travel

June 6, 2014

A Romantic Getaway Very Close to Home

Corpus Museum

There are countless reasons to visit Corpus Christi, Texas but not enough space to write about all of them, so I will start by recommending  a romantic weekend getaway.

Our daily routine, and the stress of juggling family and work can take a toll on our relationships, and it is important to take some time off and reconnect. But vacations can prove to be costly and seldom do we have enough vacation time to even consider the possibility, but the proximity the valley has to Corpus Christi (just a two hour drive) opens the door for a great romantic opportunity.

Start by putting money aside and selecting a hotel that will suit your budget, but if you can splurge a little I highly recommend the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel because it is a full service hotel meaning they have a restaurant, a nice bar, and even an elegant steakhouse, and once you see the rooms and lay on its comfortable beds, you may not even want to go out! An acceptable option since we are talking about a relaxing romantic getaway. But never underestimate the aphrodisiac power of sightseeing, taking photos of each other, quiet conversation, and find out new things about your loved one.

It is important to pack and leave everything ready the night before for a morning departure – yes I know this can be complicated, but make the effort; it will be worth it because you will have more time to enjoy your vacation. When driving north on Expressway 77 (now designated as Interstate Highway 69) take the Chapman Ranch exit and follow a map or the navigator to the nearby South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center for a welcomed outdoor stroll through their Gardens, Butterfly House, and Bromeliad Conservatory. Sunlight and fresh air, combined with gentle exercise will energize even the most passive while triggering the decompressing process as you marvel at the exotic birds, the orchids and many butterflies. The ability to marvel at things is trampled by our daily routines; this just might be the place to try it again.

By the end of your visit you will probably be hungry. Corpus Christi has many dining options, so make sure you select the one that both of you will enjoy. If you want my opinion I would highly recommend a visit to the Art Museum of South Texas to find a modern contemporary café named Hester’s Cafe with the most incredible view of the ship channel including the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium.  Patrons do not have to pay the museum admission to go to the restaurant, but even if you are not into art, consider visiting after lunch; you will be surprised at art’s ability to disconnect you from the mundane. The café will be busy especially if you arrive right at noon, but you can always wait while admiring the museum’s exhibits and the building’s amazing architecture. The reason I recommend to wait a little is that once the lunch crowd leaves you can hang out and enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer and relax as you watch ships go by, and  if you opt for sitting outside, the ocean breeze will sooth your senses especially if you like the outdoors.

The impressive museum is surrounded by waterfalls and spacious green lawns. It is composed by two amazing structures built by two amazing architects: Philip Johnson and Ricardo Legorreta. Johnson’s building is a three-level edifice constructed of poured white concrete and shell aggregate, and Legorreta’s massive structure includes the museum’s shop and Hester’s Café and Coffee Bar. The café closes at 3:00 pm, so plan accordingly. Upon ending your visit to the museum it will be time for check in at your hotel. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit, for the Omni has a pretty neat swimming pool, whirlpool, and dry sauna.  A massage or a siesta also excellent choices, but please stay away from the internet! You will have plenty of time for that back home.

Omni Hotel Corpus Christi

Omni Hotel Corpus Christi

In the evening, the weather is cooler and ideal for a stroll along Shoreline Boulevard serenated by gulls and caressed by the ocean breeze watching people and sailboats go by. Dinner time will approach soon enough, and aside from the many options the hotel’s concierge can recommend, my favorite ones are the four-diamond Republic of Texas Bar & Grill located just a short ascend to the hotel’s top floor, the Water Street Seafood Company, or its sister restaurant the Water Street Oyster Bar both within walking distance of the hotel. If possible, research their menus and price range before making a reservation.  Gentlemen take note; if you choose the Republic of Texas Bar & Grill, consider having flowers delivered to your table before your arrival, and make sure you reserve a table for two in advance in front of the floor to ceiling windows for an incredibly romantic dinner setting. If you gravitate towards a more casual and funky atmosphere walk – preferably hand in hand – to the Water Street Oyster Bar, to savor what many consider the city’s best seafood.

Republic of Texas bar & Grill at the Omni Hotel

Republic of Texas Bar & Grill at the Omni Hotel

Take note of their large blackboard for a list of the freshest catch, or try one of the popular Cajun entrees. If you are craving for something memorable and more authentic  head to the Water Street Seafood Company and delight on their freshly made sauces, dressings, and chef specialties that will not disappoint your taste buds. The Water Street Seafood Company’s Sunday brunch can also be the ideal treat before driving back home to the Rio Grande Valley.

Please consider requesting a quiet floor upon check in at any hotel of your choice to guarantee the romance will not be interrupted. This request may prove harder during the summer months, but still give it a try. Sleep late Sunday morning, and recharge. Breakfast is served the hotel’s Glass Pavilion Restaurant -or even better – order breakfast in bed. Before check out you may have time to walk along Shoreline Boulevard for a last minute booster.

On Sundays, you may spot shrimp boats along the marina selling their fresh catch; a tempting opportunity to take an edible souvenir back home. If you are not in a hurry to return, pay a visit to La Palmera Shopping Mall or visit local eclectic shops such as Pilar, Blue Frog Mercantile or the Lamar Park Shopping Center. Perhaps buying a special something will remind you both that romantic getaways can be incredible love boosters regardless of distance or cost.

Top photo was taken at Hester’s Cafe inside the Art Museum of South Texas.

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and my spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .




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