Summer pleasures: Barton Springs Pool and Lockhart art

September 07, 2023

I had reservations for a dip at Blue Hole swimming hole in Wimberley, Texas, just before Labor Day. But the drought has left little untouched in Texas this summer, and I soon received a cancellation notice. Blue Hole has closed for the rest of the season due to low spring flow. Tragic.

Happily — for now, anyway — the chilly natural springs that fill Barton Springs Pool in Austin continue to flow. We pivoted and went there early one morning to beat the crowds. By arriving before 8 am, we also got in for free. The tradeoff? We weren’t sweating at that early hour, so the 68F-degree pool felt even colder than usual. But once you start swimming, it’s grand.

I don’t come here very often (shame on me), so I’m always struck anew by how magical this place is. Swimming in nonchlorinated water, with fish and ducks sharing the space with you, with a natural cliff along one side and downtown beckoning at the end, it’s a blissful summer experience to lazily paddle and float from one end to the other and back again.

An Austin treasure

Lockhart in the afternoon

That afternoon we drove 45 minutes southeast to Lockhart, my favorite small town just outside of Austin. The stately Caldwell County Courthouse stands tall in the main square.

We headed to Old Pal for lunch, where we enjoyed burgers and chicken. This place has a great vibe, friendly service, and good food and drinks.

Dolly looking like the icon she is

A cowgirl on our tabletop

Check out the 78644 Podcast for everything Lockhart.

We stopped at Commerce Gallery to see Austin artist Christy Stallop‘s new work. Her show is over now, but we enjoyed her grackles with tumbleweeds.

That’s gonna be quite the nest!

Other grackles in her show represent beloved musicians. Here’s Willie.

And Stevie Ray Vaughan

And Elvis

Christy’s branching out from her popular and humorous grackle art and painting tumbleweeds these days, experimenting with a muted palette and a western-minimalist style. I like them.

One more

If you haven’t been out to Barton Springs Pool or Lockhart this summer, there’s still time, Texas friends. You won’t be sorry.

For a previous post I wrote about Barton Springs, with more detail, click here.

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