FunStuff

Once again with camera in hand, I visited another small town in Central Texas.  Hillsboro is just west of I-35 and it is the county seat of Hill County. They have a beautiful courthouse, which I’ve photographed several times so I wasn’t there today to take pictures of it.

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My first stop was the cities two cemeteries. Not only did I want pictures of them and the associated historical markers but I had treasure to hide. I left behind a letterbox in each. Cemeteries make good locations for letterboxes because people don’t pay any attention to people wandering around in them looking at headstones.

City Cemetery is a historical cemetery established in 1855.

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Ridge Park Cemetery is the new cemetery.

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After hiding my treasure and making notes for the clues I’ll post online we headed to City Park. It is a lovely 20 acre park located a short distance from downtown.

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From the park we entered the residential area with its beautiful old Victorian Homes some of which are on the National Register of Historical Places.

Sims-Womack House has a historical marker (hidden amongst the shrubbery) with information on past owners, Dr. William Thomas Sims and Leroy and Lalia Womack.

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Built around 1890 this beautiful Victorian home with corner tower (or turret) was owned by prominent area civic leader and merchant, Louis Brin and his wife, Rebecca.

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The Abbott House has a historical marker which gives information on the Abbott family.

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The Victorian home of Edward S. Davis, civic leader, banker, engineer is undergoing restoration.

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McKinnon-Anderson House is a Victorian home built in 1896 for local attorney, A. P. McKinnon, and later owned by local banker, Samuel Houston Anderson.

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The Lumpkin House was built in 1883 for R. S. Lumpkin (1837-1921) and his wife Mary (Kelly). The house style reflects the success of Lumpkin, Hillsboro’s first maker of saddles and harness. He was a Confederate veteran, a horse fancier, and a volunteer fireman. In 1974 this home was purchased by the R.C. Crow family and was extensively restored in 1983 on its 100th anniversary.

 

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St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Building of this sanctuary began in 1910 and completed in 1911. The red brick sanctuary features both Gothic Revival and Prairie School style influences.

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The Tarlton House at 211 North Pleasant St, Hillsboro, TX, was built by attorney Greene Duke Tarlton, and was the toast of the town during its heyday. It’s still a beautiful Queen Anne-style home. There are rumors that it is haunted.

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Right across the street is Central Christian Church built in 1892.

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We continued down Pleasant Street to the new (1962) brick First Baptist Church.

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Turning the corner we backtracked to visit the First United Methodist Church which was built in 1853.

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Our last stop was to visit the first home of Hillsboro Junior College. It is one of first public junior colleges in Texas. It was established in 1923, as a part of Hillsboro Public School System. Peak attendance was 410 students during 1939-40. The school closed August 31, 1950, after voters defeated a maintenance tax proposal twice. It was reopened at a new location east of I-35 in 1962.

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A series of outdoor staircases leads from a parking area to the summit. From the summit you have a great view of the Veteran Memorial the next hill over.

Old topological maps show the peak being known as “Old Baldy”. Trinity Church purchased Mount Baldy and renamed it Prayer Mountain, although the public is still welcome.

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There are 220 limestone steps to the top (if I counted correctly).

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This is approximately half way.

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View looking in the direction I just climbed up, but you can walk around the top and there is a good 360 degree view.

Looking for something fun to do in the Rockport/Fulton Area of the Gulf Coast. I recommend you check out the Fulton Mansion. The exterior of the house is in the French Second Empire Style and is lovely.  It is three stories sitting on a concrete basement.  The tour is open to the first and second floor.  We also visited the basement.

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We parked at the front and saw these historical markers.

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We headed over to check out the fountain in front of the house.

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A volunteer intercepted us and told us that we needed to park at the visitor’s center at the back of the property and get our tickets there. The tour starts at the back door. It was $6.00 for the tour tickets. There is also a museum of sorts at the visitor’s center that tells you all about Fulton (he was an engineer and bridge builder among other things).

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We headed over to the back of the house to start the tour.

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The house was smaller than I’d thought it would be but it was amazing all the same. That lovely fireplace isn’t a fireplace at all. It is a vent for central heat. Yes, back in 1874 Fulton had a furnace in the basement of the home and all the rooms had fireplace vents.

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The lovely design around the light fixture is made of plaster. It is amazing that they could get wet plaster to stick to the ceiling like that.

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The doors to the dining room were pocket doors that slid into the walls. They are made of cypress wood and black walnut. Lovely arched design.  The tour guide will open the door and show you.  Don’t try to open the door yourself.

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We then headed upstairs to a sitting room and bedrooms.

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This is were the bathroom is located also.  Again in 1874 they had indoor plumbing!

