Galveston, Texas 1/20/17 – 1/27/17

Galveston, Texas:  Population =  47,762 (part of Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land Metro area = 6,490,180), elevation = 7 feet, average January low temp = 48.1, Average July high temp = 88, average sunny days = 203, annual snowfall = 0.1”, annual rainfall = 41.7”, air quality index = 14.9, water quality index = 40, comfort index = 28, median age of residents = 35.6

The journey to Galveston runs through the tangled freeways of Houston.  Texans have a talent for spinning concrete and Houston is a fine example.  Freeway intersections sprout ramps and bridges and layer on layer of overpass.  The view in the GPS looks like a basketweaving project gone awry.  And then the rain starts…

Turn left then bear right…

Finally, the rains dwindle, the Houston traffic subsides, the raw grating of road rage, Texas style, slacks off enough for a Minnesota driver to relax a little and look for landmarks.  One last bridge to cross and we are on Galveston Island.  The island is long and thin and runs roughly East to West.  The Strand is a Historic main street on the Northeast end.  Broadway runs down the middle.  Seawall runs along the South coast.  Our condo is on the Seawall, toward the West End.

Our 3rd floor condo overlooks pool and ocean and the Seawall

The Strand is the dense little downtown where the city started.  Old streetcar tracks still lie embedded in the lumpy streets.  Curbs run anywhere from 6 to 15 inches tall, without any apparent reason.  The storefronts look like an old Western movie set, with the brick facades and columns.  There are lots of little hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants along the Strand and nearby streets, many with swinging doors out to the front porch.

The Strand is the main street of downtown Galveston
One of our favorite places, the Stuttgarden boast great German food and a long beer list.

Broadway is the business street.  Traffic gets to where they need to go by zooming down the wide thoroughfare.  The grassy median supports palm trees, live oaks, and a few statues.  Broadway was the historical home of the big shots, the movers and shakers and money magnets.  The last time we were here, we visited the Bishop’s Palace, a very ornate residence for a bishop flush with church money.  This time around we visit the Moody Mansion.

After the Hurricane of 1900, Moody bought this house for a whopping $20,000
Moody loved his cars and had a stable full of them
Moody’s hand carved desk and chair
Stained glass window over the grand staircase
A cozy family sitting room

After the 1900 Hurricane caused massive death and destruction, the islanders rebuilt the seawall to add 17 feet of elevation to the island.  Today, the seawall extends across most of the island, topped with another wide thoroughfare, loaded with zooming traffic.  Fast food, beach ware shops, bars, and resorts line the seawall.  These resorts may sprawl, but most are only three stories or less.

The East end of the Seawall overlooks the shipping channel leading to Houston
Right about mid-island and a bottle’s throw inland, Galveston Island Brewing pours great beers
The West end is not built up behind a seawall, but the homes are on stilts

The last time around, we visited the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Museum, which displayed some amazing modern engineering.  This time we toured the Bryan Museum, where we learned about the history of Texas.  Texas has a convoluted history, starting (for Europeans) in 1519, when the conquistadors came to claim it.  During the next 350 years, parts of Texas were claimed by France, Spain, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America.

The Conquistadors rode into Texas to take control and install religion
Autographed lithograph of Davy Crocket
Andy Warhol painted these portraits of Annie Oakley and George Custer

Galveston seems to be a great place to live.  It is big enough to be interesting but not so large as to be crowded.  It has lots of great food options. The winters are mild.  I’m not sure about the summers.  Wiki says “humid subtropical”, which sounds like jungle to me.  But the the residents say the ocean breezes keep it cool.  Guess I would have to spend a summer here to find out for myself.

Next up:  Conroe Texas, getting ready for Mexico


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We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

2 thoughts on “Galveston, Texas 1/20/17 – 1/27/17”

  1. Wendy and I lived near the seawall and a stone’s throw from Moody Gardens and the airport. I was there to help build and stock the Rain Forest Pyramid, the first and only one at the time on the grounds. There were many things we enjoyed about Galveston and the summer breeze always helped.


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