DOTS 08 - My Darling Husband, Kyle

6 December 2008

At Dickens on the Strand!  The official re -opening of the tourist industry on Galveston Island, after the ravages of Hurricane Ike.  And what a day it was!  The weather cooperated perfectly and the people came out in numbers higher than anyone had anticipated.  It was easy to see that although this little island is down, it is NOT out!

We arrived at the Hotel Galvez on the Seawall, Friday evening before five o’clock.  That gave us plenty of time to unload, check in, settle in, and gather at the lobby bar with our friends before dinner.  It was pretty quickly decided that Gaido’s would be the perfect place to celebrate our first evening on the island.  One of the older dining establishments on Galveston Island, Gaido’s was also among the very first to re-open after Ike.  So, with a well-placed call by our friend, Jackie, the world’s best concierge, we piled into a couple of different vehicles and headed south on Seawall Boulevard. 

Our meal there was wonderful—a sharp contrast to our Saturday evening dining experience . . . but that’s another story . . . really.

We changed into our Victorian loungewear after dinner and relaxed in the Hotel lobby, enjoying the company of our dear ones we don’t live near enough to, or get to see often enough.  It’s different at the Galvez, than at the Tremont, but it’s a beautiful place, full of turn of the century ambiance and inspiration for the weekend’s event.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and we gathered for breakfast at Bernardo’s—the hotel restaurant.  We quickly learned that speed was not a forte of this restaurant, and tried to resign ourselves to the notion that we are “on holiday” and therefore not in a hurry.  We did all break our fast, and finally get dressed and get ourselves to The Strand before noon.  Everybody looked marvelous, of course, and we had a marvelous time!  The Strand was busy and full of life—it was lovely.  Most storefronts were still closed, of course, but many more were open than I expected.  Some were open just to sell cans of soda or bottles of water, but they were open.  And there were a good number of street vendors there—many familiar ones, and a bunch of new ones, too.  I personally did my best to buoy the local economy!

One of the highlights of my day was an all-too brief visit to an “after party” at the home of our new friend, Alice Melott, of Galveston’s Keller Williams Real Estate.  She owns a stunningly beautiful loft condo on Market Street in downtown Galveston.  After “meeting” online through our blogs, she offered us a generous invitation to her holiday gathering, and we couldn’t resist. We had barely greeted each other and completed introductions when I realized she was about to introduce me to an old theatre friend I knew back in the 1980s!  What a small world!  Another delightful surprise, there, was getting to meet Frank Billingsley, the Houston weatherman who was so active in getting the word out about the condition of the island right after the storm.  Kyle and I were greeted warmly by everyone we met at the party, and made to feel really very special.  Our costumes were a big hit.  And, even though we really couldn’t stay long, we felt as though we’d have fit right in.  It was a delightful experience, and I told Alice, when we’ve made our fortune and can afford to dream big—I’ll be sure to call her to help us find our island getaway spot!

Back at the hotel, dinner was an adventure I’d really rather not expound on here . . . suffice it to say, the details will be going into at least one letter to the management.  But, it was the only blight on an otherwise comfortable, pleasant, relaxing stay at the Hotel Galvez.  After dinner we again, changed into our period dressing gowns and such, and played a few hands of mah jong, before giving in to how tired we were.

We play hard!  We know how to have fun!  And tomorrow . . . more fun!

~MB

(There are lots more photos on my Flickr stream.  Have fun looking!)