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From the window at the front of the house I took another picture of the fountain.  This was through a  screen so it is a grainy picture.

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We headed back downstairs where the tour guide told us that the mansion had the first phone service in the area.  I didn’t take a picture of the phone.  This  metal grate in the floor is for the return air for the furnace. 

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One last picture of the lovely staircase and then we headed down into the basement.

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This is where all the food was stored and prepared.  I didn’t see a dumb waiter so I assume the servants carried the food up the stairs to serve it.

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The kitchen stove was missing but they had a picture of what it would have looked like.

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It was an interesting tour.  We headed back around to the front of the house for one more picture before leaving.

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Waymarking notes unique locations on the planet and shares interesting information for that location. There are hundreds of categories. Most of the ones I visited in Granbury were “Victorian Houses”. You can add new locations to this category as well as visiting ones already set up. To record your visit you just take a photo and upload it to the listing. If you enjoy travel and photography this is the hobby for you. It is free to join at Waymarking.com.

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We walked around this historical town seeking out Victorian homes and other interesting things.  We started at the lake.  Some of the homes had markers so I listed those I knew.

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This is the J.N. Nutt House.

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This is the David Nutt house.

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This is the Aston House.

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This is the county courthouse. 

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First Presbyterian Church.

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Dr. Walker’s House.

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Holderness-Aiken House is hidden by trees.

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Daniel-Harris House.

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Bowden-Kennon House.

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Doyle House.

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Hannaford House.

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The Daniel House.

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We entered a park before heading back to the lake.

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We passed the old Hood County Jail.

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Baker – Carmichael House.

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Bi-Focal Buddies

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After Granbury we headed over to Acton, TX to see the Smallest State Park in Texas.  It is the burial site of Mrs. Davy Crockett.

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Outside the cemetery entrance is this memorial.

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From there we tried to visit the Fall Creek Farms with all it’s artwork.  The gate was locked but we could see these from the gate.

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Entrance off of HWY 290, East of Fredericksburg

Entrance off of Hwy 290, East of Fredericksburg

We were in Fredericksburg to do a volksmarching event.  On the way into town we noticed some new construction next to Fort Martin Scott,  so on the way out of town we stopped to check it out.  This is what we found.

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When we parked we first noticed this small statue called The Frontier Battalion Ranger a sculpture by artist Richard O. Cook.

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We continued on past and entered the pavilion where we  found this one.

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This is called Watching Over the West a sculpture by Edd Hayes.

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We continued through the pavilion and found one more sculpture.

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This sculpture entitled simply “Texas Ranger” was created by Erik Christianson.

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Next to this sculpture is an open air amphitheater.

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Heading back we noticed the chuck wagon and covered wagon we’d overlooked before.

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Passing our parked car we headed on over to the Ranger Ring of Honor, dedicated to those who gave all in their service to the Texas Rangers and to the Citizens of Texas.  A taller person might get a better picture.

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Next to that is the Campanile, or bell tower.  I looked inside it doesn’t really have a bell.  It has speakers where the sounds of bells ringing could be played.

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We talked to the man in the gift shop, and he told us that there would be four more Texas Ranger Sculptures. So I will definitely have to stop back again and check out the next sculptures the next time I’m down in the Texas Hill Country.  If you’d like more information here is a link to their website: http://www.trhc.org/index.html 

We’ve been wanting to go to this event for years, but things never worked out. This year we finally made plans to attend the 28th annual competition.  Picture below is from their website.
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As the day approached the rain in Texas just would not let up.  We had major flooding down south.  We kept checking the weather channel and the Sandcastle Website for updates.  Tuesday’s post was encouraging.

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We continued to make plans to attend. We checked out the schedule of events. We didn’t particularly want to watch them build the sandcastles, so we planned to get there around 1 pm.

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As the rain continued and the day got closer we started checking the TX Dept of Transportation Website.  The normal route we would have taken to Galveston had closures due to flooding so we carefully planned out a new route that would take us through Alvin, TX.   This would be perfect as I wanted to stop by the WPA built post office (now museum) and see the WPA mural.  I figured we’d get there around 11pm which was when the museum opened.  June 4th would be the perfect day to visit because the museum is only open one Saturday a month… the first one.  Things were looking up.

Thursday as the rain continued we were heartened by this post on the sandcastle website:

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Rain continued to come down in buckets.  We continued to check the TX DOT website to make sure the route we’d mapped out was open and we monitored the sandcastle website as well.  On Friday night just before bed I checked one final time. 

June 3

The website said they were on rain or shine.  They gave instructions on where to park to get a shuttle to the sandcastles.  We went to bed happy with our alarm set for 5:15 to get up and hit the road to Galveston.

