In partnership with our friends at Miraval
Austin isn’t all hipster bands and breakfast tacos. Although, to be fair, there are a lot of those. The tech world of Austin has quietly boomed, and flocks of bright young things in athleisure from around the country—and the world—have moved in. An abundance of healthyish restaurants, workout studios, and wellness-forward hotels have followed. And while we stan for newness, innovation, and a great yoga class, Austin’s glory has always been…Austin. It’s the greenest city in the Lone Star State. There seems to be a park on every block (in fact, 286 of them) and a trail for every bike. Then there are the lakes. So. Many. Lakes. On a recent trip to ATX, we decided to skip Franklin’s meat and three, late nights at the Continental Club, and cheesy migas at Veracruz. Instead, we laced up our sneakers. We scoured the city for cleaned-up versions of our breakfast favorites, we found the dreamiest spots for a refreshing dip, and we decamped to Texas Hill Country to decompress among the wildflowers. And we fell in love with a whole new side of the city.
Miraval really leans in to the idea that everything is bigger in Texas. The 220 acres of wildflower-and-cactus-laced parkland are only thirty minutes from Austin’s main arteries. This latest addition to the Miraval portfolio is a counterbalance to the city’s techy buzz and BBQ vibe. A weekend here, among the bluebonnets of Texas Hill Country, is about unplugging. No loud talking on the phone (there are designated phone zones) and no smoking anywhere. When you arrive, the smoky scent of wood fires drifts through the lobby, and the rustic minimalism and sheer expansiveness of the property invite you to unwind. It’s impossible to feel stressed in a place this calming. While the practice of wellness and self-care can often feel like a competitive sport, the Miraval team has created a beautiful, noncheesy wellness wonderland. Everything is saturated with natural light, and guest rooms—all in soothing shades of grey, sand, and cream—come stocked with meditation cushions and Tibetan singing bowls. (Tibetan singing bowls!) The A-frame yoga barn is so peaceful and soothing that it’s worth taking a class even if you don’t like yoga. Even the animals are calm. Horses never clip-clop any faster than a gentle plod, and rides are more an exercise in meditation than adrenaline. Mornings can be spent beekeeping (yes, really) at Miraval’s on-site apiary, collecting eggs from the coop, and learning about medicinal mushrooms—all grown (chemical- and pesticide-free) on the property.
WHERE TO EAT
The prospect of flaky, yummy ham-and-cheese croissants at Café No Sé is enough to pull us from Miraval’s cloudlike beds and into central Austin before 10 a.m. Locals crowd around tables for group brunches, while solo diners rustle through the newspapers with cold brew and quinoa porridge for company. Meanwhile, BLTs, smoked salmon, and herby-cream-cheese-smeared bagels are exactly what we want to eat before noon pretty much every day of the week. And while it may be unexpected, chef Amanda Rockman’s crunchy, green breakfast salad, doused in turmeric vinaigrette, is the crucial component to our order every time. When it comes to dinner, Barley Swine works its magic with fresh-off-the-farm bounty like no place else. And we’re obsessed with the locally made Sunset Canyon pottery each dish is served on. A healthyish dinner could look like this: bean salad with masa-infused mayo, shishito pepper mousse flecked with puffed grains, and a bowl of shiitake dumplings with grilled squash to share. (If all the walking, juicing, and namaste-ing has left you craving butter and salt, order the sweet corn dumplings at Suerte. You won’t be sorry.)
WHAT TO DO
Austinites are an outdoorsy lot. And while being outdoorsy in a place with regular highs of ninety-plus degrees seems torturous, after a few days, you start to get it. The city is teeming with pockets of green, manicured trails and public pools. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike trail is easy to love. Ten miles of the best people-watching in town loops around Austin’s sparkling crown jewel: Lady Bird Lake. (Replenish your electrolytes at Juiceland on Barton Springs Road. We’re partial to the Blue Hullabaloo, a blend of hemp milk, banana, Blue Majik spirulina, lemon, and coconut oil.) When you get sweaty hot—and you will—Austin is ready for you. Barton Springs Pool has the dual advantage of stemming from real natural springs and being surrounded by a veil of trees that give it the feel of an oasis. Across the Colorado River, a splash at Deep Eddy Pool on a fiery Austin afternoon is sweet (cool) relief. Once you’re all refreshed, it’s time to shop. In recent years, Austin has transformed into a retail nirvana (hello, Sunroom and ByGeorge), but Take Heart was a new find for us. Behind the minimalist all-glass storefront is a cornucopia of wellness-leaning giftables, like rose quartz gua sha tools and essential oils. We couldn’t look away from the more design-y pieces, especially the sculptural incense burners and robust maple chopping blocks. A slow amble through Keith Kreeger’s studio and showroom over on Springdale Road is like taking in an exhibit. Each hand-thrown vase, cup, and serving dish is a thing of beauty and made to last. (And made to be brought home, in our opinion.)