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IT has been voted the best place to live in the US for three years in a row – and you can see why.

The buzzing Texan capital of Austin is also the live music capital of the world, with a magical blend of Southern charm and stellar nightlife.

6Visit the place voted the best to live in the US for three years in a rowCredit: Shutterstock 6Austin’s eclectic mix of musicians, hippies, cowboys and tech entrepreneurs has spawned the proud slogan you’ll see at every turn: 'Keep Austin Weird'Credit: Shutterstock

It is a rootin’ tootin’ hub of music genres, with 250 bars and clubs serving up jazz, blues, country, rock and hip-hop.

Now it’s the turn of us Brits to feel the pull of Austin Power.

With the city quickly becoming a big tourism rival to Las Vegas, Virgin Atlantic has launched a non-stop service there from Heathrow. The route has proved so popular the airline is offering daily flights from next spring.

Austin’s eclectic mix of musicians, hippies, cowboys and tech entrepreneurs has spawned the proud slogan you’ll see at every turn: “Keep Austin Weird.”

Dining out is a real adventure, with queues forming outside food trucks and bungalow barbecues most evenings. If you don’t mind a long wait, head for Aaron Franklin’s on 11th Street. He’s sold out of brisket every day since he began serving food from his trailer in 2009 — and has now added a bricks and mortar dining area.

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President Barack Obama called in for a meal during his visit to Austin in 2014.

It’s well worth an early evening stroll down Rainey Street, where renovated 1930s bungalows built by cattle barons are now crowd-pulling music bars or restaurants.

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Taco breakfasts are popular and one of the best is served at the wonderfully named taco truck Taqueria El Trompo Mayor.

Austin was identified as the site for a state capital by settlers on a buffalo hunt in the 1930s and is named after its founder Stephen Austin.

A great way to get to know the city is by guided bike tour, which can be tailored to take in food outlets, nature or murals. Or jump aboard an open-top bus for a less energetic way to explore.

The city sits astride the Colorado River, where dams form seven lakes, used by locals and tourists as leisure spots. Lake Travis is the ideal place for a family adventure on water. The zipline here is the longest and fastest in Texas and you can rent a boat or jet-ski or hop on to a party barge.

Or take a dip at Barton Springs Pool, where actor Robert Redford learned to swim when he was five. Fed by underground springs, the water is always a toasty 21C (70F).

A must for first-timers is a visit to the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk, where hundreds wait for the free nightly show put on by the millions of resident bats. As the sun sets, they fly out together in search of food, forming a spectacular, and surreal, black cloud.

After dinner, it’s time to hit the clubs. It all happens at stomping Sixth Street — or “Dirty Sixth” as the locals call it. You can hear live music coming out of every door. Stop and listen before deciding to enter. We walked a couple of blocks before finding Speakeasy off Congress Avenue. We enjoyed a superb dinner and cocktails before boot skootin’ to popular hits belted out by a fantastic seven-piece band.

Another must is the Broken Spoke where legends including Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson — honoured by a statue in Austin — have all performed. It’s so famous that Mick Jagger paid a secret visit when the Rolling Stones played in Austin last year.

Another must is the Broken Spoke where legends including Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson — honoured by a statue in Austin — have all performed.

For a taste of traditional Texas, we visited the Lone Star Ranch, a ten-minute drive from downtown Austin. The friendly team there taught us the basic cowboy skills of shooting, lassoing and even horse-whispering.

They also offer a fantastic trail ride through Wild West countryside, and if you’re lucky you’ll encounter armadillos, raccoons and coyotes. Cool off with a few craft beers and a hearty barbecue at the outdoor saloon afterwards.

There’s a wide range of hotels to suit every taste and pocket and they’re all close to the centre of the action. We stayed at the luxury Fairmont, a skyscraper of a hotel with more than 1,000 rooms offering fabulous views of the city.

Another fab place worth dropping into is the historic Driskill Hotel, just off Sixth Street, built in the 1870s by cowboy Jesse Lincoln Driskill. Stop by for lunch, coffee or drinks to soak up the history, with displays of Wild West-era guns and paintings.

If history is your thing, a visit to the Texas Capitol seat of government is a must. It is best approached by a stroll down Congress Avenue, where its 302ft dome, built in 1888 and set in a 27-acre park, dominates the skyline.

There are free guided tours of the spectacular interior, where you’ll learn about Texas’s colourful history. Among the state’s heroes is frontiersman Davy Crockett, whose portrait is on the wall there.

