Fun things to do in Galveston

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Galveston

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    The Samuel Mays Williams House

    by VeronicaG Updated Dec 27, 2006

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    A couple seated at our table for the Dickens Feast mentioned that the Samuel Mays Williams house was giving a candlelight tour that Saturday evening. We had already purchased tickets to tour the Menard house that night, so didn't know whether we could fit two tours into our schedule, but surprisingly we did!

    The Mays-Williams house is considered a raised planters style design and is the second oldest home in Galveston, built in 1839. It faces east on its lot like most of the other homes in that area. A low-hipped roof sits atop a long gallery running along the east and south sides. The front door is framed by a Grecian architrave and the floor to ceiling windows are a double leaf casement type, unusual for Galveston. There are some out buildings in the rear and a brick kitchen house and small shed.

    FYI: Mr. Williams was prominent in the Mexican and Republic periods of Texas history and an associate of Stephen Austin. After the War of Independence he became one of the most important commission merchants in Galveston and was involved in banking.

    **For more information see: Galveston Architecture Handbook by Ellen Beasley and Stephen Fox published by Rice University Press and Galveston Historical Foundation

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    A Candlelight Tour of the Menard House

    by VeronicaG Updated Dec 27, 2006

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    History blended with a candlelight tour--that's what our tickets provided on a Saturday evening of the Dickens on the Strand weekend.

    The 1838 Michael B Menard house is a Greek Revival style Southern town home and is the oldest building in Galveston. It faces east on 33rd street. The double veranda and stately columns are the first thing you notice about the house as it peeks from behind tall trees.

    As we parked and approached the house, the wreaths and garlands stretched along the veranda made a nice impression as we trod to the front door. Two wings were added in 1845 and a Grecian style pavilion replaced a former privey. This home received the prestigious Great American Homes award in 1996 sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

    FYI: Michael Menard hailing from Quebec, established the Galveston City Company, which was instrumental in laying out the town itself. This home is located where other important investors in this company lived.

    **For more information see: Galveston Architecture Handbook by Ellen Beasley and Stephen Fox published by Rice University Press and Galveston Historical Foundation.

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    The Beach in December

    by VeronicaG Updated Dec 22, 2006

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    Since it was a December weekend when we visited, no one was on the beach and the wind was very gusty. In the summer heat, the beach is where you want to be!

    Galveston is a 32 mile long island on Texas's upper coast on the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes are something to which islanders have had to adjust. However, it remains a top destination for tourists because of its location, its Victorian influence and cruise ship business.

    There are 12 beach areas in the Galveston area, which you can investigate further by seeing www.utmb.edu/galveston/community/beaches.html. The services offered at these beaches and their location will be listed.

    The beach from 14th-61st street has been widened in a six million dollar rejuvenation project. Rental umbrellas and chairs are available; fishing is permitted from the piers and boat rentals/cruises can be booked.

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    Greeting the Queen

    by VeronicaG Updated Dec 19, 2006

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    As we selected one of the very elaborately set tables and settled into our seats, the 'Royals' were announced. As we craned our necks, the music began and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert arrived amidst all the pomp due them!

    The character of Queen Victoria has been portrayed by Anne Boyd for thirteen years. In past years she was dressed in mourning clothes, to signify her widowhood. This year, since the theme was The Great Exhibition of 1851, created by her husband, she appeared elegantly attired and arm in arm with the Prince, who was portayed by Ken Lane, of British Columbia.

    Once they were seated, the feast began! Please see both photos.

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    In Honor of Charles Dickens

    by VeronicaG Updated Dec 16, 2006

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    The Dickens Feast was delicious; the surroundings were beautifully ornate, but the main reason we purchased tickets for this evening of entertainment and dining, was to peer at the great,great grandson of Charles Dickens and have him autograph a copy of The Christmas Carol I brought for the occasion.

    The presence of Mark Charles Dickens at the Strand festival has become a tradition. This year he was accompanied by his son, Geoff. As the presentation began, a reading from The Christmas Carol was alternated with each dinner course. I could easily imagine familiar scenes from the book as he wove the tale dramatically with a great deal of animation!

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    The Entertainment

    by VeronicaG Updated Dec 15, 2006

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    Bagpipers, carollers, musicians, acrobats, magicians and animal acts provided the entertainment at street corners and on stages throughout the Strand. We purchased several CD's by musicians we fancied, discovering several we'd love to hear in person again!

    Area school children decked out in velvet and lace sang lively Christmas carols. Characters from The Christmas Carol walked the streets, as well as Beefeaters and strapping military men from the 19th century. Please enjoy all four pictures!

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    61st Street Fishing Pier

    by keeweechic Updated Sep 26, 2006

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    This fishing pier was right across from our hotel. For a small fee you can fish off here. There are lots of surfing spots from 61st Street Pier to the Flagship Hotel. Although it was very sunny, it was also very windy while we were there and the hurricane in the gulf was certainly bringing the waves in.

