April 2 – 3, 2015 – On Thursday afternoon we headed to Boston Logan for a long weekend trip to TX. We actually made great time to the airport and had a chance to relax with some Sbarro’s strombolis before our flight. (Note that the pepperoni ones are definitely better than the sausage… probably best to just stick with pepperoni anything and you’ll be fine.)
The flight was uneventful, as was our ride from Hobby to the Hertz rental lot. On our way to the hotel we realized that we might be able to get to Rudy’s with 15 minutes to spare before they closed. This happy discovery meant that we started the trip with a half pound of moist brisket and some nice airy white bread.
Friday morning dawned bright and sunny (well, once the fog burned off). We started the day with breakfast at our hotel, then headed down towards Galveston. It was still early in the morning, and the hour drive went quickly. Instead of heading through town we turned left towards East Beach. Along the way we passed a few small marshes, and spotted black-necked stilts and a few varieties of ducks. Boat tailed grackles were also common, and were quite vocal.
We found a little public parking area near some condominiums, and strolled down the boardwalk towards the beach. There were one or two mosquitoes, but they mostly left us alone once we got near the water. The beach had the advantage of having foot showers and cubbies for people to store shoes, which made it easy to walk on the sand and not track too much sand back to the car.
The water was perfectly warm, and the sand was firmly packed and perfect for walking. With only a few beached jellyfish to avoid (and a handful of little crabs floating in the waves), we were free to focus on the water, sun, perfect temperature (in the 70s), pelicans riding the air currents, and the little flock of sanderlings we found.
After our walk we took off for Freeport. On the way we passed through Galveston, drove along the water, and stopped to admire some of the wildflowers that seem to have taken over the state. We also tried to get a short hike in, but were swarmed by massive mosquitoes (mosquitoes should not be 1/2″ – 3’4″ long). We were a little early for lunch, and in need of a break – enter Buccee’s. Buccee’s is a gas station experience. This one was just a little Buccee’s, but it was packed with people getting supplies (food, beer, beach chairs) for the beach. Apparently it’s the place to stop before heading to the coast.
Our lunch destination was the Red Snapper Inn. We got there early, around 11:30, and by noon they were almost full. The decor is fun and casual (we particularly enjoyed the fish tank), and the food is great. We started the meal with some great calamari, which was perfectly fried. Louisa liked her shrimp po-boy though said the house made potato chips could have been a bit crunchier. The star of the show was Tony’s blackened red snapper, served over buttered and seasoned rice. The fish reminded Louisa of a milder version of salmon.
After lunch we headed north to to San Antonio. Along the way we found a massive statue of Stephen Austin, and finally stopped at a roadside historical marker (about an early family in the area) to satisfy Louisa’s curiosity. There was quite a bit of a traffic jam due to an earlier car wreck, but we still made it to the Mission San Juan Capistrano by 5pm.
This is one of our favorite missions, not only for the peaceful grounds, but for the nearby boardwalk trail. The highlight of the walk today was seeing two little green lizards relaxing on a fence post. Dinner was at the Brick House Tavern. We love getting a casual meal here, the beer selection has some very nice draught offerings (including lots of local TX beer), although this time the steak was the star of the show (the bison burger wasn’t cooked evenly and was rather dry).
The night was perfect for a crowded shuffle down the Riverwalk. Fortunately we eventually got out of the tourist section and wound up walking by a rock with about 8 baby ducks piled in the middle. The parent ducks were each on their own rock near the rock with the baby ducks. We also found a very neat college campus with a nice patio (although it was gated, so we just admired it from the Riverwalk side).