By Nick Greene
For any hard-working mom, an island getaway sounds like the perfect way to spend Mother’s Day. But Monday mornings have a way of rearing their ugly heads the day after, full of traffic jams, screaming toddlers and deadlines to meet, making a Tahitian vacation less than practical.
Fortunately, Houston-area moms have easy access to an island getaway right in their own backyards—Galveston. With its unique blend of R&R options (spas that pamper, shops that tantalize, or beaches that relax), Galveston offers an awesome array of ideas to get Mom out of the house with a smile on her face this May 12. It’s the perfect place to honor her dedication throughout the year.
Pampered Like a Princess
Moms sacrifice a lot to keep their families and homes running, and there’s no better way to reward them than with an all-day trip to the spa, where all that built-up stress can be massaged, manicured and washed away.
The San Luis Resort (5222 Seawall Blvd., www.sanluisresort.com) is offering a Mother’s Day package May 11-12, including a brunch on Sunday that will have Mom’s taste buds on high alert with its combination of seafood, pastries and sushi—not to mention a full complement of delicious beverages, from wine and champagne to sparkling mimosas.
An overnight stay in the hotel and the spa’s Bahama Mama package will have your favorite lady feeling better than new with its combination of soaks, scrubs, massages, manicures and pedicures.
If Mom just wants the spa without the overnight stay, Lulu’s The Salon and Day Spa (www.lulusthesalon.com, 5205 Ave. U) offers customized gift certificates on its website that can be printed out or e-mailed directly to the woman of your choice, then redeemed in person on Mother’s Day. Spa services include body treatments, facial therapies, manicures/pedicures, and waxing and beauty packages.
Houston-area mom Jennifer Moore has Lulu’s at the top of her list for a Mother’s Day treat. “I really enjoyed Lulu’s on my wedding day, and prior to, as well,” Moore says. “I had a wonderful pedicure, hairstyle, wax, massage and make-up session.”
Stepping Back in Time
Many Texans don’t realize that Galveston was first settled nearly 200 years ago (1816) and that many structures from the 19th century still call the island home. If Mom has a taste for the glamorous styles of a bygone era, she’ll love the 39th Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour, (www.galvestonhistory.org/Galveston_Historic_Homes_Tour.asp). The tour concludes May 11-12, with shuttle tours and a jazz brunch on Mother’s Day at the breathtaking 1880 Garten Verien, a German ballroom that is the site of many picturesque weddings. Homes on the tour date as far back as the 1838 Michel B. Menard House, a Greek Revival-style mansion that is Galveston’s oldest surviving residential structure.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
If a shopping spree is more Mom’s style, then a trip to the harbor side of the island will suit her perfectly. Take a few girlfriends along and hit Galveston’s famous The Strand (www.galveston.com/downtowntour), located between Harborside, 25th Street, Market and 20th Street. The Strand is a historic district full of art galleries, antique repositories, delicious dining and stores showcasing wares from every corner of the Lone Star state, across the country and around the world. Horse and carriage rides are available, as are seats on an old-fashioned trolley.
Whichever restaurant Mom chooses, make sure she saves room for dessert from La King’s Confectionery (2323 The Strand, www.lakingsconfectionery.com). A staple of The Strand since 1976, La King’s is a sweet tooth’s dream—half candy store, half ice cream parlor, with everything made from scratch on the premises.
Watch saltwater taffy being made while you browse, and try a piece for free, if you’re quick enough to catch one when the candy master lobs it your way.
“I went to La King’s as a child, and it was one of my favorite things,” Cypress mom of two Katherine Goolsby says. “I’ll be taking my daughters there this year to start a new tradition.”
Day at the Beach
We’d be remiss not to mention the number one reason people go to Galveston—the beach. By Mother’s Day, the weather and the water are plenty warm enough for a dip, and whether you want to swim, surf, tan or just watch the waves (and the people!), Galveston has a ton of choice spots to pick from.
Head west along the Seawall, and you’ll find three Beach Pocket Parks (www.galveston.com/beachparks), which are perfect for moms wanting to make Mother’s Day fun for the whole family. With private bathroom and shower facilities, snack bars and chair and umbrella rentals, these parks have been a staple of the island for decades.
“My best memory of Mother’s Day in Galveston is arriving at the Beach Pocket Park around 4p.m.,” says Margaret Castro, a Cypress mom who has been visiting the island for close to 50 years. “We’d miss the crowds and the hottest part of the day, but still have four hours of daylight left.”
So remember, planning a luxurious Mother’s Day for that special lady doesn’t have to involve plane tickets and clearing the calendar for a week. Just pack Mom’s bags, put her in the car and drive to Galveston for a Mother’s Day treat she’ll remember fondly all year.
A native Texan, Nick Greene is a Houston-based freelance writer with 17 years professional experience. His most important job, however, is being the proud father of twin girls.