This is a terrific time of year to go down there - it's not cold, it's not crowded, and it's not expensive. What is there to do on the coast in the winter, you ask? Why, I'd be happy to tell you!
It's a long drive from FW to SPI, so we took a bit of a detour and spent the first night in Fredericksburg. We got a good look at the historic town dressed in holiday lights from a horse-drawn carriage. The outdoor ice rink was closed, for some reason. A successful search for jalapeno peanut butter and a German meal were worth the few extra miles.
It was a bit chilly the first two days on the island, so we visited the sea turtle rescue center, the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, and the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Turns out that retirees are not the only "snowbirds" to be found in the Rio Grande Valley.
We took a 2-hour cruise in Laguna Madre on a very tidy pirate ship called the Black Dragon. I was a little embarrassed about the whole thing at first, but it was really fun! They keep the kids busy with water gun fights, limbo, treasure hunts, sword fighting, and other pirate-foolery. And we saw plenty of bottle-nose dolphins in the bay.
The rest of the time on the island was spent on the beach. The girls got in the water, but I chose to nap on the sand. Perfection - no crowds, no sunburns, and no mosquitos!
Oh, yeah... this goes without saying - we ate tons of sea food and shopped like tourists.
We were sad to leave, but reality was calling. A stop in Gruene on the way home gave us a chance to stretch our legs and dine at my favorite restaurant, the Gristmill. And then we pressed onward, looking forward to crashing in our own beds.
It is good to be home and back amongst friends. I returned nice and rested, ready to tackle the mountain of work that greeted me Monday morning.
Hope you and yours had a blessed holiday and that the coming year holds much promise.