Saturday, February 26, 2011

Galveston Weekend

Ok, so I got a bit backed up on my blogging. Had a great couple of weekends and got super busy at work. Two weeks ago I took off to Galveston Island to get away... Work was too hectic and the boys were gone so I high-tailed it!! And was so glad I did.
I was following an ad in Texas Highways (like always). I started at Moody Mansion, taking the inside tour. What a beautiful home! There's still effects from Hurricane Ike so I think it's pretty interesting to see how Galveston is still recovering. The dining room was amazing! And the ballroom was fun too.
In the garage where you buy the tickets and start the tour are three old cars..Studabakers and everything. And so well preserved. All three cars were this exact green color.
On the Texas Landmark list and the second plaque was for surviving the 1900 devastating hurricane which continues to be the deadliest natural disaster in the United States.
A shot of the garage where the tour starts. I believe tickets were $7 to tour.
The gold sign on the door was the water line of Hurrican Ike back in 2009. Crazy!
After touring Moody Mansion I went to the Lone Star Flight Museum. They also are still recovering from Ike damage. But the presentation of all the aircraft was really impressive. I couldn't or didn't want to post ALL the pictures I took here. But just being around such massive objects is really neat. I wish I could go inside of one but I'm tempted to take one of the flights in the summer for $275. I mean, chance of a lifetime to fly in one of these little things!
Walking into the hangar after paying the admission price of about $7.
This bomb was about as tall as I was. Felt like running for the hills, but I kept my composure...
A lot of the aircraft had plastic replacing some of the pilot areas so you could see exactly what their seats and cockpit areas look like. The plastic areas/windows could have used some SERIOUS Windex but I know they have lots of other things to spend their donations on.
One of the initial Continental Airlines planes. So tiny compared to today!
They also had an Army helicopter. I never knew how long their blades were.
My future mode of travel....Private jet :)
An air force jet :) Kinda turned me on a little. Dunno, it happens. Lol
I dedicate this picture to my Grandpa! WWII vet :)
Then I checked into the NEW Hampton Inn off the Seawall Blvd. Lovely hotel....Right across from the Walmart leaves a bit to be desired but it works... Good amenities. (Picture taken later at night.)
Love the Hampton beds! So comfy and King sized all for ME :)
It even came with a balcony. And on a 56 degree kinda day it was so great to work at the desk writing that night and have some ocean air breeze coming through. Magical!
So I went to my favorite coffee bar at the Hampton and got me some coffee... (For FREE of course). And took off to go explore more of Galveston :)
Headed to the beach to do some wandering and soul searching. Ok, mostly just iPod and walking time.
People walking on the piers...
I don't really know why but this was favorite shot of the whole trip...
After working up an appetite on the beach I headed to one of the best restaurants on the Island, The Original. It's a Mexican restaurant in an old house in the historic district of Galveston. Not everyone knows about it, especially because they don't have to advertise. Had a great margarita and chimichanga :) Yummy
Dining area with my bag of Barnes and Noble travel books recently purchased for LA, Disneyland, and Boston/Salem, Massachusetts.
I am COMPLETELY addicted to so I have been updating as many places as possible. One of the ones close to the hotel was Dippin Dots. I have never seen their own independent store. It was just a couple teenage girls, though, so all I did was get my ice cream dots and go... OMG, so good! Strawberry and chocolate...Just saying.
And yes, I did get a margarita and ice cream all in the same night, LOL. A little travel splurging is good for the soul! The ice cream was awesome, though. I spent the rest of the night in the hotel grading papers and blogging. It was really peaceful. So peaceful I woke up the next morning early, had breakfast, took a (lame) shower, and .......
... went to church. I know, right?!? Moody United Methodist Church to be exact. It was nice, traditional service. Wish they had studied more of the Bible rather than just relaying stories of their personal lives but it felt nice/warm.
Then, I changed clothes in the car (LOL) and went to the Galveston Harbor, near the Strand. Yes, I bypassed the Strand and all its shopping to do a Harbour Tour that was part of the advertisement in the TH issue.
While on the hour-long tour I got to see the cruise ships up close and personal. Very neat to be along side them.
And got to see a huge cargo ship in which they were taking off wheat I believe. Very cool...
This oil rig (I think they said) was out of commission and not being used but still a great structure rising out of the water. They said they'll be selling the steel off to different companies.
Got to see pelicans off of Pelican Island. :)
Another cargo ship full of John Deere products. This one we actually got to see leave the harbor with a tugboat and everything. All the birds were around that little boat, too.
More pelicans :)
Shot of the BUSY harbor!
An old ship wrecked off the coast. A man actually used to live there, for some years, too.
Actually got to see some dolphins as we got out further. Never got to get a good picture...but they didn't come out long for us.
As the cargo ship left we got to watch this Captain get from the cargo ship down a latter to the little pilot ship. AND they had to be going the equivalent to 30mph at least......It was insane! But very entertaining. The skill of whoever was driving that pilot ship was top notch for sure.
Coming back into the bay....Lovely sight on such a pretty day in February!
A shot of the only oil rig in the WORLD that is open to tour. Will have to do the Ocean Star Museum on another trip.
I was SO hungry by that time. I had an hour/two before the next tour of Bishop's Palace so I decided to stay in the harbor and have lunch at one of the restaurants around (also needed to get validated parking lol). I tried the Fishermans' Wharf but the wait was 20-25 minutes so I headed to the more expensive Willie G's.
Set up some grading time while I waited for my lunch. :)
Cute decor... My $16 crab and shrimp salad was very tasty. They even made me honey mustard dressing on request. The waitress was really nice, too. So the $25 bill (with tax and tip) was a bit more than I wanted to pay but if time is money, then I got my money's worth because it was a really relaxing time without having to wait.
A better view from the parking area...
I called Bishop's Palace and made sure there was still a tour available at 4pm. Since I had almost 40 minutes I decided to go tour some of the Oak Tree sculptures and Gowalla them too! :)
I also loved seeing the Mardi Gras decor in the historic neighborhood where the Oaks are. So excited for this next weekend with the girls!!
Amazing pelican tree statue...made of dead Oak trees from Hurrican Ike.
Love the new guitar statue! This house was also recently put on the market. So I got a flyer. Perhaps instead of an apartment here I can get a beach house. :)
When it got closer to 4pm I headed to Bishop's Palace. Another amazing home that cost about $7 to tour with a guide. I LOVED the balcony overseeing the downstairs with the Texas lone star carved. The staircase was definitely magical. After touring the Palace I had to head back home to Houston. I had an amazing weekend and (like always) can't ever wait to get back to Galveston! Will be going next weekend (March 5-6) for the Mardi Gras parades with my best girl friends! :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pearland Winterfest

