Travel

Preliminary Life in Corpus Christi, Texas

We’ve been in Texas now for a month. There are a couple things I noticed immediately upon crossing the state line from Louisiana into Texas (besides the dead armadillo on the side of the road).

  1. I’ll be damned if everything didn’t suddenly feel bigger. The trucks got bigger, the land seemed to open up, my hair rose about 3 inches. It’s true that everything is bigger in Texas.everything is bigger in Texas
  2. The radio stations. I’d say about 33% became church music. 33% became country. 33% became latin music. 1% everything else.
  3. Bad drivers. When I lived in Delaware, I thought Pennsylvania drivers were the worst. When I lived in Florida, I thought, well I was wrong… Florida drivers are the worst. Now that I’m in Texas, I was wrong… Texas drivers are the worst. Danger. Danger around every corner my friend.
  4. Drive-thrus. There is literally every restaurant I’ve ever heard of and not heard of in Corpus Christi. And almost every single one has a drive thru. I guess it makes sense why it has been named the fattest city in the country.
  5. HEAT. Goodness gracious is it hot. It was only mid April when we arrived and it took us 6+ hours to unload our moving truck. Not because of how much stuff we have, but because we had to keep taking breaks to recuperate from the heat. It is hot. It is humid. And it is not even summer.

In our first month here, we’ve only done a little bit of exploring. Mostly our time has been spent settling in and adjusting to our new basecamp, but we have been able to get out a bit.

  1. Padre Island. One of the first excursions we took was a drive down to Padre Island.
    • We had lunch at Mikel May’s, which is a wonderful place literally hanging over the water. I recommend the seafood nachos. Thick, crispy freshly fried tortillas drenched in parmesan cheese, gulf shrimp, crab meat, and scallops.Lunch Date on the WaterSeafood Nachos
    • We drove down the beach, literally right on the beach. The sand is pretty packed so you don’t need 4 wheel drive to explore, especially if you stick close to the surf. During our drive we came a campsite of a group of people who were mostly nude. This was not a nude beach, but to each his own! We were definitely overdressed, so we turned around and headed back.Off the Gulf Coast in Texas
  2. Farmer’s Markets
    • I have really grown to love farmer’s markets. Being a conscious consumer and supporting local artisans and small business owners is something we should all strive to do more. I’ve been able to find two farmer’s markets in Corpus Christi. The Southside farmer’s market is on Saturdays. My first visit included maybe a dozen vendors and I picked up some homemade soap from one vendor and green beans from another. The second week was their semi-annual craft fair and they had about 40 vendors with everything from musicians, live chickens, jewelry, crafts, baked goods, and fruits and vegetables. There is another farmer’s market in downtown Corpus Christi on Wednesday evenings from 5pm-7pm. I have not been able to venture down there yet, but it is on my to-do list.
  3. Movies and Shopping
    • Corpus Christi has so much shopping! Just like they have every restaurant you could imagine, there is also every store you could ever want to spend all your money in. I haven’t done a significant amount of shopping, besides groceries-in which case, I recommend the HEB- but it’s nice to know the option is there. And believe me, ALL the options are there.
    • I love going to the movies. I’ve grown a deep affinity for popcorn, and have been known to drive 1.5 hours to attend a dine-in theater. I am not ashamed. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a dine-in theater in Corpus Christi yet, but the one theater closest to us has an IMAX and even their standard viewing rooms have these AMAZING reclining seats. It really takes the experience above and beyond.Movie Theater lounging
  4. Downtown Waterfront Strip
    • Finally three weekends into moving here I was able to convince my husband to go explore downtown with me. It was very beautiful! Spanning the entire waterfront there are white gazebos for overlooking the green water. You can spend the afternoon on a rented pedal bike, jet ski, or boat tour. Or you can even buy seafood right off the fisherman’s boat on the pier! Talk about farm to table!! I was most excited to come across the Selena memorial. This was easily the most popular point of the waterfront. Everyone was taking photos with the statue commemorating the life and loss of Selena. The memorial is beautifully crafted with a life-size statue of her entire body and a white rose bloom. There are also murials painted on the water-facing side of the pavilion. Corpus Christi also has a museum for Selena, which I will be sure to visit in the future.IMG_8389IMG_8390
    • Also located at the far end of the waterfront strip is the Art Museum of South Texas. Every first Friday of the month they offer free admission into the museum. If you love art museums this is a great way to spend a couple hours of your time. There is also a spectacular view of the bay, a wonderful cafe if you get hungry or thirsty, and a marvelous fountain with large sculptures outside. The Art Museum is not the only museum located here. There is also the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. I have yet to visit this museum, but will certainly give a review when we do.IMG_8450Art Museum of South Texas.pngIMG_8449
  5.  Corpus Christi Bay
    • Since my husband is in the military, we are able to rent boats from the Morale,  Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) on base. There are public companies for civilians to do this as well. We rented and 18 ft boat to explore the waters surrounding Corpus Christi. What an amazing way to see the coast and wildlife! We traveled down the shore to get a different view of downtown, the base, the oil rigs out in the water, wind turbines, and Padre Island. Outstanding views!corpus christi bay
    • Part of our boat adventures included docking at Doc’s Seafood Restaurant for lunch. We pulled the boat right up to the back of the restaurant, tied ourselves to the dock, and had a scrumptious lunch before heading back out on the water. I highly recommend the Ahi Tuna Sandwich! My mother in law also said her shrimp and avocado salad was the BEST salad she’s ever had!Doc's Seafood Restaurant
    • There is so much wildlife to see as well. There are 3 dolphins that seem to hang out near the base a lot. I’ve named them Boris, Helga, and Juniper. So many different birds! Big ones, small ones, the ones with the big beaks, I clearly don’t know birds, but there are many and fun to watch the big ones dive bomb into the water with a big splash as they hunt for fish. Speaking of fish, the fish literally jump out of the water down here! It’s quite comical to see! Oh and the jellyfish– not comical to see, and I will NOT be getting into the water.

