Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Tales of the Traveling Tote #34

Rabbit, Rabbit
~ March 1st  ~ 

Welcome to Tales of the Traveling Tote
 ~  Edition 34 ~
Come along and join me at a place very special to my heart.
It's a winter day in January and the skies are blue, 
though the vegetation is not yet lush and green.  
It reflects our winter season.

Laguna Gloria, an Italianate-style villa built in 1916, 
sits on the shores of Lake Austin.  Originally the home of 
Clara Driscoll and her husband, Hal Sevier, 
Clara gave this property to the Texas Fine Arts Association
in 1943 to be used as an art museum.

Originally the home of Laguna Gloria Art Museum, I first discovered this special property when I came to study at the University of Texas. In the mid 1990s the name was changed to the Austin Museum of Art. AMOA merged with Arthouse at the Jones Center in 2011.
The name became The Contemporary Austin with a site downtown on Congress Avenue and another here at Laguna Gloria.

Funds were raised for an extensive renovation 
of this historical property in the early 2000s.
With the arrival of Louis Grachos
Executive Director and CEO of Contemporary Austin,  
the grounds around the villa are now home to the 
Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park
a collection of outdoor sculptures created by living artists.  
You can find more information and photos of the sculptures here.

For me, the joy of the property is not the contemporary sculpture, but rather the historic villa and the gardens that were designed by 
Clara Driscoll all those years ago.  I appreciate that Mr. Gracos saw the value in preserving the integrity of this historic property of natural wooded areas and open meadows that sit along at the lake's edge. 

I personally like to wander the grounds, reminiscing about my years as an elementary teacher bringing my students here on field trips to experience various art exhibits within the villa, the countless years of attending the annual juried spring art show, Fiesta, held on the grounds, and the summer evenings of film or music that were enjoyed outdoors in the amphitheatre along side the lagoon.  

I like to stroll the pathways among the natural habitat, listening to the quiet of nature and the occasional motor boat on the lake.

You will encounter a large pavilion that overlooks the lake.
It's known as the Temple of Love.

My favorite of the contemporary sculptures is Water Woman, a cast bronze by artist Wangechi Mutu and part of the permanent collection.

She sits at water's edge gazing out to the lagoon and beyond.  

Another favorite for me, and originally installed by Clara,
 the Four Seasons Statues were part of one of her formal gardens.

Inside the villa, the rooms were purposely left as open spaces 
as the villa and grounds are used as venues 
for weddings and other gatherings.

My favorite of the spaces is the Tea Room,  with its checkered 
tile floor and walls of windows that look out 
to the terrace and the lake beyond.

My husband and I were honored to be a 
part of the restoration of this charming space.

If you ever find yourself in Austin, I recommend a visit.
Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy this lovely setting.

Stop by to visit my Traveling Tote Friends 
to read about their recent adventures.
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul (You are here)

Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader 

Jackie @ Purple Chocolat Home

Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

And Don't Forget The Giveaway!

Join us again June 1st for Edition #35


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Rabbit Rabbit Sarah! 🐇🐰 Thanks for taking me along to see Laguna Gloria. Love the Four Seasons and Water Woman perched by the lakeshore. I know the museum is thankful to have generous patrons like you and your hubby for renovations and support of the arts. I hope you’re enjoying signs of spring in Austin. We’ve been unseasonably warm and everything is budding, which is way too early given our freeze date of April 15th. Keeping my fingers crossed the viburnum and Lady Banks won't get frost nipped! Happy March ♥

  2. Love seeing you in your posts.How kind of you to have contributed to The Tea Room:) Loved seeing your names there.And I bet you were the best Texas teacher ever:)

  3. Sarah, I enjoyed seeing Laguna Gloria with you and it is a lovely setting. I think winter offers a beautiful time for visiting. The formal garden with the Four Seasons and my favorite, the sculpture Water Woman are lovely. I'm sure your stroll there brings back sweet memories of your little students learning TX history, and the tea room where you and Monnie were part of the restoration. Such a sweet post! Happy March Sarah...........

  4. Thank you for the virtual trip to Laguna Gloria Sarah, what a special place with so much to see! I love the outdoor sculptures, especially the Water Woman gazing over the lake. How nice that they posted a plaque with your names as a contributor to the restoration. Lots of wonderful memories here for you, the field trips, the children, and of course dear Monnie. Thank you for sharing and Happy March!

  5. What a lovely place - I just love hearing about the local sites from all of the TTT gals. Places I might never get to visit, but can enjoy through photos. The Tea Room must be a vey special place, how kind and generous for you both to be a part of the renovation. Children must have enjoyed your trips there and must have fond memories! Thanks for sharing a special part of your community!

  6. Happy March! Thank you Sarah for taking us along on your outing. Laguna Sarah is lovely. How special you and Monnie contributed to this amazing tea room. Love the bronze sculpture "Water Woman." The pathways look inviting. A wonderful outing with Miss Merri Mac.

  7. How lovely! I think it's so neat that y'all were part of such a special restoration project in the tearoom. I would love to visit the Contemporary Austin, both campuses. I would probably prefer the one by Lake Travis, though. I also like the Water Woman sculpture. She is beautiful! Thanks for the tour of the sculpture gardens. Happy March, and Happy Spring!

  8. Laguna Gloria is stunning and thank you for taking me along. How lovely that you and Monnie were contributors for the restoration of the tea room. I love the photo of you! Next trip to Austin I must visit you and the Laguna Gloria! Happy March, dear one!

  9. You look fantastic at the gate! What a beautiful place even during winter. I think I agree with you that the Water Woman is gorgeous. I am glad you gave us a picture of her back side. How wonderful that you and Monnie could participate in the restoration of the tea room. Thanks for sharing the plaque with us. You look really good in the tea room. Happy first of March. March always brings hope that spring is on its way.

  10. Thank you Sarah, for taking us along. I love seeing Monnie’s and your name on this post, you both so generous and forever together

  11. Rabbit Rabbit Sarah! Laguna Gloria is a beautiful place and you look darling at the gate. I loved learning that you and Monnie were contributors for the restoration of the tea room. I'm sure your students had the best field trip with you! Glad you are enjoying signs of spring in Austin.


  12. Sarah, it is fitting that you & Monnie were honored with your aid in restoring the tea room! The grounds are beautiful through the photos, and my favorite area is the formal garden with four seasons statues. I just love those, even though my style is now less formal personally. Thank you for this visit and historical background. You look terrific, btw. Love those leopard flats. Happy March!

  13. Thank you Sarah for taking me along to Laguna Gloria. How wonderful that you and Monnie contributed to the tea rooms. You look as beautiful as always!

  14. Look at beautiful YOU, Sarah! I would love to visit Laguna Gloria in person, but at least I could see it through your photos. How wonderful that you and your beloved Chef contributed to the Tea Room.

  15. Hello dear friend, for so long I have been absent from blogland and am only now dipping in and out, however how could I not stop by and catch up with your latest Travelling Tote adventure.? You took us to a beautiful place, I can see why it is one of your favourites, and my soul feels all the better for being there.
    Sending love.

  16. Hi Sarah. What a beautiful place to spend time in. The woodland paths would be where I would spend all my time. Your traveling tote takes you to some enchanted places..xxoJudy


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.