Houston – Bay Area – Hidden gem between NASA and the harbor
Bay Area Houston – Hidden Gem Between NASA and the Bay
The term “Bay Area” first thinks of San Francisco, rather than of the Texan metropolis Houston. But Houston not only has the second largest seaport in the US, the city itself, located on Buffalo Bayou, is only about 80 km from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Several bays – Galveston Bay, East Bay or Trinity Bay – extend deep into the interior of Galveston from the narrow harbor entrance, forming the so-called Houston Bay Area.
Future and Past – Rockets and Battlefields
The most well-known attraction is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, whose museum, the Space Center Houston ( https://spacecenter.org ), is well frequented, especially since here also a training space shuttle with the associated transport Boeing can be seen. A new attraction for aviation enthusiasts is the Lone Star Flight Museum ( www.lonestarflight.org ).
It has recently moved from Galveston to two new large hangar halls at Ellington Airport near NASA. Exhibited are military aircraft from the 1940s to 1960s, also represents a Douglas DC3, which went into the air in 1935 for the first time, a landmark in the development of the passenger machine dar. Historically significant is the port area for its role in the Texas War of Independence in 1836.
In the south of Houston today, at the confluence of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou, took place on April 21, 1836, the decisive battle between the Texas freedom fighters to General Sam Houston and the Mexican army held under General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Texans overwhelmed the numerically superior Mexican army, Santa Anna capitulated and had to recognize the independence of Texas. Today, the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, located on the Houston Ship Channel, commemorates those events with the San Jacinto Museum of History ( www.sanjacinto-museum.org ).
Family fun, pelicans and evergreen oaks
A popular Sunday family destination from Houston is the Kemah Boardwalk ( www.kemahboardwalk.com ).
Kemah Boardwalk Promenade with shops, restaurants, carousels and rides. Right on the water, an amusement area opened in 1998 with a large selection of shops and restaurants, Spielearkaden, excursion boats, aquarium, Eisenbähnchen, carousels and rides, such as ferris wheel and wooden roller coaster, with street performers and shows.
At the heart of it all: the Kemah Boardwalk Inn, a family-friendly hotel. From the balconies of the approximately 50 rooms you can watch the hustle and bustle around (and in Galveston Bay) and listen to the bands on the small stage at the weekend. The rooms are nautically decorated with a lot of blue and maritime motifs, there are nice seating areas and nothing is missing: coffee makers, iPod docking stations, safes and bathrobes.
The area around Kemah has more to offer. The name is reminiscent of the once-living Karankawa Indians, whose language “Kemah” means “wind in the face”. Only separated by a bridge from Kemah is Seabrook, known for the Pelican Path Project ( http://seabrookpelicanpath.com ).
The entire Gulf Coast, including the Houston Bay Area, is the gateway to migratory birds and white and brown pelicans are seen everywhere. Therefore, it makes sense to advertise with larger than life bird figurines. Local artists created the birds individually for local businesses and businesses. A collection of them is in Pelican Park at the central Community House.
Wild West feeling in League City
In the hinterland is League City, with almost 85,000 inhabitants the largest town in the Bay Area. Where once a village of the Karankawa Indians was, settlers settled down in the middle of the 19th century and after one of them was named the place. Among the first were the Butlers, who had come from Louisiana around 1855 and started breeding Longhorn cattle.
In 1872, the Butler Ranch was built in today’s League City, on the railway line between Galveston and Houston – an ideal starting point for the shipment of cattle to the north. With Milby Butler (1889-1971), the era of Longhorn cattle breeders ended up in the area and the (currently due to storm damage closed) Butler Longhorn Museum ( www.butlerlonghornmuseum.com ) recalls those days.
The replicated historic houses in the central Historic District, on the old railway line, give a good impression of the former “Wild West Village”.
Worth seeing are the imposing live oaks (evergreen oaks) in town, along East Main Street or in the two city parks, League Park and Helen’s Garden.
League City is located on Clear Lake, which merges into Trinity Bay between Seabrook and Kemah. Along its shore are magnificent villas and marinas. Nassau Bay is home to the NASA area, but there are numerous nature reserves and bird sanctuaries along with inviting trails and facilities such as the Armand Bayou Nature Center ( www.abnc.org ) on Clear Lake.
Feasting and beer tasting
Culinary is also something to be desired: In Seabrook, there are several Seafood Markets, fishmongers that offer fresh fish and seafood in abundance. In some – e.g. Pier 8 Seafood -, you can choose what you want at the counter, prepare and enjoy outside on a terrace on the bay.
Just for the little or big hunger is the Kemah Lighthouse District ( www.kemah.net/lighthousedistrict.html ), e.g. morning at Art of Coffee – regional roasted coffee and local pastries – or else with the Stutt Garden Tavern (German-Texan cuisine and about 50 beers from around the world on tap) or Skullywag Sud’s N’Grub, with over 40 regional Craft Beers from Barrel. Speaking of beer, the Craft Breweries boom has long since reached the Houston Bay Area.
So are some microbreweries worth a visit such as Galveston Bay Beer Co. ( www.galvestonbaybeer.com ) has a history spanning more than 120 years. Although the old brewery was closed in 1982, the brewery was reopened in 2013 with the help of the new boss, District Judge Mark Henry. In addition to Ales, master brewer Skyler Forshage likes to experiment. For example, with the currently popular in the US Sour Beers, a kind of Gosebier. In 2013, the Texas Beer Refinery ( www.texasbeerrefinery.com ).
The brewery bottles in the meantime and so their beers are everywhere in the Greater Houston to have. Three young master brewers – Luis Barrera, John Hearn and Michael Youngkin – take care of the brewery. Especially the IPA (India Pale Ale) as the Mexican IPA and the Catalyst IIPA (9.6%!) Are among the best beers in Texas.