Austin is a great base from which to explore other gems of Texas. It’s a 90-minute drive to San Antonio where you can visit the Alamo, site of the 1836 battle where Crockett fell.

Or visit the Longhorn Caverns, a spectacular underground marvel, formed by erosion from a subterranean river.

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And after wearing out your dancing shoes in the clubs, you might need to pay a visit to Allens famous boot store before flying home.

It’s “boot heaven” for cowboys — and especially cowgirls — with a wide selection, from $350 up to $1,250. Just like the music bars, there’s a style to suit all tastes.

6It all happens at stomping Sixth Street — or 'Dirty Sixth' as the locals call it, you can hear live music coming out of every doorCredit: Shutterstock 6A must for first-timers is a visit to the Congress Avenue Bridge at duskCredit: Shutterstock 6If you don’t mind a long wait, head for Aaron Franklin’s food truck on 11th StreetCredit: Shutterstock 6Take a dip at Barton Springs Pool, where actor Robert Redford learned to swim when he was fiveCredit: Shutterstock GO: AUSTIN

GETTING THERE: Virgin Atlantic flies from Heathrow, from £510 return. See
STAYING THERE: The Fairmont Austin has rooms from £210 per night. See
OUT & ABOUT: Mike’s Bikes tours, £44pp ( Lone Star Ranch has activities from £77pp (

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Tags: the sun newspaper travel ideas you don’t mind you’ll see don’t mind if you don’t you don’t daily flights virgin atlantic voted the best from heathrow a spectacular read a fantastic stroll down and you can austin

Anne Heches Ex-Husband Coleman Laffoon Is a Realtor

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David Manpearl: Neighbor Hailed as Hero in Anne Heche Crash

Getty US actress Anne Heche arrives for the premiere of Netflix's "The Unforgivable" at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California, November 30, 2021.

David Manpearl is a neighbor who was credited with a rescue attempt of Anne Heche after her car exploded in a Los Angeles crash into a home. He aided his neighbor and tried to free Heche, who survived but suffered serious injuries.

The 53-year-old actress slammed into a garage at about 11 a.m. Friday, August 5, 2022, then backed up and careened into another house. Heche was intubated and in critical condition in the hours after the crash.

NBC Los Angeles reported it took 59 firefighters to extinguish the blaze, and that the crash caused structural damage to a home after her blue Mini Cooper went 30 feet into the building. Photos of the aftermath showed the extent of the damage.

Here’s what you need to know:

Manpearl Helped His Neighbor Rescue Her Pets From Inside the House After Heche Crashed Into the Home

David Manpearl told the Daily Mail that he did not think it was possible anyone could have survived the crash he witnessed.

“At about 10:50am I heard a car go speeding by and looked out my window where I saw the car going about 90 miles an hour,” he told the outlet. “Within seconds I heard a loud crash at which point I ran outside in my flip flops because I knew someone was hurt and boy was I right.”

He lives about five houses down from the place the crash occurred, he told the Daily Mail, and caught the moments leading up to the crash on his Ring doorbell camera.

He told the Daily Mail that he rushed to the scene and found his neighbor outside.

“Before I approached the car, I saw the resident of the home standing barefoot in the debris. She was in shock and frantically asked me to help get her pets out of the house,” Manpearl said. “I was able to get the leashes for her two small dogs and escorted her out of the side of her house. She had her two dogs with her and a tortoise.”

Manpearl Said He Did Not Think It Was Possible for Heche to Survive

EXCLUSIVE: Video shows the vehicle owned by actress Anne Heche speeding down a Mar Vista street moments before crashing into a home and sparking a fire. The story on @CBSLA 5pm.

— Rachel Kim (@CBSLARachel) August 5, 2022

Manpearl told the Daily Mail that he was unable to free Heche from the vehicle, and after she was trapped for about 30 minutes in the burning car, he thought there was no way she could have survived.

He said he found Heche, who he did not recognize as the actress, trapped between the airbag and the seat of her car.

“I tried speaking with her a few times asking if she was ok but she wasn’t responding so I had to get closer. I was able to open the back door of the car and crawled half-way inside,” he said. “This time when I asked her if she was ok, she said no.”

He told the Daily Mail that he and the neighbor were trying to put out the fire when firefighters arrived on the scene. The blaze had spread from the car to the house, he said.

“I was positive that the driver was dead,” he said, as rescue attempts dragged on. “That she had burned up. It took at least 30 minutes for the fire department to douse the flames, extract the car and pull her out of the car.”

READ NEXT: Anne Heche Car Crash: Photo & Video From the Accident

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