We are going to talk with Laura McCarley, runs the blog Way Out West Austin. I’d recommend you get to know her even if you don’t often get to the west side of Austin. If you think west Austin is a suburban wasteland, Laura will show you there is a lot more to it than that. Heck, I live downtown and she has already given me a great date idea.
EAA: Tell me about your blog. How did you get started?
Laura: It was about three years ago, I had been here 15 years and there was tons of blogs about other areas of Austin. There were blogs about downtown and the south side. I realized there had to be stuff to do around me in west Austin. I started writing about the things around me. I write about restaurants, festivals, wineries, breweries, and some history – but mainly food.
EAA: How do you define west Austin? Is it anything west of MoPac? 360?
Laura: For the most part: Lakeway, Bee Caves, Steiner, Driftwood, Dripping Springs, Blanco, Johnson City. Sometimes 360, but places near 360 can usually take care of themselves. They already get attention.
EAA: How do you keep up with what is going on?
Laura: At first I would just drive around and check out every tiny little place. I started following places on Facebook and Twitter. That is a good way to keep up with places. Now I am on the radar of some PR people too so I learn about some things from those sources. There are also papers that I read – Lake Travis News, Community Impact, or the Hill Country Current.
EAA: What would you say to someone to moving to Austin? What would you put on your Austin Bucket List?
Laura: My focus is out west. Be aware of wineries and breweries that are close by. Hamilton Pool, Krause Springs. Oasis for drinks. Hippie Hollow is the only legit sanctioned clothing-optional and you don’t have to go naked. Salt Lick for BBQ is a must. Make a day of it. Nutty Brown Cafe has live music and a very Austin feeling. Farmers markets are in every part of town and are actually full of farmers which isn’t what I have seen in other cities.
EAA: Any warnings for people that are new here?
Laura: Weather and traffic.
EAA: Anything else you’d like to say about Austin?
Laura: I would call it an entrepreneurial spirit in town. People are so willing to try new things and support new local businesses. I’d hope that continues. Its one of the things that keep Austin so interesting.