Starling Travel

March 17, 2006

Austin, Texas: Harry Ransom Center

Filed under: Museums,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Austin seems to be burgeoning with museums. When I compare it to my hometown, I feel a little ashamed of the plethora of pioneer museums when Austin has so much art and WORLD history at their disposal.

The Harry Ransom Center has a wide variety of exhibits to enjoy while you are there and if you are stuck at home or work right now, you can take a virtual vacation with their online exhibits.

Take a break from your day and enjoy the art and history from the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas.

Where: 21st and Guadalupe, Austin, Texas 78713 Google Map Telephone: 512-471-8944

March 16, 2006

Austin, Texas: Lonely Planet Reviews

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Lonely Planet is the guide book that you should carry around if you are backpacking across Europe. That’s the feeling that I get when I read their books. I feel like if I was a hippie and I just picked up and decided to hitch-hike across the states, I should have a Lonely Planet guidebook in my backpack.

Their review of Austin, Texas is a must-read if you have never been to the city.

I love travelling to a new city. It gives me the chance to obsess about new history, museums and restaurants. Lonely Planet helps me along the way.

March 15, 2006

Austin, Texas: The O. Henry Museum

Filed under: Museums,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

O. Henry Museum in Austin, TexasIn a small Queen Anne home in Texas, William Sidney Porter rested from his wide array of jobs. He would later be known as O. Henry, penning one of the most famous American Christmas stories, “The Gift of the Magi.”

Imprisoned on embezzlement charges, he wrote some of his stories in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Instead of moving the prison and turning it into a museum, they have made a museum of the modest home he lived in while he worked odd jobs in Austin.

O. Henry (William Sidney Porter)The museum is a quick glimpse into Porter’s life in Austin, Texas.

“Porter lived in this 1886 Queen Anne-style cottage from 1893 to 1895. His home has since been restored and now contains artifacts and memorabilia from Porter’s life in Austin. The O. Henry Museum is a National Register Property and a National Literary Landmark of the City of Austin.”

This museum is a chance to see where Porter lived while he gathered the experience he needed to write some of the masterpieces of the American short story.

Where: 409 East Fifth Street Austin, Texas 78701 Google Map Phone: (512)472-1903

March 14, 2006

Austin, Texas: Austin Museum of Art

Filed under: Museums,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Austin has a strong connection with art, whether its music, film or the visual arts. There are two museums of art in Austin, each housing different exhibits.

I find that every art museum has its own unique treasures to show me. A small museum in Boise is very different from the larger museums in San Francisco, but each one has its own personality and beauty.

Where – Two Locations:

AMOA-Downtown – 823 Congress Avenue at 9th Street Austin, Texas Google Map Phone: 512-495-9224

AMOA-Laguna Gloria – 3809 West 35th Street (west of Mopac) Austin, Texas Google Map Phone: 512-458-8191

March 13, 2006

Austin, Texas: Stubb’s Barbeque

Filed under: Food,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Stubb's BBQNo trip to Texas would be complete without eating real barbeque. Not that stuff that you mix in with your ground beef for sloppy joes, I’m talking REAL Texas Barbeque. Stubb’s is the restaurant to indoctrinate you.

At true Texas man, Christopher B. Stubblefield had many wild adventures before he opened the current restaurant in Austin, Texas. From learning to cook in Lubbock, Texas, to serving 10,000 soldiers in the Korean War, Stubbs has kept the eating experience a beautiful fusion of food and music. Stubb’s restaurant has been the home to many famous live musicians who have played for their supper.

The BBQ sauce is such a legend that you can probably purchase it in your local grocery store. Imagine Mike’s surprise when he saw Stubb’s now-familiar face beaming down at him from the shelf in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little piece of Texas was waiting in our grocery store all along and he had to travel all the way to Austin to find it.

No trip to Austin is complete without a visit to Stubb’s Restaurant.

Where: 801 Red River Austin, Texas Google Map Phone: 512-480-8341

March 10, 2006

Austin, Texas: Austin City Limits

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I remember as a child, my parents would watch Austin City Limits every week. This was before there were several music stations on television. If you wanted to see music on television, you had a choice between Lawrence Welk, Hee Haw and Austin City Limits. Strangely, my parents watched all three.

Until I started researching Austin Texas, I never made the connection between the television show of my childhood and the city. Every year they have a festival. This year it’s September 15-17, 2006, so I won’t be there to see it. They still show Austin City Limits on PBS every week, which makes me smile. They outlasted Lawrence AND Hee Haw.

March 9, 2006

South By Southwest Festival

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

South By Southwest (SXSW) is a festival for interactive computing, film and music. The Interactive conference has workshops and panels for people like me, who write or design websites. They have a group of web awards and it’s a chance for me to geek out with people who do what I do.

