Holiday in Town
The Lazy Oak Bed & Breakfast211 West Live Oak, 78704
During a particularly bleak period of my Austin tenure -- strapped financially, stuck in a slumlord pit, and going nowhere fast -- I passed the time by daydreaming of a better life while learning the streets of South Austin on bike, foot, and moped. Live Oak, an east-west avenue draped in its own namesake, intersects both First and Congress and made for an enjoyable and convenient route. Some evenings, I'd pick a spot where I couldn't be seen by the many tenants of this one particular two-story house and just gaze upon its Southern glory -- with its powerful columns, two expansive front porches, and yawning live oak sentries. Noticing the occasional "For Rent" sign, I swore that someday I'd live in that house. Well, I kept my promise, at least for one night: That gorgeous old farmhouse is now the Lazy Oak B&B.
Purchased in 1995 by Renee and Kevin Buck, it was operating at the time as a boarding house. Now it's one of Austin's finest inns. With dark, sturdy wood throughout the interior, whitewashed walls stripped down to the shiplap, and Renee's incredible flair for the simple yet elegant, the Lazy Oak is a traveler's dream. A most gorgeous hand-carved French bed from the 1920s featuring two blessed cupids is the centerpiece of the two-bedroom, two-bath suite in the back of the house. The love angels are teasingly post-Victorian and alluringly Art Nouveau, an aesthetic which is almost a theme in this mansion, inviting guests to indulge in some tasteful decadence. And if that doesn't sate, a visit to Renee's almost Bacchanalian breakfast is sure to. It's difficult to push away from a table so generously laden with egg-potato-cheese quiche, fresh fruits and juices, French toast soufflé, and so much more. Just be sure to save room for the house delicacy: Renee's hot and sticky homemade cinnamon rolls.
After breakfast, a stroll across the back yard leads guests to a coy little manmade koi pond. South Austin comes alive with the sounds of running water, singing birds, and chirping crickets. The traffic, the sprawl, the madness fades, and it's easy to imagine the streets without lightposts and cars and a day without deadlines or pressures.
The sad punctuation mark at the end of this happy tale is that the Lazy Oak is up for sale. Hopefully, the new owners will recognize this palace's inherent cultural value as a B&B. But, just in case, we recommend that you savor in its richness at least for one night's stay before it goes.