Saturday, July 30, 2011

Galveston Texas

Frankie and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary by traveling to Galveston, Texas and just enjoying some time together away from home.

We started off by going to the beach. There are several to choose from but we choose to go to the Galveston Island State Park. There was a lot of damage to Galveston due to Hurricane Ike in 2008 but the city has really tried very hard to recover. While there is still evidence of damage there is also much more evidence of recovery.

Despite the warning below, we still ventured out onto the beach. Frankie was more leery of the snakes than anything, but I told he just had to stay out of the dunes and it would be fine. (Welcome to Texas beaches where there are still poisonous snakes!)

Galveston Island State Park

Frankie did his thing of sitting in a chair in the ocean and I did my thing of sitting in a chair on the beach taking picture. We were both completely content.

Galveston Island State Park

One of the benefits of going to the state park as opposed to the more public beaches is the lack of people. We don't mind paying extra for the that benefit. We did enjoy going to the beach in Galveston, but it wasn't really any different from the ones in Corpus Christi, Texas. I did like the smaller town of Galveston compared to Corpus Christi, but that is just a personal preference.

We finished out our beach time and headed back to the hotel to sleep and prepare for seeing Galveston the next day. Parting picture.

Galveston Island State Park

We started off the next day with a tour of Galveston via DUCK tours.

DUCK Tours

Is it a land vehicle? Is it a boat? Why yes, yes it is! It is both! We took a land tour of Galveston and a boat tour of the Offats Bayou.

DUCK tour

It was really cool. It was about an hour tour. There was another tour we were thinking of taking that was longer and just stayed on land. It would have probably been more informative of the history of Galveston, but we decided to take the other one just because it went in the water. This one did talk about the history of Galveston and we saw some great things. I would recommend it to others and I would like to share some pictures from the tour.

DUCK tour

This was our Capitan. He knew the history, made it interesting, and even cracked some jokes.

DUCK tour

A friend suggested we rent one of these, we laughed. It wouldn't be too bad, but I think I would be the one doing all the pedaling! These people had the right idea by having all four seats filled. The little girl in the front basket does crack me up though.

Storm of 1900 Monument

This was put in place to memorialize the people who lost their lives and those who did survive the Great Storm of 1900, the deadliest hurricane in US history.

Galveston use to be a huge producer, processor, and shipper of cotton. It still does some but not near as much as it use to. This is one of the cotton compressors that is still in use today.

Cotton Compress

Texas Heroes Monument

Heroes of Texas Monument: This is just the statue part on top of a tall column. There is also pictures of the men it honors further down the column. It was erected in honor of the men who helped win Texas' independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto. The woman points towards where the battle occurred.

The last pictures I want to share from the tour is some of the historic house. There are some very beautiful and unique houses in Galveston.

Historic House

Historic House

After our DUCK tour we did more touring on our own. We first went to Murdoch's which was originally a bathhouse but is now a gift shop.


This is the view from their deck. I want this view, but that would require a move into a gift shop and I think they would frown upon that.

Murdochs - view

Most people buy the souvenirs, but not me! I just take a picture of them!

Murdochs - shells

And besides, there is no way I would pay $600 for a shell! I don't care how big it is!

Murdochs - $600 shell

For lunch we asked one of the workers at Murdoch's what they suggested. She said that Miller's Seawall Grill was good and close by. We took her suggestion and check out the view we had while I ate some of the BEST Gulf of Mexico shrimp ever!

View from Miller's Seawall Grill

We decided to go to one museum and our choice was the Offshore Energy Center's Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center, yeah, say that five times fast!

Ocean Star Museum

Frankie and I both grew up in oil rich west Texas so seeing the offshore oil aspects was interesting to us. There were many things to see with interesting angles to take pictures of.

Ocean Star Museum

The museum used mannequins in some places but it really just made things creepy.

Ocean Star Museum

Especially when they seemed to be having issues...

Ocean Star Museum

Overall the museum was decent. I don't think I would go back again though. It is great if you are really into oil stuff and know what you are looking at without having to read the plaques.

In between the gift shop and the drilling rig there were so many pelicans and other birds. I was able to get a picture with three different birds in it. (At least I think I have identified them correctly. I don't know ocean birds that well seeing how I was raised in a desert!)

Pelican, Egret, and Cormorant birds at Ocean Star Museum

There is so much to see just in the area where the museum was located. We saw ships from far away places.

Ship from Monrovia Africa

This one is from Monrovia, a city in the West African country of Liberia. And we saw ships that would be going to far away places.

Cruise Ship

I never realized how big cruise ships were! We also saw an old ship from 1877!

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

This is the Tall Ship Elissa, which is one of the oldest ships still sailing today.

One of the interesting thing about Galveston has to do with the Great Storm of 1900. After the devastation that occurred, Galveston decided to built a seawall and to raise the entire city 3 to 6 feet by bringing in sand. They dug canals in order to bring in the sand and once they were done they paved those streets and named them 1/2 streets.

m and half street-old canal

Most buildings they somehow raised and other structures they just buried. This fence at Ashton Villa use to be six feet tall and now it is only three!

Ashton Villa

Here is a close up of the fence at ground level.

Ashton Villa

After Hurricane Ike in 2008 there was also significant damage. The storms destroyed several of the city's old oak trees. Instead of leaving them as stumps several people decided to hire an artist to turn them into something beautiful. Here is a link to more of them but this one turned out to be my favorite of the ones we saw.

Tree Sculpture - Angel with Bunny

It is called "Angel with Bunnies". Awh! There were many more and we drove around looking for them. Here is the link to a map showing where all of the statues are. As we were driving around we had to stop and wait for a Segway gang to pass. We didn't want to get tangled up in that mess! Vicious!

Segway gang

Along with everything else we saw we noticed how many cemeteries there were. Galveston is a very diverse city! We saw a Catholic cemetery,

Catholic Cemetery

a Jewish cemetery,

Jewish Cemetary

a Greek cemetery,

Greek Cemetery

and there was even another one that we didn't get a chance to see. There was even an Islamic Center! It was amazing to see all of this in such a small city (less than 60,000 people)!

The car demanded a rest after all this driving around so we stopped at La King's Confectionery shop in the Strand shopping district.

La King's Confectionary

Let me tell you let me show you what!

La King's Confectionary

OMGosh! Can you say yum? Oh yes, you can! White chocolate covered cherries!

We finished out our day by taking an hour long cruise on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat at Moody Gardens.

Colonel Paddle Boat

The boat goes in a big circle in Offats Bayou. It wasn't something I would really recommend to anyone unless you just want to pay about $10 to sit and enjoy the view. In that case, take the latest one offered. Then you will have some fabulous sunset views!

Colonel Paddle Boat

Over all we had an amazing trip and look forward to returning one day. I will leave you with one last photo but if you are interested in seeing all my pictures from the trip here is the link for that on Flickr.

Orange Hibiscus