My wife, Irene, grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, and has nothing but fond memories of her days vacationing at Crystal Beach. We decided last year to visit and came away owning a 'beach cabin', as the locals call them, although it hardly qualifies as a cabin. It is really, really nice.
We’ve since been able to share our beach home with friends and family, but this year have decided to make it available as a vacation rental. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we have. After all, it offers the best of both worlds.
As a quiet, laid-back coastal community, Crystal Beach is second to none. From the deck of our beach home, you will enjoy some of the most amazing coastal sunrises imaginable with a wonderful view of the Gulf of Mexico. And just across the beach road is a 100-plus acre tract of protected land which serves as a wildlife sanctuary for the many species of migratory birds which visit the Bolivar Peninsula each year.
And, of course, there’s the beach which is meticulously maintained by Galveston County. We are located about 1/3 of a mile from the water in a wonderful 3-bedroom, 3-bath home which was one of the few survivors of Hurricane Ike. If there is such a thing as good house karma, this place surely must have it.
Up the spiral wood staircase from the main floor is absolutely the coolest 'crow's nest' bedroom you’ll ever visit. It has a full bath with a shower, a tempurpedic double bed and your own private window which offers an even more amazing view of the beach and Gulf.
The master bedroom has a queen-size tempurpedic bed with French doors which open onto the deck. Open the blinds in the morning, sleep in if you want, and watch the world drift by.
The third bedroom has two bunk beds with a double bed on the bottom and a single on top. OK- no tempurpedic mattresses, but comfortable none-the-less.
The main living area is wide open with double-pane windows all around, a modern kitchen (tile countertops and any small appliance that anyone could possibly need, including a Keurig maker and Kitchen Aide mixer), a huge dining area with an enormous table, a wood-burning fireplace (perfect for those non-summer nights), a high-definition cable (Directv) television and plenty of large, comfortable chairs for relaxing after a day at the beach.
And there’s the really big deck with a really big view of the Gulf and surrounding area. Half is covered and half is open offering an impressive view of the night sky and any ship that might be passing on the horizon. We have four large Adirondack chairs and a built-in picnic table for your outside dining enjoyment or just for hanging out.
And speaking of hanging out, the second half of the “best-of-both worlds” mentioned earlier, is Galveston. If you’re ready to branch out from the laid-back lifestyle of Crystal Beach, historic Galveston is just a short (and free) ferry ride away. With its shops, Moody Gardens, the Pleasure Pier (anyone up for a roller-coaster ride after that big shrimp dinner at Bubba Gump’s?), The Strand district, and lots and lots of restaurants, Galveston has a little bit of almost everything for almost everybody.
But at the end of the day, you'll come home to the peaceful solitude of “Sea Sea Rider”. Please, enjoy our second home as much as we have.
Randall and Irene Heath
My wife and I are native Texans and currently live in Austin. We are both nurses- Irene works at Austin Recovery and I am a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) working for Capitol Anesthesiology Association, where I've been employed since 1995 (retiring in August of this year- woohoo!). We both went to UT and have lived in Austin since the late '60s.
We have five grown kids and two grandchildren and are looking forward to being 'empty nesters'.
My wife grew up in Port Arthur and spent her summers on Crystal Beach. When Hurricane Ike struck in September of 2008, she was heartbroken; it was like a part of her childhood had been taken.
In the Fall of 2011, a friend invited her to Crystal Beach for the weekend and, as corny as it sounds, she fell in love all over again.
In the Spring of last year, we decided to shop around for a place on the coast. So several weeks later, after I had thoroughly researched every coastal town and every coastal property for sale (thinking to myself, of course, that we could do better than Crystal Beach- OK, so I was wrong), we were both able to take time off from work and do some comparison shopping. By the end of the week we had decided on Crystal Beach and submitted an offer on our beautiful beach cabin.
Out of respect for my wife's childhood memories, we wanted an Ike 'survivor'. We knew that we would probably spending our weekends doing repairs, but were shocked and amazed when we saw the inside of the house on Honeysuckle.
It looked brand new; new furniture (and not cheap stuff, either), a new kitchen, a new deck, new paint. We couldn't have been more pleased.
Now, whenever we have time off, we're there; taking time away from our busy schedules to just relax and recharge.
However, we can't be there all the time and houses seem to do much better when they're lived in, so please enjoy.
I've said it before, but here it is again- My wife grew up on Crystal Beach and loved it and now, so do I; and so will you, I'm sure.
And whether it's the sea breeze, the smell of the Gulf air, the beach itself, the ferry ride to and from, the wildlife, the fishing (oh, yeah- check out kayaking into the marsh for some giant bull Reds or trout, or the nationally famous Rollover Pass, or the bay, or the surf...there are fish everywhere!), boating in the bay, dining with the locals at the Stingaree or just relaxing on the deck, Crystal Beach is a great place to visit. And who knows, you may just decide to stay.