Happy Wednesday (for those of you who aren’t Houston Astros fans). For those of us who live in Houston, that was a rough loss last night. I’ll always be a ‘Stros fan, and they had a heck of a season. Proud of them for making it to the World Series!
Last week I shared about my time as a Baylor student, and I briefly shared about our weekend trip to Waco to watch the Baylor Bears play some football this weekend. I wanted to do a more in depth recap because Waco has some treasures.
Haven House Waco
We arrived in Waco on Friday early evening. This time, we decided to rent an AirBnB so we could all hang out at the house. My friend Tyler actually found this house, and it was so cute that I will probably try to stay there every time we go to Waco. It was hands down the cleanest AirBnb I’ve ever rented, and the decor was very “Joanna Gaines” style.
The name of this house was “Haven House,” and it’s a project that two sisters took on. It seems like they own several rental properties in Waco, and they hand select all of the decor for each house. I love the style, and the location was great. Not that Waco is incredibly large – you can really get to most of the hot spots within about 5-10 minutes. This house was located on 17th street, which was just a short drive in to campus.
This house had three bedroom and 2 full bathrooms. So, it’s enough space for three couples – or a girl’s trip. She left us a bottle of wine and some cookies from Heritage Creamery. There was ample parking, and Haven House was fully stocked with anything you might need (coffee, wine opener, coffee creamer, etc…). In short, we loved our stay there, and I will 100% try to book this again for a future Waco weekend.
We decided to go to Vitek’s for dinner Friday night. It was just this tiny little BBQ hole in the wall when I was a student. They expanded into the space next door shortly after I graduated. Now, they have ample dining space so you can order your food and stay while. That photo shows the original entrance to Vitek’s.
I always order the gut pack. In fact, I can’t say that I’ve ever tried anything else there. I realize that name might not sound appealing if you’ve never had one, but it is indeed quite fabulous. It’s got sausage, Fritos, BBQ beans, cheese, pickles (always get the pickles), jalapeños, onions and brisket. It’s topped off with some delicious BBQ sauce and served with white bread. It’s a local delicacy, so if you’re ever in Waco, it’s worth the stop.
Common Grounds Waco
On Saturday morning we were up bright and early to get to the 11 a.m. football game. A weekend trip to Waco would not be complete without a stop at Common Grounds: my favorite coffee shop. The original location is off of 8th street, and since I lived in the Collins dorm, it was right across the street. They have the best coffee, and I’ve never found another spot that’s comparable.
It’s built in this old house turned quaint coffee shop, and it has couches, recliners, desks and tables for students to study – or catch up with old friends. Since I’ve graduated, they’ve added a drive through and a patio in the back. There’s always a line, but it always moves fast. I love the rodeo clown, which is their secret sauce, drip coffee and skim milk. It’s so good. I also grabbed a pumpkin patch before we headed back to Houston on Sunday. The pumpkin patch is their chai mixed with delicious fall spices.
Baylor built a new football stadium several years ago. When I was a student, we attended the games at Floyd Casey Stadium, which was a drive from campus. Now, the students can walk on the land bridge right across the Brazos River. Since the new Mclane Staudium has been built, I’ve been to several games. Parking can be a challenge because there is a ton of construction right along 1-35, which is the main artery into the stadium. This time, we decided to buy parking at the Ferrell Center, which meant a short walk into the stadium (maybe about 1/2 a mile?).
Parking was kind of pricey – at $80/vehicle. When I have gone in the past, we have parked in Downtown Waco and taken the shuttle in to the game. The downside is that shuttles only operate 1 hour after the game ends, but parking is free and the shuttle drops you right off at the stadium. I didn’t mind the walk from the Ferrell Center parking lot, but if the weather was bad – or if you have small kids, it might not be the most ideal.
The stadium is amazing. It overlooks the Brazos river, which means we have “sail-gating.” Our seats were in the sun, but it was manageable. There really isn’t a bad seat in the stadium. While I loved going to games at the old stadium, I often think what college football would have been like at the new stadium.
After the game, we headed over to see the Baylor Bears. They have always been one of my favorite parts about campus. And one of them was right at fence greeting her visitors. We popped on over to the Bookstore to grab some new Baylor merch. Aaron got a new pullover, and I got a new rain jacket!
After all of that – we were hot, sweaty, and all of us needed a nap. Does this mean we are old? We headed back to the house to grab showers and relax for a bit. Then, we headed over to one of my favorite Waco restaurants: Baris. It’s a delicious Italian restaurant – and it’s BYOB. I used to love going with my girlfriends back in the day, bringing some wine and just hanging out.
There is always a bit of a wait, but it moves quickly. We showed up, got our names on the list and waited for about 20 minutes. We were all starving, but their portions are huge, so pace yourself. They also bring out these huge, delicious rolls. I don’t think they have changed their pricing – ever – so it’s a delicious meal that won’t break the bank! You have to give it a try if you are in Waco. I try to make it a point to go every time I’m there.
Other Waco Gems
Waco has so many great spots that we didn’t make it to this weekend. Of course, Magnolia Market has put Waco on the map. So, if you’re there, it’s worth checking out. I’ve been a couple of times, and it’s always fun. But, you also should visit Spice. It has the cutest stuff, but you need to go on a Friday or Saturday. They don’t open until noon on Sundays. They have a ton of little shops all under one roof. A great breakfast spot is Cafe Cappuccino. And of course, I’m always an advocate of walking around Baylor’s campus, attending a sporting event, going to Ninfa’s or Crickets, visiting Cameron Park or walking the Bear Trail.