Every once in a while it's incredibly rejuvenating to play hooky and run off to the beach for a day in the waves, so this year we celebrated my birthday in Galveston, Texas!
Those of you who know me best know that one of my favorite things in the world is taking a beach day to relax and unwind. So, naturally, we decided the best way to celebrate turning 27 this year was to head down to Galveston for a nice breeze, a little sun, and plenty of leisure.
The mastermind of the trip, Mama planned everything out so that we could take the day off of work and drive down early. In fact, we spent a good part of Father's Day (poor Dad) packing for our beach trip so that we could take off Monday before the rush hour traffic got too crowded. We even booked a hotel to keep us from having to drive back after our long, exciting day.
The next morning, a bit sleep deprived due to excitement driven insomnia, Mama and I loaded up the car with everything from kites and games to beach chairs and picnic snacks. Then, we put in a Beach Boys CD to jam to during the drive and took off for our adventure.
The drive was slightly dismaying as the sky turned darker and darker grey, but we were determined to enjoy the trip by rain or by shine! Luckily, Pops (my Grandfather and our family weatherman of Heaven) was with us and we arrived just as the rain lightened up. So, we hauled our loot out to the shore and immediately waded out to have fun in the surf.
As you can see, Mama and I had a little too much fun just jumping in the waves. Since the surf was so ruff, due to the storm, we giggled hysterically every time one of the waves crested right on top of us. Needless to say, we ended up with more than a few mouthfuls of saltwater but enjoyed the majestic waves just the same.
Following our fun but exhausting adventure in the water, we returned to the beach for some seashell collection and a little downtime. We enjoyed people watching and hearing the calm rush of the tide over a classic PB&J picnic. Then, I opted for a little nap while Mom headed out for a walk.
When she came back, we were chatting when I felt the astonishing movement of something just under my chair. Of course, I flipped out and jumped up thinking that there was something on me but it just so happens that we made a new, little friend. To our delight, a tiny sand crab had joined the party!
I didn't remember ever seeing a live crab before, so I got the camera out and tried to get a few pictures of it scuttling around. Poor thing, I probably scared it half to death! Anyhoo, once the crab had found a more reassuring hiding place and I had regained some composure, I turned around to see a sweet dedication that Mama had written in the sand during her "short walk." It was so unexpected that I almost cried!
Sometime later, Mama and I elected to check-in at the hotel while we waited for Daddy to drive down after work. There was a little debacle at our original hotel, The Commodore (see the full story and my revealing review here), so we ended up going across the street to another place called Gaido's Seaside Inn. Boy, did we luck out by finding that one!
Don't be fooled by the awkward-angled pictures I took, because this little inn is fabulous! The staff is particularly pleasant and greets customers with smiles, friendliness, and respect. In fact, their overall attention to both good customer service and the little details made our stay one of the best I can remember.
Though they offer nice, ocean-view rooms, we decided to stay in their more recently renovated rooms in the back building and were happily surprised by the charming colors, extra details, and wealth of amenities included (see my full review here).
For added pleasure, the Gaido's Seaside Inn is located on a multi-functional property, complete with two different restaurants, a poolside bar, and fabulous views in addition to the rooms.
Killing time before Dad joined us for the evening, Mom and I stepped out to the Redfish Pool Bar, which adjoins the hotel building. This poolside bar is definitely an unexpected bonus as it includes not only happy hour drinks (just $2.50 for a beer) but also fun appetizers like artichoke and spinach dip. Plus, the pool area has a direct view over the ocean, so patrons can relax with massaging jets while they watch the waves come in!
It was a great hot spot for Mama and I to leisurely hang and, believe it or not, the light sprinkle of rain was appreciated by all as we soaked in the heat of the hot tub. It made for an odd sensation, but the cold rain on our faces was a welcomed relief from the temperature of the tub as Mom, me, and the other visitors talked over cold drinks. Who says beach days have to be sunny?!
After work, Daddy drove down to meet us for our family mini-vacation.
Inspired by our crab friend, we started the evening at Guido's, which is a well-known seafood restaurant located right next door to the inn. However, the prices were a little daunting so we opted for the more reasonable option located right next door. Nick's Kitchen & Beach Bar, the little restaurant nestled in between Guido's and the inn offers outside seating with a great view overlooking the ocean, thus we enjoyed a full course meal accompanied by crashing waves and the cool breeze of ocean-salted wind.
The outdoor area, with its artistic lighting and elegantly rustic yet laid-back vibe, was comfortable with the choice of traditional tables and chairs or more appealing couches. Of course, we chose to eat in our laps to take advantage of the luxury available, but the extravagance didn't stop there. Nick's also serves a delightful array of delicious appetizers, seafood dishes, and decadent desserts (see my full review on Nick's here).
Crazy for crabcakes, Mama and I ordered the yummy Lump Crab Cake appetizer with lemon sauce and capers (see pictures above). Highly recommended by restaurant staff, the little dish was seriously good and the entrees that followed were just as savory. Mom and I split the lusciously rich Fettuccine Alfredo while Dad enjoyed the traditionally fresh Surf and Turf. Then, we finished off the delectable spread with an indulgent variety of dessert!
After a wonderful dinner, we opted for dessert to-go and enjoyed abundant slices of moist chocolate cake, raspberry-topped cheesecake, and crustless pecan pie back in the room. As you might guess, all three were absolutely delicious and we happily traded bites to taste-test each one. Now, I will forever more know the absolute glee brought on by being spoiled with, not just one but, an entire assortment of birthday treats!
All in all, you can probably tell that I had an utterly wonderful birthday this year - Thanks to the world's sweetest parents, I enjoyed a great trip out to Galveston and we shared memories to last a lifetime! I am so blessed to have these two and so many others in my life who truly show me on a daily basis just how blessed I am.
I already liked the number seven, but I think this year - lucky number 27 - is going to be amazing! Thank you all for the kind texts, calls, and hugs wishing me a happy birthday. You made my heart so full (as my sister, Stephanie likes to say)!
Love and hugs,