One sunny, late fall day a few years ago, I had the pleasure of skipping the afternoon session of a trade show while in our state’s largest city. Knowing I needed to back in the Galleria area later that evening for a function or two related to the trade-show, I discarded a couple of ideas that would’ve had myself taking a serious day-trip, well out of the city limits. As it turned out, it was silly to even think of exiting the congested confines of what is an underrated artistic gem. Well, at least it’s underrated to many of us outside of the Gulf Coast.
Given the fact that Houston’s Museum District is as rife with time-killing goodness as it is, I highly doubt that it’s flying under the radar of any art or history-loving Houstonian. Growing up in the Ft. Worth area, as I did, it’s easy to think that everyone else in the state gazes enviously upon the historic and renowned Arts District (home to The Kimball Art Museum, among many others).
In one afternoon, I was treated to eclectic and edgy installations at the Contemporary Arts Museum, just after experiencing a more traditional, yet highly awe-inspiring visit to Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. In fact, the Fine Arts collection is showcasing a highly-praised grouping of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work from The National Gallery, at this very time. Clearly, I focused on the art which the neighborhood offered, but the history is as prevalent and important as the collections of the museums I managed to visit. Perhaps on another trip, I’ll make it to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, or possibly to Houston’s Holocaust Museum, which is different than the one in Dallas.
There’s also something for the kiddos, too. The Children’s Museum of Houston is a colorful blast of interactive fun for both parent and child. And there’s the Houston Museum of Natural Science - which, as is the case in Ft. Worth, has an IMAX Theater.
So, next time you’re sitting in a convention in Houston, and the rest of the day’s docket looks pretty dull, act like you have to take a call in the hallway and hop in your rental and point it to the museum district!
Elgin’s Coyote Creek Farms can be found in bakeries, like Lauren Hubele’s Bona Dea Bread in Austin, but not in the way you might suspect. Dedicated to sustainable, organic farming, and ranching practices, coupled with the humane treatment of all farm animals, Coyote Creek Farm provides eggs, meats and more to locally owned and operated Central Texas businesses and farms.
But if you don’t live in the Elgin area, don’t fret, you can purchase the farm’s eggs exclusively at your local Whole Foods Market.
As they explain on their site, Coyote Creek’s claim of offering the “World’s Best Eggs” is not bragging, it is more of a classification. “Currently our eggs are very nutrient dense, higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol than eggs produced in confined conditions. One of the reasons that our eggs are more nutrient dense is that our organic pastures are treated with compost tea four times a year. Compost Tea, in simplest terms, is extracting the biology from organic compost into a water solution, multiplied with molasses, humic acid, volcanic rock, greensand and so forth. The result is a micro-herd of protozoa and nematodes that feed on the bacteria and fungi produced together in the compost tea,” says Coyote Creek farmer, Jeremiah Cunningham.
I guess the only thing missing is diatomaceous earth – sorry – just had to type one of my most favorite phrases to say. Anyway, the next time you’re shopping for eggs, so Texas. Being a farm girl myself, I can assure you that farm eggs in particular are amazing in both their flavor and color. Vibrant orange yolks and creamy texture and taste, farm eggs have no equal. And Coyote Creek’s eggs are no exception.
Hotel Galvez & Spa will host its third annual Holiday Lighting Celebration on Friday, Nov. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.
This festive celebration, which will kick off with the lighting of the hotel’s new 35-foot Christmas tree, is free for the public and will feature:
A special visit by Santa Claus
Holiday entertainment by the Galveston Ballet
Holiday greetings from Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski and Galveston’s own Queen Victoria.
Hotel Galvez will also be collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
Festivities will begin on the front lawn of Hotel Galvez with the arrival of Santa Claus by carriage. As part of the celebration, Mayor Jaworski will count down with the crowd and officially light the hotel and Christmas tree to mark the start of the holiday season.
Inside the hotel, Executive Chef Jerry Helminski will unveil his holiday gingerbread display, a replica of the Hotel Galvez made entirely of gingerbread, and the lobby bar will feature holiday specialty drinks. The event is sponsored by Mitchell Historic Properties and Hotel Galvez & Spa.
