What a ride. I came. I saw. I conquered. I had a few down moments but overall, I was able to celebrate my 28th birthday with those I held near and dear to my heart. I had not been out of town since January (nope, not even to Houston) and I was starting to get a bit of “cabin fever”. Make no mistake, I adore Dallas now, but I knew that for my day I wanted to be somewhere else, and preferably somewhere warm.
Now, you all also know that I am a huge proponent of solo travel. There is nothing like enjoying one’s own company, especially when you’re a semi-free spirit like myself that likes to be spontaneous in unfamiliar territories. Well, I did something different and I did something big. I “planned” my first girls’ trip for my birthday to South Padre Island, Texas. (I use planned in quotes because my Soror actually did the logistics for the crew. Hey, Bitty!) I was nervous of course because I always want those around me to be having as much fun as I am and I knew that because I spent part of my birthday alone last year, I really wanted to kick it with my girls this year and have a completely different experience. And trust me, I did and #PimpinYaPadre was born.
As with any group trip, the number of people that plan to attend versus the actual amount going tends to change. Since I’m usually rollin’ solo, I never really had to experience disappointment with people dropping out. I won’t lie. At first, I was sad and felt crushed when one by one the numbers dropped, but after having a quick check with myself, I realized that I was going to have fun regardless and I still have a wonderful crew of ladies that were going to be joining me. Things happen and that’s just a part of the game.
A Quick Houston Homecoming
Surprisingly, I had not been in Houston since Halloween weekend to vote in the Presidential election. My injury and some other unfortunate events had me everywhere else but my former home. I knew that some of my Houston favorites would not be able to join me in South Padre Island, so I at least wanted to celebrate with some old friends at good ole’ Groove’s before we headed down to the beach on Saturday. With our lovely car rental, we had a mini road trip from Dallas to Houston and I was excited to be reunited with some faces.
Now, let’s pause for a second. If you have ever lived in Houston, you know about Groove’s. You know that you will find any and everybody dressed for various occasions under one roof. You know that you are going to get twisted because they serve 75-cent drinks until 9 pm. You know it’s location on Pierce Street (cough, Third Ward, beloveds) and appreciate it for what it is because typically, you will always have a great time with some bomb chicken wings. Clearly, it had been awhile since I had been there because basically, #TheyTriedIt and attempted to not let one of us in due to some footwear issues. Since when does Groove’s enforce a footwear dress code? It’s not like we were in fuzzy slippers, but I guess since the Super Bowl, Houston has gotten more Hollywood. *Insert eye roll here*
Anywho, by the grace of God and some creative thinking, we were admitted entry and were officially ready to begin my birthday weekend festivities. Even though it was past 8:00 when we entered, we wasted no time and immediately got busy with the happy hour festivities. I’m going to spare the remaining details of the night, but let’s just say the drama that welcomed us into the establishment was quickly forgotten within an hour and I was a dancing blonde ball of energy. Yes, if you have not seen me on Instagram lately folks, I am BLONDE! Ha! Thankfully, Wingstop saved my life when we left Groove’s and I had a lovely slumber.
10 Miles In One Hour?
Everybody knows that Texas is ridiculously large so even though we had driven approximately three-and-a-half hours from Dallas to Houston, we now had 350 miles left to get from Houston to South Padre Island. Thankfully, Kendrick had just dropped “Damn” and my girl Lauren had stellar musical selections to get us through the drive. We only stopped a few times to refill gas and knew were getting closer to our final destination. So, imagine our disdain when the GPS read that it was going to take 1 hour to go about 10 miles. We thought perhaps it was mistaken, but as we witnessed the traffic continuing to build and this was not a drill. But on a positive note, as we got closer to South Padre Island, we noticed the temperature change and were grateful that the storms that had been projected earlier in the week had passed leaving us a nice breeze. We weren't low on gas and just needed some extra ounces of patience.
We Made It!
