This past Fourth of July weekend was a good one because we spent it in Austin, TX! Austin is a measly 2 1/2 hours from Houston and yet I rarely think to go there for vacation. Well that has now changed since our little stay at South Congress Hotel! Thought I’d put together a little Austin Weekend Guide from the time we spent on SoCo! I (and the rest of the world I’m sure) have an affinity for boutique hotels. South Congress was almost too big to consider it a boutique hotel, but it definitely had the feel with great customer service, hipster rooms, and tons of amenities. We arrived with a pup and though there was a pet fee, Mitch got a complimentary dog bed, a free toy, and a lot of poop bags (concierge also can arrange pet sitting & grooming)!
After we left Eilean Donan castle, we made our way across the bridge to the Isle of Skye. The first thing we realized was that Skye is pure mountains and seascapes — which of course is ideal. We drove to our first distillery in Scotland — Talisker Distillery (the only one in Skye!). We tasted some whiskeys and got some souvenirs and off we went again to find our B&B in Uig. Until we arrived in Uig and realized our lodge was on a different island. Apparently Uig means bay, and there are a LOT of bays in the UK. Eeek. Luckily the workers at Uig Hotel (very cute place with a good restaurant) were very kind and basically found us the last bed in the Isle of Skye. Also by luck, everything in Skye is close together. We only had to make a 20 minute trip to our saving grace b&b in Edinbane. It ended up working out quite nicely as they had chickens, sheep, ducks, and more in the backyard!Tuckered out from our adventure, we meandered down the road to Edinbane Inn on advice from our hosts. Got some wine & food and it was delicious! There was live music upstairs too. We also discovered that the pottery place I wanted to go to was literally around the corner! We went the next morning and got some gorgeous ceramics. Wish we could’ve brought home more!
After Edinburgh, we got a lil’ rental car and headed up north to Inverness and Loch Ness! The drive wasn’t too bad after a quick lunch stop in Perth where we stocked up on some pretty Macarons. I drove on the left hand side of the road and survived. If you ever do it — try to not drive in cities and it’s not too bad! We decided to hit up Loch Ness the next morning so when we arrived in the afternoon we drove straight to Cawdor Castle. I want to say that this was my favorite castle that we went to but the reality is their gardens were my actual fav. The weather was also perfect, so that helped. I wanted to lay on the hillside and look at the flowers all afternoon.
After meandering through the gardens we made our way to our B&B in the countryside. It was so idyllic, I can’t even explain so I’ll let the photos try and do it justice. On the edge of a forest with these gorgeous yellow flower bushes (gorse, it’s actually a big nuisance but so gorgeous), the house had a long drive, garden, giant windows… what else can you ask for? We ate dinner at the Culloden Moor Inn that’s right nextdoor to the Culloden battlefield (the last Jacobite battle fought on Scottish soil). It was pretty yum — I, of course, went for the mac & cheese.