Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GALVESTON, TEXAS - Blog Elevated Conference

This past weekend, I drove to Galveston, Texas for a conference for BLOGGERS!

Whether a person is serious about blogging, or it's a sporadic hobby, I came home with a renewed outlook. For example, the BLOG ELEVATED conference mission was to teach you and I to be AUTHENTIC, and to BE YOU, and to BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.

My teen daughter attended the conference with me and we both discussed how the conference was motivating and that many of the principles taught could be applied to so many things in life.

Although I had packed two cameras, I ended up using exclusively my reliable and handy (pocket sized) Canon 12.1 mega pixel. This camera was dropped several times while I was in the Middle East and it still keeps snapping! Best of all, it only takes two AA batteries.

Originally we were forecasted CLEAR WEATHER, so I took the longer route by driving highway 290 from Austin to Brenham. From there I took 36 south all the way till the road ended at Surfside Beach. With the coast on the right side of me, I headed east, crossing a bridge into the backdoor of Galveston, Island.

I. Will. Never. Drive. That. Route. Again. IN THE RAIN.

Of course, I didn't know it was going to rain, until I had already passed Brenham and was headed for the coast. Let me tell you, there is nothing more harrowing than driving that tiny peninsula on a narrow road, waves crashing  on both sides of you, flooded roads, not seeing another vehicle for miles, low visibility, and HYDROPLANING.

The good news is that we survived (white knuckles intact) and we made it to our final destination - Moody Gardens hotel, where we would plant ourselves for the next 4 days. The rain was a bit depressing at first, but once it cleared, it was breathtaking!

Parked in front of the hotel. The next day, we had a bit of drizzle, but fortunately it cleared and we were able to enjoy a beautiful day. We were given passes to attend the Moody Garden Rainforest attraction (white/clear pyramid) the Aquarium - watching sharks swim over our heads (blue pyramid) and we also saw the pirate exhibit (red pyramid) Rare viewing of the Whydah excavation. The museum tried to simulate the experience of being on a ship with all the creaking and groaning one would expect from a wooden boat. Or if you closed your eyes, you could pretend you were surrounded by crocodiles.

Pictured, is one of our meals served at the conference.

Lots of fun activities at the conference. I made my own essential oil sugar scrub, and my daughter is getting her nails done.

We took time to enjoy some of the area attractions.

On our last day, we visited the historic Strand district, and toured a variety of souvenir shops. Visited the old soda fountain/candy emporium, saw a documentary of the destructive hurricane that devastated Galveston Island in the 1900's. Sobering!

We also watched people dragging their suitcases to the cruise ships and I got to meet and talk with employees of the cruise lines who were taking breaks at the nearby pub and Starbucks.

I gambled and we took the scenic route back home. It was like seeing the view for the first time.
It was like Texas got a bath. All fresh, sparkly and squeaky clean. And.... lots of mosquitoes. Woops, we spent the first portion of our trip back home, opening up the sunroof, rewinding our windows back down to SHOOO them out.

If you're new to Galveston, don't be afraid of those parking fees. TWICE I was told (after I paid) that those fees can be waivered if you are patronizing some local sites/restaurants. I wish I had known this in advance.

I'm planning to attend next year's Blog Elevated conference. It was THAT much fun!


Patricia Tow said...

Beautiful pictures, you camera is definitely a keeper..
Glad you had fun and thanks for the post xxx

Alba Garza said...

Loved the pictures! I drove in the rain but i did not have that long of a drive. See you next year!