In concert with the Holiday Lighting Celebration, the hotel will also offer a special holiday package during the Thanksgiving weekend. The Thanksgiving Getaway package, available Nov. 24 and Nov. 25, includes a two-night stay, Thanksgiving brunch for two and complimentary valet parking. The two-night package is priced at $395 for a deluxe Gulf view room or $355 for a deluxe city view room based on double capacity. Guests can add a third night to their stay for $129. Pricing does not include tax.
Santa Claus will make special appearances at the hotel’s Sunday Brunch with Santa throughout the holiday season on Dec. 5, 12 and 19, where guests are invited to take pictures with Santa.
During the month of December, the hotel’s live entertainment will take on a holiday theme on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hotel Galvez & Spa wants you to embark on exciting ghost hunts and other spooky goings ons during the month of October.
Over the years, guests have reported seeing or feeling a presence in some parts of the hotel, primarily on the fifth floor. Hotel staff has often reported odd occurrences throughout the hotel, such as candles blowing out on their own and dishes breaking with no one around. The hotel is also known for its “Ghost Bride,” who has reportedly been seen in Room 501 and throughout the fifth floor. This October, the hotel will be included in an episode of the Travel Channel’s Ghost Stories entitled “The Ghost of Sister Katherine” and Hotel Galvez was featured on Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab in 2009.
The “haunted” hotel - and did I mention that Hotel Galvez & Spa is a National Trust Historic Hotel and the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast - is extending its ghost tour, typically reserved for guests, to the public as part of a special three-course dinner special on Thursday evenings. Additionally, the hotel will offer special overnight ghost tour packages for guests on Thursdays and in conjunction with its Sunday Brunch.,
Beginning on Thursday, Oct. 7 and continuing through Thursday, Oct. 28, the public can enjoy a one-hour ghost tour of the historic hotel followed by three-course dinner at Bernardo’s Restaurant, located on-site at Hotel Galvez. The public ghost tour is only available as part of the dinner package priced at $35 per person. The tour begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Advance reservations are required for the dinner. Guests must contact the restaurant at (409) 765-7721 for reservations and you can go here to review the menu.
This year, Hotel Galvez has also revamped its ghost tour packages to offer two options for overnight guests. Priced at $179 per night, the “Dinner with the Ghosts” package is available every Thursday night in October and includes deluxe guestroom accommodations for two, a three-course dinner for two, the ghost tour and valet parking. The Thursday night package is based on double occupancy and subject to availability.
The “Galvez Ghost Brunch” package, priced at $189 per night, is available every Sunday in October, including Halloween, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. The package includes deluxe guestroom accommodations for two, the famous Galvez Sunday Brunch for two, a guided ghost tour on Sunday evening, valet parking and a 25 percent discount on a treatment of choice at The Spa at the Hotel Galvez, giving guests the opportunity to relax before or after their frightful tour.
During Thursday and Sunday tours, Hotel Galvez concierge Jackie Hasan will guide participants through the ghostly past of the hotel while using an electromagnetic field detector and infrared thermometer to conduct a paranormal investigation.
HomeAway announced this morning the the launch of its free HomeAway Vacation Rental Search iPhone application. The app, developed by Mobiata, creators of FlightTrack and TripDeck, makes it easier than ever for travelers, especially families, to search, filter and share the more than 230,000 global vacation rental properties available on HomeAway.com.
The app incorporates many of the same convenient features found on HomeAway.com including filter by number of bedrooms and price, but also enables users to search as specifically as “Lake Travis, pet-friendly, outdoor grill, with pool,” for example.
Additional highlights of the HomeAway application include the ability to:
- Make it easy to share vacation rental options with groups of friends and family via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter
- Rotate the iPhone to landscape view for travelers to see detailed property photos in gallery form
- View the physical location of vacation rentals via Google Maps and search by proximity to landmarks and geography
Thanks to Hurricane Alex keeping a safe distance away from the Corpus Christi area, specifically Ingleside on the Bay, my dear old dad was able to take part in one of the most extraordinary and beautiful Independence Day celebrations across the country this past weekend: Billed as “an international celebration of liberty, sailing, and friendship,” tall ships from around the world sailed into Naval Station Ingleside on July 1st, courtesy of Sail South Texas, including:
The United States’ Eagle – nearly 300 feet in length with a 39 foot beam, a 17 foot draft and a crew of 12 officers, 38 crew and 150 cadets.
