Crowds and Solitude: Winter Trip from the San Antonio Riverwalk to Padre Island National Seashore

Picking up the jacks and rolling out of Las Cruces for a couple weeks at Christmas was a much-needed break. We’d decided to head south and east to warmer parts of Texas but our first stop was all about the Christmas lights. Two years ago Tom had turned me on to the Riverwalk in San Antonio, an architectural delight of a canal side promenade, packed with restaurants and bars. At Christmas, the stone bridges and tall trees are draped with multi-colored string lights – which is really what we were after. Similar to last time, the narrow walks and crowded tables were packed with people, but our desire for a festive holiday atmosphere won out over our longing for quiet. We spent 4 hours strolling, enjoying some beer, taking photos, and pointing out the best of the decorations, all of which turned out to be a wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve.

The rest of our trip was spent hibernating however beginning with 4 nights at the beach of Padre Island National Seashore. Unlike may of the other coastal areas of south Texas, the national seashore is positively quiet except for the crashing of waves and squawking of water birds. Our campsite backed right up to the beach allowing me to be lulled morning, noon, and night by the resounding tides. And if that wasn’t wonderful enough, we only had to walk a mere half mile down the beach before we were guaranteed to be completely alone.

Hours and hours were spent walking, exploring the treasures given up from the water, gazing skyward as the pelicans fly out to sea at daybreak, observing the crabs skittering about on the sand, watching the deer grazing the dunes in the morning fog, and just listening to the rhythm of the water advancing and retreating. We also watched as Abby recaptured a bit of her youth, frolicking in the shallows and pretending to chase things across the sand. Between beach strolls Tom and I lounged for hours at a time, voraciously reading through the stack of a dozen books I had been stockpiling. It was glorious.

I could easily have spent our entire time there sequestered on the shore but we both wanted to revisit the excellent Lorelei Brewing located on the outskirts of Corpus Christi so on our third afternoon we did exactly that, indulging ourselves with a couple pints on their quiet patio. Both the triple dry hopped Pink Boots IPA and the Jurate Baltic Porter I had were great (especially that porter – wow!), and made me not regret leaving the solitude of the beach.