Weekend in Galveston

26 Oct

I visited Galveston this weekend with my family.  It struck me how so much of the damage from Ike is still waiting to be repaired or cleared away.  There is a general air of “faded seaside glamour”, to steal a phrase.  As we walked along the Strand, even with Oktoberfest and a Gay Pride festival within a few blocks, there were shopkeepers on the sidewalks soliciting passersby to come inside.  We passed a woman hawking harbor tours and dolphin-watching excursions; the air of desperation was equivalent to walking through a touristy (and obnoxious) section of Mexico.

All along the island, every other block had a damaged or abandoned building.  Even on the southern end, primarily the weekend and vacation homes of the wealthy, there were boarded up houses with damage.  I’ve heard there is still a high demand for contractors and construction workers, however, which belies the hopelessness suggested by the once iconic, now crumbling Flagship Hotel.

High points of the weekend: caramel apples at the Rocky Mountain Chocoloate Factory on the Strand, watching my dad and brother critiquing the cross-dressing abilities of the transvestites at the Gay Pride festival, and wiping the floor with the entire Hurst family after a rousing game of Cranium (thank you, Andrew!)  Also, my sister-in-law made steaks with a bleu cheese cream sauce and roasted potatoes, followed by a decadent chocolate cheesecake.  So yummy!

The Flagship Hotel

The Flagship Hotel, at 25th and the Seawall

The house we stayed in is absolutely lovely: a prime example of the excellent old housing stock of which Galveston can boast.  If the quantity of beautiful Victorian houses of Galveston were available in an inner Houston neighborhood, undoubtedly it would be an area of exclusivity and high property values.  In Galveston, there are clusters of these regal homes surrounded by desolate stretches of ghetto and pay-by-the-hour motels.  I think my sister-in-law’s parents, the owners, are smart to invest in a house like this; I think they are probably the leading edge of a wave of gentrification that will bring these neighborhoods back into high demand.  The area needs restauranteurs and boutique owners to start businesses catering to a more privileged consumer, particularly on weekends.

All weekend, the weather was perfect – just warm enough to walk along the beach, but a little too brisk for swimming.  We played on the beach on Saturday after breakfast, and I took some photos.  Enjoy!

The Jetty

My family on the jetty

Heather and Shawn on the Jetty

Heather and Shawn on the jetty



Chelsea has a more extensive (and much funnier!) account of our weekend on her blog, Roots and Rings.

Sunday afternoon, Andrew and I visited our friends Lindsay and Andrew at their family beach house on the bay side of Jamaica beach.  We went out on the boat, then pigged out at Cafe Michael Burger, a uniquely-named restaurant with a great burger.  I ate well the entire weekend – I wish I had taken pictures of all the delicious meals (and desserts) I enjoyed!  Apparently, I was too busy eating them.  🙂


2 Responses to “Weekend in Galveston”

  1. Mom October 27, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    I have pictures of all the food! I’ll post them on facebook later. Love your photos.

  2. Heather October 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    Love it!

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