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    A Drive, or Walk, Down Broadway Street

    by H-TownJourneyman Updated Mar 7, 2006

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    If you are coming to Galveston from Houston, driving down I-45 into town gives you the perfect opportunity to see some of the city's wonderful history and architecture! I-45 turns into Broadway St. shortly after crossing onto the island, and as you progress down Broadway, the scene turns quite beautiful very quickly! Broadway is home to many of the city's oldest and prettiest houses, a good deal of them being built in the 19th and early 20th century! Many of the old houses such as Moody Mansion and Bishop's Palace have been turned into museums for public viewing. Tall Texas Oak trees also line the street, giving it an even more beautiful look as you make your way down. Definately worth checking out, whether you're driving or walking!

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    Galveston's Three Beauties

    by Jefie Written Dec 1, 2005

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    If you only have time to do one thing in Galveston, I highly recommend visiting the "three beauties" (Moody Mansion, Bishop's Palace and Ashton Villa). Each house is different and has its own unique charm - Walking through the rooms of Moody Mansion (1892) is like walking through the pages of a 19th century novel thanks to all the efforts that have been put in keeping the place as authentic as possible. Bishop's Palace (1886) is a beautiful house, with great architectural details, although it does need a bit of restoration. Finally, my favorite of the three tours was Ashton Villa (1859) because the guide was very keen on entertaining us with the stories of its former - rather eccentric - inhabitants!

    You get a discount if you buy tickets to all three beauties at the same time and if you don't have to visit them all on the same day, they'll still accept your ticket on the next day. Visiting the three beauties is a great way to learn about the history of Galveston!

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    Beach at Sunset... Even in Winter

    by cjuliette Updated May 11, 2004

    Do not miss the beach at sunset and after dark! there is no reason you should, because even in the winter time it is comfortable and beautiful.

    Check out my Galveston travelogue with more photographs:
    click here

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    Visit historic homes

    by evalynn Written Jan 18, 2004

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    1838 Michel B. Menard Home
    Experience the charm of the Old South during guided tours of the home once owned by the founders of both Galveston and Houston. Restored to its former beauty and furnished with an outstanding collection of Federal and American Empire antiques, this Greek Revival landmark again reflects the glory of its storied past.
    Adults: $6; Kids Under 11: $3

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    Visit historic homes

    by evalynn Written Jan 18, 2004

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    Ashton Villa (1859) & Heritage Visitors Center
    409.762.3933
    Lovely antiques, family heirlooms and original art fill the stately mansion built before the Civil War by James Moreau Brown, one of Texasý wealthiest businessmen, and presided over by his colorful daughter, Miss Bettie Brown. From the Gilded Age splendor of the Golf Room to the elegant family quarters upstairs, Ashton Villa provides an intimate glimpse into the life of a prominent Victorian family. Also home to the Heritage Visitors Center. The center offers complete visitor services, including brochures, maps, and information about local restaurants and hotels.
    Adults & Seniors: $6; Students $5; Kids 6 & Under: Free; Family (2 parents & up to 3 kids under 18): $18

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    Many histortical buildings on the strand.

    by mafootje Updated Jul 25, 2003

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    Galveston has many beautifull historical buildings on the strand. In front of most of them are one or more information signs about the history.

    The following text is taken from the information sign in front of this building.

    Hutchings, Seally & Co. Buildings

    Four decades after joining in partnership, George Ball,John Henry Hutchings and John Seally Employed prominent Galveston Architect Nicholas J.Clayton to design office buildings for their Ball, Hutchings & Co. Commission and banking operations.
    Built in 1895 as two individual but connected structures, thes buildings complemented Galveston's Strand avenue, know at the time as the "Wall street of the southwest."

    The buildings' renaissance revival style is represented by the heavily rusticated stone arches featured on its entryways, terra cotta detailing on the parapets and entablatures, evenly spaced columns and pilasters, elaborate stone cornice and arcading windows.

    The foundation walls are six feet wide at the base and made of pressed brick with ashlar patterned sandstone facing.
    The corner building which features the name "Hutchings" on its entablature, was originaly constructed for John H. Hutchings.
    The adjoining office building featuring the name "Sealy" on its entablature, was built for John Seally. These majestic buildings are reminders of a grand era in Galveston's history and philanthropic legacy of these early businessmen.

    recorded Texas historic landmark 1992.

    Picture taken June 3, 2003 11:29

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    Railway Museum

    by keeweechic Updated Feb 25, 2003

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    The Museum is housed in the Shearn Moody Plaza, a restored 1930's passenger depot at the foot of The Strand. There are dozens of life-sized figures which are there to represent the look of a busy depot of the 1930's. There are 6 multimedia theatres which present a history of Galveston shipping, railroading, and commerce. Open daily 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., on Rosenberg St. at foot of the Strand.
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    Old Custom House

    by keeweechic Updated Feb 25, 2003

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    The construction of the original Custom House initially began in 1858 but was interrupted by a yellow fever epidemic in 1858. The and the building was not completed until the eve of the Civil War. It was restored in 1967 and is the state's oldest non-military federal building.
    .

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