The Texas valley is starting to feel like my second home; Harlingen mainly. With the bestie & her family living there, their beautiful home that feels like a bed and breakfast, and the nice down to earth people that reside there, how can it not? The bestie happens to be the owner of Massage by Roni inside Montage Salon located in Harlingen , so if youre in the area, be sure to schedule a massage for some relaxation or to get those stress knots out! A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of staying in a very quaint beach house in South Padre Island for a whole weekend with my bestie & my nephews. That weekend we were able to enjoy some local spots, go on an adventure at the end of the island, & enjoy some local cuisine. Our main reason for spending the weekend there was Sand Castle Days. Though the fest was smaller than expected, it not only drew in a big crowd, it was really cool to attend.
Held at this really cool restaurant (that carries my favorite beer Landshark, has live music, & fireworks), bar, family place, beach view all rolled up in one called Clayton’s, Sand Castle Days featured artists from all over the world and locally. Being an esthetician and working on many beautiful faces let me start off with my favorite sand art piece. This one was called “Bleeding”. Artist Guy-Olivier Deveau is a professional sand and ice sculptor from Quebec, Canada. I was so mesmorized by this piece I could not walk away from it…talk about flawless!
Another favorite titled “Lady in a Dream” was by artist JooHeng Tan all the way from Singapore! It was so amazing to see this piece up close and personal.
I couldn’t help but take a picture of this one; I know how much my nephews love sharks! And being the wife of a Marine & the artist being self taught…yes, this was another favorite! Greg J. Grady is from New Hampshire; he works with sand, now, ice, wood, and pumpkins. Being a huge Halloween junkie, I’d love to pick his brain on pumpkin carving!
Now this local artist was as cool as his sculptor; Amazin’ Walter McDonald is from South Padre Island. He has been a part of Sand Castle Days for all of its 25 years! He’s won several awards for his work. We actually got a chance to meet him and take a few pictures with him as well.
Here are some other awesome sand sculptors that were at the fest.
If you are ever visiting South Padre Island you need to visit these local restaurants. Talk about great food, good service, and a really cool atmosphere! For breakfast we went to Grapevine Café Coffeehouse; I love to try new things so I ordered the crab meat omelet stuffed with real Crab Meat and Tomato, then lightly glazed with hollandaise and topped with sliced Avocados, talk about heavenly! As my beverage of choice, I had a café mocha that tasted even better than big coffeehouse chains. Coming from a big coffee drinker…that should tell you something! For dessert we couldn’t pass up having pumpkin pancakes!
Lunch time rolled in…and how can you NOT eat seafood on an island!? We hit up Dirty Al’s; it was highly recommended by my social media buddies on Google+. We started off with fried calamari and ended it with a fried shrimp basket. “Dirty Al” is owned by Alfonso Salazar, better known as “Dirty Al” who originally started shrimping as a young man with his father and 6 brothers. Being a fisherman’s daughter, I was beyond pleased!
Now for dinner! One of my favorite cuisines is Cajun; having recently returned from New Orleans I was having withdrawals for that Creole spice! So we had dinner at Daddy’s Seafood & Cajun Kitchen. As soon as I walked in I thought of my little brother who happens to love Cajun cuisine as well. They even have their own pet alligator! For my appetizer I had the lobster bisque; it was creamy with big chunks of fresh lobster, the best I have ever had. As my main entrée I had the Fried Crawfish & Crawfish Etoufee…I wish I could have brought a to go plate home; the crawfish were huge!
To walk off all of the great food we had we drove to the end of the island…I had never seen sand dunes that big and with the rainy windy weather, the seashore was full of thick surf and huge waves, it was beautiful. We walked along the beach and searched for seashells, they were much bigger than the shells in Port Aransas. We had a chance to see locals getting ready to kite surf and take lots of pictures of the beach. We also stopped by the South Padre Island Bird and Nature Center; the views and wildlife we encountered made the visit totally worth it. We visited the beach to enjoy sunsets and cloudiness on the bay…Texas nature is breathtaking. If you haven’t visited our Texas coast in South Padre Island…I highly recommend it…just don’t come back with a souvenir like I did from climbing the sand dunes! Till next vacation…safe travels everyone!