It was over a leisurely breakfast with visiting relatives a few years ago that I began to really understand the Gulf of Mexico’s gravitational pull.
After spending a few days in our island home, my husband’s nephew, Andy, abruptly announced he and family were moving to Galveston, pass the syrup please. Was it the pancakes talking? The Andy I knew was a dedicated Dallasite. It was maybe his second visit to the island. But before I knew it, we were piling into his truck and, Coast Monthly in hand, were window-shopping island real estate.
Andy went back to Dallas and I figured that was the end of that. But a few weeks later, he called, said he found a fixer-upper on the island’s East End, sold his Dallas home and had arranged to have mail forwarded to ours until he was settled here.
Before I knew it, Andy and family were living in Galveston. He bought a golf cart. He was walking miles on the beach daily and inviting us to dinner and a night of ArtWalk. He renovated his home and within weeks had run-ins with city building officials. It doesn’t get more Galveston than that. Andy was more island than me.
When I moved to Galveston 21 years ago, I was chasing a coveted job at Texas’ oldest newspaper. I worried I would miss friends, colleagues and family. I didn’t have to worry long. I quickly learned living on Galveston Island meant a revolving door of visitors. I saw some Houston friends more than I did when I lived in that sprawling city.
And many of them, like Andy, eventually moved here or bought second homes.
We all were chasing what locals already had. Immediate access to the beaches and bays. We wanted the casual ease of boating to a friend’s house or walking to the beach without loading up the car and driving for miles on congested highways. Real neighborhoods and real neighbors. Sails on the horizon. Birds everywhere. And beyond those, something less tangible — an attitude and coastal lifestyle. A sense of deep history, but also constant change.
Islanders, since before they could walk, have tasted the salty water of the Gulf. The rest of us got here as soon as we could.
This issue is dedicated to everyone who embraces the coastal lifestyle and our good fortune to have the Gulf of Mexico in our backyards.