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Austin has become the must-hit destination for Texas bachelorette parties. Any night of the week, there are gaggles of women (the so-called “Bride Tribe") from around the state traipsing down Dirty Sixth or Rainey Street, one with a white sash encrusted with rhinestones and tiara in hand, ready to take on the night.

While going out for a drink (or two) can be quite fun, especially during a bachelorette weekend getaway, here are a few ideas if you’re looking to take a more wellness-focused approach.

Saturday

Take a shot — 9 am
If flying, arrive at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and head to JuiceLand on Cesar Chavez Street for a quick stop before checking into the hotel. Order the Noni to Fear shot (includes noni, a beauty-enhancing favorite of model Miranda Kerr; apple cider vinegar; lemon; turmeric; living B vitamins; and sea salt) for a boost of energy and the fresh-pressed Recovery Punch to get rehydrated after the flight. Snack on one of JuiceLand's bowls for an energizing breakfast on-the-go.

Self-care is the best care 10 am-1 pm
Check into the JW Marriott, drop your bags, and hit the spa. There’s no better way to start off a health-conscious bachelorette weekend than with some quality self-care. The JW offers spa buyouts for bridal groups of eight to 20-plus so you’ll have total privacy as you relax. Pop a bottle of Champagne (it’s all about balance, right?), enjoy a JW classic 50-minute massage and get wedding-ready.

A light lunch 2 pm
It wouldn’t be a proper vacation without incredible food. Head to Koriente, located just off Sixth Street, where the dishes are made with minimal-to-no sugar and oil. Dig in for late lunch of shitake tofu, Koriente curry, or teriyaki chicken that will have you feeling your best all day long.

Get outdoors — 4 pm
Austin is the ideal place to get outside. Head to Lady Bird Lake for some afternoon paddleboarding, or hike up Mount Bonnell for some prime Instagram photo opportunities and watch as the sun sets over the city.

A Paleo Picnik — 7 pm
Even if no one in your group follows the paleo lifestyle, they’ll sure to love North Austin’s Picnik. The creamy queso (made with cashews) served with Siete Family Foods' almond flour tortillas is a solid way to start the meal. For entrees, order up the fish tacos, Picnik Cobb, or turmeric-crusted cauliflower steak — all of which are delicious.

Sunday

Skip the fancy breakfast — 8 am
Sleeping in is vital for optimal health so catch a few extra Zs and order room service for the ultimate lazy morning at the JW Marriott.

Hit the bar(re) — noon
Meet up for a private class at Barre Code in downtown. Sweat out any toxins from the night before and feel empowered from the full-body workout. Down some coconut water as you leave the studio to refuel.

Mix it up with healthy cocktails — 2 pm
After a quick stop at the hotel to freshen up, take a Lyft to the Squeezery at The Refinery on Brazos Street for a healthy cocktail mixology class. Order the matcha cashew or avocado vegan gelato bowl while you’re at it for the ultimate afternoon treat.

Shop local, shop well — 4 pm
After relaxing from the cocktail course, head out for some late afternoon shopping at some of Austin’s hippest wellness boutiques like Take Heart, which is now located next to Hillside Farmacy on E. 11th Street, for stunning ceramics imported from Japan, all-natural body products, and handmade candles. Walk down the block to Tiny Taiga for healthy trinkets and energy readings.

A worthy ending — 8 pm
Before heading back to reality, enjoy your last meal in town at Suerte, one of America’s best new restaurants. This east side spot's dreamy interiors are perfect for the final Instagram snap of the weekend, and the cocktails are almost as lauded as the cuisine. The carne asada, chicken roulade, and grilled sweet potatoes are a must, and top the meal with a Mexican coffee.

Photo by Carol Jackson

Austin's new choose-your-own-adventure bike tour pedals past city's best murals

Art in the Streets

Some of the great things about Austin include the city's amazing street art, bike-friendliness, and good food. Texas Bike Tours recently combined those into customizable, guided bike tours that Austin visitors will want to add to their must-do list.

Every TBT tour begins with riders filling out a detailed form about riding abilities and desires. And almost anything goes. In the past, the team has provided overnight tours and even one that ended with a multicourse dinner overlooking Lake Travis.

Guests can bring their own bikes or TBT arranges rentals. The team personally tests every route and creates a detailed proposal and price, along with special additions such as keeping a rental bike another day or having TBT pick up and return bikes to the shop.