Mexico’s Cuauhtémoc – 270 feet in length, a beam of more than 39 feet and a 17 foot draft, and carrying a crew of 185 cadets and officers.
Chile’s Esmeralda – 371 feet long and 159 feet tall, currently the second longest and tallest sailing ship in the world. Operated by Chile’s navy, the Esmeralda has sports 43 feet of beam and nearly 20 feet of draft. The four-masted barquentine carries 300 sailors and 90 midshipmen.
Uruguay’s Captain Miranda – built in Spain in 1930 the schooner has a length of 205 feet, a 27 foot beam and a 12 foot draft, carrying 33 cadets and 11 officers.
My dad was nice enough to send in tons of pictures of the event for those of you interested, take a look below:
Our state’s largest city has become a hot-bed of hip-hop activity in the last few years. Going back even further to the heyday of The Geto Boys, H-Town’s style of rap has been as unflinching and brutal as it’s been celebrated in recent times, thanks to M.C.’s such as Chamillionaire and Paul Wall. Houston’s D.J. Screw, the groundbreaker who ushered in the Chopped and Screwed style, influenced an entire movement that added shine to Houston’s star in the Hip Hop universe.
Given that Frazier Thompson III, aka, Trae tha Truth has a day named in his honor, I’d say that he has also been a key reason that the Gulf Coast has taken much of the rap world’s attention away from the other two coasts that have dominated for so long. This master of the mix-tape has been slinging his fierce brand since 1999, as he has been a part of both the underground unit Screwed up Click, as well as another group, Guerilla Maab.
Whether Trae’s been a featured guest on an album with his cousin, fellow Houston rapper Z-Ro, sending out his own mix-tapes or popping out his solo-albums, Tha Truth has indeed lived up to his name when relaying his vision of life in Houston through a mixture of aggressive and abrasive lyrics that aren’t going to have anyone confusing him for the Fresh Prince any day soon. Judging by the esteemed list of collaborators that have joined him on his solo releases, including the soon to be released Tha Truth, it’s easy to see that Houstonians aren’t the only ones buying into what Trae is slinging. All-world talent like Lil Wayne, Young Joc and Slim Thug have carried out guest roles for Trae in recent years.
Yes, Trae’s truth is hard-core and extremely in-your-face, he even turned Kings of Leon’s sensitive smash, “Use Somebody” into a hefty piece of mix-tape masculinity. Trae’s authoritative beats and authentic, honest insight makes for a version of the truth that most of us should at least try to handle, even if it’s a bit tough to accept at times.
Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob
The lovely and effervescent Karen over at Whole Foods sends Superbowl word this morning that though you may fight/divorce/end friendships over team loyalty, you don’t have to break up over the beer:
Sadly, you can’t choose the winner of Sunday’s big game, but you can choose which beers you will be drinking. Purchase any four 6-pks or any two 12-pks of ANY BEER (Mix n’ Match) & receive a 10% CASE DISCOUNT. Today through Sunday at any Whole Foods.
As for being a football fan, I’m gonna have to go with the Saints – even though I really only watch for the commercials.
As for the beer? Make my six-packs Shiner-based, please. Oh, and you can throw in a couple of Franziskaners for Mr. W., that would be fantastic. KTHXBAI.
There will be six more weeks of winter, according to three famous groundhogs.
First up was Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam, who saw his shadow when he emerged from his den at Wildlife Park after being roused by bag pipes and a town crier.
Canada’s famous pancake breakfast hosting and weather prognosticating albino groundhog, Wiarton Willie, has confirmed the prediction as well. Visit him online!
As for Punxsutawney Phil, who was awakened by fireworks this morning, his handler says the famous groundhog sent a text and said, “Six more weeks of winter it will be.”
Are you like me and wish that Texas had their own prognosticating critter to predict our unpredictable weather?
You’re not alone! Andy Thomas in San Antonio has a solution for us Texans, “something Texan like an armadillo. If it sees its shadow (and feels the heat of the sun) it would go back into its hole and that would mean six more weeks of summer.”
