Texas is known for many things, and Texas Winos wants to make sure that wine is one of them. To bolster their mission, the wine-loving staff of the business whisks visitors away on tours of area vineyards, where they sample an array of varietals while learning about the winemaking process from vintners. It's not all about wine though, as Texas Winos also offers beer tours that travel around the Austin area visiting local breweries. But it's not all drinking and learning. Many tours have themes, including Mardi Gras, Roaring '20s, and Superheroes and Villains, in which customers are encouraged to don apropos ensembles and pretend they can see through wine.
When surveyor Washington Hill wanted a home built on his 17.5 acres outside of Austin, only one master builder would suffice: Abner Cook. Responsible for notable Austin spaces like the Governor's Mansion and the First Presbyterian Church, Cook completed Hill's abode in 1856. By that time, however, the Hills could no longer afford the residence, which the State of Texas soon leased and turned into the Texas Asylum for the Blind. So begat a long line of new identities for the building, which went on to house lieutenant governors, colonels, judges, and, for more than two years during Reconstruction, injured Civil War troops.
Under the care of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Texas, Hill's dream home is now the Neill-Cochran House Museum. Emblematic of the structure's Greek Revival style, Doric columns greet visitors before they explore the historic interior on staff- or docent-led tours. These only skim the surface of the museum's activities?frequent happenings range from seminars by leading historians to events for youngsters like the Easter Egg Dye-o-rama. The museum can even be rented for special occasions, including art shows, teas, and weddings.
When Archer M. Huntington donated 4,000 acres of land to The University of Texas at Austin, it was no surprise that the husband to renowned sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington stipulated it be used to support an art museum. Today, Blanton Museum of Art?named Best Museum in the Austin Chronicle's 2013 Best of Austin Readers' Poll?honors Archer's request by providing access to more than 17,000 works and a variety of rotating exhibitions. The museum's collection of prints, paintings, and sculptures comprises more than 4,000 pieces from America and 1,800 from Latin America, and it even includes the Suida-Manning Collection?a group of 230 paintings and 400 drawings by Baroque and Renaissance masters that was much sought after by other museums, according to Frommer's. With these pieces as backdrop, the museum hosts Third Thursday events such as artist talks and Yoga in the Galleries, the latter of which finds instructors twisting sculptures into poses that will be easier on their spines.
SegCity has ridden the wave of Segway popularity to become one of Texas' largest distributors of the upright vehicle and a leader in Segway-authorized tours. With themes ranging from cultural campus tours to bat-cave excursions, six narrated guided tours escort visitors and locals alike around Austin's famed sites, such as 6th Street, the Texas Walk of Fame, and the Capitol. As an authorized Segway dealer, the business can also outfit riders with their own Segways and a take-home bassinet for their new vehicle to sleep in at night.
"Anybody can paint," declares Vanessa Huff, the owner of Art & Soul. And she knows what she's talking about. The longtime artist has been teaching art to children for years and has branched out into leading art classes for all ages at her new studio. Along with her staff, she instructs students on various painting techniques such as shading and contouring, and introduces them to color theory, which is the theory that colors exist. During hands-on sessions, youngsters learn to express themselves through art projects while adults create their own renderings of paintings while sipping on wine during step-by-step instruction.
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Segway Nation lets people explore Texas's rich history and culture while aboard self-balancing vehicles. Rolling through Austin's past, their guides spin tales of prominent landmarks such as the Texas State Capitol building and Lady Bird Lake. These adventures echo in San Antonio, where segways travel through Houston Street and HemisFair Park. When night falls across either city, Segway Nation sends a spooky chill down sightseers' spines during their signature City Lights Ghost tour. Segways zip across each city's haunted locations, outrunning ghosts who don't have the physical weight to lean their segways forward. Segway Nation also rents bikes for self-guided tours.