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#Happenings

White Reaper Returns to ATX for ACL 2017

Cover of latest White Reaper Album

White Reaper returns to ACL Festival 2017 for a Sunday, Oct. 15, show on the BMI stage. Top Trip Rentals is stoked that the Louisville-based band booked yet another Austin stay with us.

We took this opportunity to ask White Reaper a few questions, and frontman Tony Esposito was kind enough to oblige. Naturally, we started out with the shameless plug:

Q:  You’re staying with Top Trip Rentals for another year. What brought you back to us, and what in particular did you enjoy about previous visits?

You guys are really friendly! There are some truly wonderful people at Top Trip. This will actually be our third stay at Littlefield Lofts, and you even allowed us to stay at a house that Top Trip has as well.

New Music from White Reaper

Cover of latest White Reaper AlbumQ:  You’ve got a new album out. What can ACL attendees look forward to from your set? What are your favorites? Any surprises in store?

We’re actually working on a new set at the moment, so I don’t really know what to tell you! We’re adding some songs we’ve never played before, and some songs we haven’t played in a long time. That’s all I can say for now.

Q: Watching your “Judy French” video, I find myself flashing to a bunch of different references, from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” flag motif to that punk bandana (I went down the rabbit hole looking for some ancient MTV video with a car…). What were your influences in making the “Judy French” video? And it’s very different from the clean black and white of “Little Silver Cross.” Where do you get inspiration? 

Our buddy, Brandon Dermer, directed the video and he just knocked it out of the park. We try to go as big or as strange as we can when it comes to videos just because there’s so much fun to be had in that department. We love movies, so inspiration is kind of hard to pin down since it comes from every which way.

Q:  Gotta ask: How are you feeling about playing a big festival in light of the Las Vegas shooting? Has this horrible tragedy changed anything about the way you feel about festival venues and ACL, specifically?

The tragedy in Las Vegas is devastating and terrible. Gun laws need to be reformed, without a doubt. However, this doesn’t change the way we feel about playing shows like ACL or Lollapalooza in the slightest. If it happens, it happens, but we don’t have time to live in fear. 

 

White Reaper on the ATX Experience

Poster of White Reaper show at Austin's Scoot Inn by Austin Linkinhoker.
Poster, White Reaper  show at Austin’s Scoot Inn 2017. Artwork by Austin Linkinhoker (used with artist permission)

Q:  In a recent review of your second album, Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen said “the Dazed and Confused comparisons are inevitable.” Do you agree? How do you feel “The World’s Best American Band” style meshes with our iconic Austin vibe?

Dazed and Confused is one of our favorite movies, and Linklater is one of our favorite directors. We take that as a giant compliment. We definitely agree, too. We were raised on that soundtrack. 

Q:  Will you have any extra time around your ACL appearance here in Austin? If so, what are some things you’re looking forward to doing while here?

We’ve got some extra time. Our guitarist, Hunter [Thompson] is actually from Austin, so we know our way around pretty well. We’ve got a lot of friends in town that we’d love to catch up with and hang out with.

Band Travel Tips

Q: If Texas music fans were heading to Louisville, what would you tell them to see and do there?

Go to eat and drink at the Back Door. Check out Morris’ Deli [2228 Taylorsville Rd., Louisville, KY]; there’s a drive in theater right the across the river in Georgetown, Indiana. Louisville has a pretty chill old-school kind of vibe. I love it there. 

Q:  You’re traveling a lot with this tour. What’s one “must pack” item that helps you feel at home wherever you go? Any travel tips you care to offer?

Gotta have some headphones. Sometimes, in the van, putting headphones on is the only way to get a moment to yourself. Also Tide PODS (for rare, but easy laundry)

Q: Any shout-outs y’all want to give?

Shout out to Top Trip Rentals! Shout out to Do512! Shouts out C3! Shout out to Salvatore Cassato; shout out to all our Austin friends.

Have a great day!

Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival skyline 2017
Top Trip Rentals looks forward to catching White Reapers’ 2017 ACL performance, along with our other guests. Photo Credit: Top Trip Rentals Staff

Want More?

Our Littlefield Lofts guests should check out the new Lounge at Littlefield (no promises, but White Reaper mentioned bringing some merch that winds up there….)