P.S. More critters are challenging Punxsutawney Phil for the crown of Groundhog Day prognosticator. According to the Wall Street Journal, in his home state of Pennsylvania, Phil has rivals including Octorara Orphie of the Slumbering Groundhog Lodge in Quarryville, and Sammi II of Monroe County, who was pressed into service after Sammi I died of heatstroke after riding in a parade. Last year, Mel, a groundhog in Milltown, N.J., got into the act.
Two historic Galveston hotels, Hotel Galvez and The Tremont House, will celebrate Mardi Gras with history, live music, food, parade viewing and even a salute to the Chinese New Year this year. Two which I say, yay! Starting January 23rd and running thru February, Galveston will be packed with everything from Art Walks to Mardi Gras masquerade balls. Take a look:
As part of the 2010 Mardi Gras! Galveston celebration, The Tremont House is hosting an exhibit entitled, “26 Years of Celebrations Through Invitations and Doubloons” on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. as part of the city’s ArtWalk. The exhibit features framed invitations and doubloons from its annual Mardi Gras balls dating back to 1985 when the hotel opened in conjunction with the city’s revival of Mardi Gras in Galveston. The event is free and open to the public.
New Orleans Style Brunch at Hotel Galvez
Sunday Brunch at the Hotel Galvez will take on a New Orleans flair during the Galveston Mardi Gras season beginning on Sunday, Jan. 24 and continuing on every Sunday through Sunday, Feb. 14, complete with Mardi Gras beads for all guests. This themed brunch is featuring various New Orleans cuisine favorites as well as the popular brunch items including carved prime rib, assorted seafood, made to order omelets & pasta bar, an incredible array of desserts and complimentary champagne and mimosas. The cost is $32 for adults; $28 for senior citizens; and $19 for children ages 6 to 12. For reservations, call (409) 765-7721 or visit bernardosathotelgalvez.com.
Three Parades Traveling Past Hotel Galvez on Feb. 6
The first parade of the season in Galveston is at noon on Saturday, Feb. 6 with the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius 25th Annual Parade. The parade starts at 14th and Seawall Blvd. and passes directly in front of Hotel Galvez. The Galveston County Firefighters Association Fire Truck Parade begins at 3 p.m. on 14th and Seawall Blvd. This parade also passes directly in front of the hotel. The last Seawall parade of the evening, The Krewe of Gambrinus “Cheers to Our Buds: The Del Papa Family” Parade, begins at 6 p.m. on 23rd and Seawall and just two blocks west of the hotel.
Free Live Entertainment on Feb. 12
Guests at The Tremont House can enjoy a special preview performance by the Quaker City String Band at 5 p.m. in front of the hotel. The Quaker City String Band is known for their colorful costumes and lively music and has performed in the Philadelphia Mummer’s Parade since 1931 and has been a Mardi Gras! Galveston tradition since 1985. New Orleans native and jazz clarinetist Dr. Michael White and his Jazz Quartet performs in the hotel’s Toujouse Bar from 7 to 10 p.m. As part of the evening, Tremont Café is featuring some Mardi Gras inspired menu items. Shortly after 8 p.m., the Krewe Babulu 5th Annual All Krewe Parade is passing in front of the hotel.
The Tremont House 26th Annual Mardi Gras Ball on Feb. 13
Galveston’s Mardi Gras celebration peaks during The Tremont House 26th Annual Mardi Gras Ball and Parade Viewing Party celebrating “A Chinese New Year” on Saturday, Feb. 13. The ball begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $350 per couple which includes an open bar, an extensive buffet featuring Asian cuisine, live music by The Brew from Austin in the lobby and the Dr. Michael White Jazz Quartet in the dining area. Ball guests will also enjoy prime viewing of the Momus Grand Night Parade as floats and marching bands stop directly in front of the hotel to perform. After the parade, ball goers will venture to the after party in the hotel’s ballroom for performances by Chinese cultural dancers Lee’s Golden Dragon Dance Troupe from Houston followed by dancing to the sounds of Eclipse Band and Orchestra. Breakfast will be served at the conclusion of the evening. A portion of the proceeds from the ball will benefit Rosenberg Library. The Tremont House is offering a two-night package that includes accommodations, two tickets to the ball on Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 and parade viewing of the Momus Grand Night Parade For Mardi Gras ball reservations, call (409) 763-0300 or purchase tickets online.