Thursday, February 1, 2018

Unbelievably Great Fun with Wonderful Friends !

Galveston Island RV Park 
Galveston, TX
January 25, 26, 27, & 28, 2018

When friends Libby and Corky found out Joe and I were spending a couple of weeks on Galveston Island, they made reservations at a hotel in town and joined us for a fun-filled weekend visit.

 It's pretty cool that Corky's mom grew up on the island (Corky's grandad worked in the shipping yard on the east end of the island and actually had a hand in building the first ferries that were used.)  Corky grew up making frequent visits to the island and at one point, lived here for a few years.  Libby loves Galveston so it was a no brainer for them to come and a real treat for us to have personal guides for the week-end.  
Wahoo! Libby and Corky are here!

They arrived on Thursday (1/26) and our visit started off with a meal at Gaido's elegant dining experience !  A local, S.G.Gaido opened his restaurant in 1911.  The seafood comes from local fish markets and is cooked to perfection.  They provide scrumptious meals with excellent service you just shouldn't miss if here.  Corky has never missed the chance to eat here in all his visits through the years.  

We met them Friday morning for a day of exploring.  Our first stop was Fort San Jancinto on the east end of the island.  The northern tip of the island has a long history of defense fortifications beginning in the early 1800s all the way through World War II.  It was decommissioned in 1959. 

Shrimp boats are a common site around's one of the most important industries here.  White, pink and brown shrimp are caught in the Gulf with brown being the largest catch...millions of pounds caught annually. 
Shrimp boat in the bay at Fort San Jancinto...

Next, we were off to the harbor to see the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa.  Unfortunately, Elissa is in Houston until February.  It's in dry docks there.  Because it is still a sailing vessel, it has scheduled checks every few years.  We did however see volunteers repairing one of the three masts for the ship.

Our timing was perfect to catch a Harbor Tour.  The fee is $11 a person.  We practically had the boat to ourselves.  Our skipper/guide did a great job.

The bay is quite busy.  We saw cruise ships, oil rigs in for repairs, shipsp docking for businesses like Dole and Volvo, a marina, and a concrete ship...yep, a concrete ship.  

The SS Selma was a concrete oil tanker built in 1919.  A channel 1,500 ft long and 25 ft deep was dug to a point in the bay near Pelican Island.  After being stripped of all her valuable equipment she was towed out to her final berth.

We met Cap'n Willie at the marina.  He had hauled in 11,000 pounds of fish the day before.  

The markers on the brick wall show the historic high water levels from major hurricanes that have devastated the island in years past.  The highest marker is from the Great Storm of 1900 and Ike takes second place in 2008.

We enjoyed a yummy lunch of fresh shrimp lightly fried...

so sweet and so Olympia.  Great service, reasonably priced and highly recommended.  

After a late lunch, we walked The Strand Historic District.  It is a National Historic Landmark District of mainly Victorian era buildings that now houses restaurants, antique shops, galleries, boutiques and museums.  The proximity to the harbor makes this a nice walk.  

 We ended the day touring Bishop's Palace.

There is a small fee for the self-guided audio tour.  The home   (located in the East End Historic District) is listed in the   National Register of Historic places.  Architectural historians list this home as one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the country.  The house was built between 1887-1892 for W. Gresham ( an attorney from Virginia who came to Galveston after his service in the Civil War...and founder of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad)  and his wife Josephine.  The outside is spectacular and the interior is grand. 

 The stained glass...

wood carvings...

decorative plaster ceilings...
 and exotic materials like the Sienna marble columns flanking the entranceway are spectacular.
We were all mesmerized by the size of everything inside and out !
As we had expected, Saturday was much cooler and rainy...a nice day for inside places.  First up was a self-guided tour of the Ocean Star oil rig. 

The museum gives insight into the offshore drilling industry, but we had Corky.  Corky works with Shell and is instrumental in designing rigs and overseeing work on them once they are built and running.  What a real treat it was to have him as our own personal expert guide !

The Ocean Star jack-up drilling rig was built in 1969.  It drilled more that 200 wells operating in up to 175 ft of water.

 We learned about the Christmas Tree...
what happens on the bottom of the ocean...

and what pigs are used for just to name a few of the interesting facts Corky shared.

According to Corky it's "all in a good days work"...

Afterwards, we walked to the Grand 1894 Opera House...named "The Official Opera House of Texas" in 1993.  It is still in operation today and seats 1,040 people.  Notable artists include Willie Nelson, Paul Anka, George Allen and Gracie Allen, and James Earl Jones.  When built, it was one of the largest stages in the country.  

Even today, a stage whisper can be heard without a seat is more than 70 ft from the stage.

Lunch was at Mosquito Cafe.  
This small bistro located in East End Historic District is full of charm and serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday and breakfast on the weekends.  There is indoor and outside patio seating...not to be missed !

Just to the left of the chalk board is a plaque that shows the water level from Ike in 2008.

Just across the street from Mosquito Cafe is Patty Cakes which is owned by the same folks.  Notice the bakery case in the picture above?  
Patty Cakes specializes in custom cakes (by the slice at the cafe) and breads which our yummy sandwich was served on. 
Joe and I can vouch for the "melt in your mouth" treats we had...Fudge Pecan Sandies, Brownies, and Butter Pecan Toffee cookies

 Yep, we all left with our boxes filled with delicious treats.

The next morning was Sunday...Corky and Libby's day to head home, but not before meeting us for breakfast at Miller's Seawall Grill.  

Miller's is located in a victorian style building right on the Gulf.  It's always busy, but the short wait is well worth it.  The menu is much variety and breakfast is served all day.

Seafood and breakfast make a winning combination in my mind... grits and shrimp with veggies.  The grits (I am positive lots of you are saying "yuck" right about now, but this southern girl was raised on them !) made with cream, smoked gouda and creole seasoning were the best I have had.  Top that with grilled tender shrimp and sautéed sweet onions and mushrooms was a breakfast like no other !  I'm still thinking about it !  

After visiting and eating, we wobbled across the street to Murdocks.  Originally a bathhouse built in the 1800s it has been destroyed several times and always rebuilt.  It once housed 542 rooms.  Rooms rented for 25 cents.  

A gift shop was opened in1910 and so the story begins.  Today it is considered an "institution" and still stands on the original piling (the state of Texas will not allow any more piers to be built).  

Well, that about wraps up our fun-filled week-end with friends and yummy foods.  What I failed to mention was the non-stop conversation and laughter we always share with Libby and Corky.  

Until next time...



  1. What a great way to spend the weekend! Fun, knowledgeable and local friends as guides.

    1. Yes...and all the great local places to eat too !

  2. What a fun visit with your friends! Looks like there is some amazing food to be had in Galveston!

  3. Nothing like a "local" to show you around. What a treat to get first hand info on the oil rigs! All those meals out look yummy:)