Are you a band? Looking for someplace that likes musicians and doesn’t break the bank? Try Top Trip Rentals for your next Austin stay.

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October 11, 2017

4 Reasons to Rent a House on College Football Game Day

University of Texas mascot Bevo on the sidelines with Silver Spurs
No matter how hot it is, college football means fall has officially arrived. Fans all over are celebrating Saturday game day and getting into following their teams.
Whether your team is at home or away, college game gets better with a stay at a local vacation rental. How? Here are four good ways that booking a unique home-away-from-home experience can improve game day.

1. Create a Fan Oasis

University of Texas mascot Bevo on the sidelines with Silver Spurs
Bevo and handlers, the Texas Silver Spurs, enjoy the sidelines on Texas Longhorn college game day. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

Games are better when shared with friends. For traveling fans, away trips can feel lonely. So bring buddies! Vacation home rentals sleep more people than standard, cookie-cutter hotel rooms. Plus, they have that wonderful “at home” feel for stretching out.

Entrance to 410 E. 6th Street in Austin

Top Trip Rentals suggests: Our 410 E. 6th Street location, also known as the Graeber House, has a 65-inch TV and sleeps as many as 12 people. This unique venue is nestled right in the middle of Austin’s famous nightlife and live music scene. And there’s even an indoor pool, so you can refresh after a day spent outdoors at Darryl K Royal Memorial Stadium.

Book your stay at 410 E. 6th Street 

2. Pre- and Post-Game It

Jumbotron showing sunset at University of Texas football game
There’s the sunset, and then there’s a UT football game sunset. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

 

Fans do football right. We pre-game it with tailgate parties. We show up for the game. Afterward, there’s  always another game to watch or post-party to attend. The right vacation rental home can create a truly memorable game day experience. To make the most of college game day in Austin, you’ll want to be near the LBJ School and Texas State Capitol complex for official tailgate fun. There’s Scholt’z Bier Garten for a cold one, and catch The Horn 104.9’s game day show at the stadium.

Littlefield Lofts view from balcony overlooking Austin's 6th StreetTop Trip Rentals suggests: Our Littlefield Lofts are located in the heart of downtown Austin. As you walk to DKR Memorial Stadium, you’ll pass Scholtz’s on San Jacinto and travel through tailgate alley.
When you head home, 6th Street’s famous bars are there to keep the game-day buzz alive. And perhaps you can get a glimpse that burnt-orange UT Tower glowing after a Longhorn win.
Book one of our 24 Littlefield Loft vacation rental homes

3. Get to the Field

The world's largest Texas flag at the UT Longhorn football game
At Longhorn games, Alpha Phi Omega (Texas APO) manages the world’s largest Texas flag, 100×150 feet. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

 

Why ruin a great Saturday by messing with traffic? Make every game-day minute count by removing unnecessary travel time from the weekend agenda. Or, at the very least, make that car time more fun. Choosing a vacation rental home after some savvy thought about game day routes skips the hassle and leads to happier football fans.

outdoor seating on deck at Top Trip Rentals' University Hills vacation rental homeTop Trip Rentals suggests: Sadly, #ATXtraffic is a thing–even without 100,000 rabid football fans taking to the street. On home game days, I35 and MoPac (Austin’s main thoroughfares) can become parking lots.
Let someone else do the driving–Ryde Austin’s cute electric carts can shuttle you around the downtown area cheaply ($5!). For a high-end experience, Ross Elite Chauffeur Service–owned by Texas Longhorn legendary athletes Aaron Ross and Sanya-Richards Ross–will transport you in stylish luxury. Some public transportation options do exist: Tarrytown’s Norwalk Square Condo is right on the UT shuttle bus route. And when you’re conveniently located, driving isn’t a pain. Our four-bedroom University Hills vacation rental home is a short, pleasant drive (just 4 miles to stadium, and you can avoid I35!).

4. Live a Football Weekend

University of Texas seal with orange roses in wall on campus
Staying like a local means you get to see the real Austin. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

You don’t have to actually go to the game to have a spectacular football Saturday. Why not do your home viewing up right with a weekend getaway? Booking a vacation rental home with fabulous amenities can make fans, friends, and family happy on college game day.