TBT founder Deaton Bednar teams up with various bike shops and guides, based on where a tour starts and what riders want to see and do. “The overriding thing in all this is that I want people to ride bikes,” says Bednar, an avid rider. “I try to remove any barriers to making them happy while they ride and give them something they can talk about while making good memories.”

No two Texas Bike Tours are exactly the same, and our recent mural tour is no exception.

“I create the experience you want to have, whatever you want to have happen,” says Bednar. “In this case, a guest let us know she was interested in a tour with some friends of murals around the city, and a bike is one of the best ways to see some of these works of art. We selected some of the murals she was aware of and others that she wasn’t, plotted out the best route and then tested it out.”

Our customized tour began at Mellow Johnny’s and Bednar served as the guide for the six riders. She gave a brief history of each piece and explained the difference between murals, street and yard art, and graffiti (no spoilers, sorry). The group crossed the river to ponder a set of murals on Barton Springs Road including "Guide Me Home" and a piece depicting a mermaid and a whale by Yoskay Yamanoto and Tatiana Suarez.

The route then wound through Travis Heights with stops at the “Welcome to Austin” postcard mural on the wall of Roadhouse Relics, a mural on Mi Casa Gallery, the "Willie for President" mural on Stag Provisions for Men, and Vicki’s Wall, part of New Orleans-based artist Candy Changki's “Before I Die…” project, which debuted during SXSW 2014.

At the Larry Monroe Forever Bridge in Stacy Park, the driving force behind the mosaic project, Ave Bonar, greeted the group while TBT culinary experience director Barbara Gibson served slices of homemade quiche before riders headed to the east side.

Stops in East Austin included a mural on Oni Tattoo called "Woman in Waves" and "Girl with Coffee," both by Austin-based Roshi K, and the latter of which appears on the side of the former Fast Folks Cyclery (commissioned during SXSW 2016). We then pedaled past mosaics on East First Grocery, done as part of the Pay Phone Revival Project, and "Day Dreaming” by Seraphim-One (Sarah Ponce) and Levi Ponce on the side of Cenote.

Gibson served a snack before the group headed back downtown, making a stop at the Native Hostel and Bar & Kitchen’s "These Walls Bring Us Together" along the way. The mural at Fourth Street and I-35, commissioned for SXSW 2018, is part of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery relocation campaign. The tour ended with dessert at Republic Square Park.

While the tour lasted more than three hours, the murals it included represent a mere fraction of the many gracing Austin walls. This could be the beginning of something beautiful.

New Orleans-based artist Candy Changki's “Before I Die…” project.

Photo by Carol Jackson
New Orleans-based artist Candy Changki's “Before I Die…” project.

5 little restaurants that beckon for a detour on a Texas road trip

Travelin' Texas

Texas is filled with hidden treasures. The next time you're on a road trip and find yourself in Central Texas, driving from about Austin to Houston, bypass the Buc-ee's (we know it's blasphemous) and make a celebration of your roadside meal. From charming favorites to unexpected hidden gems, these spots are worth the detour.

R Place at Washington-on-the-Brazos
23254 FM 1155 E., Washington, Texas
You may recognize this spot from elementary school field trips to see Independence Hall at Washington-on-the-Brazos. After peeking into pioneer tents, touring the museum, and seeing where Texas was founded, you’re hungry. Good thing there is a 100-year-old grocery store turned barbecue joint adjacent to it, because there’s not much else in the area. Eight miles from Navasota and 20 miles from Brenham, R Place is a drive, but well worth it.

Road bikers and car clubs stop in frequently, as well as many local ranchers proud of this quiet joint, which seats up to 40 on Saturday night with reservation-only prix fixe fare. Recent menus included a brie and pesto starter; ribeye steaks with garlic mashed potatoes (proprietor Randy Rogers, also a chef, turns them on the back grill where he also smokes the brisket); and grilled salmon with a bow tie pasta in a caper cream sauce. His beer and wine menus don’t disappoint, and he makes the huge peach cobbler from scratch, as he does the pinto beans and German potato salad (read: more tart than rich). It would be un-Texan to not serve Blue Bell ice cream, and the restaurant pairs it with cobbler to please tourists and die-hards alike. Open only on weekends.

JW’s Steakhouse
122 S. Hauptstrasse St., Carmine, Texas

Steakhouses in Texas are as common as Tex-Mex joints, but don’t take for granted the quality of an otherwise unassuming mom-and-pop establishment — brown panel walls and casually dressed patrons included. JW’s Steakhouse has zero pretense and better quality than most (yes, I said that) higher brow joints in big cities, and it even boasts a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Just up the road from wonderful Round Top, it’s a great halfway point between Austin and Houston on 290 in Carmine — and the perfect end to an antique hunting adventure.

