Jan 282012

I love music and I love traveling, and sometimes I think one influences the other. I’ve wanted to see old Cape Cod from the first time I heard Patti Page sing about it. I was a kid living in El Paso, Texas the first time I heard Marty Robbins singing his now classic song about that West Texas town, and I was amazed that people actually wrote songs about places where I lived! Even though I was stationed 50 miles from New York City for a couple of years during my military time, I was never a fan of the big city. But when I hear Frank Sinatra singing about New York, New York or Billy Joel singing about his New York State of Mind I’m ready to go back. And who wouldn’t want to go to Galveston after listening to Glen Campbell honoring the island in his 1969 hit song?

So yesterday we did just that! We spent the day exploring Galveston with Greg and Jan, and got to see a lot of things most tourists probably never know about. That’s one of the great things about touring an area with people who live there.

Galveston beach

Galveston beach 2

Galveston is a little island with a big heart and while it has seen a lot of good times, it’s sure had some bad times to deal with as well. In 1900, a hurricane decimated the island city, and in 2008 Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston with winds of over 110 mph that destroyed everything in its path. At least 40 people were killed, and ten feet of water stood in the downtown area, severely damaging or destroying many homes and historic structures. But the people of Galveston rallied and rebuilt their city. This monument, located near the sea wall, honors the victims of the 1900 storm, but I think it shows the resilience of all the good people of Galveston.

Storm memorial 

Even now there is evidence of Hurricane Ike all along the waterfront. Several piers that held restaurants and hotels were destroyed or damaged and are now being rebuilt, and debris from the storm can still be seen in many places.

Pier construction

Storm debris

Many trees were killed by hurricane Ike, but instead of simply chopping them down, artists created beautiful sculptures from the stumps of some of the trees and they can be seen all over town. When you live in a town as cool as Galveston, you learn to roll with the punches and accept what many people would consider a tragedy as nothing more than a speed bump in the road of life.

Tree statue fish

Tree statue angel

Tree statue lady 2

Tree statue birds

We spent quite a bit of time in the old downtown area a few blocks from the beach, admiring the handsome commercial buildings and the many beautiful homes. This oversize coronet is attached to the side of one building, but I haven’t been able to figure out why. Was the place once a dining hall or nightclub? Who knows?


Driving through block after block of beautiful homes really had Terry giving her Panasonic digital camera a workout. I love living in my home on wheels, but if I ever did live in a house wouldn’t it be cool to have a house like these?

Galveston House

Galveston House 2

Galveston House 4

Galveston House 7

One of Galveston’s grandest buildings is the Bishop’s Palace, with its carved ornaments, rare woods, stained-glass windows, bronze dragons, and tower. Built by Colonel Walter Gresham in 1886, this Victorian castle has several fireplaces, including one lined with pure silver! The American Institute of Architects named it one of the 100 most important buildings in America.

Bishops Palace

There was a lot we didn’t get to see and do in Galveston because there just wasn’t enough time on this trip. But Terry and I always say that’s a good thing, because it gives us an excuse to go back! And you can bet Galveston is one place we will return to again.

Today is our last day here at Galveston Bay RV Resort, and we’ll spend it running some errands, hitting at least one more of Greg and Jan’s  favorite local eateries, and getting ready to continue our trip west. The only problem is, I haven’t broken a darned thing while we’re here. I think Greg’s beginning to feel unloved.

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Nick Russell

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  3 Responses to “Little Island With A Big Heart”

  1. Haven’t been back to Galveston in years, after seeing your photos I am ready to make another road trip that direction.

  2. I’m so glad you all got to see our part of Texas. We live in such history all around our state. Glad to hear you’re a Texan by birth. After our next big trip out we have decided to seek out the pockets of history and interests in our great state. Texas runs through our blood. Great photos by the way.

  3. OK Nick you did it again. Another place to add to my bucket list!! You would think after 10 years of full timing my list would get shorter — no it just gets longer. Don’t we live in a wonderful country!

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