Top Trip Rentals suggests: Though football signals fall, Austin-area temperatures often say “summer.”
Don’t fight those warm fall Saturdays. How about watching the big game out at the lake? Why not spend the day outside, on the patio, grilling some good food, while watching college game day TV coverage?
Our Rainbow Cove and Sunset Shores vacation rental homes, situated on the shores of beautiful constant-level Lake LBJ, accommodate groups who want to relax–and when the ‘Horns score, you can hear the entire lake roar!
And that close-to-stadium University Hills vacation rental home we mentioned earlier is patio-perfect for game day grilling.
So whether you’re visiting Austin to support an away team or a bleeding-orange Hook’em Horns Texas hometown fan, treating yourself to that game-day getaway may be the key to a perfect football Saturday.
 
 
 University of Texas tower against a bright blue sky

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September 8, 2017

Austin Runners Provide Life Line for Harvey’s Smallest Victims

Steve Bush with his helicopter and delivery of breast milk from Mother's Milk Bank of Austin

Question: What do helicopters, flood victims, and medically-necessary breast milk have in common?

Answer: Austin runners.

Harvey Hits Houston Hospitals

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday, Aug. 25, bringing a wide swath of destruction to Texas’ coastal cities. Just four days later, the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin was faced with a crucial problem: four Houston-area hospitals desperately needed donated human breast milk.

Opening of the new Mother's Milk Bank at Austin location.
The new Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin opened in July 2016. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

At Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting, Executive Director Kim Updegrove explained the increased demand. While Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas in Ft. Worth had picked up evacuees’ needs, the Austin facility would cover Houston-area hospitals. Due to flooding, mothers couldn’t reach babies in NICU (neonatal intensive care units) and power outages had reduced stock. Donated human breast milk is usually delivered by Federal Express or other courier service, but roads were awash and routes impassable.

Mother's Milk Bank of Austin volunteer works with donated human breast milk during Amplify Austin fundraiser.
Volunteering during Amplify Austin fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

Board member Julia Weatherby listened, and she, Updegrove, and fellow BOD members weighed delivery solutions. Boats? Too problematic. Helicopters? Hospitals have helipads, so flying would be best…but Updegrove hadn’t found an Austin-based pilot with access to a helicopter. There was another problem: how the nonprofit would fund the emergency mission.

“The situation was becoming critical,” Weatherby explained. “The process of acquiring donor milk is very similar to donor blood. For inpatient recipients, the hospital manages their supply (they order in a big batch, usually not specific for a patient)…A small percentage [of donated milk] goes to outpatients, babies who are healthy enough to be at home but still need donated breast milk because they’re not healthy enough.”

Why not substitute formula? Those vulnerable babies have no choice. That donated human breast milk is medically prescribed.

Without appropriate nutrition–babies at different stages require breast milk with different components–these tiny patients couldn’t thrive. Without breast milk, they’re at risk of developing serious disease, like NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis, which damages the intestinal tract).

For these Houston-area babies, this milk delivery was a matter of life and death.

The clock was ticking.

Austin Runners to Babies’ Rescue

Weatherby pondered the Mother’s Milk Bank’s need. How could she help?

Julia Weatherby and Michelle Garel at Mother's Milk Bank at Austin function
Julia Weatherby (right) with Michelle Garel, her friend and fellow runner and Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin volunteer and committee member. Photo courtesy of Julia Weatherby

Now, members of Austin’s running community know Weatherby well. She’s a popular figure who’s combined her love of travel, running, triathlon, and technology in a variety of community services. Naturally, Weatherby thought to tap her local resources–perhaps a pilot friends was available? Some six of her buddies fly small or commercial planes.

Being social media-inclined, Weatherby turned to Facebook.

“I thought about tagging [my pilot friends],” said Weatherby. “But then I decided, tonight, I’ll just send a generic message and talk to people tomorrow.” She posted a simple status update at 8:18 p.m.

At 10:05 p.m., Jill Beardsley was checking Facebook from her bed and breakfast on Lake Bemidji in Minnesota. Beardsley and her husband Dick (that’s right; Dick Beardsley, the famous American marathoner) moved to Minnesota a few years back, but they’re near and dear to the Austin running community and maintain those friendships. She saw Weatherby’s post and immediately thought of more Austin running royalty: John Conley.

