We just returned from our little trip to Galveston and the Houston area. It was a fun little vacation visiting with old friends. I decided I would do two posts, one for each area so today is all about our time in Galveston.
Our very good friends from Iowa, Steph and Norm, let us know that they were going to be in Galveston for a few days on a road trip they were taking. Since we had never been to Galveston and it is only a few hours away we made plans to join them. One of the perks of this trip is having master planner Steph in charge of the “agenda” as Norm calls it. We have vacationed with them before and Steph does lots of research and comes up with a plan. When John and I travel that is usually my job so being able to let someone else handle that job was an extra perk for me.
We checked into the Springhill Suites which is just across the bridge on I45 as you enter Galveston Island. This was a great place to stay, a short drive to the harbor and Strand street and also to the seawall. They have a few extras too - breakfast and a happy hour with beer and chips is included in your stay. The first night (after happy hour) we headed to a local seafood restaurant on the Seawall that Steph had found and reviewed online. Gaidos has an excellent view of the water and excellent food. We splurged big time and had appetizers, wine, shrimp of various types and dessert. We all ate so much that we felt like we were waddling out of the restaurant, but what a wonderful treat!
|Memorial to those who died in the hurricane of 1900|
Wednesday was our day to tour together so off we went. Our first stop was on the harbor side at a theater that shows two short movies about Galveston. One is about the pirate, Jean Lafitte, and the colony he had on the island before being driven away by the American army. It was interesting but the acting was not that great. The second movie is about the hurricane of 1900. This was all done as a narrative with sketches and photos of the island before and after the storm. I had never read about this storm but it had the largest loss of life of any natural disaster in US history. They estimate that between 6,000 to 10,000 people lost their lives here. Very few buildings survived the storm and most of the dead were never identified and had to be burned to minimize the spread of illnesses like yellow fever. This movie is worth seeing to understand how amazing it is that Galveston even exists today. They built a seawall and raised the shoreline to help prevent this type of devastation from happening again. They have weather many hurricanes since them and in 2008 Hurricane Ike was particularly devastating, but nothing compared to the storm of 1900.
Our next stop was the Bishop’s Palace. This was a home built in the late 1800s (one of the few to survive the huricaine of 1900)by Walter Gresham. He was a railroad magnet and politician in Galveston. He built it as his dream home. After his death his wife sold it to the Catholic church as a home for the Bishop and so the name the Bishop’s Palace. It is an amazing home with beautiful woods and carving and stain glass windows in almost every room. They don’t allow photography so I can’t show you the inside but even John, who never gets into visiting places like this, felt this was well worth the entrance fee to see.
|Norm and Steph at the Mosquito Cafe|
|Janie & John|
Lunch was at the Mosquito cafe, another online find of Steph’s and another winner in our book. This is kind of a soup and sandwich shop. A fun atmosphere and excellent food.It started raining as we left the cafe and boy did it rain. We headed off to visit the Moody mansion (another prominent citizen) but the tours were all filled up. The lady at the entrance was less than friendly and it sounds like if you want to do this tour you need to call and check. This day all the tours were filled with groups. It was still raining when we left so we headed back to the hotel.
That seemed like enough touring for the day, so during happy hour we ordered a pizza delivered and enjoyed a pizza and beer dinner. It was so much fun getting together with friends. We caught up on the kids and friends etc. and laughed a lot.
|the Carnival Triumph in dock|
Thursday Steph and Norm were off to their next destination and John and I had another day in Galveston on our own. The sun came out so we checked out the historic downtown, Strand Street, lots of little shops and restaurants. It is a short walk from the where the cruise ships come into Galveston. The Carnival Triumph was loading when we were there and later we saw it from the seawall going out to sea. I think this would be a great place to sail from. We ate lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf and watched the boats in the harbor.
|Our view at lunch|
After lunch we headed to the seawall for a long walk. There is great parking along the seawall and it is a beautiful place to walk. Besides the ships there are people surfing and playing all along the beach. We walked probably about 5 miles and it was very refreshing. We stopped at Casey’s which is the casual dining attached to Gaidos and shared crab cakes and a beer before heading back to the hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Friday morning it was off toward Houston and more friends to visit. This post has gotten pretty long so I’ll save those adventures for the next post.
|Sufers along the seawall|
|The Carnival Triumph headed out to sea|
|View from the beach along the seawall|