Weekend Getaway in The Woodlands
I confess: I grew up in Houston but had never really explored The Woodlands till recently. Sure, I’d been to concerts at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, but hadn’t checked out the area surrounding the concert hall till just a few weeks ago.
We always love weekend trips, but typically, they’re jam packed full of to-do lists, including what to bring and what to do. But for this trip, we didn’t even need to set our alarms on Saturday morning. We woke up, packed a small suitcase and hit the road.
On the way to The Woodlands, we decided to stop in Old Town Spring. After about 30 minutes, we pulled in to the main area of Old Town Spring. It was so charming and quaint that it felt like we couldn’t possibly be so close to home. We browsed through store after store with darling antiques, gifts, art, spices and more. There were rocking chairs propped outside of storefronts, live music, restaurants, boutiques and more. We walked around for a while, then continued on our way to The Woodlands.
We checked into the brand-new Westin hotel and were immediately impressed by the sleek, modern décor and atmosphere. My husband, Matt, was especially excited by the technology he discovered in our hotel room – a remote on each nightstand that controls the lights and air conditioning. It was tempting to just relax in the room after a busy week, but we started exploring the Woodlands Waterway area right away.
I was instantly surprised by the variety of restaurants to choose from for lunch. My close friend, Dr. Amy Alexander, who grew up in Memorial and graduated in my class from The Emery/Weiner School, came to meet us for lunch with her boyfriend, Ryan Brown. Amy and Ryan have been living in The Woodlands for the past year because she is currently interning at North Houston Veterinary Specialists.
The four of us had a relaxing lunch on the patio of Cyclone Anaya’s (complete with margaritas, of course) and then hopped on a water taxi, which floats down The Woodlands Waterway and passes by its attractions. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is just a short walk (or water taxi ride) from the rest of the shopping, restaurants and The Woodlands Mall. While we were on the water taxi, we caught glimpses of families having picnics on the grassy areas along the water.
Amy and Ryan shared some of their favorite things to do in the area, such as hanging out in the various parks and walking their dog, Dante, on the trails. Their favorite memory so far was taking Dante to Pundt Park, where there’s a sandy beach beside a river, and also a nice dog park. They both enjoy the restaurants in the area and the fact that there are lots of fun events going on throughout the year, such as the Fourth of July festivities, The Woodlands Craft Beer and Music Festival, and The Woodlands Margarita Fest.
“And this time of year, there are nightly concerts and farmer’s markets on the weekends that we could walk to,” Amy said, pointing to the fact that there were performers setting up on the side of the waterway at just that moment.
After a while, we hopped off the water taxi and walked around the Woodlands Mall. After so much walking (I’m proud to say that at the end of the day, my FitBit had tracked more than 17,000 steps!) we worked up an appetite for dinner. Matt and I then enjoyed an excellent meal at Current, located in The Westin. Their menu changes seasonally and the restaurant concept is unique to The Woodlands area. Our table was by the window, looking out at the Woodlands Waterway. Matt said he felt like we were overlooking a smaller version of San Antonio’s River Walk.
Then, we headed back into Waterway Square to meet Amy and Ryan for a drink. Once it got dark, the entire area lit up: the water fountains with colored lights, the trees with Christmas lights. It felt like a festive occasion but it was just a typical Saturday night. The whole night felt so nice because we didn’t have to plan exactly where we wanted to go – we just walked around and spontaneously found places to hang out.
On Sunday morning, we got a lazy start to the day and then headed to Baker Street Pub for a bite to eat. They were offering 99 cent mimosas. Sold. Matt and I split a breakfast taco and mimosas and then walked around more before enjoying a late lunch at Hubbell & Hudson Bistro.
Seriously, we are already planning our next meal there, as we loved the food so much. I enjoyed lobster bisque and a wedge salad, and both were incredible. The wedge included candied pecans and flavorful bacon and the bisque was creamy and just delicious. Matt had a lobster sandwich with truffle parmesan fries. We felt too full to order dessert, but once we saw the menu, we couldn’t help it. We ordered the chocolate croquettes, which already rates up there in my all-time favorite desserts. Hubbell & Hudson is located right near the movie theater and would be an excellent date night – it’s worth the drive.
Our trip back took about 40 minutes and we couldn’t believe how relaxed we felt afterward. Typically our trips home from weekend getaways take several hours by car or plane, and it was so nice to feel like we were so far away, but to have such a quick trip home. We also realized that the fact that we didn’t have to drive at all during our stay there contributed to such a nice, relaxing weekend.
If you haven’t been to The Woodlands lately, we highly recommend it. Check out upcoming events, such as The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival this weekend, plus events at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
Have you been to The Woodlands recently? Share your favorite things to do in the comment section below.
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