How does one convey the breadth of King Ranch in the annals of Texas history?
The woman behind the registration desk at the Hotel Galvez glanced at the number as she handed me my keycard. “Oh, you’re staying in our special room,” she said, eyebrows raised. “Did you know that?”
We teach our children to share our world by involving them in our interests. For this columnist that meant making travel a keystone in her son’s life.
On the southern edge of Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico, there’s a town that defies the typical “Texas” stereotypes. And while South Padre Island may have a reputation as a party town, in truth it’s a laid-back island paradise, a place where you can escape the world—without ever leaving the Lone Star State.
The newest addition to Galveston’s shoreline, the $60 million Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is futuristic by boardwalk standards, with 16 rides, various carnival games, and dazzling LED light displays. But the history of the island’s seaside amusement park dates to the 19th Century.
The Houston Astros got things on the right track back at the turn of this century, when the ball club abandoned the Astrodome’s unnatural indoor confinement for the refreshing outdoor playing field
at Minute Maid Park. Swapping synthetic turf that can make balls bounce funny and players’ knees balk for real grass was maybe the smartest trade the baseball club has ever made.
How do you spend a single day exploring one of the largest cities in the United States? Simple, you pick one part and stick to it. I decided to spend my day exploring “Bay Area Houston,” part of the southeast Houston area nestled against the waters of Galveston Bay.
In summer, the Gulf of Mexico turns a vibrant blue-green at South Padre Island. On the shoreline, squealing children splash each other alongside hand-holding couples, and surfers tug their boards out to catch a wave.
I’ve always loved Galveston, and now I have a local connection. My boyfriend’s grandmother, Alba Collins, grew up in a tiny house underneath the island’s first wooden rollercoaster in the 1930s. And we visit her every so often, spending sunny, summer weekends soaking our toes in the Gulf waters as we listen to her stories about Galveston in earlier days.