Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Weeks 35 – 37: Austin, TX to Alys Beach, FL

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Austin, TX | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travel

Alys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travelAlys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travelAlys Beach, FL | picklesnhoney.com #PHroadtrip #roadtrip #travelHighs

We (along with everyone else) love Austin! How this place exists in Texas…we don’t know. But it’s pretty darn wonderful. The food is awesome, the people are friendly, there’s lots of green space, and relatively speaking, it’s still affordable (though not for long because it is BOOMING). The weather was in the 70s and 80s for half the time we were there and we soaked in every last drop of that warm sunshine.

We didn’t know this going in, but Austin has a lot of really great mid-century modern and modern homes throughout the city. Unlike most places where the new construction is beige and boring (looking at you, Southern CA!), Austin’s houses are cool and eclectic. What would easily cost $20-30 million in places like Boston and LA seem to be in the $3-5 million range in Austin. We’re saving our pennies… 😉

Alys Beach in Florida was not on our radar at all. We just happened to drive by and were totally smitten with the pristine white everything. It’s a brand new development and still under construction and normally we might have thought it was too Pleasantville, but having driven through Texas, Louisiana and the Pan Handle (mostly ew), it was a sight for sore eyes. So, so nice to be around white sand beaches, green grass for the dogs, sidewalks—don’t take them for granted!—and open, clean space. We’ve stayed in a lot of new developments on our road trip and this one is how it should be done. Every little detail was thoughtfully designed to perfection. We gushed over the Bermuda-style buildings with their Spanish and Moroccan influence. If California could pair Alys Beach houses with its stunning coastline…gah, we’d be there in a second.

Lows

You might have noticed that we skipped photos for Lubbock, Houston, and Baton Rouge. Yep, not fans.

Houston people: look away.

We think Houston might just be the worst large city in the country. It felt like a machine and not human. All of the streets are basically 8-lane highways and there’s almost no green space. We went to the one big park in the city and it was bordering on Central Park in terms of the number of runners because it’s honestly the only option. And still, there was a golf course taking up 95% of the park, leaving a dirt path to enjoy. We did, however, see the biggest mansions ever (like 25,000+ sq ft, live-in staff big) in the River Oaks neighborhood. Whoa, oil money. I told Aaron I thought Houston would make a person die faster because it’s not conducive to healthy living. No parks, not walkable, high crime, smog-y, heavy meat/dairy-centric food options, and it’s 100 degrees with 99% humidity for a good chunk of the year.

Baton Rouge seemed borderline post-apocalyptic. Aaron describes it as “Walking Dead without the zombies.” We only spent one night near downtown in a very dorm-room-like AirBnB, so this may not be a fair assessment, but the vibe was creepy. Plus side: they do have a Whole Foods. Downside: the Whole Foods didn’t have a single veggie option in the prepared food section. The closest thing to a veg-friendly sandwich was pastrami with cheddar on rye.

Recipes Made

favorite pancakes / savory oats / gluten-free cornbread

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  1. kate says

    your assessment of houston is spot on. my husband and i lived there for a year (work related) and it was truly the worst, in all sorts of ways that someone from boston (me) just couldn’t have even imagined. my favorites included the exhibit at the aquarium demonstrating how beneficial for sea life abandoned oil rigs out in the middle of the ocean are (sponsored by shell oil) and the restaurant menu that listed mac & cheese under the “vegetables” section… but no vegetables. needless to say, we visited my friend in austin as often as we could before hightailing it back to new england!

    1. I’m kind of relieved you feel that way about Houston too! I was like “do I write that we hated it, or…do I gloss over it?” but it was just not a nice place to be and it really felt like it would be a difficult place to live healthfully. I can’t even imagine Houston in summer with the heat radiating off of the buildings and concrete everywhere with little to no trees. UGH. I would have high-tailed it back to New England too.

    2. Also, that is MESSED UP about the aquarium.

  2. im typing this from austin.and my boyfriend and i always talk about moving here eventually. i absolutely do not like houston either..so im glad im not the only one.

    1. Austin seems like a really great place to live!

  3. Rosanna says

    Never been to any of the three cities (Houston, Lubbock or Baton Rouge).. Glad I can scratch them off my list.. Austin is still one that we want to visit.. We were just in St Augustine a couple of weeks ago, and were impressed about how that small little town is friendly to vegans.. there’s also an all-vegan restaurant (which we went too and loved it)!!! I would move to St Augustine in a nanosecond! Your photos, as usual, are spectacular!

    1. haha Even the hotel staff in Lubbock were like “and why are you here??”. But to each her own. 😉

      Austin is, of course, wonderful. I’ve never been to St. Augustine, but now I’m curious!

  4. Jennifer says

    I have not met a person yet who says they love Houston unless they are from Texas. My mom use to travel for nursing conventions and she would bring back stuff for us, and I remember the one in Houston she was stumped. We got beaded easter egg boxes from Neman Marcus. Seems to sum it up well.

    1. Your comments always make me laugh, Jennifer! That’s really funny about the Easter egg boxes from Neiman Marcus. ha!

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