Posted in Holiday

South Padre, Island Day 3

Wednesday-Beach Day!

Wednesday was our last day in Padre. The plan for the day was a 10 o’clock reservation with The Original Dolphin Watch boat Tour. We had decided the night before to wake up early and make our way to the beach and watch the sunrise.

Josh woke me up right around 6 am, I woke up Laura. We all pretty much went in whatever clothes we could find. We did not want to waste time and miss the sunrise. We made our way to the beach and found a great spot to sit and watch the sun come up above the ocean. As always with the ocean the tide was out which had changed the look of the beach. What was underwater the evening before was now several feet back and people were doing their morning walks and runs in the soft wet sand. I loved sitting on the embankment watching people walking their dogs, walking in groups talking to each other and just enjoying the beautiful morning as the sun slowing began to rise above the water. It was amazing sitting their watching the sun come up over the water. It was something magical that we don’t see where I’m from.

Left over umbrella and chair from the day before..waiting to be used again

Don’t get me wrong we have our own lovely sunrises in Oklahoma, but seeing the sun rise above the water is completely different. The sand was so soft and felt wonderful between our toes. Laura enjoyed chasing the waves and searching for sea shells. I had a great time writing in the sand and watching the waves erase the writing. As the sun rose higher the water began to rise and reach closer to where we were sitting. We knew then it was time to say good-bye for now and return in the afternoon.

There is a part of you that secretly hopes The Flying Dutchman shoots out of the water. Watching the sun rise up over the water is truly magical and calming. I could have stayed on that beach all day and been completely happy.

We had to sadly leave the beach and get ready for our Dolphin Tour. We made our way back to our condo, showered and found the location of The Original Dolphin Watch. I chose this tour over the others because the price was great and there was an educational piece about 20 minutes into the tour. I liked that and knew Laura would enjoy it plus it was on a big boat and not on a small one. Since this was her first trip to the ocean I felt this would make her feel safe. The Dolphin Watch was located on the west side of the island where other boat tours were. Once we were on the water nets were lowered to drag along the bottom of the ocean so marine life could be picked up and brought on board for the visitors to see. We were able to see a star fish and a blue crab. The catch wasn’t as big as they usually catch but it was enough to impress the children on board and to educate them on the lives of ocean life. Once the sea life was returned to the ocean we headed off to find dolphins. It was a nice and breezy ride the boat had an upper and lower deck. We chose to sit on the lower deck in the shade so we wouldn’t get wind burnt or sun burnt. I notorious for getting sun burnt everywhere I go so we decided to play it safe. The captain took us out where the Rio Grande dumps into the Gulf of Mexico. The water is warmer here and a great feeding place for dolphins and pelicans. We were able to see several dolphins feeding in this area. After several minutes watching them feed and play around the captain directed us back to the dock. It was a wonderful way to finish our morning.

Rio Grande meets Gulf of Mexico

After our boat ride we went looking for lunch. We decided on a restaurant we had read about on Trip Advisor Cap N Roy’s it was a combination of Mexican and seafood. We had a great lunch, plenty of seafood in a great restaurant full of memorabilia of the owner and island residents fishing excursions. When we finished lunch we headed to a souvenir shop and picked up a few things to take back home then headed to our condo to get ready for the beach.

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Posted in Holiday

South Padre Island, TX Day 2

Monday-The road to the beach continues..

We left Austin around 9 Monday morning, stopped and ate at the Cracker Barrel then headed back down the highway to South Padre. We watched Austin turn into San Marcos then New Braunfels. We had to stop for gas in New Braunfels and it wouldn’t be a trip if we didn’t stop at Buc-ee’s convenience store. This was Laura’s first trip to Texas so we made sure she saw all the right spots. Buc-ee’s is the place to stop and get gas, any Texas souvenir you can ever want and plenty of food and drink to last you a long trip. Once we got what we wanted from Buc-ee’s we were on the road again and finally we were going through San Antonio. It felt odd to drive through and not stop to see my family but I sent my uncle a wave by text, he was happy with that. ūüôā

The traffic lightened a bit past San Antonio and we started seeing large cactus along the side of the road. My niece Laura was just amazed by the size of them. We eventually started seeing enormous oil wells working to pull oil from the earth. We have oil wells all over Oklahoma, but none to the size that we saw in South Texas. We eventually started seeing more and more palm trees, they have them in Austin and San Antonio but further South you start seeing more and more and there is something about seeing palm trees along the side of the road. It’s as if they are saying “follow me to the ocean”. We grabbed lunch along the way at Whataburger, the only place to get fast food and a drink that will keep you fueled on a trip. Before long we were seeing signs for Mexico and passed a Border Patrol truck driving up the sand by railroad tracks.

We started getting so excited we could see the wind turbines out in the fields, hundreds of them. Then we started seeing fields and fields of cotton. I wanted to pull over and pick me a piece of cotton! I was getting as excited as a 9 yr old girl :). I pulled up the map to see how far away we were from water and near jumped out of my seat when the map showed we had driven along the water for quite some time. We started keeping a lookout to the left of the car for any signs of water. It wasn’t until we drove through Port Isabel that we knew we were close. Before we knew it there was the monstrous bridge before us. Josh asked if I was ready to cross the bridge, he knows how terrified I am of bridges. I told him no, yes JUST DRIVE FAST! I didn’t have a total meltdown on the bridge I was able to shoot a small video which turned out terrible but I didn’t let the fear overtake me and before we knew it we were in South Padre.

