Christmas eve in Galveston

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I was off on Christmas eve, and the weather called for a beautiful day – sunny and 68 degrees. Hmm. What could we do? Last year we went out to the park, so I didn’t want to do the same thing. Then I thought, what about Galveston? A winter’s day is the best time to convince (drag) Derek to the beach with me, since he has less of a chance to get burnt. Derek and the strong sun on a beach do not mix.

We did everything on a whim, and we ended up getting lucky a few times. For instance, we arrived about a half hour before the shops on the Strand opened, so I suggested walking to the pier. There, we saw a pod of dolphins!

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After that, we moseyed on back to the Strand, and made our way through the shops. At about 10:25, I suggested to go to LaKing’s Confectionery for coffees. When we got there, we saw a sign that said the next taffy pull demonstration would be at 10:30!

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We enjoyed the Christmas decorations, and took some Christmas type photos of our own with props that we brought with us.

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The last lucky thing of the day was happening upon a sandman!

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We both had a great day. Perhaps we can make this a new Christmas tradition?

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Aunt Susie’s visit

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Aunt Susie came to visit for three days. It was a short visit, yes, but we crammed a ton of activities into those three days! We both had a lot of fun, and it came at the right time. It felt good to take a short break and forgot about other things currently going on. It was great because, while I took her to a bunch of things that I was familiar with, I also got to see and do some new things myself too.

On the first day I took Aunt Susie to Cavenders, which is a family owned boot and western wear store. She bought a shirt, and I cried over every pair of boots that I can’t afford, haha. Christmas is coming…

Then we went to the Arboretum, and I took her to the meadow trail to see the swamp sunflowers that were still in bloom.

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After the Arboretum, we went to Downtown and I showed her Discovery Green. I was excited to see The Color Condition, which is the latest art installation.

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Day two was the beach. A drive to Galveston is not complete with a stop at Buc-ees! She loved it. She bought a Buc-ee Bever keychain, a shirt and pajama shorts.

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It was great beach weather. A little chilly in the morning, so we had sweatshirts on, but the afternoon was perfect. We basically had the beach to ourselves for the first few hours, but then more people came by lunch time. We found a dead jellyfish on the beach. I had never seen one before.

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We had lunch at a place called Fish Tales, which is right across the street from the pier. The restaurant had a great outdoor patio on the second floor. I got the shrimp po boy sandwich and it was huge! Will probably eat there again.

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We checked out Murdochs, which is an old gift shop that is right over the water. They had a little bit of everything inside. Aunt Susie bought a shirt for Uncle Paul there. They also have their own bar, where you can get drinks and snacks, and a patio for you to enjoy them on. They sure do know how to bring in business!

We walked around the Hotel Galvez for a bit. It is a beautiful hotel, but supposedly haunted. Apparently it used to be an orphan’s asylum, but most of the children died in the 1900 hurricane. Spooky.

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From Hotel Galvez we took the motorized trolley to the Strand for some shopping. The island is currently working on getting the train trolleys up and running for next summer, but have the motorized ones in the mean time. It costs $1 to ride it each way, which I think is a good deal, instead of having to move the car and pay more in a lot.

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Our last day was the Houston Zoo and Hermann Park. Some of the highlights of the zoo were getting to see some of the big cats up close, and Aunt Susie feeding the giraffes. We took the train ride around Hermann park.

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The fun seemed like it ended all too soon, but she will be back, this time with my parents too, in March. She said she had a great time and a good first impression of Houston and Galveston. She said she wants to move to Galveston now… I would be okay with that!

Galveston Beach

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I went to Galveston for the day a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful October day that still felt like summer, so I thought, why not take advantage while I still can?

I decided to park along the Seawall Boulevard. The night before, I downloaded the PayByPhone app. Parking at the seawall requires you to pay by phone. You can park at the seawall by calling a number posted on signs every couple of spaces, or you can do it on your phone, which I think is much easier.

I preloaded my credit card information, so when I parked, all I had to do was type in the parking space number into the app. Easy. They charge $1 per hour, and that fee starts at 10 a.m. Get there early, and you can get some free parking time in to maximize your day.

That day on the beach was half to relax, and half to get my bearings. Growing up by the Jersey Shore, we had a specific location that we went to every time. I wanted to stake out a spot for myself in Galveston as well. I found it around 61st street.

There is a fishing pier there (good for people watching) and if I feel like spending $2, I can get admission to the top deck of the pier, which looks like a nice seating area, plus a free cold fountain drink. Derek gets bored easily on the beach, so I think he would be willing to spend the $2 to get on to the pier, if he chooses to come with me in the future. You can also buy snacks in the little gift shop at the entrance to the pier.

The main reason why I picked 61st street is that I noticed that directly across the street from the beach there is a Jimmy Johns sandwich place, and a Rita’s Water Ice. Rita’s???? Here? I thought I was back in New Jersey for a second when I saw it. It will be nice to know that we can go to the beach for a day, and then get lunch/dinner and dessert before we head back home.

Walking up and down the seawall, I also noticed that there was a lot of artwork on the seawall itself, and statues. It was really neat to stop and look at all of it. There were beautiful wild flowers growing on vines all up and down to seawall too. I also came across the former spot of Fort Crockett. During the WWI, Fort Crockett served as a Army artillery training center.

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Sandcastle competition

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A few weeks ago we went to Galveston for the AIA Sandcastle Competition. A day at the beach, plus a chance to see some really cool sandcastle sculptures!

Fate was on our side because the competition was supposed to be in June, but it was postponed because of bad weather. It was nice to be able to go in August, before Derek started school. Also, the forecast for the postponed date was looking just as bad, but that Saturday ended up being a beautiful day!

Here are some pictures from the event.

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