Austin, Texas

The Other Side of Austin – A Wellness Travel Destination

I have to admit that I was not that excited to travel to Austin, Texas for a travel writer’s workshop. I was very excited about the workshop, just not the destination.

GEP Travel Writer's Workshop in Austin, Texas

You see, I have been to Austin countless number of times in my previous professional life. This writing workshop was my first business trip for my new professional life. In my head it seemed like I was stuck in the same loop. I needed to find a positive spin on the situation so I decided that I would seek out a new side of Austin.

What I found surprised me.

Mecca to Wellness & Healthy Living in Austin

Within only blocks of my usual stomping ground near the Austin Convention Center and the Austin Hilton, I found a mecca to wellness and healthy living. Half a dozen fresh juice and smoothie shops, an organic specialty grocer, yoga and spin studios, and numerous farm-to-table restaurants.

I ventured out to the left instead of my usual right turn toward 6th Street and the Capital building, and found new inspiration in a familiar city.

Downtown Austin to the Left – my new perspective
Downtown Austin to the Right – I’ve had lots of work meetings in these buildings!
Texas State Capitol, Austin
Capitol Building

Two of the shops I found in my journey inspired repeat visits from me over the weekend—Juice Land and the Royal Blue Grocery.

Juice Land

Juice Land has 23 locations across the city (and one in Brooklyn) and it is no wonder they are such a big success. An expansive menu covers cold-pressed juices, green and fruit smoothies, acai bowls, superfood lattes, immune-boosting tonics, and plant-based vegan bowls, salads, and wraps. There are even kid-friendly fresh juices and smoothies.

Juice Land, Austin
Juice Land, Austin

Fresh-Pressed Juice

On my first visit I had the Rehydrator juice, a blend of watermelon, mango, peach, raspberry, beet, coconut oil, mint, lime, and sea salt. It was indeed very rehydrating after the early morning flight. The watermelon and lime tastes were predominant. Perfect for a hot and humid day.

Juice Land, Austin
The Rehydrator – Perfect for a Hot & Humid Day

Acai Bowls

During a break in the workshop, I wandered back over to try their acai bowl. It did not disappoint. My first acai bowl experience was in Hawaii made of all local ingredients and I am forever spoiled. My expectations are high and very few acai bowls can stand their ground against that one in Hawaii.

The Juice Land version met my expectations. The acai was blended with fresh apple juice and topped with strawberries, bananas, goji berries, chunks of coconut and a drizzle of coconut oil. The final topping was house-made hemp granola. Perfection!

Acai Bowl at Juice Land, Austin
Acai Bowl

Royal Blue Grocery

One of my greatest pleasures in life is checking out the shelves of specialty grocers and finding unique products. The Royal Blue Grocery calls themselves a modern urban grocery store—part organic market, café, and coffeehouse stocked with locally-sourced products.

Each location is unique and tailored to the neighborhood it serves. There are six locations in Austin, two in Dallas, and one coming soon to San Antonio.

Royal Blue Grocery in Austin
Royal Blue Grocery in Austin
Royal Blue Grocery in Austin

Souvenir Teas

On nearly all of my travels I buy tea as a souvenir. I love walking into my pantry at home and seeing all the bags of loose tea leaves and boxes of tea bags. Each one brings back memories from a trip.

On my first visit to Royal Blue Grocery, I found matcha ginger tea bags. I’m a sucker for anything ginger so this was a definite purchase along with the dark chocolate covered cashew butter cups. The perfect treat at the end of a day.

My return visit over the weekend was to scoop up one of the amazing looking salads for lunch. They also offer gourmet baguette sandwiches along with a daily soup special. Such a fun little place!

Keep an Open Mind

I decided to change my mindset and think about Austin in a new way. I was happily surprised at what I found! Austin used to be all about meetings, lawyers, and lobbyists in my previous work life. Now, it’s all about wellness and seeing destinations in a new light.

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