It’s For the Birds

So, in the pursuit of a more perfect Xmas present, I visited our new Dripping Springs version of Wild Birds Unlimited. It’s super-easy for me because it shares a parking lot with our Keller Williams office.

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I talked with Manuel and Anna Peña, the owners, and shortly we were joined by their daughter, Amanda, and her daughter.

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Anna is a retired pharmacist and she and Manuel are truly nature-lovers, so they are glad they opened this franchise of Wild Birds Unlimited in September. Amanda is their manager.

As you can see, they have really squirrel-proof bird feeders. They have all kinds of seed formulated for the central Texas birdies. They have various sizes of locally-made wind chimes tuned to a pentatonic chord. They have more styles of bird feeders than you even knew existed, including the kind that suction-cups onto window glass; perfect for bird-viewing by your grandma, your toddler, and your pets. They can repair their sturdy squirrel-proof bird feeder, should a gorilla take hold of it. You can also find books, cards, and attractive gift items here.

The Peñas have enjoyed getting to know customers from Driftwood, Buda, Wimberley, Dripping Springs, Johnson City, and Blanco- people who not only enjoy birds, but appreciate conserving the natural world. If this sounds like you, stop by the store on 290, right in the heart of town.

 

Christmas Shopping in a Lil’ Town

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Fresh Native is an extremely charming old house-turned-boutique on Ranch Road 12. People who are 20 definitely shop here, but so does my mom.

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Starrs on Mercer is also a great place for men and women, as well as folks who need clothing to wear to Dripping Springs Tigers games. Lots of jewelry and accessories, and locally-sourced cleverness here. Also, if you have eaten more party foods than you might have intended, the sisters can cover you in style.

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Lone Star Gifts has been around for more than a decade (The building has been here since the 1800’s) and the owner says she has a three-year waiting list for new vendors in the booths. It’ll take you awhile to browse this place.

Food and Atmosphere

Really, I just needed to show you one of Dripping Springs’ favorite destinations. It’s Thyme and Dough, for short, and it is perfect for breakfast and lunch and mid-morning snack and catered events. And sometimes, for evening music and dining.

All the cool people go here, as well as many of us who are not cool. I am almost chewing on my pencil just thinking about the croissants.

Get Away for a Few Hours

We have the good fortune of living only a 30-minute drive from Wimberley, Texas. It is an old ranch community, but in recent decades, it has re-fashioned itself as a tourist and arts destination, too. The Blanco River runs through it (and periodically floods parts of it) and several creeks, including Cypress Creek, wind through town and nearby ravines.

Mom and I took off this morning for a bit of shopping and lunch in Wimberley. Our first stop was Kiss the Cook, housed in a former residence on the town square (which is NOT square). The owner is Bren Isgitt and she opened the shop 16 years ago.

The merchandise is all kitchen ware and kitchen gadgets, so there really is something for everyone, right? Of course, Mom and I both loaded up our shopping baskets.

I’m pretty sure shops in Wimberley are required to have creative front doors. This one adds a relevant sign to its door.

Here’s the ‘flavor’ of this kitchen shop:

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Also, the next time I need a thematic cookie cutter, I know where I’m going.

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Janie

When you’re in a shop in Wimberley, you just naturally start a conversation with people working there, unless they start the conversation first. Janie was working at the counter today and she admitted that she is a newcomer, only having been there for 6 years. We touched on many topics, including the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, a blog post topic for another day.

Next, Mom and I wandered over to a new shop in another old building off the square, Ceremony Botanical Studio, which opened in May. Mom is a sucker for succulents, and this shop has great ones.

After we made our purchases, I parked Mom on a handy porch bench while I walked a couple of blocks to the public lot, where I’d left the Realtormobile in deep shade. 🙂

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Wimberley has done its best to accommodate the tourists

After wading through heavy Wimberley Market Days traffic to retrieve Mom, we drove about 3 miles north on Ranch Road 12 to eat lunch at Jobell Café and Bistro. Not sure, but I think this is housed in a former 1970’s-era residence which has been completely renovated to be an attractive restaurant.

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Good thing I took this photo before the restaurant became so packed with diners that you couldn’t see the designed ambience.