Try homemade onion rings, a certified Angus bone-in ribeye steak with baked potato and side salad, or chicken-fried steak and a vegetable of the day — all great values. Open Tuesday -Thursday from 11 am-9 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Hit the Spot Cafe
5121 Albert Brown Dr., Garfield, Texas

Located just east of Austin in the Garfield Community Library, this is a community center/breakfast joint that stays open for lunch. (Customers kept begging, so the owners obliged.) This has long been a favorite of locals camping out along the Colorado River east of Austin and those who want to avoid all the pomp and circumstance of downtown $12 eggs (and where a side of sausage is extra, tsk-tsk!). If you just want great service, great value, and a smile, Hit the Spot Cafe will welcome you, no matter how fancy your shoes are.

With chicken-fried steak, homemade tortillas and carne guisada, and homemade biscuits for breakfast served all day, this is one secret we hate spilling the beans about. Open Monday-Thursday from 6 am-3 pm, Friday from 6 am-9 pm, Saturday from 6 am-3 pm, and Sunday from 7:30 am-3 pm.

Front Room Wine Bar
116 Main St., Smithville, Texas

If you find yourself anywhere near Highway 71 East and I-10, you’ll have an opportunity to duck into Smithville, as it’s just off the highway. The sweet town will delay you though, so allow time; Smithville's antique shops and restaurants are incredibly charming.

Weekly sushi? Yep. Margarita specials? Yes. This place screams Texas — plus it skips the screaming TVs in every corner typical of so many cafes. While you don’t expect refinement just off a town square, the warmth of the staff keeps it cozy as they inspire you to try a new region of wine or entice you with a fancy cocktail, crab cakes, or oysters on the half shell paired with Italian prosecco. Open Wednesday and Thursday from 5-10 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5-11 pm.

96 West
103 S. Baylor St., Brenham, Texas

If you know anything about Brenham or Chappell Hill, you love them. Both towns — separated only by a few miles — bring antique lovers from all over Texas, and Brenham's town square has at least a dozen shops to peruse. A new reason to get to Brenham, though, is 96 West, a fantastic tapas-style restaurant and wine bar also right on the square. Serial proprietors and locals Tami Redshaw and Edward Smith III opened the restaurant about a year ago with amazing specials, brunch worth brunching for, and craft beer.

Smith is the unofficial sommelier, and it’s best to go on a night when he’s pouring. Order a hand-selected rose paired with mushroom flatbread, and you won't believe you’re in a small town. They use ingredients from local farms whenever possible, and with better soil east of Austin than west, it’s a true farm-to-market town. The Home Sweet Farms Market Artisan Cheese Plate, stuffed chicken breast, and Asian quinoa salads please the health foodies, and chicken-fried steak and frites keep the locals fueled. Open Wednesday and Thursday from 4-9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-10 pm, and Sunday from 11 am-3 pm.

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

These are the 6 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

Might Galentine’s Day one day become as popular as Valentine’s Day? The unofficial holiday celebrating all gal pals is said to be February 13, and there’s a special Galentine’s wine tasting and charcuterie class for the occasion this week. There’s also a tasting of natural wines, a four-course wine pairing dinner, a class for bottle-wrapping that comes with bubbly, and a 12-course meat tasting dinner with wines paired with every dish. Work it all off with yoga at a distillery by the weekend. Looking for the best Valentine's Day dining options? Find that list here.

Tuesday, February 7

The Ultimate 12-Course Meat Tasting at B&B Butchers & Restaurant
The most elaborate meat tasting in town is back for 2023 at B&B Butchers & Restaurant, where just a few lucky guests get to indulge in 12 courses of the best cuts. Wine pairings, sides, and desserts are included as diners work their way up to the holy grail – A5 certified Kobe beef. The intimate dinner will take place in the B&B Butcher Shop. Tickets are $375, plus tax and gratuity, and the experience begins at 6:30 pm.

For the Love of Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
All locations of the Italian chain will host a four-course wine dinner Tuesday night ahead of Valentine’s festivities next week. Courses include antipasti served with toasted sourdough bread; linguini pescatore; filet topped with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, and lemon butter sauce; and a fudge brownie with chocolate mousse and strawberry cream. Wines will be paired with each course. The dinner is $70 per person and begins at 6:30 pm.

