Favorites from the Festival

Saturday, 20190929

We piled in the car and headed east to Huntsville, way too early for a Sunday morning drive, but we each had long to-do lists awaiting our return.  We passed by the Elisabet Ney Museum, to pay small homage to the artist who created the statue of Sam Houston (and of some other Texas hero) in the Capitol.  Ney’s historic home and studio museum was not open, so it was truly a drive-by, but it was also close-by our final destination before leaving Austin city limits, Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery.

Topped off with coffees and teas, and the usual plethora of pastries, we headed out.  We drove into the sunrise, reliving some of the more interesting, fun, frustrating, and even silly moments of the trip, our favorite panels/sessions, meals/restaurants, and some “honorable mention moments” shone through:

TribFest Panels/Sessions

  • The Stories of 9/11 and One-on-One with Julián Castro (tie for most votes!)
  • Points of Light

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • Trade Off
  • Ed & the Feds

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Austin Texas, Texas Tribune Festival, Tribfest, Susanna Martinez

  • From Within

Restaurants/Meals

  • CAVA and Clay Pit (tie for most votes!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • Kerbey Lane Café
  • Coffeehouse at Caroline

Trip “Honorable Mentions”

  • Book signing by an author — not on the book signing list (Julian Castro)!

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Julian Castro, Miranda Estrada

  • One traveler’s first time to visit the Texas State Capitol – Senate & House floors, Hall of Governors, and learning what the Texas Capitol icon the Goddess of Liberty *really* looks like…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Austin Texas, Texas Tribune Festival, Tribfest 2019

  • Seeing Austin City Hall at night.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin City Hall

All in all, everyone agreed it was a packed trip, full of interesting information and exciting experiences, and in some cases, the opportunity to gain insights that may even challenge one’s current way of thinking.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Austin Texas, Texas Tribune Festival, Tribfest, Susana Martinez

Texas Tribune Festival, Day 1

Thursday, 9-27-2019

We piled in the car and headed west to Austin, too early to be considered a ride off into the sunset, but with plenty of time to make it to our destination: the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival.  The three-hour trip from Huntsville went by quickly, as our group of LEAP Ambassadors and friends chatted along the way, sharing life and prior travel experiences.

The festival hub wasn’t too far from the hotel, and with a coolish breeze, we chose to walk, meandering through the Capitol grounds on the way…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas

….but without any prolonged stopping – we needed to check in at TribFest before attending the opening keynote, by Congressman Will Hurd.  We were pleasantly surprised with no waiting in line to get our credentials.

Once we crossed the street toward the Paramount Theater, though, we became immediately aware that, despite leaving what we thought was adequate time, we were most likely not going to see the inside.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas

The line stretched out along the entire block, around the corner, and then up and around the next block.  We trudged to the end, mainly because it was uphill and afforded a better picture of the line.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Representative Will Hurd

We commiserated with our nearby co-queuers, then decided to take in some of downtown Austin by foot, and find an early dinner.

We stopped at Second Bar + Kitchen on Congress & Second.  Everything looked good on the menu, and we selected a variety: crispy brussells sprouts, black truffle pommes frites, pepperoni soup…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas, 2nd Kitchen

…a couple of pizzas: black + bleu and eggplant + goat cheese (hold the goat!)…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Representative Will Hurd

…and a couple of Congress burgers.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas, 2nd Kitchen

No one was dissatisfied – and no one had room for dessert, a shame.

An after-dinner walk was an easy group decision.  And since we were so close, we had to detour down to the Congress Avenue Bridge. We were too late to see the bats up close, or the sunset, but we could see clouds of bats in the distance, making their way to get their own dinner.  We started the slower climb uphill back to our hotel, stopping along the way to briefly check out the wonderfully weird architecture of Austin’s City Hall…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin City Hall

…and a brief stop by Austin City Limits, another monument to the city’s long history of promoting great, local music.

After a brief review of tomorrow’s early-morning plans, we retired earlier than the “LEAP Trip” usual time.  We will need the rest for the next two days of politics, politics, and more politics at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival!