Our last full day in Texas started with a visit to the Galveston Island Marina. Marlene use to work with this retired psychologist at her previous job on some of her projects and struck up a working relationship. He lives part time in Galveston and we were invited to come check out his trawler that is docked here.
The marina here is a lot different than the ones we are use to. These marinas have covered canopies and docks built out of solid concrete. In California, where we don’t have hurricanes, wooden, floating and anchored docks are the standard.
Old town Galveston Island is what’s on the docket for today after a quick visit to the marina. We have heard lots of good things about The Original Mexican Cafe. It has been continuously operating for nearly 100 years. Generations of locals and visitors have enjoyed meals here and we can attest to the good reasons why they come here.
In the old town Galveston neighborhood, there are beautiful Victorian styled homes everywhere you look. Unfortunately, there are lots of neglected ones too. Hurricane Ike in 2008 caused a lot of destruction to this area and the real estate market was very much affected. Buildings like this one here have so much potential for someone to restore but with the potential of another devastating hurricane, it is hard for someone to invest the time and money to rehabilitate them just to see it go again.
We drove by the Galveston Island Railroad Museum and Ava was really excited to see all the trains on display. It, unfortunatedly, also suffered millions of dollars worth of damage and is not slated to reopen until later in 2010. They did let us wonder around the parking lot where there is a cool little scaled train for kids to play on.
Peeking through the chain link fence you can see some of the train cars that have been knocked over from the force of the storm.
Tourism must have taken a big hit as well since we did not have to pay anything for parking in the downtown area.
There is a lot of charm in this ocean side community and you can tell it must have been a real tourist destination prior to Hurricane Ike. The Strand, as this part of downtown is called, is loaded with historical buildings and a lot of nice restaurants, bars and shops. Now, it seems that every other business has shut down and hardly anyone walked in the streets on this beautiful Tuesday afternoon. I imagine it is a little more happening in the evenings and on the weekends but probably no where near its potential.
As we walked past this army surplus store, Marlene’s “Cro-dar” sensed this red and white checker-patterned sticker on the window. We had to go in there and check this place out.
Have you ever seen a Chinese guy wear a surplus Croatian army jacket? Now you can check that off of your list.
At the waterfront, we got to check out the Tall Ship Elissa. It is the official Tall Ship of Texas and was commissioned first in 1877. There were some modern day swashbucklers working the sails half way up the fore mast. Apparently this iron hulled ship is still seaworthy and regularly heads out to sea.
Of all the beautiful old mansions in Galveston, the Moody Mansion has to be the crown jewel of them all. This mansion has been restore to its original 1895 splendor. The Moody family bought it from the original owner shortly after the 1900 hurricane and owned it all the way up around the 1990s. They offer tours of the estate but it had already closed for the day when we got to it.
On the way back to the campground along the seawall, we got to witness more of Hurricane Ike’s fury.
If you didn’t know, it would look like a war zone. We did hear that the city has removed the overnight parking restriction along the seawall. That could potentially attract some travelers to visit this beach side destination. We considered boondocking there for a night but ended up deciding to move on to our next scheduled stop.
“It’s OK Ava, don’t be scared. It’s not hurricane season.”
Something that continues to take our breath away each day is the beautiful view of the Galveston Island bay. For just $20 a night, we get to live right here. That is something you do not get in California.
Tomorrow we are headed out of Texas. Tonight, we soak in this beautiful sunset one last time before we move on to the next stop.
over and out,