Wednesday, February 8

Vivanterre Wine Tasting at WineHaus
Learn about natural wine during this informative tasting with a rep from Vivanterre wines, which are produced in the Auvergne region of France. The process uses organic and biodynamically-farmed grapes untouched by any filtering or added sulfites. The flights will be available from 6-8 pm.

Friday, February 10

Valentine’s Bubbles + Bows at The Kimpton Harper
Bows before bros. Become a “wrap” star during this champagne tasting and bottle wrapping class to be held at downtown’s Kimpton Harper hotel. Hosted by WirrWarrWraps, the class includes bubbly, charcuterie, and all supplies needed to wrap a bottle including paper, ribbons, and gift toppers. The class is $100 and will run from 6-7:30 pm.

Saturday, February 12

Yoga at Whiskey Ranch
The second Saturday of the month means it’s time for yoga at Whiskey Ranch, home of TX Whiskey. The $15 ticket includes the class plus one TX cocktail to enjoy afterwards in the TX Tavern. Class one-hour class will begin at 11 am.

Monday, February 13

Galentine’s Day Rosé the Night Away Charcuterie Class
It’s the unofficial holiday to celebrate your best gal pals, and this Grapevine winery is hosting a class for the occasion. Sip rosé with a tasting of Messina Hof’s best, then create your own charcuterie board to enjoy or take home. The class is $45, plus gratuity and a small fee, and will run from 6-8 pm. Note that ticket sales end on Friday, February 10.

Step inside the $20 million Southlake mansion going wild on social media

WALKING ON SUNSHINE LANE

One of the most expensive homes in Texas is on the market for $20 million in Southlake - and it's drawing more than a little attention on social media.

And, no wonder: The opulent 31,000-square-foot mansion, at 1469 Sunshine Ln., features such over-the-top amenities as a full-size basketball court, bowling alley, batting cage, movie theater, and "indoor glass-enclosed" trampoline.

The transitional Mediterranean estate hit the market in December for a whopping $19.99 million. A January 30 post on the Zillow Gone Wild Facebook page called it "the most Southlake, TX home we’ve ever seen," and made it instantly social media-famous. Thousands of people have chimed in to comment.

Seated on 3.6 acres and boasting 31,234 square feet, the home was built in 2016 and features - at first glance - all the "normal" nice things that a nice mansion has: seven bedrooms, six full bathrooms and four half-baths, an open floor plan, smart home technology, and plenty of natural light to experience Texas sunsets.

Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

The mansion at 1469 Sunshine Ln., Southlake, is on the market for $20 million.

Then the listing gets to the part about it being “an entertainer’s paradise,” and that's where things get wild. The home can accommodate multiple athletic activities, has designated yoga and beauty rooms, a spa, wine room, and nine attached garage spaces.

Other features include:

  • Chef’s kitchen
  • Elevator
  • Gym
  • Game room
  • Two guest suites with a private entry
  • Turfed backyard

Elsewhere on the grounds is the perfect solution to enduring the hot Texas summers – two climate-controlled saltwater pools and hot tubs with a hidden waterslide, jumping rock, and diving board. The outdoor space is completed by an enclosed heated terrace, outdoor living area, and kitchen.

Zillow Gone Wild commenters have, predictably, expressed their awe or disdain for the extravagant manse. One commenter said they could imagine fictional mafia boss Tony Soprano “walking down that driveway in his bathrobe to get the paper,” after looking through the listing’s photos.

“This is the first mansion where I’m like, yep. I’d buy this if I was rich,” another admirer said.

A more sarcastic commenter wrote, “I’m sorry, but only one lane for bowling? I’m out.”

Critics were quick to call out the home’s opulence while others in the state struggle with homelessness or financial stability. “This kind of wealth actually makes me sick to my stomach. There’s so much better that could’ve been done with all this money,” one critic commented.

Others focused on guessing who the mansion belonged to. Southlake, after all, is home to plenty of celebrities and professional athletes.

Some guesses landed on a former baseball player’s home. “Serious question, is this A-Rod’s former house? It looks familiar, and he did play for the Rangers,” asked a curious viewer.

Other commenters believed the home belonged to a former Los Angeles Lakers player, after witnessing the signature gold and purple colors decorating the walls of the basketball court.

While Douglas Elliman listing agent Breah Brown said the owners wish to remain private (one might imagine the security concerns when a house goes viral on social media), she revealed they constructed the home themselves and are behind all aspects of the design and customization.

As for the next owners ... they can brag that they live in one of the top 10 most expensive homes in Texas in the richest city in the state.