So, it's always much harder to travel when the boys are here. I tried so hard to get out and do things but the weather really set us back. And family being in town...cuz you can't turn your back on your family for travel!
The first weekend the boys were here Aunt B came down and we went to the Sam Houston Race Park! It was opening weekend so it was BUSY! But I had my free coupons and the guy at the gate let me get an extra adult in for free. Thank you!!!
The boys don't do well just sitting in a chair so when my mom got up there and met us we took the boys outside to see the horses and watch a race. It was so cold, though!!
I got to pet one of the horses! Small things in life...but so cool!
Then the following weekend my mom and I took the boys to Pearland for Winterfest. The highlight was the ice hill for tubing. Kids 5 and under went on a 6 foot hill. And then there was an 11 inch one for adults and kids 5 and over.
At the entrance we paid $10 for kids 4-15, Free for kids under 4 and adults $4. However, everything inside was free (which you'll see below), so that was nice.
They also had a (crowded) petting zoo. The baby animals were super cute but it was just too crowded to get around. And again, chasing kids around makes it quite impossible to enjoy the animals for yourself.
The fair food. At the festival they had traditional fair food. I wanted to try the fried honeybun but never got around to it. I always do that... But my mom got a funnel cake (too messy for me) so it felt kinda normal lol.
Inflatables for all ages. This area was for the older kids and adults. We didn't go on them but they looked fun...
Did some shopping. They had plenty of booths but not the normal jewelry stuff, although I love that part of festivals lol. Found some baseball whistles at this booth for $1 though. Can't beat that!
They had a rock wall. I need to try one of these. Lucas wanted to try so bad but you had to be older...
There were free pony rides too. Lucas was so excited to get on here. And Reuben did really well too. They walked fast, though, so I had to keep up! Lol, and it was hard to walk so fast and take pictures. :)
Actually in the petting zoo this time. Cute little guys!
I LOVE jumping pictures lol. The trampoline guys were pretty good, definitely.
Craziness! There were also some children's songs singers and local high school dance groups.
There were plenty of bounce houses too. The kids loved them.
Winterfest was a great day! I was glad we made time for the boys. And thanks to Texas Highways for keeping me up to date with what's going on around our area!!