“I know John is taking flying lessons. I figured he would know someone or, at the very least, someone who could take it one step further to finding [a pilot],” Beardsley modestly commented. She tagged her good buddy (and John’s wife) Stacey Conley.

The Conleys have been pillars of the Austin-area running scene. Through their company Conley Sports, they managed many classic road races and events before retiring in 2016. Stacey and Jill are fast friends and past running partners. At 11:19 p.m., Stacey responded to Jill’s tag.

Screenshot of Facebook request for helicopter pilot for Mother's Milk Bank delivery

Stacey connected Weatherby with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Special Operations Captain Steve Bush. Bush, the owner of Lone Star Helicopters LLC.,had helped the Conleys for years with the Austin Marathon support.

Steve Bush with his helicopter and delivery of breast milk from Mother's Milk Bank of Austin
Captain Steve Bush of Lone Star Helicopters with his precious cargo. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

“I gave Julia Steve’s number and thought, if it’s meant to happen, it will. I was thrilled when I heard Steve would help out. I assumed he’d be swamped with other rescue efforts and wouldn’t have any free time at all (which, for all I know, is probably true),” Stacey explained.

“Out of all the volunteering and donating I’ve done, this is by far the most satisfying.”

Less than 24 hours after Weatherby’s post, Bush and his team had delivered those crucial life-saving and health-enhancing milk deliveries.

[Want photos, video, and accounts of the actual flight? See these Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Facebook write-ups.]

It wasn’t until another running friend posted–“Love you and our friends!”–that Weatherby made the connection. Her Austin running community had come through for those babies and their families.

“I never even got to my pilot friends,” Weatherby mused with a smile. “It’s funny because everybody’s so humble (‘All I did was post a message’) but having that link is so crucial to getting what you need.”

Volunteers and Lone Star Helicopter delivering donated human breast milk to Houston hospitals flooded by Harvey.
Evening milk delivery, thanks to volunteers and Lone Star Helicopter. Photo courtesy of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.

How Can You Help?

Donate breast milk or money to Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin

Volunteer in the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin office, lab, and outreach events

Share your donor and recipient stories on the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin blog

 

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September 2, 2017

Do Ghosts Exist? Austin Gets a Glimpse of Sir NoFace

Chad Calek and Justin Holstein give a talk at Emo's in Austin on new documentary, Sir No Face

Do you believe in ghosts?

Had you spent an August evening with filmmakers Chad Calek and Justin Holstein, you might have said “yes.” The two noted paranormal investigators were in Austin to promote their latest project, Sir NoFace. This documentary investigates a “full-body apparition” recorded by an Australian paranormal team. Is the image an accomplished fake, or does the footage prove, once and for all, that ghosts exist?

Austin Welcomes Sir NoFace

Chad Calek and Justin Holstein give a talk at Emo's in Austin on new documentary, Sir No Face
Austin’s Emo’s became the scene for American Ghost Hunters Chad Calek and Justin Holstein. Photo Credit: Leah Nyfeler

The Sir NoFace Lives Tour launched in Austin at Emo’s on Aug. 2, 2017, and whether you believe or not, Calek and Holstein put on a great evening. The two men, friends for more than 20 years, shared their love of film in an easy-going, personable manner before a raptly enthusiastic crowd of fans. They showed clips, told stories, and laughed at each other (and themselves) for being terrified. As Calek put it, “There’s a certain amount of humor in being completely f**ked.”

Calek is known as director and star of the autobiographical documentary American Ghost Hunter and A&E’s reality series Paranormal State. He and Holstein formed AGH Television, an independent digital distribution website and home to their many joint projects. Recently, A Blood Red Sky became available on Amazon Prime. Britain’s Chillingham Castle, the “most haunted location in the world,” sets the scene for Calek, Holstein, and the rest of the AGH team to explore the interaction of altering their minds while experiencing paranormal activity.

These filmmakers are masters at building suspense and setting mood. Sir NoFace was genuinely creepy, and dark, cavernous Emo’s (2015 E. Riverside Dr.) was the perfect setting for getting your pants scared off. And becoming a believer.

