Austin’s Inner Beauty

So last month I made the trek back east to visit my sister and her family…and I’ve got to tell you, Pittsburgh is a beautiful city! I grew up there, and go back quite often to visit, so it isn’t like I am unfamiliar with the landscape, but seriously, getting off the plane and seeing how GREEN everything is…it kind of just slaps you in the face…especially coming from Central Texas. Not to mention, there are huge, soaring trees, and every yard is manicured…I don’t think these people do much else other than take care of their yards….I mean, seriously, every inch is landscaped to perfection.

Now granted, my sister does live in the suburbs, but even driving through the city, all the lawns are pristine…these people must spend every moment of their time watering and weeding and mowing.

This thought makes me want to bring up a point about Austin that I’m somewhat loathe to admit…we aren’t the prettiest city out there…although we definitely have the soul and inner beauty! I say this because for those of you who are visiting for a weekend or on the fence about moving to Austin…we may not make the greatest first impression, but give us a chance to prove what true beauty is and I think you’ll find we’re a keeper!

Austin sits at the convergence of two types of landscapes; to our west we have rugged hill country where you’ll find an abundance of cedar, oak, and brush. To the east, there are vast rolling plains…think flat. The native plant life that grows here are somewhat flat, scraggly, and bushy…some would say weed-like…and it doesn’t help that we’ve been suffering a horrid drought. If something decides to take up root…we let it!

Another thing about Austin, the homes to the East, South, and especially in central Austin, are somewhat small; 1200-1700 square feet…although they have tons of charm and character! You’ve definitely got to be committed to living the ‘urban’ life if you settle in these areas, and if you don’t mind showering in a small stall, or sharing a single bathroom, you should be ok! The homes in these areas are typically 60 years or older; some of them are a great buy because of the fact that they need some TLC and updating…remember, up until about 15 years ago, this town was really just a college town!

Our downtown, urban core saw its main growth between the 50’s and 70’s, and some of the design ideas of that era…well…let’s just say they leave some room for improvement; but if you can get past the façade, you’ll find what’s inside really is awesome. The restaurants and shops contained within these older buildings are sure to impress, though I can see how a visitor driving by might not get it.

And yes, you may ask, what about the suburbs…well, they are definitely more maintained and manicured…so if this is your thing, we’ve got that; but you’ll still want to check out and get familiar with the feel of downtown.

It’s funny, but when I moved here 5 years ago, I wasn’t the least bit impressed by this city…so I can see how an outsider looking in might view us; I’ve been there, but now, now I think Austin is gorgeous and I love its laid back atmosphere and homey feel. I love the fact that we have greenbelts throughout the city and the river (although technically speaking, it’s dammed up, so really it’s a lake!) I love the charm of the older homes, and the pecan and oak trees in the front yards. I love that we have hills to the west and prairies to the east; and I especially love the clear, blue, open sky!

Austin is a great place to call home; I love it here…and if that gives me rose colored glasses, well…then I’m happy to be looking at a rose colored world!


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