Monday, June 29, 2015

Tourist-y Summer

We've enjoyed playing tourist this summer; taking nearby day trips instead of longer trips (drive time and duration).  Our most recent excursion was on Galveston Island - ghost tours by Dash Beardsley.  We were surprised at how much we enjoyed this walking tour of The Strand area.  It wasn't a ghost hunting tour, but more of the history around several buildings including people who have died there, later seen by residents and visitors hanging around The Strand.

Dash Beardsley - Ghost Tour Guide/Hunter
Dash Beardsley - 6'4", dressed in all black, 2 rings on every finger, wore sunglasses at night.  If he were to appear as an everyday man -- he wouldn't be as interesting; maybe a bit over the top for some, but the "character" fit the tour.
(Disclosure:  I'm not comfortable taking pictures of strangers - face on (yet), I'm sure he's used to it, but I'm not... so... you'll just have to go on the tour yourself to experience his entire persona.  Let's just say - he reminded us a lot of Dog the Bounty Hunter, but nicer, cornier jokes, and a true interest in preserving Galveston history.)

2202 Strand St, Galveston (W.L. Moody Building)

The W.L. Moody building currently houses the (now closed) Colonel Bubbie's Strand Surplus Senter (as it is spelled on the store sign).  The original building had four floors, the top floor was lost in the 1900 storm. Stories of hauntings within the building must have come from locals and eye witnesses since I wasn't able to track them down through books or internet sites. From what I remember don't think the original owner was too thrilled with the current business. (The tour was over 2 hours long, too many details to remember).  FYI...This building/business is currently for sale - if you're interested.

Inn on the Strand (B&B), 2023 The Strand St (closed)

Again - the stories of this (now closed) bed & breakfast must have come from locals and eye witnesses.  This area of The Strand saw a lot of Civil War action, so naturally death and suffering along with ghosts supposedly haunt this area.  But the facts seem to be that the B&B is too haunted to keep maids employed longer than 3 days and a few never returned to collect their paychecks.  It is the the dark building (1 lighted window - why?) in the middle.

Hendley Market, 2010 The Strand
Hendley Market located within the first commercial building (Hendley Row), built in 1858 The center for the island's shipping and cotton industry, the building has witnessed island history since the Civil War.  The story we were told happened in the street - a case of mistaken identity - a father & son accidentally shooting each other during a Civil War battle.  They and other soldiers have been seen in the street at night.  Currently the Hendley Market is an usual shop and one everyone should visit (expect to spend at least an hour just browsing).  They have very unusual items, books, and sculptures for sale.

It was a great, fun evening and we all learned a lot about the history contained within those few blocks of Galveston's historic district.  Dash also told other ghost stories around Galveston that weren't included in any of his tours (the Face at UTMB for example).  There was a breeze, so no mosquitoes but there was a lot of standing (on concrete).  Walking distance wasn't long in between each location and he did make time for a quick 5 minute break at a carefully placed market with public restrooms and refreshments for purchase.  You can find information about Dash's tours on his website.  We plan to take another of his tours.

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