Coastal View

I hop into the car to spend the night in San Antonio, my former home and still hometown. It’s late Thanksgiving evening and even now I am full. A day of corn-based, over-sucrosed food followed by waves of tryptophan-induced apathy. 

Big Surf

When I left Austin a few weeks ago for Costa Rica, a surf trip to neighboring Nicaragua wasn’t in my plans. “Jungles and volcanoes,” I told my sister before I left, “and see a few birds.” But when a buddy sent me an e-mail two weeks into my trip about surfing I was intrigued. He wrote, “Go surf the legendary surf break at Popoyo.” I was hooked at “legendary” and left the highland Costa Rican town of La Fortuna on a bus the very next day. 

Waiting for Motmot

A small lake converted into a reservoir in 1979, Lake Arenal is located a few miles away from the foot of Mount Arenal, a jungle-encrusted volcano rising over the North Central Plains of Costa Rica. Today the lake forms a long, thin sliver of water dotted with boutique hotels, self-sustaining eco-resorts, and some of the best vistas in the country.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Some people wouldn’t be caught dead in a Salvation Army. (As a woman I know recently put it, “Don’t you wonder whose dress you’re wearing?) Others consider thrift shopping a way of life. I’m in the latter camp. Why do I love to thrift? It boils down to the thrilling possibility of finding something really, really great for really, really cheap. Buying second-hand means you can wear interesting clothes that are unique to you, without breaking the bank.

Downtown Boerne

1. Most modern toy stores bombard customers with a cacophony of electronic beeping and whirring, but at  MILK and HONEY, you’ll be greeted with the tranquillity of imagination at work. In addition to cribs (outfitted with custom-made sheets), clothing, and paper goods, the children’s gift boutique features items from a bygone era, like wooden train sets, barnyard animal puzzles, and charming Victorian dollhouses. Best of all, no batteries required. 101 S.

Frontier Chic

Name a college town with lots of public art, scenic riverside trails that run for miles, a thriving live-music scene, and bats roosting under a bridge. No, not Austin. Try San Angelo, a town I’ve dismissed all these years as a place to loop around to get to New Mexico. But once I finally shot straight to its heart, I discovered an almost urbane ticker, boasting cosmopolitan shopping, art galleries, museums, nightclubs, and a lily garden that wowed me.

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