Austin’s Top Neighborhoods & News

There’s No Place Like Home

From Allanadale to Zilker, check out the city’s top 15 neighborhoods

By Amy Gabriel
Photo by Nicole Mlakar-Livingston

From Allandale to Zilker, check out the city’s top 15 neighborhoods (according to data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, based on home sales from March 2011 to March 2012), and learn what makes each area so special directly from the residents themselves. You’ll also find out what kinds of homes you can buy for less than $500,000, whether it be a condo with an amazing view or a grand house with plenty of acreage. No matter what you’re looking for, there is a place in town that will be perfect for you and your family.

Lakeway: The Gardner Family

Holly Mills-Gardner, former Miss Texas USA, has spent nearly a decade calling Lakeway home. She, along with her husband, Michael Gardner, owner of Riata Hunting & Outdoors, built their Mediterranean-style home nine years ago, laying down roots before the notable residential and commercial growth spurt the area has experienced of late. “We never dreamed how this community would grow—or just how fast,” says Holly.

With plans to start a family, the couple picked their neighborhood with a few requirements in mind: It had to be near Lake Travis, in the LTISD school district, inside a gated, family-friendly community with big trees, preferably with a golf course and country club. “Becoming parents changes priorities and needs like nothing else,” says Holly. “And the Lake Travis/Lakeway community is perfection when it comes to raising a family.”

The couple now has two very active young sons, 7-year-old Hudson and 5-year-old Cullen. You’ll often find the entire family brunching or swimming at the Rough Hollow Yacht Club & Marina, shopping or watching movies at the Hill Country Galleria or dining at Verde’s, where the pageant beauty and TV personality gets them to make her a low-cal margarita, which she calls “The Skinny Holly.” They also love to hike the trail at Hurst Creek and have breakfast at Cafe Lago, where Holly swears they serve the best egg white omelet and non-fat vanilla latte in town.

Nine years later, the Gardners are still thrilled with Lakeway. “All the reasons we chose the neighborhood are all the reasons we’re still here,” says Holly. “We truly joke about living in the bubble—there’s one way in and one way out—so it’s like living in a small town, but you don’t.”

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