Fully Furnished Private Homes, Condos and Lofts

#6thstreet

At Home with Art: Cornelius Carter at the Graeber Mansion

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

At our Sixth Street vacation rental, the Graeber House, we are honored to display works from Cornelius Carter’s “Faces Series” including this portrait of the late musical genius Prince on the walls of our 4,800 square-foot 19th century home located in the heart of downtown Austin. Carter’s works are exhibited at the Graeber and on loan by his gallery IEI Austin.

Through the Graeber’s partnership with IEI Austin, our guests have enjoyed a rotating inventory of artwork including the canvases of William Stidham and Larry Graeber. At Top Trip Rentals, we value the contributions of the creative community as a part of what keeps Austin great and are happy to showcase local artists at our properties. Top Trip Rentals’ Graeber house has served as a pop-up gallery during the famous WEST shows and hosted 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 Top Trip Rentals owner and Graeber property manager Chereen Fisher. These rock star paintings grace the walls of the Graeber House, and are available for purchase through IEI Austin, Rhonda Rougeau gallery owner.

Cornelius Carter is an Austin-based, classically-trained artist with a style rooted in the traditional portraiture paintings of European masters while depicting subject matter dealing with societal struggles around race and class. From his eponymous website, Carter describes how he “weaves together imagery from history, mythology, childhood, and life experience to create images that are thought provoking, captivating, and beautiful. People and their relationships are a central theme…”

About the Artist: Carter was born and raised in 1970s Memphis, choosing to leave the South for more opportunities by attending the prestigious Minneapolis College of Art and Design on a partial scholarship. He moved to New York and sold paintings as a street artist in Greenwich Village before moving back to Memphis and finally choosing Austin as a place to raise his son and pursue his art. In 2015, Cornelius unveiled, “The Death of the King,” a large-scale portrait of the shooting of Martin Luther King Jr. at the Austin City Hall in a press event opening the “People’s Art Gallery” where Cornelius was chosen along with two others as a featured artist for 2015 from the approximately 1,250 entries submitted by more than 300 local artists and art organizations. “The Death of a King” was displayed at the Austin City Hall for all of 2015.

Prince photo
“Prince” by Cornelius Carter

August 4, 2016

Now how do I get around? Uber and Lyft suspend operations in Austin

You may or may not have heard, but Uber and Lyft have suspended operations in Austin due to a disagreement with Austin City Council. For an excellent summary of the issues, check out this Texas Monthly article about the debate. Welcome to Austin folks, we have lots of civic engagement!

So, if you’re in Austin without a car, what are your options? Well, you can go back to calling cabs, take Capital Metro (our public transportation), or try a newer ride hailing service like GetMe, RideFare and Wingz (for getting to and from the airport only). The two primary cab services in Austin are Yellow Cab and Austin Cab. However, none of Austin’s cab companies gets particularly good reviews on Yelp. From the Yelp complaints, it seems that these cab services take a long time to pick up, so give plenty of lead time before requesting one.

No one at Top Trip Rentals has tried it yet, but Shire Cab Company, gets great reviews. The driver, Al, is a local, a musician and apparently a character. You might try contacting Shire Cab Company if you’re looking for an Austin experience.

June 30, 2016

Stroll the West Sixth Street Shopping District

Interior view of Jonathan Adler boutique in Austin TX

Twenty years ago, shopping was pretty basic in Austin. If you wanted to go camping or backpacking, then there were plenty of choices for buying water purifiers and tents. Not exactly a spot for high fashion and design. Well, that my friends has changed. The last five years has really seen the growth of shopping options explode, from the newly and constantly expanding Domain Shopping area north of town, to small boutiques around downtown, there’s something for everyone now. And some of the most interesting and unexpected shopping can be found a short distance from our Littlefield Lofts vacation rentals at Sixth and Brazos. For a leisurely stroll from the LL building, start off with a pedicab or long walk heading west on Sixth Street toward the intersection of Lamar and Sixth Street. This is an area near a shopping region known as West End or West Sixth Street.

For a nice way to spend a few hours, we at Top Trip Rentals highly recommend taking in a few boutiques and shops along this expanding downtown shopping corridor. Never one to preach what I don’t practice, I spent a leisurely breakfast recently at Walton’s Fancy and Staple on Sixth Street with a friend before heading out for a few stores on West Sixth Street. Walton’s is housed in a historic building and has a little of everything–food, pastries, coffee, antiques for sale, garden supplies and other curios. Not having eaten yet that day, I ordered the breakfast tacos, but once my friend’s shrimp and grits arrived, I knew I’d made a mistake. Get some Southern Comfort food at Walton’s…it seems to be their speciality.

After filling up on cappuccino (the coffee here is good!), I was ready to walk toward my ultimate destination–birthday shopping for a friend at the Jonathan Adler Boutique on West 5th Street near the Lamar intersection. As my companion was headed on to BookPeople after breakfast, together we strolled down West Sixth by not-yet-open bars and not-yet-finished condo construction to make our way to the intersection of Sixth and Lamar.

Around this busy pedestrian and traffic-filled crossing, there are a few women’s clothing stores, like Antropologie and Title Nine where I stopped in to see if anything caught my eye (it didn’t) and then finally headed over to 5th and Lamar, making a quick dash into West Elm and then onto the shiny explosion of cool that is Jonathan Adler’s Austin store. How I want to buy everything in here! From subversively messaged cross-stitch pillows to candles that smell like Vodka, Jonathan Adler has everything that a downtown Austin loft needs to shine the brightest. Not much in the way of camping supplies, but this Austin outpost of JA has everything a downtown loft craves–sparkly, modern and clever furniture and accessories.

And if you are still in the market for camping supplies, never fear, REI is housed a block away in between BookPeople and Anthropologie. So, now, Austin’s got you covered from the outdoors to the outlandish! Shop On!

Shopping in Austin at the gorgeous Jonathan Adler boutique.
Shopping in Austin at the gorgeous Jonathan Adler boutique.

May 2, 2016

Brunch is a Must

Long bar with chairs in Isla Restaurant in Austin

In the “blink and you missed it” category, none is changing more rapidly in Austin’s food scene than the offerings for brunch. Every good restaurant in town now has some kind of option for this Sunday meal that is better than breakfast and more important than lunch. It’s a verb. It’s brunch.

For the best lineup of brunch locales in Central Austin, check out this “Eater” article that provides several locations close to our Littlefield Lofts vacation rentals on 6th and Brazos Street. Three are within an easy stroll of our lofts: Italic (#2), Isla (#7) and Wu Chow (#8) are all recommended. Enjoy!

Isla Restaurant Interiors Photo credit: Andrea Calo
Isla Restaurant Interiors
Photo credit: Andrea Calo

 

April 11, 2016