I guess we have seen and done a lot more than it feels like. And there is so much more on my list! I have my mother in law visiting, and my best friend coming at the end of May. These are perfect opportunities to do more exploring. The definites on my list include going to the USS Lexington, the Selena Museum, Texas Surf Museum, and a Hooks baseball game. My possibly/maybe list would include horseback riding on the beach, the Texas State Aquarium, and glow in the dark mini golf. These are budget dependent.

Stay tuned for more travel updates! Sometimes we get so wrapped up wanting to travel to new and faraway places, we forget to explore where we live! Take a day and be a tourist in your own town! What have you never seen where you currently reside?

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Travel

Pensacola, Florida- TripAdvisor vs. a Local’s Top 5 Things to Do

tripadvisor-vs-local-top-5-things-to-do-in-pensacola-floridaOne of the challenges of military life is being apart from family and many times you can go  many months and even years before being able to visit “home” or for family to come visit you. However, when the stars align just right, and you’re able to have family come to you, what better way to celebrate than getting to be a tourist in your new home of residence?

My brother-in-law came to visit us last week for a quick, but great trip! We were so excited to be able to show him around Pensacola and we were able to take advantage of a little road trip together to New Orleans, which has been on my bucket list for quite sometime. I’ll write all about New Orleans in another post, but for today I will go over our voyages around Pensacola.

The first time we visited Pensacola was in 2014 during a roadtrip we completed of the southeastern part of the US. We came back in November 2016 to house hunt, and moved in December 2016. In our travels and now residency, we’ve been able to experience a lot of what Pensacola has to offer, but there was still more for us to do that we hadn’t had the opportunity to take advantage of yet. So let’s take a gander at the Top 5 Things to Do in Pensacola according to TripAdvisor:

