January on an island? Why not? We spent the entire month of January next to the cabin on stilts at the Galveston Island KOA Holiday. It was more windy and stormy than we thought it would be, but we enjoyed every minute.

Our first field trip was to a bike shop in League City, TX. Everyone had a bike except me so that was my Christmas present. The girls are always wanting to go on family bike rides and we couldn’t. After a drive along the five-mile dike in Texas City, we wandered over to League City where my new bicycle was waiting.

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Intercom system inside Moody Mansion.

Our second field trip of the month was a tour of Moody Mansion. We started with a stop at Seawall Coffee and were highly disappointed with our experience. The coffee was the hottest coffee I’ve ever been handed. I couldn’t hold onto the cup even with a sleeve. Forget trying to take a sip. I tried a sip before walking into Moody Mansion, and it still burned my tongue. When we got back to the car after our tour, the coffee was finally at a temperature I could drink it. After two sips, I was getting sick in the parking lot. Our friend has had great experiences. Maybe it was just a one-off. I won’t go back to find out, though. I have a severe dairy allergy and believe they forgot to use the fake milk we ordered. Now, onto a little Moody family history. William Lewis Moody, Sr. moved his family to Galveston in 1866 and founded Galveston Cotton Exchange. A company that compresses cotton into bales making shipping easier. It appears to still be operating downtown today. He founded the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad and served as chairman of the Galveston Committee that persuaded Congress to dredge, making Galveston a deep water harbor. His son, W.L. Moody, Jr., purchased the mansion weeks after the Great Storm of 1900.

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Moody Mansion selfie

The mansion was opened as a museum by W.L. Moody, Jr.’s daughter, Mary Moody Northen, after her death in 1991. Many of the family’s belongings are on display, and the self-guided audio tour shares much information about the family. The home, art, and architecture are all beautiful, and I always find it interesting to peek into the past. Liv liked how it had a lot of history and separately decorated rooms. She found it interesting that the youngest kid got a balcony off his room. Her favorite room was where the parents greeted the guests. M thought it was cool because they owned so many businesses, and it seems like they started the financial industry in Galveston.

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Ocean Star Rig & Drilling Museum

Our field trip to the Ocean Star Drilling Rig & Museum was a fascinating peek into the oil world. Having spent time living on the beach in Bolivar, we watched what looked like floating cities. Being able to see up-close what those oil rigs look like is informative. Who knew a boat could be an oil rig?!? Not me! We were all hungry when we finished, so we walked over to The Strand.

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The Strand – Galveston, TX

“Have you been here before? No? This is how it works. Here’s our menu, here’s our restaurant week. You order at the bar and sit anywhere you like.” The employee said as we walked into The Hubcap Grill on The Strand, downtown Galveston. We had some of the most delicious burgers we’ve ever had and had to try the pink champagne cake, our favorite from Madonna Inn. After lunch, we strolled up and down The Strand entering different shops to browse. “The little girl who haunts our shop likes to play with Jack Sparrow,” the shop owner tells my family as they were picking out a pirate figurine for our friend.

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Family selfie on South Padre Island

We took a couple of days and ventured over to South Padre Island. We’d never been to South Padre Island and figured we needed to check it out since we were in the area-ish. And since we were going that direction, we might as well cruise through Corpus Christi and check that out too. It didn’t take us long to determine we were not fans of Corpus Christi. It was very city-like with tall buildings and a lot of people. We did stop for a delicious lunch at Catfish Charlies. Hushpuppies, fried shrimp, and fried catfish were all delicious. We would definitely stop back in if we were ever traveling through again. We had a room booked at La Copa Inn, which turned out to be an okay hotel. We checked in, and I was pretty toast. I love traveling and exploring, but my body that is affected by fibromyalgia isn’t always as accommodating. Often, my body will decide when we are done with our plans, which was the case after check-in. We ordered to-go food that was indescribable and went to bed.

