It’s no secret: Austin keeps getting better and better — or so I’ve heard; it had been close to 10 years since my last visit. With the recent opening of the new Miranda Bennett flagship store, in addition to the revamped Fortress of Inca studio/retail space, it seemed time to see what else was new. Thankfully, my family lives a short, three and half hours drive north in a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth. So on a recent holiday visit, we jumped in the car and headed south.
Side Note: It’s a straight shot south from Ft. Worth to Austin so we headed out in the early afternoon so that we could stop in West, Texas for lunch. Located almost exactly halfway between Fort Worth and Austin, West is the self-proclaimed Czech Heritage Capital of Texas and is best known for its authentic Czech bakeries. It's definitely worth a visit!
STAY
The Hotel Carpenter
Based on the recommendation of a friend, we stayed at The Hotel Carpenter, a new hotel by The Mighty Union. The hotel is a blend of warm Terracotta tiles and native plants juxtaposed against cool concrete walls and cement floors, components that work to create a contemporary, dessert oasis in the Barton Springs area of Austin. The hotel features a coffee bar, restaurant (Carpenter Hall), pool and indoor and outdoor lounges, if you have to work during your stay.
 


EAT
Carpenter Hall

Carpenter Hall is a must visit whether you’re staying in the hotel or not. The staff is warm and friendly, the vibe modern and cool, and the food is unfussy goodness. If you go there for breakfast, make sure you try the hash browns.



Hillside Farmacy

Located just two doors down from the Miranda Bennett store, we happened upon this gem of a restaurant located in a restored 1950s pharmacy. Refurbished, wood display cases lining one wall pay homage to the space’s original use. The edited lunch menu includes a perfect kale caesar and squash bisque, among other farm-to-table classics such as a Texas-raised, grass-fed beef burger and Mac N’ Cheese.


VooDoo Donuts

Offering a quirky selection of Raised Yeast Donuts (Mango Tango and Gay Bar), traditional Cake Donuts (Powdered Sugar and Traditional Glazed Old Fashioned) and Vegan (Plain Cake Maple and School Daze PB&J), VooDoo Doughnuts is a necessary stop after a night on Sixth Street — or as a treat to bring back home for those left behind.

The Soup Peddler

Ideal for a mid-morning juice or afternoon pick-me-up, this no-frills, traditional neighborhood juice bar is strictly business with a solid menu of juices, shots, smoothies, and, of course. soup. I recommend The Teacher’s Pet, a delightful blend of carrot, apple and ginger.

SHOP

Miranda Bennett

The first retail location of one of our favorite brand partners is a subdued oasis comprised of creamy walls and white-washed display pieces that offer the perfect backdrop to the desert palette of her latest Edition. You’ll find all the staples, including Everyday Series, Knot Dresses and Muse Tops in more muted and deliberate colors (black, white and the original indigo dyes are only available through us and other stockists). This is meant to reflect the colors unique to the region’s topography, as well as her use of native plant species in her dye offerings. But the best part is the changing lounge where benches covered in pillows made from leftover, scrap fabric provide ideal seating for patient shopping companions.
Fortress Of Inca | Handmade Shoes

I popped by to see the newly revamped showroom/retail space of our longtime partners at Fortress Of Inca. This sweet storefront is nestled in South Austin and stocks the Fortress of Inca brand, along with their sister brand, Huma Blanco. Since 2008, Fortress of Inca has worked with family-owned and operated factories and workshops in Peru to maintain the quality and craftsmanship synonymous with Peruvian shoemaking. Kaight was an early retail partner of the brand, and we continue to work together toward a shared vision of a more sustainable fashion industry.
The Aspen Hatter

The Aspen Hatter is Austin native Chris Roberts, whose retail outpost is part store, part workshop and part clubhouse for his music-loving and whiskey drinking friends and customers. Each hat is custom-made for each client and reflects Roberts personal aesthetic. We loved his use of faded, vintage bandannas and dyed leather strips as hat bands. Next visit, we hope to come home with a hat.


Passport Vintage

As a shop owner, I rarely shop outside my own store, but I do love to check out the local vintage scene whenever I travel. This intimate shop is two rooms of vintage Levi’s mixed with a curated selection of vintage t-shirts and blouses. Once your eyes adjust to the cobalt blue walls, you’ll find on-trend pieces like coveralls and high-waisted flares.

Frond Plant Store

This dreamy plant store is not only inspirational, but also aspirational, with its emphasis on interior design. In addition to a great selection of succulents, cacti and a variety of figs, expect to find a unique combination of textiles and fixtures, alongside planters and baskets cleverly displayed as hangings. Most of the ceramic planters are from local Austin artists, as well as the rope hangers.

Thanks, Austin for being such a generous host. Hope to see you before another decade passes by. Stay weird.






 

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