Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Galveston Adventures, Part 3

At Northlake RV Resort, Houston, Texas...

We have relocated to Houston to celebrate Mindy's birthday, but I'll wrap up our Galveston experience with this post.

We took the ferry back toward Crystal Beach to enjoy another lunch at Stingaree's, which we have decided is our favorite seafood restaurant in the area. It was just as good as before, and we will not fail to eat here again when we return. Our wait at the ferry terminal was very short both ways, and we enjoyed watching the seagulls and dolphins play as we made the short journey across the bay.

When we returned, we decided to take a tour of the Bishop's Palace, a mansion built over a span of six years in Galveston's golden age at the close of the 19th century. It has been designated as among the 100 most important buildings in the United States.

Again, because information is so readily available on the web, I will include only a thumbnail sketch here of the history of the mansion:

Built at a cost of $250,000 ($6,000,000 today), the ornate Victorian stone structure consists of 19,000 square feet and includes a basement and three floors above ground. It was built by wealthy attorney Walter Gresham and later sold to the Catholic Diocese of Galveston as the residence of Bishop Christopher Byrne, hence the name Bishop's Palace. Prior to this, it was known as Gresham's Castle. Its construction was sufficiently strong to withstand the onslaught of the great storm of 1900, during which the Greshams sheltered many local residents and likely saved their lives as lesser homes were swept away. Damage to the mansion was limited to broken windows and a flooded basement.

We enjoy touring historic places and residences, and the Bishop's Palace did not disappoint. The hand carved woodwork alone in the residence gives testimony as to why it took six years to build. The grand staircase in the foyer is a good example, as is the main dining room:

Bishop Byrne built a chapel in one of the Gresham's bedrooms:

So many elements of the house, like the stained glass windows, are of rare importance and supplied by fine craftsmen from Europe and elsewhere abroad. Guided and self-guided audio tours are available, at the end of which is a pitch for extra donations to help restore the mansion, in obvious need after 125 years. According to the Galveston Historical Society, current owner of the house, the roof repairs alone will cost $3 million. Worth it, in my view, as the house is magnificent and should be preserved. If you get to Galveston, don't miss this and the Moody Mansion, which we've already toured.

There is much more to see in Galveston, but we won't get to it all this time. That means, of course, that we'll be back!

On our last evening, we did a little wading on the beach at sunset, and I just had to include this photo of sweet Sandy and her little seagull friend:

Now there are all sorts of captions that I could have put on this photo, but I'm not going to do that. No sir, I'm not going to make a play on a word like "birdbrains" or something tacky like that. It would be highly inappropriate, if not downright dangerous. (Do you suppose she will read this?)

So, I'll leave you with this shot of Phannie and Mae at sunset in the Sandpiper RV Resort. Until next time, Galveston.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.

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