Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

October 8, 2021

Travel Diary: The Woodlands / Galveston, TX (2021)

      In September, I got to take a quick long weekend trip down to Texas to visit one of my dearest friends! I love visiting the Houston metro area, and was thrilled to return again after my first trip in 2018. Here's a little recap of how the weekend was: 


      During the height of pandemic anxiety in the spring of 2020, did you have a certain hope of doing something the future that you clung to? Like something that you were just so excited to do once it became safer again, and those thoughts and dreams kept you going each day? I had two. One was to be able to go home to Maine at some point in 2020 safely (which I did in August 2020!), and the other was to be able to fly to Texas to visit one of my best friends, Ciera. The Texas trip was something that I wanted to wait for until I was vaccinated, and that's what ended up happening. I was really hoping to go in the spring right after getting my vaccine, but that's when job hunting was really ramping up for me, and my life seemed too uncertain with the potential for a summer move and new job, so I didn't plan any big trips. Pretty much as soon as I accepted my new job in Virginia Beach, I asked my new boss if I would be able to take a long weekend sometime in the fall for a very overdue trip to see one of my best friends. It worked out for mid-September, and I couldn't have been more excited! 

     Ciera is my best friend from college and former roommate from my first apartment. She ended up having the opportunity to move from North Carolina to Texas for a promotion with her company, and she said yes! She's been in the Houston area for three years now. I first went out to visit her over Thanksgiving in 2018, a few months after her move. I've been excited to visit again ever since that initial trip, and was thrilled to finally make it back down there a few weeks ago. Ciera works and lives near The Woodlands, which is a large suburb of Houston that has a lot of shopping and businesses. The Woodlands is a great area to visit with lots to do!

       My trip got off to a great start right from leaving Virginia! It was my first time flying out of my new home airport, Norfolk International. I was pretty impressed, and I think the Norfolk airport is the perfect size. Not too small, not too big, and parking was easy too! Things got even better when I got to my gate. I got a text message from United Airlines shortly before boarding letting me know that I had been randomly upgraded to first class! I've heard this happening to people but it was a first for me, and I couldn't believe it. I got to sit in the front row of the plane, enjoy the comfy seat and extra legroom, and I took full advantage of the unlimited free drinks and complimentary gourmet snacks! As excited as I was to get to Texas, being fully honest I didn't want the flight to end! But there was something great waiting for me at the airport... getting to hug one of my best friends for the first time in almost three years!



     Ciera and her boyfriend Patrick really enjoy spending time at nearby Lake Conroe. I didn't get to see the lake on my previous trip, so they took me to a Tex-Mex spot on the water called Fajita Jack's for lunch. The food was awesome and the lake views were great as well! Tex-Mex food in Texas just tastes SO GOOD! Nothing on th East Coast compares.




     We got snow cones for dessert after lunch, and then headed back to Ciera's house for a restful afternoon. Do you have a friend that's such a close good friend that you can just hang with them and do nothing and be perfectly content? That's always been Ciera for me! It was actually nice to have a few hours to chill and just watch Netflix and relax.

      Friday night, we had really fun plans!! These plans were the reason I came down this specific weekend. We had tickets for the Pitbull concert in The Woodlands!! I've been a huge Pitbull fan since high school, and Ciera loves him too. The two of us were supposed to see him on tour with Enrique Iglesias in 2017, but unfortunately that concert was cancelled the day of unexpectedly. We've been dying to see at least one of them ever since, so when we found out Pitbull would be coming to Texas in September, we didn't waste any time to get tickets!

     Before the concert, we had dinner at what's become one of my favorite restaurants ever: Pappasito's! I first went here with Ciera in 2018 and have literally been dreaming about it since. Their queso is INCREDIBLE. Like, I thought I had good Tex-Mex earlier that day at Fajita Jack's, but Pappasito's puts anything else to shame! I was so happy to finally eat there again, and have Tex-Mex twice in a day!



     Next, it was concert time!! We wore these matching shirts that Ciera got for us (and our other friend Priyanka) last year. I was convinced we would have the best matching outfits at the concert, but as you can see in the second photo below we were upstaged! 😂 Pitbull put on an amazing show, and I would totally see him again live. I knew the lyrics to all but one song!




      On Saturday, the three of us left for a beach adventure! I first visited the small beach city of Galveston with Ciera in 2018, and I've been dying to go back and see more of it. Galveston is very historic and filled with beautiful homes and streets that are just a few miles from the beach. The actual beaches in Galveston don't get the best reputation, but I think everything is just fine! (I'm also not super picky when it comes to being near water though.)

     To get to Galveston from where Ciera's house is, you have to drive right through Houston's downtown. Isn't it beautiful?! One of these trips I'll explore more of the downtown.



      We had an important stop en route to the beach: Buc-ee's! Buc-ee's is a magical place: think Cracker Barrel gift shop, grocery store, and gas station all-in-one. They're originally a Texas chain, although I do believe they're now in a few other states too. Buc-ee's stores sell every type of merchandise that you can imagine with the Buc-ee's Beaver on it. I finally got a t-shirt this time that I'm excited about! (I did pass on the logo bathing suits though, ha! 😂)




     Then it was off to the beach! We had a wonderful and relaxing afternoon. The water in Galveston was so warm!! 



      After the beach, we had a lunch at a great waterside restaurant that Ciera and Patrick like called Nick's. Then Patrick drove us around a bit through some of the streets with historic homes. Here are a few pictures that I snapped from the car. Aren't these houses just stunning?! They kind of remind me of a cross between Charleston and New Orleans. 





      We got back pretty late from Galveston, and sadly the next morning I had to head back to Virginia. Such a quick trip! On Sunday morning before my flight, I was able to meet up with my blogger friend Angela from The Thrifty Pineapple for breakfast! Angela suggested we go to Egg Haus in Houston, and it was awesome! The drink that I'm holding below is a fancy non-alcoholic lemonade. For food options, they have a large menu that includes pastries, breakfast sandwiches, tacos and more. Everything was delicious, and the restaurant is so Instagrammable! I definitely would eat here again in Houston. It was also so great to finally meet Angela- be sure to follow her if you don't.



     Before I knew it, my Texas long weekend had come to an end. Sadly I didn't get an upgraded seat on the flight home! 😉 But it was a wonderful little trip. I'm already looking forward to my next time in the Houston area, hopefully it won't be three years next time!


      God Bless,


      xoxo Annaliese 
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