3 Tips for New Ghost Hunters

T-shirts from the Sir NoFace North American Tour with Chad Calek and Justin HolsteinIn case you’d like to check out some haunted locations on your own, Calek offered a few tips.

  • Do your research (look for places with known activity and read up on their history before you go)
  • As a protection, listen to the voice inside of you (“when you’re calling for the undead to do things to you, it gets really scary,” so trust your instincts)
  • Don’t play with a Ouija board (“it’s not the board itself–it could be a Ouija banana; you’re giving up your freedom. And that’s dangerous….”)

Famously Haunted Places in ATX

Leah Nyfeler's notes on Chad Calek 's Sir NoFace Lives North American Tour and ticket stubAustin is home to several locations that make “haunted” lists (“Top 11 Most Haunted Places in Austin, TX” is a good start). One that’s always included is the famous Driskill Hotel. Built in 1886, the Driskill sits directly across 6th Street from Top Trip Rentals’ vacation rentals property, the Littlefield Lofts. While there are many stories, Room 525 (scene of two different suicides, by brides) and the hotel’s staircase (a little girl holding flowers haunts the steps) get special call-outs.

Top Trip Rentals was happy to host the AGH team at another historic (but not so ghostly) Austin property, 410 E. 6th Street (also known as the Graeber House). Calek, Holstein, and crew were looking for a space where they could all stay together. “The road is a tremendous amount of work,” Calek explained in an email. “I prefer to be tucked away in a place that has similar amenities to my home, so that I can enjoy the company of my touring team, who are also my closest friends.”

We’re pretty sure 410 E. 6th Street isn’t haunted. But if you’d like a tour of some Austin spots that supposedly host a ghost or two, take a look at Austin Ghost Tours when you book your next ATX stay.

Find the next city and showing on the Sir NoFace Lives North American Tour

Merchandise for sale at Sir NoFace North American Tour in Austin

 

August 15, 2017

4 months ago

“Stretch” Comes to Austin’s Graeber House

Various members of Stout Magazine book panel at Top Trip Rentals property in Austin

Mermaids have swum here. Musicians played (perhaps you were one of the guests for the SoFar pop-up concert with Harvest Thieves, Brookfield, and Zula Montez). Maybe your company held private events here during Austin’s annual conference celebration, South By Southwest (SXSW).

Mermaids at The Graeber House in Austin at Top Trip Rentals eventSofar Sounds pop up concert at The Graeber House in Austin

 

However you know 410 E. 6th St., the Graeber House, we’ve got a new iteration for this historic downtown location.

Entrance to 410 E. 6th Street in Austin
The Graeber Home’s entrance. Photo Credit: Twist Tours

On Wednesday, June 28, Stout Magazine is hosting Houston-based business author Scott Sonenshein. A panel of Austin entrepreneurs will review Sonenshein’s book Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined.

And you’re invited to this unique vacation rental in the heart of downtown Austin to join their discussion.

Living the “Stretch” Lifestyle

Cover of the book Stretch by Scott SonensheinScott Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at Rice University and a respected expert in business management, psychology, and strategy.

So what’s his book about? What place does  “stretching” have in business? Sonenshein explains:

“People think of resourcefulness as something done out of need when facing shortages or to resolve problems, but that’s just one aspect of it. Stretching means we don’t start from feeling like what we have isn’t enough. Instead, we embrace what we already have and then creatively put those resources to work, such as time, money, relationships, and materials.”

Logo for Stout Magazine

Magazine publisher Christi Hester knew immediately that Sonenshein embodied the “bold, brave, and determined” Stout lifestyle.

“There’s a chapter in Stretch inspired by Robert Rodriquez,” Hester explained. She had heard the filmmaker speak a few years earlier and was “blown away by how Rodriquez ‘mavericked’ and created his own vision; he was a disrupter before people started using the term.”

She reached out to Sonenshein to create an unconventional book review—a discussion on how executives implement experiences to encourage leadership success and build a purpose-driven life.

Meet the Experts

Various members of Stout Magazine book panel at Top Trip Rentals property in Austin

Each of the panelists brings their own “stretch” to the discussion.

Hester recognized The Graeber House, 410 E. 6th St., as a fitting location for hosting the group: “There’s simply no other house like it in Austin. When I think of the Stout mindset, 410 fits the bill.”

