Friday, June 19, 2015

Port Arthur, TX

The week after Hubby got back from his business trip in China, they told him he was going to Port Arthur for a few days to install computer stuff. So his mom & I decided to join him, sense this one was within driving distance, & have our own little mini vacation while he was working.
Our first stop on our road trip was for lunch. This place is no Czech Stop, but their jalapeno ham & cheese pastry was very yummy! Their kolaches could have used more fruit in their fruit to bread ratio, & they should not wrap their cinnamon rolls in paper before heating them, as this leaves all the frosting on the paper.
Once we got checked into our hotel (which was very nice by the way with a nice hot breakfast every morning) it was time for dinner.
I Googled places to eat in Port Arthur & this was the first one that came up that was still open, & not some place we had been before. We like to try new places when not at home. Well we walked in & already knew this was not the type of place we were thinking of. The best way to describe the atmosphere would be a redneck, cajun, honkeytonk.
We sat down, even though everyone else there was out on the dance floor, & ordered. Then Patrick's coworker showed up to eat with us & the waitress in a tshirt & shorts kicked him out for wearing a sleeveless shirt... Really?! This smoke filled honkey tonk with shorts clad wait staff draws the line at sleeveless?!
We stayed, only because we had our drinks already & our food was being brought to the table at that exact moment. These fried pickles were really good!
Online everyone was raving about these boudain balls, so we had to order them. And I ordered the crawfish pie, which was crawfish etouffee stuffed in a fried pie. The boudain balls tasted like fried dirt, literally. I have never had boudain before, so I had no concept of how it should taste, but Hubby has & he said it does not taste like that. We each had one bite & no one could stomach anymore. The crawfish pie however, I loved! I could eat a dozen of those! I would, however, get them to go if I ever found myself back in Port Arthur.
The next morning once we saw Hubby off to work, Hubby's mom & I headed to the beach before the storms hit us. We woke up to tropical storm threats for later in the day.
On our way to the beach we passed Valero Port Arthur Refinery. It was massive! They have quite an oil operation going in Port Arthur!
We crossed the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Bridge on to Paradise Island.

Holly Beach in Louisiana, once we crossed another bridge off of Paradise Island, we were in Louisiana.
Standing in the Gulf of Mexico!
We collected a bunch of seashells & enjoyed the entire beach to ourselves!
We found a crab who was trying his hardest to get away from us. Then we started seeing dark clouds headed our way & wanted to get back over those bridges before the rains came!
On our trip back to Port Arthur we saw this church on stilts, & thought it was worth stopping to see.

Once we were back in Port Arthur, we had lunch at John's Seafood. While the building was quite rundown, we were very glad that did not keep us away. The food tasted so fresh! Like it had been caught that day & then fried just for us. I got fried crawfish tails with a fried fish fillet. Hubby's Mom got fried shrimp, fried oysters, and a fried fish fillet. She shared an oyster with me & you could still taste the ocean on it, so fresh & yummy!
Museum time!
I had read about this exhibit before we left for our trip & was excited to see it.
They salvaged a navy ship from the Vietnam War & found the sailor's bunks where they spent their waiting time drawing. This was a very meaningful exhibit for both of us.
We also saw a lighthouse lens up close, it was huge!
Hubby's Mom is a Janis Joplin fan & they had a special exhibit there for her because Janis Joplin was raised in Port Arthur. This is a replica of the car her brother painted for her.
This is a letter written by King George to the US soldiers welcoming their help during WWII
After the museum it still wasn't raining, so we headed back to Paradise Island to try & see the big ships up close.
Sure enough, along the side of the road, there was a dirt pull off (with several fisherman taking advantage of the good weather) where we could get a couple pictures.
These boats were so big! & the fisherman who I was standing by to take these pictures looked at me with that smile you give to crazy tourists ;)
We even got to see a tug boat in action!
Once we left Paradise Island for the second time, we stopped for gas & the rain we had been threatened with finally hit. But then it stopped just as quickly! So we continued on with our exploring as long as the weather would hold.
We came to a Lotus Flower Garden.
It was absolutely beautiful!
It belongs to Buu Mon Buddhist Temple
It was very peaceful & lovely
I found this very secluded cave of bamboo they had grown.
Looking straight up I took this picture, & later realized it looks like a heart :)
Thank you for letting us enjoy your garden!
One block over was Queen of Vietnam Church
and Queen of Peace Shrine
They had a collection of marble statues of Jesus at different points during the Crucifixion.
They were awe inspiring

He is risen!!
As we were leaving the Vietnamese church, Hubby called & said they were finished for the day :) So we had dinner together at Schooner Restaurant. We had shrimp gumbo which was really good, & jambalaya (pictured) which was not as good.
We also had bbq blue crab, which came out with a weird breading, and was all around rather tasteless. The appetizer sampler was crab balls which was a crab paste breaded & fried - didn't taste like crab just tasted like seasonings, fried mushrooms which had been previously frozen, crab stuffed jalapenos which was that same crab paste fried into a pickled jalapeno, & mozzarella sticks which were the only thing that got finished on the plate. So far haven't had the best luck picking our dinner spots in Port Arthur.
The next morning, we woke up and after breakfast in our hotel (which made me realize I need a waffle iron at home!) we sent Hubby off to finish his work & we went to Beaumont to sight see & wait for him. The tropical storm warnings were getting more serious at this point, so we wanted to be further inland & chose indoor things to do.
The first of which was The Fire Museum of Texas.
They had quite a collection of old fire trucks & supplies!

We even got to be firemen! ;)
Then we went to see the Edison Museum
"There ain't no rules around here! We are trying to accomplish somep'n!" He seems like an interesting person to have known!
"I was always afraid of things that worked the first time."
We got to watch 3 short silent films made possible due to his kinetoscope.
It still wasn't raining on us (however it was storming on Hubby where he was working closer to the coast!) so we stopped to see this beautiful church, Saint Anthony's Cathedral.
Don't Blink! ;)
Hubby called while we were at the cathedral & said they had finished & were ready to leave before the storm got any worse! He met us in Beaumont & we had lunch before heading home.

I had the Hee Haw Burger which was their burger topped with homemade pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, & red pepper jelly. It was amazing!! The onions rings I watched her dip in the batter & fry fresh, onion rings are already one of my favorite foods, but these were over the top! I highly recommend Willy's Burger if you are ever in Beaumont, TX!
On our way home we drove through some rain, but when we were in Corsicana it had let up & we stopped for some snacks at Collin Street Bakery.
I got a zucchini muffin, which was pretty good even though it had nuts in it. Why does everyone have to ruin perfectly good muffins with nuts?! ;)
Hubby got white chocolate cheesecake which he said tasted like store bought cheesecake.
Hubby's Mom got a couple cookies which she didn't finish because they were not good :(
However, once we got home, Hubby & I shared those 3 squares of chocolate, dark, milk, & white, they had toffee pieces in them & were very yummy! We also had the jalapeno cheddar rolls heated up in the oven & they were soft with just the right amount of spicy :)
Then we came home & it rained most of the next day! So we brought the storm with us to Dallas! We had a fun little trip, even though Hubby had to work. At least he didn't have to be out there sleeping alone & I didn't have to be here sleeping alone :) I am very thankful to his mom for coming up with the idea & taking off to make it possible!
Hopefully next time we take a trip, Hubby can participate in the fun stuff too! :)

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