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I snapped the lunch menu for you:

We read the dessert selection first, so that we’d be mindful of our ultimate goal when we ordered lunch. I chose the Carprese Quiche and Mom had the Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Grilled Cheese on sourdough. We split a Salted Caramel Crème Brûlée. And, yes, it was all wonderful.

After lunch, I made a drop-off at a former client’s home in Woodcreek and then we drove back to Dripping Springs. I love ‘having’ to go to Wimberley for business or pleasure!

As of this morning, there were 89 homes in 78676 (Wimberley) listed for sale, with prices ranging from 195K to 5,995K. As you might imagine, these come with varying amounts of acreage associated with them. If you are feeling the need to list your Wimberley home, or to buy a Wimberley home, I would welcome your call. 512-970-9121 will find me.

 

 

 

West of Weird

Guess ‘weird’ is a matter of opinion, but I went on my first “West of Weird Property Tour” with lender Trey Powers today. ‘Weird’ is a self-proclaimed descriptor of Austin, and Dripping Springs is west of Austin, so…. you get the idea.

The big draw for me was a twelve-and-a-half acre property with large home right in the middle of the new Arrowhead Ranch subdivision. This is close in, and I mean Close In to ‘downtown’ Dripping Springs. The ranchette and subdivision are beautiful, with live oaks, wet-weather streams, and rocky outcroppings.

The ranchette is the remnant of the ranch which contains the main house, built in 2000, with horse barn and amenities. Somebody has GOT to buy this for a bed-and-breakfast or related retirement project right in the middle of the town which calls itself the “Wedding Capital” of central Texas. Please call me if you know someone who wants to buy this jewel.

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Entry

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View outward from the front of the house

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Nice pool off the outdoor kitchen, no?

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Yes, that’s a library with fireplace through the door in the center of the photo.

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Example of good planning: the antler chandelier can be lowered by pulley for cleaning.

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These were the ones that weren’t standing in the middle of the road when we were leaving.

While we’re on the subject of views, the first home we looked at this morning is lovely- spacious and only one story with this view from the back verandah:

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The title company could find no restrictions on what could be built on this property, so you could have your own business and a lovely home. But, please keep in mind that if you have no restrictions on your property use, your neighbors have none on theirs. Anyone up for a little acreage on a hill with a beautiful Texas hill country view from the house?

You can find me at 512-970-9121.

EXTRA: Here’s something to do this weekend. I am the president of The Austin Mosaic Guild and I am always promoting this art and this organization of wonderful people. We were invited to exhibit with the Texas Society of Sculptors at its annual Sculptfest, so, if you feel like dining at The Oasis this weekend, you can see and purchase indoor or outdoor sculptures to complement your new hill country views.  Here is the link with photos and hours and address:

Sculptfest 2017

New City-planning Maps for Austin

If you’ve been keeping up with CodeNext, Austin’s evolving zoning ordinances, you know that January’s release of new ordinances without an accompanying release of maps caused angst in the neighborhoods whose inhabitants have spent years trying to keep the  feel of those neighborhoods the same as it has been for decades.

Fitting more people and their activities into the same-sized space requires denser building. Closer together and higher. That is the geometry of the situation.  Totally different feel from vistas and trees, right?

Today, the city released the initial zoning maps. Here is a link to the article in the Statesman: CodeNext zoning maps. You’ll find more links within this article, so study to your heart’s content.

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H2O

Went on a property tour this morning in the Dripping Springs area. Lenders and title companies often arrange these affairs on a regular basis for real estate agents and brokers who want to see a sample of what’s available ‘this week’.

It was rainy today. Really rainy. Not too many of us on the property tour. But, you know what? I love to tour properties in the rain, whether with clients, or just for my own education. That’s how you know what the drainage issues are. It’s fun to see how drainage problems have been solved, or forestalled, by French drains, dry streams, foundation grading, walls, etc. It’s also illuminating to see what hasn’t been solved: creeks over sidewalks, water running close to the top of a foundation.

Rainy weather when house-hunting also makes you super-aware of which roads are likely to be impassable in a storm. A phone app I like to use is ATXfloods.com. Shows me a map of all the low-water crossings in the area and which have been closed. Especially important in the hills!

It’s helpful to go house-shopping in the rain so that you can see if there are drainage issues.

By the way, I saw some properties on the market in Dripping Springs this morning that ranged from perfectly charming to gorgeous.