Want to Join Us?

Event information for Stout magazine book review of Stretch by Scott Sonenshein

Register now (spots will fill fast)! (The first 20 early bird registrants will receive a free copy of Stretch. The author will be signing books; to purchase your copy, a donation to The Shade Project is suggested)

The Graeber House is cool, right? Rent 410 E. 6th St. for your Austin vacation stay!

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Interior view of The Graeber House in Austin on 6th St.
Family living room in the multi-story Graeber Home on Austin’s 6th St. Photo Credit: Twist Tours

 

June 28, 2017

Top Trip Rentals Supports Musicians During SXSW

Austin crowd at ACL 2016 for Cage the Elephant shown on screen

In honor of two anniversaries–30 years of South by Southwest, Austin’s premier festival  (1987–2017), and Top Trip Rentals’ 10th anniversary–we gave SXSW 2017 musicians a special promotional rate during their stay. Yes, while ATX room rates hit high notes, we lowered rates to $30 a night so musicians could conveniently rock a 6th Street launch pad during their SXSW’s performances.

Austin, Live Music Capital of the World

Austin crowd at ACL 2016 for Cage the Elephant shown on screen
Cage the Elephant playing ACL Fest 2016

Are we crazy?

Well, Top Trip Rentals believes Austin’s soul is its artists.

We wanted to tip an appreciative hat to artists of all stripes (musical, visual, theatrical) who’ve made success possible.

When SXSW emerged out of the Austin Chronicle’s think tanks in 1987, some 700 people attended; my, how things have grown! In 2016 alone, SXSW brought $325.3 million into Austin economy’s. The average nightly cost of an ATX hotel room that year? $350.

So, yeah, Top Trip Rentals thought our 10th anniversary was the perfect opportunity to give back to SXSW bands.

“We wanted to support the original mission of SXSW, the music portion, because that’s what basically put Austin on the map as a destination city” ~Chereen Fisher, Top Trip Rentals owner

Top Trip was honored and thrilled to host artists from all over the world at our vacation rentals. This year’s list of SXSW musicians and bands included

Lizzo,

The TonTons,

Tunde Olaniran,

White Reaper,

Sundara Karma,

Margo Price,

and more.

Supporting Musicians with Affordable Rates

Top Trip Rentals couldn’t have asked for better guests, and so we created a tradition. During big festivals and events, we’ve reserved a portion of our vacation rentals at affordable prices for performers, those souls who get on stage and give their energy, genius, and artistry every night.

 

Lizzo is a hot ticket at SXSW 2017

Stay with Top Trip Rentals During Your Gig!

Are you a performer (musical, visual, theatrical) who needs an affordable place to unwind during Austin’s legendary festivals and creative events?

Talk to our offices: email info@toptriprentals.com or talk to a human (512) 522-8747.

New Lounge at Littlefield

Loft 705 at Littlefield Lofts in Austin is now the Lounge at Littlefield

Updated Oct. 2017: Top Trip Rentals recently added a new amenity to the downtown Littlefield Lofts location, the Lounge at Littlefield. This complimentary gathering place is perfect for guests to meet and mingle. We also have featured products available, and we welcome our guest musicians to stop in, use the meeting space, visit with fans, and share merchandize through Top Trip Rentals market place in the Lounge.

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March 14, 2017

ACL Memories: Reflecting on 2016

Clouds at sunset at ACL 2016

Now that the dust has settled (literally), let’s take a moment to reflect on Austin City Limits 2016.

This year, ACL festival managers went for a younger crowd and the music skewed heavy on EDM. I wandered around and saw a number of bands: Catfish and the Bottlemen, Melanie Martinez, and Cage the Elephant all played fabulous sets, full of energy and showmanship.

Why You Need an ACL VIP Pass

There wasn’t a must-see band for me; honestly, I went because I had a Top Trip Rentals VIP pass.

I LOVE the VIP area of ACL. If you have the money, it is so worth it (a VIP pass is about $450 per day versus $100 per day). Just beyond the VIP gatekeepers lies the promised land–air conditioned flush toilets; free drinks from Tito’s Vodka and Troublemaker Wines; free food from local vendors, like Ranch 616, and catered meals from Central Market. It’s called the “Grove,” and the area’s shady and relatively quiet. There are even big-screen TVs showing the stages and others set up for football.