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Brunch view on South Padre Island

Tuesday was our day to explore, and Wednesday was our day to head home. We woke up Tuesday morning and found a delicious breakfast on the water at Lobo del Mar. Our server was convivial, and the atmosphere was very island-y. After breakfast, we strolled along the big beach Tom describes best, “expanse is incredible.” M pointed out the shells were old, weathered, and thick, while Liv noticed the sand was like a fine powder. After a stroll, we took a drive along the beach. We went a long way, discovering that the police were serious about speeding on the beach. We watched one officer pull over 8 cars and one electric bike. After our beach experience, we headed over to the Sea Turtle, Inc. A sea turtle sanctuary where we saw sea turtles and learned a lot. One thing that stood out to all of us was the video they had playing on repeat regarding the storm in February of 2021. Sea turtles are cold-blooded animals, and when the water temperature falls below 50 degrees, they suffer cold-stun. They become catatonic and cannot swim. Eventually, they will float on the surface, and that is where the sanctuary comes in. Of the 12,155 cold-stunned turtles rescued on the third coast, the Sea Turtle Sanctuary in South Padre Island rescued 5,300 of them. Of the 12,155 turtles rescued, only 35% of them survived. The most interesting turtle was born without a flipper who now has a prosthetic flipper that allows her to swim. Definitely worth a visit every time we are in the area. Bonus: it’s pet-friendly, and Coco could walk through with us.

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Steerburger Grill in Rockport, TX – near Aransas Pass

We ended the day back at the hotel in the hot tub that was nice and hot, where we made conversation with a gentleman from Michigan. Dinner was a night of burgers to-go and early to bed. We were headed home the next morning. On our way home, we drove through Port Aransas and had the bestest, most delicious burger I have had in a long time at Steerburger in Rockport, TX. We ordered outside at the food trailer went inside the building to the right for drinks and restrooms. There were a few tables inside, but we opted to eat on the porch.

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Art studio in Bishop’s Palace

Our field trip to Bishop’s Palace was the most informative tour. We opted for the Basement-to-Attic tour and were not disappointed. We learned that the home was built in 1892 by the Gresham family at the cost of $250,000. In 1923, it was sold by the Gresham family to the Catholic Church for $34,700. The Catholic Church turned it into a home for the Bishop. It served as a home for the Bishop then the Catholic Church turned it into a museum. In 2008, the Catholic Church sold the house to the Galveston Historical Foundation for $3.4 million. Roughly.

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Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens

One of our last field trips was to Moody Gardens. Moody Gardens seems to include many things. Like a hotel, restaurant, and other things we didn’t explore. We started with the aquarium pyramid. Tom called it an amazing aquarium and a must-see in Galveston. M thought it was super cool, and we all thought there could be more information on the fish. (We are sign readers.) After the aquarium, we walked over to the hotel for the coffee shop located in the lobby. We enjoyed our drinks as we leisurely walked back toward the rainforest pyramid. We were hit with a wall of heavy air as we entered the rainforest pyramid. The humid rainforest is almost a shock and takes a moment to adjust. Glasses fog, and breathing warm, wet air is weird. There are a ton of birds, plants, and animals. We were not lucky enough to see the sloth or monkeys, but we did get to see many birds and even some bats. Our last stop was the Discovery Center. Holy sensory overload. And there weren’t even that many people in there. It was cool because there were instruments to play, pipe rooms to communicate through pipes, many different hands-on activities. They even have the giant floor piano from the movie Big. There were a bunch of littles running around, everyone was playing instruments, talking, singing, screaming, and it quickly became too much. We had purchased a day pass that allowed us to watch a couple of the movies, also, but we decided we weren’t interested in those and skipped them.

Our last Sunday on the island, Tom and the girls went to Pleasure Pier while I rested/fought a bad fibromyalgia day. Liv says it was entertaining, 10 out of 10 would go again. She loved that all the rides had an ocean view and the lines weren’t long in the off-season. M said the rides were twisty-turny, there were not a lot of them, but it was fun. Tom said it was a great way to spend an afternoon having fun with the kids.

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Overall, we enjoyed our month on Galveston Island. We didn’t explore as much as we would have liked because of the cool weather, but nothing was disappointing. We’re already planning future trips back to Galveston. Who knows maybe we’ll settle in the area.

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