Austin Heat, Golf, Jogging, Moving

Old Jan 29th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Austin Heat, Golf, Jogging, Moving

My husband is an avid golfer and I am a runner. We live in Santa Monica (Los Angeles area) which has perfect 60-70 degree weather year round.

But Austin looks enticing, especially the Westlake Hills area. I would love opinions on the heat in Austin, how humid is it (I've never lived in humidity.)? How do avid golfers enjoy golfing in such heat? Can you golf year round? If not why? Can one actually have enjoyable daily runs in the summer (early morning possibly)?

What about WestLake hills? Is there much of a writing/poetry community? What is the traffic like? Any information would be helpful, especially about being active and summer heat.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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My in-laws moved to Austin several years ago. They had previously lived in Kuwait, so figured the heat would not bother them. They had a lovely home out by the lake, but after a year, they found they really couldn't take the heat. My mother-in-law found it just too hot in the summer months to garden (and she had allergic reactions to fire ant bites and unfortunately, there were a lot of fire ants around at the time...I don't know if that's still a problem). They now live in Oregon wine country and love it. Aside from the climate, they did like Austin. My mother-in-law is an artist and they became friends with several artists, writers, artisans and musicians.
If you are sensitive to heat, then you won't like the climate. If you're not, then it probably won't bother you. I was there in mid-summer and thought it was awful (but I too am sensitive to heat--I'll take a snowstorm over a heat wave anyday). Since you're in the LA area, why not go spend some time in Palm Springs in the summer and see how you handle the heat there?
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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Austin is a great town and Westlake Hills is beautiful, but it does get pretty warm in the summers. Expect bright sun and highs of 97, 98, or 99 degrees nearly every day once summer kicks in. I thought it was tremendously hot when we first moved there from the upper midwest, but you do acclimate. By the end of our first year, I felt pretty used to it. Most people don't do much outdoors in the summer at mid-day. If I recall correctly, summer evenings cooled down to 80 or so.

I didn't find the humidity to be bad in Austin with the possible exception of May, which sometimes got steamy. Austin's definitely not Houston or New Orleans but not as dry as El Paso, either. March is probably the nicest month of the year temperature-wise. Expect maybe one good cold snap each January where the temperature dips down to freezing, although rarely, if ever, for more than 24 hours. Highs in the 50s are more like it for that time of year.

My husband is a golfer. He didn't mind golfing in the heat (although I think that's very much a personal preference) but he wasn't overly impressed with the quality of courses in that area. Most tend to be pretty dry.

Traffic in Austin was getting worse when we moved away 6 years ago, but I'm sure it's nothing compared to LA.

Overall, we loved the Austin area. Great food (particularly tex-mex and BBQ), an awesome local music scene, and really nice people. Good luck with your decision!

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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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I have lived in Austin since 1981 and I love it. But I must admit the weather in Southern CA is far better. Some people are under the misconception that Texas is entirely a dry climate. That is only true in West Texas, and certainly not true in Central and East Texas, which includes Austin. If you don't want humidity, I'm afraid Austin is not for you. But come visit us anyway.
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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The "trick" to adjusting to Texas' hot summers is to modify your schedule. Don't plan ot be outside during the peak heat hours if you can avoid it. Try to do your outdoor activities in the mornings and evenings before /after the hottest part of the day. You will see a LOT of runners out in the early mornings during the summer! Texans also learn to take advantage of the beautiful spring and fall weather when the temperatures aren't so hot. If you do have to be out during the heat of the day, wear light- colored, 100% cotton clothes and a sun hat, and drink lots of water. Believe me, it can be done!
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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Thank you everyone for sharing your experience and thoughts about this subject. I will definately be visiting and considering . . . weather (heat) is the ONLY negative I have ever heard about Austin, that alone makes the city worth exploring!!

We are also looking into Palm Springs, but P.S. wouldn't be able to offer the amazing lakes, rivers and city personality of Austin. Are the golf courses dry in the summer in Austin? I know in Palm Springs they keep them well moisturized. Best to you all.
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Old Jan 30th, 2005, 04:10 PM
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part of adjusting your schedule as christie recommends is to also adjust your yearly schedule...meaning that you may not want to plan a lot of outdoor activities like biking or camping in the summer.

having lived in austin after living in mostly cold climates, this was not a problem for me as i would be in hibernation for much of the winter in these climates and this simply shifted to summer while in austin. for you, this may be a problem as you are used to favourable weather year round.

as for the cultural atmosphere for writers, artists, ect, i don't think you will have a problem finding your place. i have lived in many big cities around the world and found that austin compared very favourably in this area (even considering that it is a medium sized city).

westlake is a beautiful area and many people choose it for the school system. However, given a choice (and with the right budget), I would choose one of the old central neighbourhoods like tarrytown, brykerwoods, etc (area 2 when looking at the realestate ads). there are also some cool neighbourhoods just south of the river and by the university (it's been a while so i don't remember all the names and area numbers).

westlake tends to be a more "family" type area with a strong focus on schools and school sports. It just depends what you are looking for.
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 10:06 AM
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Austin has changed quite a bit since I attended college there and my wife grew there. We visit her parents four or five times a year, so it has been an interesting transition to observe.

Answering your last point first, I agree with most of the previous posters. The heat is bearable, you learn to organize your life around it.

As a college student I spent plenty of time outside on summer afternoons. Even now, when we are in Austin during the summer, we do outdoor activities in the afternoon. Early morning or late evening are the best time to run or play tennis. For golfing, carts make the summer afternoon playing much more bearable. The keys are lots of sunscreen, water and shade. Also, living near the lake and having a ski boat or a a sailboat can help you survive the heat.

The heat is not as humid as Houston, and it's not a "dry heat" like Phoenix or the panhandle. Of course, it doesn't pass 110 like it does at the last two locations.

Since O. Henry's time in jail, poets and writers have lived in and around Austin. Wherever you go, you will run onto someone writing a book. I count at least 9 writer/poet support groups in Austin. The Texas Book Festival is an amazing event highlighting Texas writers. However, I never have associated Westlake Hills with the writing and poetry community. It is one of the more affluent areas in Austin. Not to say that artists can't afford it, just when they hit it big, Westlake is not where they move to. They either stay in the city near Tarrytown (as previously suggested), find a house on Lake Travis or buy a ranch about an hour away, most likely near Fredericksburg or Kerrville.
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