I'll be writing y'all from Austin, Texas, 'the live music capital of the world', next week. While the trip is prompted by a conference I am attending, we tacked on a weekend stay to explore a bit of this part of the Lone Star State. After three weeks of continual Pacific Northwest rain and wind, we are looking forward to a place that also boasts 300 days of sunshine a year and average daily December temperatures of 62F.
If the town is half as much fun to visit as its Visitors and Convention web site (http://www.austintexas.org/), we will have a great time.
Founded in 1839, it sounds like there's a lot of history to be found there. Two free guided walking history tours are offered each week; one of Congress Ave./6th Street (Thurs - Sat. 9 a.m. and Sunday 2 p.m.)and one of the Bremond Block Historic District (11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday). All we need do is register 48-hours in advance by calling 866-GO-AUSTIN.
Getting to Austin will be a snap as Alaska Airlines (http://www.alaskair.com/) just started non-stop service between Seattle and Austin, (every day but Saturday when they loop passengers through a San Jose, CA, connection to get back to Seattle). Alaska's introductory fares are starting at $119 each way.
We'll be staying at the Courtyard by Marriott at the Downtown Convention Center. The conference rate of $185 per night drops to $135.96 AAA rate per night of our weekend stay. However, a friend who just returned from Austin reports even better deals; she nabbed a 4-star hotel in downtown Austin for $105 a night, including taxes, on http://www.hotwire.com/