Once upon the last official week of summer.....two weeks into the work year...my Mom, aunt, cousin, and I headed south to Galveston. I've traveled this route almost once a year, my entire time on earth, and the gene pool that contributed to my travels traveled this road before me. My great grandmother took my grandmother, who took my Mom and aunt, who took us. Somehow life interfered and it's actually been two years since my last trip south to the Texas beaches. I forgot that an ocean could be warm, and waves could be (relatively) gentle, minus a little wind residue left over from hurricane Isaac that passed through neigboring gulf states.
This time around we got to see the completed Pleasure Pier. I visited two months after Ike before tourist were around, and residents were sparse, but workmen and debris and the remnants of the Flagship Hotel that once stood here had a gaping hole and caution tape tied around her memories. Two years ago the plans were in place for the Pleasure Pier, which is what this pier was actually built for over 50 years ago, before the hotel company bought the faltering theme park and put a hotel in the place of the band stands and rides, and now...the rides are back along with restaurants, and an evening band.
The one little hiccup....you can eat at Bubba Gumps (with a great deal of the gulf, complete with a voucher for the parking lot across the street if you aren't able to park along the sea wall), but if you want to get further than the swings to the pier and the rides....that's gonna cost you.
Maybe next time, but for this short little weekend....I kept my entertainment outside the pier gates.....
We swam, shopped, swam, walked, ate, ate, ate, swam. The thing about the gulf (I speak from experience, and not from actual facts here) is that people aren't the only ones that know it's a great place to swim. It's not unusual to walk along the shore when the tide leaves and find some cute, but not so cuddly friends. Fortunately, the only time I spotted jelly fish was the day we were leaving. I'm assuming the memo went out that summer was over and the life guards lowered the imaginary gates they put up in the water when I go swimming there that allow me to swim in the fish free gulf. If there were fish, clearly, I wouldn't be swimming there because fish that look like this and sting like this....are scary. But interesting....
My most favoritist little jewel in Galveston is the strand. It's on the bay side (the island is narrow, so just a jellyfish throw away) and it used to be where the commerce throbbed through the south. The 'New York City' of the south with huge homes from old money families, and old warehouses that now house cute boutiques. It's also right next to the port where cruise ships depart, so it keeps these stores in business, which is great to see because 4 years ago the bay flooded and these stores were filled with 8 feet of water (and they already sit about 5 feet above sea level), so....it's been a long recovery, but based on the traffic on a Sunday morning, things are looking up. I certainly did my part to stimulate the economy.
We also decided on Monday before we left to take a tour of the town. The same tour I've taken a million times as a child, probably because it's the only way to make me sit still and give my Mom a break. I took a ton of photos, next time I need to go back inside some of these old homes. Bishops Palace is on the list of North America's top 100 historic homes.
The homes are so close to the bay, and they were once owned by a lot of the shipping companies and have widow's walks along the top where wives once watched for their husbands.
The newest addition to Galveston tradition, minus the numerous plagues that hang on the homes indicating they survived fires, the 1900 Great Storm, Ike, and other historical facts, the yards of a lot of the homes have Oak Trees that began with the island, but died after Ike flooded the streets with salt water. There were a ton of homes that hired artist to come out and carve sculptures into their trees. Some were fun, some thematically appropriate. I'm a girl that can appreciate someone who can appreciate a good theme.
Another neat little stop on most tours are the remnants of Pirate Jean Lafitte's home near the bay. He spent several years on this island, and it was all fun and games until he turned on some of the American ships, and then his welcome was withdrawn.
I took a run, and quite a few walks along the sea wall. I love walking along the beach, but it's also nice to have a smooth path above the ocean to be able to walk along.....a few night shots.
I've blogged about Galveston many times, but it's so exciting to see a city who took a tragedy and came back stronger. It's also nice to have a little weekend away at the beach to blog about before week three of work began.