  1. National Naval Aviation Museum– The National Naval Aviation Museum is a free museum with free parking and free tours. Free Free Free! They also have an IMAX theater and simulation rides you can do for an additional purchase. It is the largest Naval Aviation Museum in the world, and has over 150 aircraft representing the Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard. The museum is located on Naval Aviation Station Pensacola, but civilians and military are both welcome. I have been to the museum more times than I have fingers, but I still enjoy it every time. I can see why it is listed as the #1 top thing to do in Pensacola.  pensacola-nationa-naval-museum-tif
  2. Pensacola Naval Air Station– This includes the National Aviation Museum, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, Fort Barrancas, and Barrancas National Cemetery. Since TripAdvisor compiles it’s ‘Top’ list based off of comments and reviews of users, some reviewed all of these destinations under the NAS and some reviewed each place individually. I think it makes it a bit redundant, and not as comprehensive, but oh well. All of these things are located at Pensacola NAS and all worthy of your time, military or civilian.
  3. Blue Wahoos Ballpark– Number 3 on TripAdvisor is the Blue Wahoos Ballpark. This location is absolutely beautiful and is located on the Gulf of Mexico with a fantastic modern playground for children, and outdoor amphitheater. Since it is currently winter, there are no baseball games to catch, but if you would like to take a scenic walk/run around the ballpark, it is definitely a great place to do so. 461810650_1280x720
  4. Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum– The Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum is my favorite thing to do on base. It is not free to go inside, but well worth the small fee to be able to climb the 177 steps to the top and take in the view of NAS and also the Gulf of Mexico. The museum portion allows you to learn about the history of the lighthouse and the keepers who have maintained it for decades. There are even rumors that the lighthouse is haunted, and who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Also, behind the museum is a short path that leads you onto one of the many white sandy beaches in Pensacola. The sand is so fine it feels like you’re walking on sugar. pensacola-lighthouse_03
  5. Fort Barrancas– Fort Barrancas is a military fort located on NAS Pensacola. This is another free excursion that can be done. It’s such a beautiful and historical site and I highly recommend going down into the fort and through the underground tunnels. Such a cool experience! fort-barrancas-drawbridge-entrance

We did all of these things when we visited Pensacola the first time, now after living here for almost two months, I think I’ve found a couple other gems that I would recommend you do should you ever find yourself on the panhandle of Florida.

  1. Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum– As described above, the lighthouse is gorgeous, historical and quite the sight to see. Put this at the top of your list. And don’t forget to hit the beach behind the lighthouse, it’s like two birds with one stone! untitled-2798
  2. Pensacola Ice Flyers– I went to see my very first ice hockey game at Pensacola Bay Center. So So So much fun! The tickets are inexpensive, even the most expensive are only $29 and they offer a military discount. There is not a bad seat in the house and many of the home games have an open skate following the game. Definitely do this if they are playing while you’re in town. 15966288_10210209510026789_1555044419640420471_n
  3. Downtown Pensacola– Main Street and Palafox Street are where a majority of the restaurants, bars and boutiques are located in downtown Pensacola. Even if you just take the time to stroll up and down the streets, it is an easy way to spend a few hours. Also be sure to see how many of the pelicans you can find that are on display! fd7352d2_eee9_4384_b16f_fdfdcebd293e_ab3bf5bc-cb94-4d0f-a300-1166378a7f23
  4. Brothers BBQ– If you’re in the mood for delicious southern bbq, Brothers BBQ is a spot I highly recommend. Tuesdays and Wednesdays they even have an all you can eat special. Calories don’t count when you’re enjoying BBQ. img_7361
  5. Seville Quarter– For those adults out there looking for some adult activities, Seville Quarter has 9 bars in 7 buildings all conveniently located together in Downtown Pensacola. My favorite… well technically the only one I’ve been inside is the piano bar, the musicians were excellent and the ambiance and decor was terrific. 10/10 friends would recommend. Also Wednesday night is ladies night and drinks are cheap! img_7655

I’ve always thought no matter where you lived, people and places were all generally the same. But I was wrong, each place is so unique and will have different things to offer. I’ve really enjoyed our time in Pensacola so far and discovering all the quirks that make one a ‘local’. As we spend more time here, my top 5 may change, or perhaps we’ll get orders soon for a new location and I’ll have the opportunity to discover a whole new place. Do your worst United States Navy, I’m ready!

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