Heather

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At Least Ten Reasons

I’m from New England originally. I moved here to go to business school in 2004 and never left. When I told people I was moving to Austin, I heard two diametrically opposed comments. It was either 1) why would you EVER want to move to Texas? or 2) Austin is an awesome town. 100% of the time, the people in camp #1 had never been to Austin, and those who had been to Austin were in camp #2.

I love many things about Boston and Maine, but there’s something about Austin that makes me feel at home. The second I moved to Austin, I knew: this is home. There’s this feeling about Austin that is not easy to pinpoint. Part of it is this immediate sense of community. Most folks are from other parts of Texas or other parts of the world, and most are here to stay. People are here to create roots, raise their families, and make permanent friends.

There is also a great food culture. The Keep Austin Weird theme is all about buying from and supporting local businesses and that includes eating local. I am not a big fan of large food chains. I like places where the person preparing the food loves what he or she does. When people love to cook, you can taste it. There are some great high-end restaurants in Austin, and I’ve eaten at a few (like Parkside & Wink.) What I crave, though, is the real Mexican food like at Taqueria Aranda’s on Stassney, the crazy tacos at places like Torchy’sand Taco Deli, the food trucks that have the wacky and the international, and that amazing pizza from The Backspace and my favorite, Home Slice.

But, with a husband who’s a former chef, and my own passion for food, baking and cooking, the core of my love for Austin is the availability of food. With several competing high-end grocery stores, (my favorite being Central Market), and so many farmers markets around town, you can’t swing a stick without hitting one. In addition, there are two growing seasons, and best of all, Farmhouse Delivery. There are people passionate about fresh, whole food everywhere in Austin.

Other reasons I love Austin:

  • Smart, fun people live here – with great entrepreneurial spirit. This translates into people doing interesting things and helping others in the process.
  • Town Lake and the Greenbelt. Austin cares about parks and outdoor activities, and the nature trails are just one more thing to love about Austin.
  • You can still get to the other side of town quickly. Ok, rush hour aside, it takes about 20 minutes to get just about anywhere else in Austin and the surrounding towns.
  • Composting and recycling is the norm. Ok, maybe not composting as much, but people don’t look at you sideways when you mention the composter in your back yard.
  • Yard art isn’t odd. People with yard art live next to people with traditionally manicured lawns and they all accept that as the weird, Austin, norm.
  • People are nice. People in Austin are friendly. They genuinely care and want to help you in your endeavors.

Austin is an amazing town with some awesome people. I love this town and I’m sure this post doesn’t begin to express all of the great things about it. What I do know is that I am one of lots and lots of people who love this town for many of the same reasons I love it as well as many of their own reasons.

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Read Heather’s blog Just Food and find her on Twitter @heatherjstrout.

See more of Heather’s photo shoot here.