Prior to checking into our condo rental for the weekend, we immediately ran to grab some food. Unfortunately, our initial stop was open but they weren't serving food (apparently this was a thing in South Padre Island) for a few hours but thankfully they gave us some suggestions that were across the street. After quickly consulting Yelp (you all should know how I feel about Yelp by now) we went with Parrot Eyes. Considering we were a party of 5, we were seated on the outdoor patio rather quickly. That's always a bonus. While my pasta was underwhelming, I was simply ecstatic to be at our final destination and to relax for the weekend.
Once we grabbed some libations and got a little lost finding our way, we were finally checking into our condo rental. Considering this was my first experience with HomeAway, I was thoroughly impressed. We were right off the ocean on the first floor and the owners of the condo took special attention to detail. The glassware was plentiful and the carpet in the master was one of the plushest I had felt. The windows were floor-to-ceiling and I was internally geeking out over the prospect of watching the sunrise/sunset each day we were there. After all, it's tradition.
I immediately wanted to get on somebody's sand because it had been a little over 3 months since I had been to a beach. I was craving some ocean therapy, even if it was the Gulf of Mexico. The best treat of all was the fact that the water was not too cold. This was one of the advantages of being ridiculously close to Mexico.
it was getting to be time to eat dinner but we did not have a set place in mind. We were just going to see what Yelp recommended and where the South Padre streets led us. Bear in mind, I'm using "streets" quite loosely. The Spring Break madness was over and done with. It was actually pretty quiet and the beach by our condo was not crowded at all. I’m sure in the busier area of the island there would have been more of a crowd, but because we were towards the Southern end of the island, it was peaceful. You didn’t have to worry about trash and the only thing you were going to have in your way were the seagulls and pigeons.
As far as turning up, well my cycle came which dramatically altered some of my plans and physical comfort. We were also satisfied with having drinks and girl talk in the house after a failed attempt to visit a bar (FYI- most of them charge entry and ATM fees were nuts). The point of the trip was to relax and after a horrendous work week, being still was just what the doctor ordered. Did I get to paddleboard? No, but I know that that opportunity will always be there for me if I return to South Padre Island.
A Breakdown on the Food & Liquor
Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed when we arrived but it looked so cute, I just have this feeling as though we really would have enjoyed our time there. The Yelp reviews were promising. I was a fan of their decor and art. Visit their website.
Since Causeway Cafe was closed, we were recommended Parrot Eyes. I don’t have any major complaints. The seafood was fresh but since I’m a bit of a pasta snob, I was underwhelmed. With that being said, they do offer watersport activities for individuals looking for a bit of a thrill. Visit their website.
Amazing breakfast! The French Toast satisfied all the cravings I had since my lady friend decided to pop in early. Visit their Facebook page.
I loved my shrimp and the $5 cocktails! They were small but they had some power, so be forewarned. We visited on a Saturday night and were able to hear live music while enjoying our meals. I can only imagine the incredible views you could catch here during sunset. Visit their website.
Coconut’s Bar & Grill
I appreciate the bartender for conjuring up a special turbo pina colada for me in honor of my birthday. We were full from dinner but if I hadn’t been, I would have loved to indulge in a burger or some wings, because I will always eat wings. They also offer watersport activities. Visit their website.
Liam’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar
On Easter Sunday, we dressed up for dinner and I was ready to tear up a steak. Let me tell you all something. I felt like my eyes were rolling in the back of my head due to how fabulous my meal was. It was medium to perfection and our server even gave me extra bacon bits because Lent was officially over and I was ready to indulge. Their service was fantastic, even when one of my girls did not enjoy her side entree. If I ever come back to South Padre Island, eating here is a non-negotiable. Visit their website.
To My Girls
Thank you for being the best introductory crew for my first group travel experience. I hear so many horror stories about personalities crashing and different travel styles not meshing but we made it all work. The conversations were priceless. The tea time when my stomach was cramping horribly was appreciated. The random crazy moments that still produce great laughter let me know that I have a great group of women with fabulous energy around me. The fact that I FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY DRESSES and you saved me?! As previously stated, thank you for being my peace, my supporters, and light. Where to next?
So what about you, travelers? I'm curious to know about your first group travel experience. Was it a nightmare? I want the tea! Let's chat in the comments.