I fell in love at once. It was almost as if crossing that bridge you leave your daily life behind and you accept the beach life for however long you are visiting. My eyes couldn’t take in everything I was seeing. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times we should have camera eyes so we can take pics of what we see. You can’t always get your camera, phone or video camera out quick enough. Our first goal was to find our Airbnb. Josh was the one to find this gem when we decided to make this trip. He searched and found Niki’s Place. I can’t say enough about Niki’s Place, we were about a block from the beach, the neighborhood was quiet and relaxing. We were only there for two nights and didn’t get to take advantage of all the truly wonderful things Niki’s had to offer. I know I will be back and Niki’s will be the first place I want to stay at.

After unloading our luggage and taking a small rest we knew two things 1)We were hungry and 2)we wanted to see the beach. We did the last first. We walked to the beach from our condo and spent about 30-45 mins there. After we had said a proper hello got out feet wet and sandy we decided to go and look for food, knowing we would be back the next day.

I should note that Laura had this idea she was going to swim in the ocean like she swims in a pool. We tried to explain to her about the currents and riptides that can happen when in the ocean. I’m almost sure she thought we were making this up. So when you hear me call her in the video it’s me reminding her to pay attention and stay close to Josh. There was a lot of worry about bringing her to the beach. I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her on my watch. Super Babysitter on Guard! LOL!

We discovered we had passed a seaside restaurant and went in to enjoy local seafood. We sat outside so we could watch the sun go down and take it the fact we were here at last. The restaurant was a lovely seaside restaurant Palm’s Resort Cafe which was across the street from our condo but was close enough to the beach that you felt you were there. We were seated at a patio table. The three of us decided to sit on the same side of the picnic table so we could watch the ocean as the sun went down. It was so calming just sitting and watching the ocean while the world passed by.

We all had fresh seafood that was wonderful there was not an empty plate. After we had dinner we went back to our condo, washed the dirt of the day off and got ready for bed. As Laura and I were settling in our comfy bed Josh brings the question to me about getting up early Tuesday to see the sunrise. I love my sleep but I also wasn’t going to miss an ocean sunrise. I told him I was in and to wake me when he woke up. Bring me that horizon!


Posted in Christmas

43 weeks until Christmas

Yet another Christmas has come and gone and another one will be here before we know it. Is there anyone out thinking about being away from home at Christmas? I always wanted to do that when I was a child, I was always at grandparents houses Christmas morning. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that my family started having our own private Christmas and we stayed home as my father didn’t enjoy traveling.

I have always wanted to go away at Christmas to someplace¬†really magical, like England and experience a Dickens Christmas. I realize that is just fantasy but I’ll bet there is some lovely village in England that comes close. I’ve wanted to go to New York City on Thanksgiving and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade to usher in Christmas and enjoy the sites New York City has to offer. As I have gotten older the idea of going to colder places no longer appeals to me and a nice warm tropical island has a better appeal. Hawaii would be a great place to spend Christmas at least once or even sunny Florida.

TripAdvisor reports that 40% of travelers book their vacation 6-12 months out and another 60% book 1-5 months out. If you are planning a trip during the Christmas holiday booking now is advised. I truly enjoy using TripAdvisor when I travel. When you download their easy to use app to your phone or personal device you are able to make an itinerary of places you want to visit, eat at or shows to see. There are also reviews from travelers letting you know of their experience at that venue. I have found this very helpful in bigger cities I have been too.

I have listed 5 of the holiday spots that are within the US and easy to get to.

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-temps are around 60 degrees, beachfront¬†condos can be rented from $109 – $450 a night depending on your group size. Myrtle Beach has many things to offer during this time of year from sandy beaches to aquariums.
  • Port Isabel, Texas-temps are a lovely 70-80 degrees in December, located just before you get to Padre Island. Rental property goes from $105-$440 a night depending on your group size. Port Isabel is full of American history, lighthouses and pirate ships. Fun can be had by the whole family.
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado-temps range from 40 degrees and lower in December. If a Christmas setting is what you are looking for this is the place. Minutes away from ski resorts, an hour away from Denver. Colorado Springs is home to the Olympic Sports Training and Visitor Center, Pikes Peak is not far away and Garden of the Gods is breathtakingly beautiful.
  • San Antonio, Texas¬†-temps vary during December usually mild weather around 50 degrees, average nightly stay $200 depending on group size. San Antonio has so many things to offer while visiting. During the month of December, some of their seasonal parks are closed but do open for a few events mostly on weekends, check their websites if thinking about going to Sea World or Fiesta Texas. This is a city that stays busy, plus you are only a few hours away from the Gulf Coast should you want to venture further south.
  • Orlando, Florida-temps range from 70-50 degrees in December. Hotel rates vary as most are based on theme park visits. The website does offer good packages for those wanting to visit. Orlando has so much to offer it would be hard to pick one thing to showcase. The Orlando website does offer an app to download to help you sort out your choices of where to go on your trip. I am all about free help.

Those are my 5 choices. I hope they have been somewhat helpful should you decide to pack up and head elsewhere for the Christmas holidays. Have a great trip, Cheryl