It’s an oasis for sure in a sea of people and heat.

ACL Venue is the Big Star

Clouds at sunset at ACL 2016
Sunset at ACL 2016

There are moments of pure transcendence at ACL.

Ironically, I ended up spending as much time watching the crowds and clouds as I did the bands.

Don’t get me wrong–the music is great. But Austin has a lot of great music happening at all hours in all places all across town most of the time.

What makes ACL such a great experience music is the setting. Austin’s Zilker Park, nestled on the edge of Lady Bird Lake, provides a great view across the water of Austin’s ever changing skyline.

It’s really a gorgeous site to experience live music.

October 13, 2016

ACL 2016 Is Almost Here

ACL 2016 is coming up fast. And that means it’s time to pick your favorite bands.

When equally interesting bands are playing at the same time at opposite ends of Zilker Park (the ACL venue), it’s hard to pick who to hear. And it’s impossible to run between stages during performances  to see two acts at once (well, it can be done but not easily).

The only way to manage your band picks is through a careful review of the ACL website lineup page including bios and videos. Then, download the app and set up your schedule.

Top Trip Rentals Recommends

Who are we psyched about seeing at ACL? Here are a few of our staff recommendations.

Sandra’s Top 5:

  1. Die Antwoord
  2. Bomba Estereo
  3. Kendrick Lamar
  4. The Chainsmokers
  5. Mumford & Sons

Rebecca’s Top 5: 

  1. Radiohead
  2. Kendrick Lamar
  3. Band of Horses
  4. Willie Nelson
  5. Wild Belle

Rene’s Top 5:

  1. Willie Nelson
  2. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats
  3. Quaker City Night Hawks
  4. Luisa Maita
  5. Corrine Bailey Rae

Cara’s Top 5:

  1. Haim
  2. The Chainsmokers
  3. Kendrick Lamar
  4. Tory Lanes
  5. Conor Oberst

As you can see, our crew at Top Trip Rentals is looking forward to a real mix of bands and styles. We guarantee that, no matter your taste, you won’t find a bad band at ACL.

Not much of a planner? Not sure what you like? Wandering the park and staying at a stage that sounds interesting could yield a great new find.

ACL Tips

The kind ACL folks have put together a great guide. With the festival now in its 15th year, they know a thing or two about having a great time. The ACL guide includes FAQ for getting the most out of the festival. Read this to learn details such as how to get from downtown Austin to Zilker Park, what items can and cannot be taken, and additional programs to music during the event.

See you there!

C3 - ACL Weekend 1
C3 – ACL Weekend 1, 2015

September 16, 2016

At Home with Art: Cornelius Carter at the Graeber House

Artwork by Cornelius Carter of musician Prince at Austin's Grabber Mansion

At our 6th Street vacation rental home, the Graeber House, Top Trip Rentals has displayed works from artist Cornelius Carter’s “Faces Series.” The Graeber House, also known as 410 E. 6th Street, is a 4,800-square foot 19th century mansion located in the heart of downtown Austin. Carter’s work graced its historic walls with unique artistry, including this iconic portrait of the late musical genius Prince.

Who is Cornelius Carter?

Artwork by Cornelius Carter of musician Prince at Austin's Grabber MansionCornelius Carter is an Austin-based, classically-trained artist. He was born and raised in 1970s Memphis but left the South to attend the prestigious Minneapolis College of Art and Design on a partial scholarship. After a stint in New York selling paintings as a street artist in Greenwich Village, Carter returned to Memphis before eventually settling in Austin to raise his son.

In 2015, Carter and two other Austin artists were chosen from some 1,250 entries submitted by more than 300 local artists and art organizations to featured at Austin City Hall.

At the opening press event, he unveiled “The Death of the King,” a large-scale portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, part of the “People’s Art Gallery.” For the duration of the year, “The Death of a King” was displayed at the Austin City Hall.

 

Cornelius Carter’s work, though rooted in the traditional portraiture paintings of European masters, often depicts societal struggles involving race and class. People and their relationships are one of his central themes. According to his website, Carter “weaves together imagery from history, mythology, childhood, and life experience to create images that are thought provoking, captivating, and beautiful….”

