Friday, October 13, 2017

Getting to Austin and around town at the 2018 Fling

Figuring out how to navigate a new city is an adventure for some and stressful for others. Let us ease your mind with an early preview of transportation options for when you come to Austin Fling next May!


Austin has one airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA), located in southeast Austin, and it has a lot of local flavor. As you arrive, you may see a band playing live music -- yes, at the airport! And no worries about killing time at the airport while you wait for your flight home. You'll find iconic local restaurants like the Salt Lick, Hoover's, and Hill's Cafe selling BBQ, Tex-Mex, breakfast tacos, and more. Austin City Limits and independent bookstore Book People have shops here too, if you need a last-minute souvenir or reading material.

Getting to the Hotel

Driving: If you'll be driving to Austin, hotel parking is available on-site for $30 USD daily; valet parking $37 USD daily. The hotel does not park vehicles with more/less than 4 wheels, are handicapped controlled or with trailers. Max height 6'8". 

Flying: If you'll be flying to Austin, the airport is located 10.5 miles from our official Fling hotel, the Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center at 300 East 4th Street. We do not recommend you rent a car during the Fling tour days (May 4-6) because we'll be busing you everywhere, and parking at the hotel isn't cheap. You will, however, find a rental car useful if you're making a longer vacation of it and venturing beyond downtown. In that case, rent a car just for the extra days.

Here are your best options for getting from the airport to the hotel: 

  • CapMetro Airport Flyer, fee $2.50 USD (day pass). Hop on a CapMetro Airport Flyer bus for a 30-minute straight shot between ABIA and downtown Austin. You'll get off at the Trinity/4th stop (ID 5589), which is a 3-minute/.10-mile walk to the hotel. Buses depart every 30 minutes and offer free wifi. The CapMetro App is free to download in the Apple, Android and Windows app stores.
  • Super Shuttle, $12 USD (one way), reservation required
  • Rideshare options include locally owned Ride Austin, a community-driven and nonprofit ride-hailing service (yay!); Fasten; Wingz; and Uber and Lyft.
  • Taxis can be hailed outside baggage claim, on the lower level. Estimated fare is $30 USD  one way.

Getting Around Downtown

Pedicab: Need a lift to a restaurant or bar that's a little farther than you want to walk? Try hailing a pedicab, an open-air cab seat for 2 to 3 people that's pulled by a bicyclist. Austin is home to several pedicab companies, and they're popular with locals and visitors. Look for a pedicab on the street and hail it like a taxi. Rates vary, so ask your driver about the price per rider or per trip before hopping in. Most drivers work for tips only. 

Bike Rental: Several bike rental companies operate downtown, like Austin B-cycle, where you can rent a bike at a kiosk, ride it, and return it when you're done. Austin B-cycle operates two stations near our hotel: Convention Center at 4th Street and Convention Center at 3rd/Trinity

Rideshare: Options include locally owned Ride Austin, FastenWingz, and Uber and Lyft.

So When Does Registration Open?

Austin Fling registration opens in just a few weeks, in early November, and space is limited, so be watching for the announcement here and on our Facebook page!

And When Should I Arrive?

We recommend arriving on Wednesday the 2nd if you can swing an extra night or, at the latest, by mid-afternoon on Thursday, May 3rd, so that you can attend the Kickoff Happy Hour from 6 to 7:30 pm, pick up your name tag and swag bag, and settle in. The Fling ends on Sunday, May 6th, with a fun happy hour with food, drinks, and live music that you won't want to miss; we'll have you back to the hotel by 7:30 pm that evening. We recommend departing on Monday the 7th. (To be safe, hold off on making any noncancellable reservations until after you're registered.)

Of course we hope many of you will come early or stay later to see more of Austin's attractions, which we'll be showing you in coming weeks. Come for the wildflowers, the music, the food, the history, the "weirdness" of Austin, and the welcoming hospitality of Texas!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fabulous hotel location has fun all around for flingers to enjoy

When you arrive in Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, you’ll be staying at the Marriott Courtyard Austin/Convention Center.

The Marriott is located in the heart of the city, just a short walking distance from the famous 6th Street entertainment district, the State Capitol, and beautiful Lady Bird Lake.  You're guaranteed to get a feel of that unique “Keep Austin Weird” vibe that people love about Austin.

We'll send out a link you can use to make your reservations when we open registration.

Early morning starts will be easy with free wifi to check in on social media and a Starbucks®   conveniently located right inside the hotel.

You'll also find inviting gathering spaces throughout the lobby - perfect for relaxing and catching up with other Flingers.

For a late night snack or cocktail, head into the Champions Restaurant and Bar or find the perfect spot on 6th Street.

A gym and indoor pool are available for bloggers who don't get enough exercise during our 3 days of dawn till dusk garden tours.  When sleep finally calls, cozy beds and hotel rooms will make you feel right at home.

For the evening/dinner on your own Friday night, you'll find an array of places to eat great food, listen to hoppin' live music and just plain people watch.

