Busy businessman takes it easy in his Bayou Vista backyard
Eric Bowers never had any intention of moving to Bayou Vista. He just liked to drive in on weekends from his home in the Houston Heights and visit friends, enjoy parties on their decks and watch the sunset over the bay while sipping a margarita.
But on Labor Day weekend in 2011, while hanging out with those friends, he saw a “For Sale” sign go up across the canal.
The man who never had any intention of moving to the canal community made an appointment to see the house, submitted an offer and bought the place.
“My first thought was that it would just be my bay home,” said Bowers, who travels extensively for his job as a safety and environmental compliance consultant.
But friends made bets that Bowers would be living there full time within six months. They were right.
“The community here is so connected, so it didn’t take long for Bayou Vista to reel me in,” Bowers said.
The property, sitting on three lots, had sparse landscaping, but Bowers had a vision. He wanted a yard that shouted “tropical paradise,” so he got busy getting bids for a swimming pool.
He also wanted a place where the dress code consisted of flip-flops, shorts, T-shirts, ball caps and sunglasses, because a casual atmosphere was a must now that he was becoming a permanent Bayou Vista resident.
Known for its laid-back, easy living ambience, Bayou Vista has a charm all its own, with the slogan: “Where Living on the Water is a Way of Life.”
That aspect appealed to Bowers, whose busy work schedule involves a lot of air travel and living in hotels. So, on his time off, he likes to take advantage of the things he loves most — swimming in his pool, cooking for friends and enjoying the outdoor oasis he created.
“The yard only had a scattering of palm trees and a small fountain,” Bowers said. “I hired Lynn’s Landscaping in League City, Gulf Coast Palapas in Bacliff and Platinum Pools in Houston, told them what I wanted and we got to work on the design.”
The pool with a swim-up bar is next to a giant overhead palapa that provides some shade. A hanging papasan chair and hammock are available for lounging. Bowers made it a point to have a television positioned at just the right angle for watching while dipping his toes into the pool.
The entire pool area is surrounded by palms — Bowers added several more — banana trees, birds of paradise, oleanders and a colorful mix of plants resistant to wind and salt.
“Most of the plants in my yard attract butterflies,” Bowers said. “I see them in all colors. I also enjoy the birds, like the swallows and the kingfishers that land on the deck of the hot tub, with no fear.”
A few steps from the pool lead to the decorative space underneath the house, which is reminiscent of Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville,” only in this case, it’s party time at The Big Eeeasy Bar & Grill.
“Although my name is Eric, one of my friends calls me “E” and sometimes puts a lot of “ee” into it,” Bowers said. “So, he had The Big Eeeasy Bar & Grill sign made for me.”
Other fun signage covers the walls — “Mermaid Lounge,” “Life Is Better By The Pool,” “Living On Island Time,” “Toucans Are Better Than One” — as well as neon beer signs, tiki masks and just about every kind of nautical art imaginable.
Two bar areas and an outdoor kitchen means there’s always crawfish boiling, fish frying or barbecue in the smoker. Five television sets, dart board, stereo system and coolers full of beverages provide ample entertainment for guests.
“When I come home from traveling or business meetings and take the exit off I-45 toward Bayou Vista, all my stress goes away,” Bowers said.