We’ll be at SXSW and quite busy during the conference, so we thought we would take this time to focus on all the cool touristy things to do in the hosting city, Austin, Texas.

March 8, 2006

Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia Aquarium

Filed under: Museums,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Penguins at the Georgia AquariumThe Georgia Aquarium opened its doors last November and it has already welcomed its one millionth visitor.

The microcosm environments that they have set up are already acting like they should:

“I’m very pleased with the natural behavior I’m seeing,” Executive Director Jeff Swanagan said of the aquarium’s live-in residents. He said shrimp in the Tropical Diver exhibit have set up “cleaning stations,” and that fish “line up like they’re at a car wash” to get cleaned, just like they do in the wild.

I love going to an aquarium because I’m from a land-locked state that has no ocean nearby to enjoy. I find it odd that the best aquariums are located in areas that line the oceans. Local residents can just take an inexpensive snorkel and see fish in their local waterways, whereas, there is nothing like that in the states that are trapped by land.

If the numbers at the Georgia Aquarium are typical, it looks like there may be support for aquariums in other states. I hope more of them take notice of the runaway success that Georgia is having and fund aquariums elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the Georgia Aquarium hasn’t set up any view cams or online exhibits for those of us trapped far from Atlanta, but their website shows you what can be expected on a trip.

Take a few moments and explore their website. Suddenly, the former home of the Olympics has another feather in its hat.

Here is a review of the aquarium from a local:

Via: World Hum | Travel | Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium Reaches 1 Million Visitors Milestone

Where: Georgia Aquarium 225 Baker St, Atlanta, GA 30313 Google Map Phone: (404) 581-4000

March 7, 2006

Salt Lake City, UT: Big Apple Pizzeria

Filed under: Food,Places To Visit,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Big Apple Pizzeria: Chicken Bender

I’m always fascinated by restaurants that name themselves after a city. Big Apple Pizzeria is one of those places that focuses on how “New York” their pizza is. Having never been to New York, pizza is something that I equate with my hometown, Salt Lake City, so having them brag about being like New York pizza isn’t really an enticement to me.

Good food is, though.

We went to Big Apple to try out their original “Bender”. In their own words:

“A Bender is Big Apple Pizza’s own original creation. Your choice of meat and cheese is heated on pizza crust then topped with onion, green pepper, lettuce and tomato and then folded over to create a delicious pizza bread sandwich.”

When I read that description off the menu that had been left on my windshield out loud to Mike, we decided to go to Big Apple the next day. We HAD to go on a Bender…

Big Apple Pizzeria: Italian Meatball Bender

Since there were no pictures of a Bender, I had to ask the guy behind the counter about it:

“Is it messy?”


“Yeah, is it going to drip?”

“Yeah, it will probably drip.”

He should have just told me that I wouldn’t be able to eat it with my hands. It’s definitely a knife and fork meal, so don’t order it and expect to be able to eat it on the run in your car. That being said, it is worth every second you spend at the table with your knife and fork. Food this good shouldn’t be eaten on the run.

To top off the meal, we ordered their cannoli:

“Your menu said you have cannolis?”

“Yeah, which do you want, chocolate or normal?”

Mike and I looked at each other and I answered, “One of each.”

Big Apple Pizzeria: Cannolis

We have been driving up to Park City for our cannolis because we haven’t been able to find a good one down here. The ones from Big Apple were a little too sweet for my taste. I prefer the marscapone to be a little more savory, so we’ll still go up to Park City for cannolis, but there is no where else where we can get a Bender.

It’s a Salt Lake City Original, and that’s something to brag about!

Big Apple Pizzeria

Where (Two Locations):

2939 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah Google Map Phone: 801-485-4534

7206 South 900 East, Midvale, Utah Google Map Phone: 801-568-9095

March 6, 2006

The Impressionist Camera

Filed under: Museums,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

There is no question that the camera and photography changed the art world. Suddenly anyone with a camera could achieve what only the best portrait painters of the world were able to do before. If painting was an inefficient method of capturing reality, what is painting for?

Impressionism, Surrealism, Dada, and Cubism have all been blamed on Photography, but what about photography that tries to look like an impressionist painting?

This exhibit’s only stop in the United States is in Saint Louis, home of the 1904 World’s Fair, which is the last time these photos were exhibited in the United States. One hundred years before I would be able to easily achieve these effects using Adobe Photoshop, these artists were layering elements from different photos, creating different color schemes and altering their photos in such a way as to create beautiful art.

There is no online tour for this exhibit, but you can purchase the book that is meant to accompany this exhibit:

If you have already planned a trip to Saint Louis or live nearby, make sure you take the time to see this exhibit.

Via: Happy News – Exhibit shows pictorial photography – by Cheryl Wittenauer with Associated Press

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