 

Bringing Art to Austin’s Vacation Rental Homes

Through the Graeber House’s partnership with IEI Austin, Carter’s gallery, our guests have enjoyed a rotating inventory of artwork. Top Trip Rentals values Austin’s creative community; it’s part of what makes our city great, and we’re proud to showcase local artists whenever possible.

Canvases by William Stidham and Larry Graeber and Jim Waltrip’s lush plant-inspired photographs have brought beauty to many an overnight stay. And art lovers have perused Graeber House-hosted pop-up shows during Austin’s WEST (West Austin Studio Tours) and  IEI Austin gallery openings.

“Guests to the historic mansion can see Carter’s works of musical icons while staying in the heart of the entertainment district in a section of Austin that glorifies musicians,” says Chereen Fisher, Top Trip Rentals owner and Graeber property manager.

Loving Austin’s Local Art

Carter’s rock star paintings are available for purchase through IEI Austin (Rhonda Rougeau gallery owner)

Jim Waltrip’s botanical photographs can be viewed at Pecan Street Gallery

Book your stay at 410 E. 6th, the Graeber House, in Austin

Schedule your own art event at downtown’s spectacular Graeber House

 

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August 4, 2016

SXSW 2016 Review

Interior of chairs at Graeber House in Austin set for SXSW Interactive
Lounge at Graeber House during Spark Capitol One's Small Business House for SXSW Interactive.
Lounge at our Graeber Home during Capitol One’s Spark Small Business House for SXSW Interactive.
Getting ready to host Anthony Bourdain at the Spark Small Business panel during SXSW Interactive.
Getting ready to host Anthony Bourdain at the Capitol One Spark Small Business House panel during SXSW Interactive.

 

We had a great week with the folks from Capitol One Spark Small Business program who held their VIP reception with author, chef, raconteur, Anthony Bourdain at our historic Graeber Home on Austin’s famed 6th Street. Here are a few pics from the Capitol One Spark Small Business House they set up for SXSW Interactive 2016. Hope to see everyone again next year!

March 18, 2016

SXSW is here!

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In 10 days, our city is going to be bursting at the seams with musicians, techies, film buffs, actors, travelers, fans, geeks, and more. All will converge on our humble city and turn it into the place to be in the universe for 10 days in March.

There are so many amazing people in town for this extended week’s programming. Two panels that I would love to see are Daniel Pink on Friday, March 13 and the Bill Gurley and Malcolm Gladwell’s featured session on Sunday, March 15. For all other offerings, here is a panel summary for SXSW 2016. Get planning!

 

March 1, 2016

Top Trip Rentals Announces Partnerships with KEY Concierge

Street signs in front of Austin's Littlefield Lofts on 6th and Brazos

At Top Trip Rentals, we strive to provide our guests with the most amazing stay possible. We know that time away from life is limited and that vacations are precious opportunities to reconnect with friends and loved ones or simply to unwind from the stress of life. 

To enhance your stay, we have partnered with KEY Concierge.  They not only handle the essentials…pre-arrival grocery + stocked bar, transportation, food delivered in, etc…they also deliver five-star experiences curated by local concierge.  Whether it’s a customized taste of Austin, guided hill country hike + picnic, live music crawl, breakfast taco + bloody marys delivered to your door or waiting in a five-hour line for the infamous Franklin BBQ, the sky’s the limit. To make your trip seamless and experience the best of Austin, let their local concierge team handle the details so you can arrive + relax.   austin@key.co | 512.640.4888.

“We are excited to provide concierge services for guests staying at Top Trip Rental vacation homes,” says Erin Kotzur, KEY Concierge Director of Business Development. “We make stays memorable by crafting the perfect itinerary and handling the details so guests don’t have to,” she added.

Top Trip Rentals will continue to provide guests with Austintacious ways of enjoying their stay through information found on our blogFacebookTwitterPinterest boards and Instagram. “At Top Trip Rentals, we continue our commitment to giving each guest personal assistance, so we’re always just a phone call away to help you, but for more elaborate requests, we wanted to be able to give guests additional services, like access to KEY Concierge, that will improve their stay,” says Chereen Fisher, Founder of Top Trip Rentals.