There are a lot of things I love about Austin, but near the top of the list are the swimming holes. When we were down there for our July catalog release party, it was sweltering – over 100 degrees. So the Saturday after our party, with a day off to explore, we went straight to Barton Springs.
Barton springs consists of four natural water springs, around one of which is a man-made pool that is one of the most popular places to hang out in Austin. The water is COLD – and the best way to deal with that is to gather your courage and dive in. When you do, the rush you experience is refreshing and rejuvenating. Some Austinites believe that not only is it good for your mental being, it’s also good for your health. I can definitely see how that may be true.
On the near side of the barrier in the pool above is a smaller pool where you can take your pup swimming! Barton springs costs just $3 for a full day, and is open until 11pm (night swimming!)
We didn’t have time to visit this next one, but if I ever find myself back in austin (and I hope I do) this is on my list of things I MUST do.
Yes, this is in Texas. Hamilton pool, located 30 miles outside of downtown Austin, is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed from erosion thousands of years ago. The result is secluded pool surrounded by cliffs and huge slabs of limestone, into which a waterfall runs. Getting to the pool requires a steep quarter-mile downhill hike – but it’s more than worth it.
After seeing the amazing swimming holes that Austin has to offer, I thought, surely there are swimming holes near Philadelphia? Indeed there are, and while it might not be on the same level as the ones above, Devil’s Pool is a swimming hole right here in Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Creek.
Chances are, where you live you have a swimming hole nearby as well – and with the crazy heat coming this weekend, this might be a necessary thing to do!
Check out swimmingholes.org, where you can view maps of all the swimming hole locations near you! The site was started by a man from Philadelphia named Tom, who runs the site purely as a hobby with the help of his friend Dave. Why? “Tom and Dave like to explore, find and enjoy these hidden pools in natural settings they find a natural swimming hole in a beautiful setting to be very nurturing and soothing to the body and soul.”
Last week I was lucky enough to go on a phenomenal field trip with other Free People and Urban Inc. interns. We were invited to visit the 400 acre Doe Run Farm in Chester County, PA. It’s almost unfair to even call the place a farm; it was more like a country oasis for animals and humans alike. We visited the cows, goats, and sheep which they house and milk for cheese. All of the cheese is made on premise. We got to see where it is made, and then for lunch we were able to try a bit for ourselves (it was amazing, of course). They also sell the cheese around local Philadelphia farmer’s markets – our farmer’s market here at the home offices sells it every other Wednesday. The farm had a beautiful pond, lots of gardens, and we got to see a bit of the luxuriously rustic house itself.
I already posted some style photos from the trip here, but checkout the rest of my photo diary from the trip. =P
another guest post from one of our austin friends, tolly of the blog austin eavesdropper! tolly is awesome and i wish we had more time to hang out with her in austin, she’s so much fun :)
The 5 Things I Love About Austin, Texas
By Tolly Moseley
Free spirits. Hippie maidens. Band groupies and mustache-wearing gents. These are our kin here in Austin, Texas, where Free People came to play recently.
When I found out that Austin band The Happen-Ins would be the stars of Free People’s July 2011 catalogue, and that they’d be shooting at some of our favorite clubs in town, I squealed in delight. Where better to celebrate the delicious lazy days of summer than in Austin, a city where even the suited CEO’s loosen their ties for a rock concert? Where you can take your lunch break at a swimming hole, or bust out vintage cowboy boots regardless of seasonality or dress code?
I had an awesome time meeting the Free People girls when they came to town for The Happen-Ins show, and wanted to show them everything there was to see here in Austin. I also want to show you. Here are my 5 favorite things about my beloved city, a place I hope you get to visit sometime:
1. Even when we’re fancy, we’re a little hippie.
It’s true. We can’t resist vintage. The entire zip code of 78704 in South Austin has been officially zoned for the selling of hip, recycled clothing. I’m kidding. But the great thing about Austin is that we never see an occasion NOT to rock a gently used frock, be it SXSW or a gala. So if you’re ever here and have a hankering for vintage, check out some of my faves: Feathers Boutique (for boots), Laced with Romance (for dresses), or tweet my girls Homebody Vintage for accessories/home stuff.
2. We like to play dress up.
Austinites love a good dress-up party. That’s me above, dressed as David Bowie. Isn’t the resemblance striking?
3. We make things.
DIY is huge here. That applies to crafts, food, and even businesses. I wish I could tell you I knit-tagged that whole car above … but I didn’t, it’s the handiwork of Knitta Please, one of our local craft artists. You’ll find her knit-tagged objects scattered about all over Austin, from parking meters to statues, and they reflect how much we adore handmade – not to mention the creative spirits behind it.
