’re in Austin. It’s a peaceful park to hang out and do just about anything. I can’t wait to return and will be spending each day at Zilker.

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We decided we didn’t much care for the laundry facility at Pecan Grove RV Park so we decided to hightail it to SpinCycle Coin Laundry “Keeping Austin Clean”. We got the job done!! One of the less glamorous tasks of RV’ing!

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Our camp site at Pecan Grove RV Park in downtown Austin. We really enjoyed our stay at Pecan Grove and you can see more photos and read about it in my previous blog post!

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Photo source: © Anna Sullivan Photography

SoCo 8

Let me just put it out there right from the start, Austin, Texas is one cool town and I just love being there. Even though it’s pretty way out and I mean in a seriously weird way ~ it’s the most chill town I think I have ever been too. My favorite part of Austin is SoCo. South Congress leads directly into downtown Austin ending at the state capitol. With funky, eclectic shops, hip restaurants, Airstream and other food trucks and so much more, SoCo is sure to please even the most conservative minds. Did I mention the music scene? The music in Austin is out of this world good. I just love it. One does not feel like they are in the “big” state of  Texas while visiting Austin, I tell you. If you haven’t been ~ you just gotta go!

View from South Congress with unobstructed views of the State Capitol in downtown Austin

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South Congress signage: Doc’s Bar & Grill, Uncommon Objects, Maya, Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, Heritage Boot Company and Amy’s Ice Creams!

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Hey Cupcake! is one of my favorites. I mean who doesn’t love a super moist cupcake that is handed to you out of a vintage Airstream?

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“Keep Austin Weird” is a slogan inspired by Red Wassenich in 2000. The slogan has stuck and I know why. It’s pretty chill when most people in a major city don’t give a hoot about what peeps look like or how they dress. And, I am here to say that I have never seen more tattoo’s in my entire life than in Austin, TX. Some local hippie flavor below….

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South Congress is famous for their food trucks and Austin LOVES Airstreams!! Below are just a couple food truck choices: Taco Baby, Burro Cheese Kitchen, Short Bus Subs, Nomad Dosa, Crepes Mille, The Fat Cactus, Hey! You Gonna Eat or What? and Little Big Mike’s,

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There are also boutique Airstreams on South Congress: Curb Service Adelante and Bootleg Market.

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Even a doggie adoption Airstream ~ gotta love it!!! Please visit Austin Pets Alive! and support them. A cause very close to my heart!

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There is so much good food in Austin that you might just have to wait in line. Here at Hopdoddy Burger Bar is no exception. They serve up hand-crafted, all natural burgers and beer! What’s not to love?

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Every once in a while I splurge for some exceptional southern fried chicken. And we were not disappointed at our new favorite chick’n joint ~ Ms. P’s Electric Cock. That’s right, it’s called Electric Cock and it’s sensational. If you want some serious “soul” food then head on over to the Electric Cock. Yum!!!

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A locals favorite and another great “dive” restaurant that we really enjoyed is Magnolia Cafe. Yes, it’s swarming with the “weird” of Austin and the decor is quirky, to say the least but, this is a great find and we’ll be back for more. And their slogan is “Everybody Knows, Everybody Goes”!! Gotta love this place.

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Photo source: © Anna Sullivan Photography

Wimberley, Willow City Loop & The Salt Lick Reply

This post is my last stop in the Hill Country before moving onto Austin, Texas. A few of my favorite places in the Texas Hill Country ~ the small town of Wimberley, Texas, the scenic Willow City Loop and The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que!

Let’s start with The Salt Lick. I have shared this favorite spot previously here but, since it’s our go-to barbeque joint in the Hill Country, thought I might temp you with some more pics of our afternoon. Choose from their world-famous pork ribs, brisket, sausage, turkey and leave some room for the Texas style pecan pie!

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The Willow City Loop is a delightful drive especially during Bluebonnet season which blossoms around March/April. But, this year poor Texas didn’t receive much H2O from Mama Nature so the wildflowers weren’t as abundant as usual. The drive is perfect for a slow afternoon to take in the vast panoramic views and natural beauty. Addtional photos from my previous post on the “Loop” here.

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The tiny town of Wimberley, Texas is the sweetest little place I ever had the pleasure to visit. Not only do they still support the “Mom & Pop” concept but, the southern hospitality, the quaint shops and the best restaurant, The Leaning Pear is what you’ll find here in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. “Wimberley is the geographic center and the aesthetic heart of the Wimberley Valley and is located at the confluence of Cypress Creek and the Blanco River. The natural beauty of the softly winding Blanco River, shaded Cypress Creek and the stunning views of Lone Man Creek call to artists, retired folks and anyone seeking escape from city life.”

The Leaning Pear never disappoints. As a matter of fact, we have been here on every single trip to the Texas Hill Country and it’s ever-changing specials and daily soups still surprise and delight us on each visit. We enjoyed immensely the Meatloaf with Scallion Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans, The Leaning Pear House Salad with shallot vinaigrette, spiced pecans, local goat cheese and pear garnish  (my all time favorite) and the Pecan Crusted Black Drum with Spicy Sweet Potato Purée and Cilantro Aioli. I have recommended The Leaning Pear to everyone I know with confidence. I just adore this restaurant, the food and the exceptional service. They are building a new restaurant on the property which I have shown below. Looking forward to dining in the new establishment on my next visit. My previous post that included The Leaning Pear!

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The Wild West Store is simply the best shop to find that perfect pair of vintage cowboy boots you have always wanted. Ulli Johnston is the owner and she is a delight. Ulli is known as the “Boot Whisperer” and since 1993 she’ll prove that to you with a selection of over 500 pair of vintage boots, collectables and Western goods. Don’t tell Ulli what size shoe you wear ~ simply remove your shoes, she’ll take a peek at your foot and then she disappears for a bit. She’ll show up with several pairs of vintage or gently used boots and I guarantee you, one of them will be the perfect fit. I found this stunning pair of custom made Liberty cowboy boots and snatched them up. Thanks, Ulli. We so enjoy you and your fabulous store.

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The charming town square of Wimberley and the big cloud skies of Texas. And much to my surprise, I found a vintage Airstream behind a restaurant in town!

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Photo source: © Anna Sullivan Photography