Chocolate Kiss Mural

Hyde Park and the HOG

I have to wander.  It isn’t really a choice, but rather, a necessity.  A necessity, in that my mind craves new experience, and, thankfully, my mind isn’t picky.  It can be as simple as getting in the car and driving around.  In fact, this is often really satisfying as I have no idea beforehand what I might see, or who I may meet.  Such was the case last Sunday. 

A sunny day on our hands, Mr. H and I decided to wander around Austin.  Side note:  Austin is such a lovely city.  It has this unique and special vibe where you feel a creative energy beckoning anyone brave enough to take the leap.   Our first stop was Cherrywood Coffeehouse in Hyde Park.   Oh, how I loooved the smooth, smoky coffee and sweet potato hash.


Cherrywood Painting

Also, the wall art and people watching were stellar.  Cherrywood Coffeehouse is a trendy place so one is guaranteed to see lots of interesting clothing combos—many good in an artsy, bohemian way, and a few appallingly bad in a ‘damn, I hope you didn’t pay for that’ kind of way.  More good than bad.  Except the girl with the booty shorts and über hairy legs.  (Please don’t think I’m sexist and champion some oppressive, male-driven beauty standard.  It’s not that.  I’m just one of those weirdos who sees an errant chin hair [or unibrow, or mole hair] and is beset by an insatiable urge to tweeze the bejeezus out of said chin, eyebrow, etc..  Probably some kind of tick.   I support your hairy legs/chins/eyebrows…they just make my tweezer hand twitch is all.)  Anyway…


Roots on the trail

Properly caffeinated, we drove to the Hope Outdoor Gallery, HOG as it’s sometimes referred to.  Hope Outdoor Gallery is an amazing space where graffiti artists can come and create, unencumbered by threat of a vandalism charge.  Three stories high, the structure is the shell of an abandoned condo project.  The top level is reached via an unpaved trail, and peeking through the dirt are scores of what looks to be gigantic gingerroot.  Someone mentioned the roots are, in fact, bamboo.  Whatever they are, they’re invasive, huge, yet hugely helpful when you need a bit of traction to hoist yourself further up the steep path.


Hope Outdoor Gallery

Several artists were busy laying down the foundations for their pieces.  Quick, steady wisps of spray paint whirling onto the walls.  Such talent.  Hope Outdoor Gallery kinda reminds me of the Belgian town of Doel, except here you can apply for and receive permission to paint by visiting the spray-painted trailer parked out front.


Chad the designer/musician

I was snapping pics and spied a guy sewing.  Intrigued, I asked to take his photo.  He told me his name was Chad, and he’d moved to Austin to start a band and a clothing line.  The piece of cloth he was stitching is going to be a tunic decorated with patches collected over the years, as well as pieces of black lace.  Original and interesting.  It was really cool, and so was he.


Girl Scouts at the Freshplus

Heading back to Hyde Park, we rounded out our Sunday Funday noshing on cookies from Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery.  The Salty Oat cookie is ‘slap ya mama’ good y’all.  Not joking.  Ironically, a Girl Scout troop set up camp across the street at the Freshplus market.  A risky move you say?  More like a power move.  Those Girl Scouts know exactly what they’re peddling.  Crack.  Crack in the form of Thin Mints.  A steady trickle of Quack’s customers meandered over to purchase; we followed suit.  Walking across the street to buy cookies after eating cookies?  That’s loyalty (and possibly indicative of a Thin Mint addiction, I dunno)…


  1. Cherrywood Coffeehouse, 1400 E 38th 1/2 St. Austin, TX 78722    Phone: (512) 538-1991
  2. Hope Outdoor Gallery, 1101 Baylor St, Austin, TX 78703
  3. Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery, 411 E 43rd St, Austin, TX 78751  Phone: (512) 453-3399



2 thoughts on “Hyde Park and the HOG

  1. So far Austin sounds like an interesting place – graffiti, coffee and cookies!!

    Was just looking at Doel pics the other day and trying to find out if the place still exists. Nothing new on the net though. I heard that the tearing down process has started, but I heard that years ago too.

    1. It’s right before the port at Antwerp. Maybe just head over and see what’s going on, and take a spray can so you can covertly make some art. Just be careful that the port security guards don’t catch you – the patrol (though not on foot).

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