4. We can’t get enough live music – ever.
In terms of survival, music is second only to air. For Austinites, I mean. We’re the city who invented Austin City Limits (the show and the music festival), Spoon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and of course The Happen-Ins! Stroll down Red River at night, by The Mohawk, Club DeVille, Stubb’s, Emo’s … and your ears will fill with honest-to-goodness rock n’ roll, screaming guitars and pounding drums. This city is a music-lover’s dream, and if you’re ever here, chances are a friend of a friend of a friend is playing the same nights you’re in town. If we’re not a musician ourselves, we’re probably dating one.
5. We welcome visitors and vagabonds with open arms.
I have a personal belief that Austin chooses people, and if you’re reading this post, chances are she’s chosen you, too. You can find me here, and if you ever venture down to Texas for a visit, I’d love to show you around. We’ll bask at Barton Springs Pool, eat tofu and/or bacon (we are equally enthusiastic about both), and find multiple excuses to play dress up.
All photos by Tolly except for last one (Austin Motel sign) which is courtesy of Ellen Jo Roberts.
Our July Lookbook, “FALLing for Bambi,” is definitely one of my favorites yet – maybe because I think Bambi Northwood-Blyth is insanely adorable, but also because I love these pre-fall, layered looks. This lookbook actually has 15 total outfits but I pulled out some of my favorites – which one do you like best?
While down in Austin for our July catalog release party, we had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful Indiana of the austin-based fashion blog Adored Austin. she is incredibly sweet and put together this lovely post for our blog :)
Austin is a city obsessed with live music, football, and all things Lance Armstrong. I’ll admit it: four years ago, when my husband’s music ambitions relocated us from Monterey, California to Austin, Texas, I dismally pictured my wardrobe evolving to include dirty old cowboy boots, shapeless pearl snap shirts, and loads of Texas Longhorn burnt orange accessories. Never did I suspect that Austin would be a city full of inspiring personal style and panache.
I was delighted to find out that Free People chose Austin as its muse for its July lookbook. As the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World”, music is at the heart of everything we Austinites do, including the way we dress. We pride ourselves at knowing about the cool bands before the rest of the country catches on and we eschew traditional advice from fashion magazines that dictate how we should put together outfits, instead opting to mix and match our new duds with vintage pieces. Equal parts rock and roll and bohemian, Austin’s style is edgy and tough but comfortably nostalgic all at the same time.
left – with her sweet baby jude :)
There’s no better place to people watch than South Congress Avenue, which is just a short jaunt (or pedicab ride) across the river from the downtown Free People store. There you’ll find the famed Hotel San Jose, vintage treasure trove Uncommon Objects, an entire parking lot of modern food trailers, and loads of vintage shops, street musicians, independent eateries, and some of the coolest, sweetest people you’ll ever meet.
Come visit Austin for the Austin City Limits festival this fall or South By Southwest in the spring. I’ll even come meet you on South Congress for a cupcake and a taco!
“I have had this flag pinned up and ready to sew for months now but it never got sewn. But recently my dear, sweet mother came to visit and she took this flag home with her and she sewed for me so I would have it for the 4th of July!! Moms rule!!!”
we had a little fourth of july celebration at the office and everyone brought such amazing stuff! if you’re having, or going to, a party this weekend – here’s some tasty inspiration for things to serve or bring :)
and this last one, we didn’t have at our party, but i had to include it:
remember our rainbow tie-dyed cupcakes? follow the same instructions using just red and blue dye, and then add some sprinkles on top!
Brooklyn is such a perfect little hub of culture and beauty. Most people come to New York to see Manhattan, but we think that Brooklyn is where NY’s true beauty is. All of the Free People Brooklyn girls live and work in Brooklyn! We want to take you on a little tour of one of our neighborhood’s prized possessions, Prospect Park!
Prospect Park is 585 acres of gorgeous grass, pond, trees, and sights that touches a handful of neighborhoods that surround it. Summer is when Prospect Park shines; Brooklynites all around the borough come to relax and plant their toes in the grass and enjoy all the events the park hosts.
The Green Market is one of my favorite parts of spring/summer in Prospect Park. It’s a beautiful farmers market that brings produce, dairy, meats and treats from upstate to Grand Army Plaza…
The Green market offers vast varieties of vendors! Anything you can imagine you’ll find at the Green Market; fruits, fish, product, meats, herbs, plants, and delicious treats!
If you are in New York and are looking for a way to treat yourself to amazing foods, stop by the Green Market!
And, I took a different path on my way to the Brooklyn Free People after leaving the Green Market and I came across the most beautiful mosaic house around the corner from our store. It pays off taking a different route every once and awhile :)
Get to know what’s going on in our world through Features, from Free People news, our guest Astrologer, weekly Blogger Stories, and Travel Posts, Features will contain fixes to make your day a little more stimulating.