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A Day Trip to Galveston

March 4, 2012

Seawall Boulevard, Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Island, Texas

We left Woodland Lakes RV Park near the Woodlands at a liesurely 10am, got on I-45 and stayed on it all the way to Galveston.  Except for a couple of heads up lane changes going through downtown Houston, it should be a fairly easy drive in the motorhome on the Sunday morning we plan to relocate.  It took about two hours, but that included a stop at a Starbucks near Baybrook Mall at Friendswood around 11:30.  Breakfast consisted of a couple of Grande Mocha Frappacinos.

We crossed the causeway onto the island and opted not to take the 61st Street shortcut to get to Galveston Island State Park.  There was no rush, and I wanted to get the full effect of arriving in this town.  Since we were last here, at least twenty years have passed and a devastating hurricane damaged it severely just a few short years ago.  Aside from a lot of new buildings, one of the biggest things I noticed was that almost all of the massive, stately palm trees that lined (and defined) Broadway had been replaced after Hurricane Ike tore down the old ones.

If that is the major noticeable difference, then Galveston has done well in its comeback.  The town appears to be thriving and alive.  Many of the proud old homes still stand along the boulevard.

In my younger days, we often took the 61st Street shortcut to bypass downtown and get to Seawall Boulevard and head toward Surfside sooner.  In those days, the main attraction was to just get to the beach.  But if one is arriving in Galveston for the very first time, I believe the way to do it is to stay on Broadway all the way until it reaches Seawall Boulevard.

We turned right and headed down Sewall, and a lot of old memories came back.  Two lanes of cars moving in both directions, pedestrians walking along the seawall in jeans and jackets, shorts and t-shirts, and even a couple of bikinis.  If the wind hadn’t been blowing quite so hard, we could have heard the surf.  After a few minutes, the traffic thinned out and we continued on.  Seawall Boulevard ends and splits into Stewart Road and FM3005/Termini-San Luis Pass Road.  We stayed to the left on San Luis Pass Road  to Galveston Island State Park.

We stopped at the headquarters building and chatted with a nice lady and a Park Ranger behind the desk.  They gave us a map, advised that we could drive through the campground areas, but could not stop and get out.  We could do that in the Day Use area.  Our Texas State Parks Pass is still good, so we didn’t have to pay the $5.00 per person Daily Entrance Fee.  A paved road took us down to the beach side camping areas.  There are three loops with 12 camping spots on each loop.  Each spot has a shelter, picnic table, and a back-in parking spot with water and electric hookups.  We drove through slowly, and marked on the map those spots that appeared to have a potential view over the sand dunes from the motorhome.  I was so busy that I completely forgot to take photos.  We’ll be there for several weeks, though, so plenty of photos to come when we’re actually there.

After checking out the rest of the park, we headed back to town.  We parked along the seawall across from a couple of restaurants, walked down onto the beach, and took a little stroll on the sand.  The wind made it a bit chilly, and since we had left our jackets in the car, we headed back up to the top of the seawall.

We had parked across the street from Gaido’s, the seafood restaurant in Galveston.  Gaido’s was started in 1911 by the Gaido family, so they have quite a tradition there.  Immediately after Hurricane Ike devastated the beachfront area, Gaido’s set up temporary food service in the parking lot to help feed first responders and others.  We decided to eat at Casey’s, the casual side of Gaido’s, which is just next door.  We shared a huge shrimp platter, and noted for future reference that on Thursdays from 11am until 3pm, they have a 14 shrimp meal for $7.99.  We’ve also since heard that they have really good fish tacos.

Plenty full from sharing a single meal, we decided it was time to head home.

We knew that the First Saturday Arts Market was in progress, so as we rolled through downtown Houston, we found a good exit for it and made our way into the Houston Heights.  It was different to visit the market without being vendors, but nice to stop and visit with friends we normally share an occasional Saturday with under the tents.

Mitch Cohen is the founder and manager, and proudly reminded us that this was the Market’s 8th anniversary.  He told us he would hold a spot for us when we head back this way in the Fall.

We stopped and enjoyed the wonderful smells and smiles at Cammie’s Handmade Soaps.

Said hello to potter Paul Delafield.

Visited for a few minutes with watercolor artist Mike Vollmer.

And got bear hugs from the big man himself, Steve Sellers.  One of the best Market shows we’ve ever had (both dollar-wise and socially) was in a booth next door to Steve’s tic jewelry booth.

From there, we made our way “home” to Woodland Trails RV Park, after a stop at a grocery store and also at Hobby Lobby to pick up a few sheets of Crescent board.  I was down to nothing but 5×7 and smaller boards, and this will tide me over until I can get to Texas Art Supply in Houston.  Then I’ll stock up.

Since we had had a big late lunch, Nell fixed a plate of nachos for us to munch on around 7:30.

It was a good day.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer Brown permalink
    March 5, 2012 2:46 pm

    Awesome! Loved the pics.

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