“Yes, Virginia” -- Galveston Island and points north have available rooms for the return of Dickens on the Strand, one of Texas’ most popular holiday attractions.
Dickens on the Strand returns to GalvestonIsland on December 6th and 7th, with special events on Friday, December 5th.
Almost three months after Hurricane Ike, the greater Galveston-Houston area is ready to share its hospitality once more with visitors – this time, with a sprig of holiday mistletoe and jingle bells! GalvestonIsland is open for business and sightseers - just in time for the island's signature holiday event, Dickens on the Strand - and that includes accommodation for overnight visitors.
Many island hotels are fully booked with locals who are rebuilding their homes, but there are still rooms available in resorts, bed and breakfasts, and two moderate-priced inns. Fifty rooms are available at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort for Saturday and Sunday night only. Additional rooms are available at the Hotel Galvez, on 2024 Seawall Boulevard; the Moody Gardens Hotel on 7 Hope Boulevard; the Beachcomber Inn at 2825 61st Street; and some rooms are available on Sunday evening only, from the Quality Inn and Suites, 5924 Seawall Blvd.
For guests seeking a historic, cozy stay, many of the island's bed and breakfasts also reopened this autumn and are able to give visitors their customary service. Linda Waldren, who runs The Villa (http://www.thevillabedandbreakfast.com), a three room, Mediterranean bed and breakfast in the Silk Stocking Historical District of Galveston, has space available. Waldren is concerned that potential visitors may not realize how much of the island is open for business. "Galveston is here!" she explains. "I had a wedding here in my courtyard on the 8th of November. The house was not damaged much at all." According to owner Phil De Marco, a fellow member of the Galveston Bed & Breakfast Association, the Lost Bayou guesthouse (http://www.lostbayou.com) also has four out of five rooms available for the Dickens weekend.
Visitors looking for a room just north of the island will also find some availability. The Fairfield Inn, and the Crystal Suites, both in Texas City, still have a small number of rooms available for the Dickens weekend; there's additional availability at the
Travelodge-TexasCity, which is located on Gulf Freeway in La Marque.
Further north on the mainland, but still by the water, most of the family-friendly Kemah Boardwalk has reopened, including all but 2 restaurants, and its Boardwalk Inn at 8 Kemah Boardwalk has 15 rooms still available for the Dickens weekend. The neighboring Passport Inn and Suites, on 601 Texas Avenue, has a few rooms available. More rooms are available in nearby Seabrook, including at the La Quinta Inn and Suites at 3636 NASA Road 1, and the Comfort Inn and Suites, on 2901 NASA Road 1, which has some rooms available for Saturday only.
Webster, a city located near NASA’s JohnsonSpaceCenter and popular tourist attraction Space Center Houston, has limited availability in its La Quinta Inn, at 520 W. Bay Area Blvd.; more rooms are available at the Best Western on 889 W. Bay Area Blvd, and at the Hampton Inn at 506 W. Bay Area Blvd.
There are also hotels available closer to Hobby Airport for guests who are flying in to the Dickens event, including the Country Inn and Suites, 8778 Airport Blvd; the Baymont Inn at 9902 Gulf Freeway; and the Holiday Inn at 8611 Airport Blvd in Houston. A handful of rooms are available at the Drury Inn and Suites, at 7902 Mosley Road, in Houston.
Dickens on The Strand will take place December 6 and 7, with special events including a Dickens feast and holiday handbell concerts slated for the Friday before (December 5). The event first originated in 1973 as an evening potluck celebration of Galveston’s Victorian-era downtown, including re-enactments from Charles Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol.”
The festival was held to bring people back into a 19th-century era downtown that had been neglected for decades—so they could see new restoration efforts and participate in a celebration focused on Galveston’s Victorian heritage. Since then, the festival has evolved into a full weekend event teeming with Victorian-costumed vendors, entertainers, and guests.
With funds raised by its Dickens festival and the help of partnership members, the Galveston Historical Foundation had succeeded in revitalize the island’s historic downtown. Prior to Hurricane Ike, Galveston’s downtown had been fully restored, and boasted a wide array of thriving boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants. This year’s event will help that same area rebuild after Hurricane Ike.