Monday, June 21, 2010

North Padre Island (6/11 - 6/13)

We went to North Padre Island this past weekend for a much needed break AND a belated 16th Anniversary vacation. Dan decided some time ago that we should go to the shore for our Anniversary (because I’m a beach hog); but, instead of going in April, we should go in June. So, that is what we did. We took a nice long weekend too. We had two full days (Friday and Saturday) at the beach.

{Washed up debris with live bivalves embedded onto the wood. I believe these may be Cocquina Clams otherwise commonly known as bean or butterfly shell clams.}

I didn’t take a lot of pictures on account of the beach weather affecting the lenses. Plus, I was more focused on relaxing and enjoying the beach. Dan didn’t take even bother taking his camera along as he didn’t want to get sand or water on his camera or lenses. I was very careful with mine; so, it should be alright.

The last time we were at Padre Island was in April last year and the beach back then was so clean, calm and free of seaweed. However, this time the ocean was very rough and it was extremely windy at times. And, there was tons of seaweed. In some places, the seaweed was knee deep. I think that whoever takes care of the beach is being wise in leaving the seaweed as a natural barrier against oil IF it should ever show up on our shores.

{This picture shows the seaweed – it was like this all along the shoreline.}

There was a jetskier (take note of that idiot jetskier on the right in the above picture). And, there were surfboarders (not in picture). I was surprised to see them as I have never seen surfers along the Texas coast until now. I always thought it was a Californian thing to do. They had to go way out there in order to get a decent surfing experience though – that is too much work if you ask me.

Anyway, we both got sunburned on Friday. We did use suntan lotion; but, neglected to add more throughout the day. What’s interesting is that both of us previously had a “turtle tan” and both of us got burned where the skin hasn’t seen the light of day for quite some time. The exception is that Dan got burned on the tops of his feet and I did not. I think it is because I wear sandals a lot; so, my feet get exposed to the sun frequently. However, Dan wears shoes and hates flip-flops. So, as a result, his feet got burned.

We ended up renting a popup tent with two beach chaise lounge chairs on Saturday. It was pricey ($40 a day); but, well worth it considering we were both burned and I wanted to be on the beach all day. I lathered on 45 SPF suntan lotion AND wore a t-shirt. Dan did the same and wore a tank top.

I went swimming quite a few times and both of us people watched. Dan was quite content just laying here in the shade of the popup tent. He never once got up – just laid there and vegetated. He is not really a beach or water person. However, I think he was happy knowing I was happy. I even had fun burying his foot in the sand and watching mini earthquakes that occurred from his big toe. Ha!

We did something slightly different this time around as far as food. Instead of sticking with the mainstream and driving around to find a familiar place to eat, I wanted to go “local”. So, I did a little research and picked two places to try out. I wrote about them at the bottom of this post if you're interested.

All in all, I had a very good time. I think Dan did too. It was what we both needed -- just mindlessly vegging out and doing nothing. I was extremely sad when Sunday morning rolled around. I had a hard time saying “goodbye” as I didn’t want to return to “life”. It’s been a rough road for me the last year or so. It has not been not easy on the both of us.

{My splotchy sunburn}

Padre Island Burger Company

We went to this place on Friday for lunch. There was a sign saying “Hippies use back door” at the main entrance. Inside, bottle caps were nailed onto door casings and beer coasters were nailed onto portions of the rafters. We chose to sit in a rather cozy area that was quite hidden. There was a ceiling fixture that caught my attention. I couldn’t figure out what it was; but, it had tons of signatures. I found out much later via a flyer that I snagged that it was a Volkswagon hood belonging to a friend of the place who was tragically killed in a traffic accident at age 24. This guy was mostly responsible for the d├ęcor including a hand-crafted bar, which seems to be the centerpiece of the entire place.

The menu was eclectic offering Appetizers, Salads, and some unusual ingredients for burgers plates. You get a choice of ½ lb Fresh Ground Beef patty, Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast or Marinated Portobello Cap. Some examples are “First Date” – wild mushrooms, smoked bacon, roasted garlic spread. “The Hang Over” – fried egg, caramelized onions, American cheese. “My Boy Blue” – smoked bacon, blue cheese spread. “The Mexican” – cheese enchilada, avocado, sour cream.

We both went with “Boring” – w/Cheese. Dan went with sweet potato fries and I had regular fries. Once you place an order, they give you this gadget that buzzes when your order is ready to be picked up.

Let me tell you, the prices were a bit steep. (Boring w/Cheese was $8.50 each.) However, the food was delicious. I’m not a burger fan; but, I pretty much ate a good portion of my burger. There was just something about it that was flavorful. Dan thinks it was the bun that had a hint of sweetness. I’m not so sure. I only know that it was the best burger I had in ages. The sweet potato fries were interesting. My fries reminded me of Jack-in-the-Box curly fries without the curls.

I won’t hesitate to go back to this place again should we return to North Padre Island in spite of the cost. And oh, by the way, expect to wait a bit for your meal.

Padre Pizzeria

We went to this place for lunch on Saturday. It is just a simple, clean, and plain “hole in the wall” type of restaurant. They had pictures and “paintings” up on the wall for sale from various artists. All of them were too pricey for me ($75 was the lowest price I saw).

We ordered the medium (12 inch) pepperoni. It was very good pizza. The crust was good and the mixture of cheese topping was delicious. I wished that I could figure out the cheese mixture because I would so love to create the same for our own homemade pizza. The convenience of going to this place is that we didn’t have to go far from the hotel or beach to get eats. I’d go to this place again. But, I may be biased because I’m such a pizza freak.

So there you have it, our Padre Island belated Anniversary vacation.