Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So the Bishop had a Palace in Galveston

Cold, overcast, and windy in Galveston this morning. The Astrals are beginning to feel personally responsible for the cold weather that's been invading the South. Everywhere we go, they say 'It's usually not this cold'. Of course, cold is relative but it's still way colder than we would prefer. Ah, what are you going to do? So we bundled up (fleeces and windbreakers, it's not THAT cold and besides, we didn't bring any heavy winter gear) and headed out to explore the Galveston Historic District, which starts only a few blocks from our motel. Since Galveston was decimated in 1900 by what is referred to here as THE DISASTER, we were surprised to see a number of Victorian style homes that were not destroyed. For the record, the 1900 Hurricane still ranks as the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. They built a huge seawall after that and our motel is right on seawall boulevard. The beach here is very narrow and water seems darker than in any of the other gulf coastal areas that we've seen. We're still debating whether that's an after-effect of the BP oil spill or just the natural geology of the area. If I get energized enough to research the subject, I'll post the information. 

Here's the view from our hotel. The water really does seem to
have a brownish tint.

Yeah, it's winter here too. California Dreamin'

But not so winter that you cannot find an occasional blossom.

The Roman Catholics seem to be doing fine here. This is the Sacred
Heart Church. The original was destroyed in 1900 and this replacement
was built in 1903-4.

The architectural gem of the city is the Bishop's Palace. This
Victorian masterpiece was built in 1892 for a railroad baron
named Gresham. We toured inside but no photography was
allowed in the palatial living quarters. Let's just say it was
over the top, even by today's standards. It also featured
some first time innovations like recessed ceiling lights
and fold-way window screens.

They did let you shoot in the creepy labyrinthine
lowest floor.

The neighborhood is chock-full of interesting Victorian homes.

As if the Great Storm of 1900 wasn't enough, good
old Hurricane Ike stopped by in 2008 and did a number
on Galveston. The storm surge that swept the island 
destroyed almost all of the live oak and other trees.
There's a section of the historic district where local
artists carved sculptures from the  tree trunks left behind.
So these cool sculptures are just scattered about.

Astral Wendy can always find flowers.

Here's another post-Ike sculpture.

This was a vest-pocket park in the historic district.

Zeus will see you now.

I have no idea what kind of a plant this is.

After traipsing around in the cold, it was time for lunch. We walked 
through some questionable neighborhoods (barking junkyard dogs, etc.) to get 
back to the seawall and chanced upon Miller's Seawall Grill, a quaint waterfront 
eatery. A definite Astral Nomads recommendation.

Astral Wendy went for the Gumbo, which the menu said was spicy
(it was) and seemed almost defensive about their recipe. I think that's
because it was somewhat non-traditional in the Cajun sense. For
starters, it was greenish, almost like a salsa verde and the spiciness 
seemed to drive from jalapeƱos. It may not have been traditional
but it was good. Astral Wendy let me taste it and then it was off to 
the races for her. Nothin' left but the porcelain gleam.

Me, I went for the BBQ Beef Po'boy. A somewhat cagey choice
for a seafood restaurant but it was perfect. Tender chunks of beef
in a tangy BBQ sauce. Oh Yeah!


  1. What a great idea to turn tree stumps into works of art!

  2. What beautiful buildings and architecture! Amazing in their refinement..Like in France (but really at another scale) The US have such various landscapes and 'atmospheres' between the North and the South..
    And, beautiful photos too..Thanks again for sharing all this richness. ~Danielle

  3. @Debra: Yes, they even had a little brochure with a map so you could find them. There were about 20 with more planned.

    @Danielle: Thanks. Of course, we're a lot younger so we don't have the long history of Europe. Still there are riches to see.

  4. I was thinking about the wideness of the country Gerald..We are such a small country compared to the US...

  5. @Danielle: So true that is. We're in Texas, the second largest state. I'm pretty sure France could fit inside. The United States is large. Today, we were at a state park on the bay and it was completely desolate. We spend a lot of time on beaches where there is not another soul. It's even more spacious and lightly populated west of here so stay tuned. And thanks for reading.

  6. Just in the event you are an adventure-seeker, don't swim while visiting Galveston.

  7. @Erik: That's for the tip. Really, the water does not look all that inviting. Is it because of the currents or the water quality?