Two devoted islanders write definitive Galveston guidebook
When people want to know where to dine, visit or shop in Galveston, they often turn to Christine Ruiz Hopkins and Heidi Lutz.
So, it seemed only fitting and inevitable the two islanders would co-author the book “100 Things to Do in Galveston Before You Die,” which was released in April and published by Reedy Press as a part of its best-selling travel series. The book offers a listing of places to go and see while visiting the historic seaport city.
Whether you’re a local looking for new ways to explore Galveston, or you’re planning a visit, the book is a guide featuring history, art, festivals and a dining scene that proves there’s more to the island than beaches.
“This book is definitely a passion project for me,” Hopkins said. “Over the years, I’ve written a lot of blogs and offered lots of tips to visitors, friends, family and travel writers, so this was an exciting way to share a ‘bucket list’ of suggestions.”
Hopkins’ longtime writer friend, Kathy Straach, suggested the book and Hopkins saw an unexpected opportunity and a dream come true, she said.
Lutz, also known for her love of the island, and a resident for more than 25 years, was the perfect person to help with the book, she said.
“Christine and I have worked together for years on numerous projects,” Lutz said. “When she approached me to co-author this book, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I love this island, and being able to share all of the wonderful things about it is a great opportunity.”
The book was a chance to record all of her island favorites in one place, said Lutz, a former lifestyle editor for The Galveston County Daily News who now is a classroom trainer at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Lutz moved to Galveston for her first post-college job at the local newspaper and has spent almost half her life learning about Galveston as a reporter, editor, publicist, blogger, tour guide and active community volunteer. She’s what locals refer to as an IBC, or Islander by Choice.
“When I was a reporter and editor, it was my job to share all of the news of what’s happening in Galveston, so basically, the habit stuck,” Lutz said. “Christine and I have a reputation among our friends as the go-to person when they have questions about what to do in Galveston. This topic was just a natural fit for two women who love their island home.”
“100 Things” is great for visitors, but also a way for islanders to be tourists in their own town, said Hopkins, who was born and raised in Galveston and began working in the island’s tourism industry when she was 15. For more than 25 years, she has worked in travel and tourism promoting Galveston through blogs and tours of the island for visiting travel writers.
Bishop’s Palace, 1402 Broadway, and Moody Mansion, 2618 Broadway, are some of Hopkins’ favorite places to visit, she said.
“I love Galveston’s history,” Hopkins said. “I would guess that I’ve done 98 percent of everything in the book with the exception of just a couple of things. I’d also like to say that every person who visits or lives here should see ‘The Great Storm’ at Pier 21 at least once.”
The book highlights the diversity the island has to offer and things most people didn’t know Galveston offered, Lutz said.
“Galveston is so much more than its 30 miles of great beaches,” Lutz said. “The island truly has something for every taste. If you’re a visitor, I suggest using the book as your guide to the truly local experience of Galveston. And, for locals, use our book as a challenge to experience everything that draws thousands of people here every year for vacation. Get out there and enjoy our community.”
Visit www.100ThingsGalveston.com for information about where to buy the book and about book signings.