We made it to Alvin an hour early, 10am.  No problem, Alvin has enough to see to keep us busy for an hour!  We visited the small war memorial.

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We found two statues of Nolan Ryan.  Both he and his wife are from this area.

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We visited the old RR Depot. 

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We visited two historic homes.

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Hurray, it is now 11am and we head back to the WPA build (former) Post Office in search of the WPA mural.

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We made our way inside and paid $3.00 admission. A volunteer leads a tour through the museum and we come to a statue of Alvin Morgan (founder of the town). I whip out my camera and take a picture. The volunteer chides me for doing so. She says pictures are not allowed and my heart sank. I wanted a picture of mural. She said she’d let me keep that one picture of Alvin Morgan and the tour continues.

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Truthfully, I’ve never been in a museum where they didn’t want you to take pictures. We eventually came to the WPA mural which I looked at longingly. I explained to the volunteer that our whole reason for coming there was to take a picture of the mural.  She finally agrees to let me take a picture. She said that camera flashes damage the paint, but I didn’t need a flash to take the picture so it was good.

 

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So be warned, if you too would like to visit this historic mural in Alvin, TX…   you have to get permission to take a picture. Hopefully you will get a volunteer that will let you do so.

With the picture taken we finish the museum tour and head south to Galveston.  As we cross over to the island there are signs that said there was street flooding. This isn’t good. We continue down Broadway and indeed have to drive through some flooded streets to finally get to Steward Beach Park. Thank goodness our SUV was tall enough to do this.

It is nearly 1 pm and the park is empty. No signs even about the sandcastle event or a shuttle. It was still misting rain, so we assume that since the turnout would be light they had cancelled the shuttle and there would be plenty of parking on the beach.  We head east on Seawall Blvd and come to a parking lot where the island ends. There are lots of people milling around in the misting rain so we park and walk to the edge and look down and all we see are rocks and further out big tanker ships anchored out in the channel.

We strike up a conversation with a lady there and she tells us that she is looking for the sandcastles too.  She says she is going back to Apffel Park Rd to see if it might lead down to the beach.  She gets into her car and leaves.  We quickly get back in our car and follow her.  The park road is flooded in spots like Broadway was.  This is standing water, not moving.  If it had been moving we never would have followed her as she continued toward the beach.

Once in the parking lot we could see the tops of tents set up down the beach.  At this time it decides to start pouring rain again.  I had come prepared with a raincoat and an umbrella but this was coming down hard.  I didn’t want to walk down the beach in the rain.

We turned around and went back to the original parking lot at the end of the island. There was another road that appeared to go toward the tents but it was barricaded off.
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The rain stopped and we decided to walk down the barricaded road. It bordered a beach area so it was fun to walk along the beach.

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When the beach ended we returned to the road and we could see the tops of the tents again just as we came to a low spot and the road was flooded. There was tall bracken along each side of the road so there was no way to get around the water.  It was wade or turn back. We turned back and found that many people had decided to follow us down the road.  We stopped to talk to the first couple who said they lived on the island and had seen many of the sandcastle events.  We told them the road was flooded, but they opted to continue on.  After all they lived close by and could go home to dry off.  We told several of the others as we passed them that the road was flooded, but most continued on. I was feeling like a real wimp for turning back! The last group we passed had a baby in a little umbrella stroller. When we told them the road was flooded they did turn around and head back to their car.

We ate dinner on the seawall before leaving the island.  I don’t have a “smart phone” so I couldn’t check the website.  It wasn’t until I started writing this blog that I found this.

Update: 6/4   7 AM
Due to road flooding and worsening severe weather, this weekend’s sandcastle competition has been regrettably canceled.

By the time that update was posted we were already an hour into the trip south.  Not sure what we would have done at 7 am if we’d have known the event was cancelled.  Maybe it is better that I don’t have a smart phone and we were oblivious to the impending disappointment.  At least we got to see the WPA mural!

We’ve been wanting to go to this event for years, but things never worked out. This year we finally made plans to attend the 28th annual competition.  Picture below is from their website.
banner2

As the day approached the rain in Texas just would not let up.  We had major flooding down south.  We kept checking the weather channel and the Sandcastle Website for updates.  Tuesday’s post was encouraging.

may31

We continued to make plans to attend. We checked out the schedule of events. We didn’t particularly want to watch them build the sandcastles, so we planned to get there around 1 pm.

may31

As the rain continued and the day got closer we started checking the TX Dept of Transportation Website.  The normal route we would have taken to Galveston had closures due to flooding so we carefully planned out a new route that would take us through Alvin, TX.   This would be perfect as I wanted to stop by the WPA built post office (now museum) and see the WPA mural.  I figured we’d get there around 11pm which was when the museum opened.  June 4th would be the perfect day to visit because the museum is only open one Saturday a month… the first one.  Things were looking up.