Strolling down 6th street is an experience all on its own.  On the 6th Street website you'll find so many options it may be hard to choose.  

We'll be blogging about it all in much more detail as we get closer to the Fling.  We'll highlight 6th Street and all the other hip places like SoCo, Rainey Street, the East Side that you can check out while you're here 

If you're planning on an extended stay, we'll be also providing information about additional nursery shopping, garden visiting, sight seeing and entertainment opportunities in Austin and the surrounding Hill Country.

Enticed yet?  If you're not already considering staying a little longer, you might want to rethink it!

Registration will open in early November, so keep reading the blog regularly for more info and details.  It's sure to fill up fast, and you don't want to miss out.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Barton Springs Nursery: Supporting sponsor of Austin Fling & native plant supplier

Do you listen to your heart cart? I do, and it's always saying, "Fill me up!" when I'm at Barton Springs Nursery.

Barton Springs Nursery specializes in native Texas plants that can handle our challenging climate. Unlike most nurseries, Barton Springs grows many of the plants they sell, which means their plants are Texas tough AND the nursery can offer them in smaller -- i.e., more affordable -- pot sizes. That gives you permission (as if you needed it) to load up your cart with even more plants.

The plants are grown at their wholesale location -- the farm -- which is perhaps best known for its extensive rows of beautiful, blue-green Yucca rostrata. You'll see that this shimmering Koosh ball of a plant is popular in Austin when you're here for the Fling.

Barton Springs Nursery makes sure that their sales staff has a love for gardening and a love for Texas plants. They'll never just say, “Uhhh, I don’t know,” in answer to a question. They know the plants they sell. Also, the plants are clearly labeled with the common name, botanical name, mature size, and a descriptive paragraph of growing information that reads like it was written by your green-thumbed best friend.

Inside a bungalow that houses the gift shop, you'll find charming and unique gift items, tools, seeds, bulbs, and more. Throughout the nursery, you'll find beautiful pottery and garden art. They also carry a full line of organic products for the garden.

And hey, it's a fun-loving, pun-loving place too. Their green nursery carts sport handwritten word-plays like "Total Eclipse of the Cart" and "Carte Diem!" I always pause over the cart selection and pick the pun that best suits my mood.

We're proud to be partnering with Barton Springs Nursery, and we thank them for their support! 

Barton Springs Nursery

3601 Bee Cave Rd.
Austin, TX 78746
Call: 512-328-6655

Store hours:
Mon-Sat  9 am to 6 pm
Sun 10 am to 6 pm

Find us online:

Barton Springs Nursery Wholesale has a Facebook page too!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Vivero Growers: Supporting sponsor of Austin Fling & great shopping stop

If you're looking for stunning specimens and a virtual rainbow of native and adapted plants, Vivero Growers Nursery is the place to go.

We're honored to have Vivero Growers as a Bloom-level sponsor for the 2018 Garden Bloggers Fling of Austin.  An Austin wholesale and retail landscape nursery, Vivero Growers specializes in larger landscape material, specimen sizes, as well as unique items.  Unlike some other nurseries, Vivero grows the majority of its perennials, natives and adapted plants, right on site.  It also offers an impressive selection of succulents, agave and cacti.  

Approximately 6 miles past the “Y” in Oak Hill on Highway 290 West, Vivero is a plant lover's delight. Michael Cain and his wife, Katherine, own and run Vivero Growers Nursery.  The staff is always friendly, knowledgable and helpful.

The nursery is filled with vignettes of plantings, pairing just the right things for color, texture, contrast, size and overall WOW factor. 

This planter by the office door with a donkey's ear kalanchoe, silver ponyfoot and other succulents is a perfect example. 

Katherine's talent in creating exquisite succulent planters and container combos is inspiring.  They will help you pick the perfect plants to make your own planter, or you can buy one of Katherine's creations.  

I'm like a kid in a candy store when browsing the rows and rows of perfect plants.  And, I always leave with much more than what's on my list.

The last time I was there, I was excited to find one of my favorite plants, Leonotis leonurus, or Lion’s Tail. 

The beautiful plants grow tall stalks with bright orange blooms at intervals up the stalk. The display here pairs it next to the regal and velvety spires of Mexican bush sage.

The almost-round blooms look remarkably like the tuft of fur at the end of a lion’s tail, hence the name.

All the plants are healthy, thriving specimens, clearly well-cared for. Everywhere I turned there was a sea of color.  

Around every corner, you will find plant treasure — including many new varieties of plants that I’d never seen before.  From trees to perennials to  succulents, Vivero is an amazing local nursery and we are incredibly proud that they are partnering with us in support of the Garden Bloggers Fling of Austin.

Make note of the plants you fall in love with while touring the Austin Fling gardens, you'll find most of them at Vivero.  Be sure to include time during your stay to visit Vivero Growers -- you'll be really glad you did.

Vivero Growers Nursery

12000 Highway 290 West
Austin, Texas 78737
Call: 512.587.4476

Store hours:
Mon thru Fri 8:30-6, 
Sat 9-6, Sun 10-5

Find us online