Thursday as the rain continued we were heartened by this post on the sandcastle website:

june 2

Rain continued to come down in buckets.  We continued to check the TX DOT website to make sure the route we’d mapped out was open and we monitored the sandcastle website as well.  On Friday night just before bed I checked one final time. 

June 3

The website said they were on rain or shine.  They gave instructions on where to park to get a shuttle to the sandcastles.  We went to bed happy with our alarm set for 5:15 to get up and hit the road to Galveston.

We made it to Alvin an hour early, 10am.  No problem, Alvin has enough to see to keep us busy for an hour!  We visited the small war memorial.

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We found two statues of Nolan Ryan.  Both he and his wife are from this area.

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We visited the old RR Depot. 

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We visited two historic homes.

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Hurray, it is now 11am and we head back to the WPA build (former) Post Office in search of the WPA mural.

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We made our way inside and paid $3.00 admission. A volunteer leads a tour through the museum and we come to a statue of Alvin Morgan (founder of the town). I whip out my camera and take a picture. The volunteer chides me for doing so. She says pictures are not allowed and my heart sank. I wanted a picture of mural. She said she’d let me keep that one picture of Alvin Morgan and the tour continues.

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Truthfully, I’ve never been in a museum where they didn’t want you to take pictures. We eventually came to the WPA mural which I looked at longingly. I explained to the volunteer that our whole reason for coming there was to take a picture of the mural.  She finally agrees to let me take a picture. She said that camera flashes damage the paint, but I didn’t need a flash to take the picture so it was good.

 

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So be warned, if you too would like to visit this historic mural in Alvin, TX…   you have to get permission to take a picture. Hopefully you will get a volunteer that will let you do so.

With the picture taken we finish the museum tour and head south to Galveston.  As we cross over to the island there are signs that said there was street flooding. This isn’t good. We continue down Broadway and indeed have to drive through some flooded streets to finally get to Steward Beach Park. Thank goodness our SUV was tall enough to do this.

It is nearly 1 pm and the park is empty. No signs even about the sandcastle event or a shuttle. It was still misting rain, so we assume that since the turnout would be light they had cancelled the shuttle and there would be plenty of parking on the beach.  We head east on Seawall Blvd and come to a parking lot where the island ends. There are lots of people milling around in the misting rain so we park and walk to the edge and look down and all we see are rocks and further out big tanker ships anchored out in the channel.

We strike up a conversation with a lady there and she tells us that she is looking for the sandcastles too.  She says she is going back to Apffel Park Rd to see if it might lead down to the beach.  She gets into her car and leaves.  We quickly get back in our car and follow her.  The park road is flooded in spots like Broadway was.  This is standing water, not moving.  If it had been moving we never would have followed her as she continued toward the beach.

Once in the parking lot we could see the tops of tents set up down the beach.  At this time it decides to start pouring rain again.  I had come prepared with a raincoat and an umbrella but this was coming down hard.  I didn’t want to walk down the beach in the rain.

We turned around and went back to the original parking lot at the end of the island. There was another road that appeared to go toward the tents but it was barricaded off.
galveston

The rain stopped and we decided to walk down the barricaded road. It bordered a beach area so it was fun to walk along the beach.

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When the beach ended we returned to the road and we could see the tops of the tents again just as we came to a low spot and the road was flooded. There was tall bracken along each side of the road so there was no way to get around the water.  It was wade or turn back. We turned back and found that many people had decided to follow us down the road.  We stopped to talk to the first couple who said they lived on the island and had seen many of the sandcastle events.  We told them the road was flooded, but they opted to continue on.  After all they lived close by and could go home to dry off.  We told several of the others as we passed them that the road was flooded, but most continued on. I was feeling like a real wimp for turning back! The last group we passed had a baby in a little umbrella stroller. When we told them the road was flooded they did turn around and head back to their car.

We ate dinner on the seawall before leaving the island.  I don’t have a “smart phone” so I couldn’t check the website.  It wasn’t until I started writing this blog that I found this.

Update: 6/4   7 AM
Due to road flooding and worsening severe weather, this weekend’s sandcastle competition has been regrettably canceled.

By the time that update was posted we were already an hour into the trip south.  Not sure what we would have done at 7 am if we’d have known the event was cancelled.  Maybe it is better that I don’t have a smart phone and we were oblivious to the impending disappointment.  At least we got to see the WPA mural!

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