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Day 2: Beaumont, Port Arthur, Baton Rouge

"Is he here?"
“Is he here?”

Thursday,  September 5, 2013

 

We went by the Edison Museum on the way out of Beaumont.  It’s behind the Edison Plaza building.  We were told that it was the brainchild of a group of employees from the local electricity company.  They had a passion to promote the wonderful inventions that Thomas Alva Edison created to make the world a better place.

Would you name your child "Dot" or "Dash"?

 

 

There are many interactive displays and equipment, along with Edison’s thoughts and quotes.  (Would you name your child “Dot” or “Dash”?)  It’s a pocket museum that is well worth driving back into town to visit – and it’s free!

Sculpture of Janis Joplin
Sculpture of Janis Joplin

We drove to Port Arthur to see the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Brittney,the manager at Floyd’s restaurant, is from the area and said we really should “see Janis Joplin.” Well, there are absolutely no restaurants near the museum, so we drove back into the middle of downtown to get lunch. Wound up at Tony’s BBQ. It looked familiar to my husband, then he realized he’s eaten at the Tony’s in Houston.  That’s another franchise we’ve mistaken for a local eatery.

A canon was used as a novel safety tool!
A canon was used as a novel safety tool!

 

We did enjoy going through the museum.

Janis has her own little corner of memorabilia. There are several areas to explore.  I liked the story about the canon that was used in the early years to put a hole in a burning oil tank to relieve the pressure so it wouldn’t explode. It was an interesting idea. When it was finally used, the canonball went through the first tank and through a second tank that was fine, before lodging in a neighboring field!

Heading into Baton Rouge.
Heading into Baton Rouge.

 

 

 

As we headed toward Baton Rouge, the last of the sun’s rays bathed the sky in warmth.  The lovely combination of a beautiful sky and sparkling water is one of my favorite views.

Zea Rotisserie & Grill's specialty dishes are s-o-o-o good!
Zea Rotisserie & Grill’s specialty dishes are s-o-o-o good!

 

 

 

Zea Rotisserie & Grill was wonderful! It IS a chain, but it’s a small chain. Reviewers gave it high marks. My Shrimp and Corn Maque Choux was flavorful.  It was late and we didn’t want to go to bed on a heavy meal, so we split the Twice Cooked Crispy Duck with Snap Peas and Roasted Corn Grits.  

Holiday Inn Baton Rouge has nice rooms!
Holiday Inn Baton Rouge has nice rooms!

 

Looking forward to a good night’s sleep.  Hubby bid on another good deal.  Holiday Inn Airport is a 2 ½ star for $50.  He told the front desk that we both hit a milestone birthday this year (which is true) and we were taking a long road trip.   She congratulated him and upgraded us to a room in the main building – much nicer!    

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iPhoneography Travel

Day 1: Winnie, Beaumont

Wedneday,  September 4, 2013

We didn’t venture very far the first day.  There are things to see in Texas too!

Stuckey's was the precursor to the Texas-sized gas stop, Buccee's.
Stuckey’s was the precursor to the Texas-sized gas stop, Buccee’s.

We stopped by Stuckey’s for old times’ sake. It’s a gas stop/convenience store that was very popular decades ago that was the precursor to Buccee’s. Nowadays, when driving through Texas, many residents know to stop at Buccee’s for gas, food supplies, baked goods, deli food, gift items and CLEAN, CLEAN restrooms!

We had lunch in Winnie at Al T’s Seafood & Steakhouse, a tripadvisor.com pick.  

Overheard from one customer to another: “I’m sure they have healthy choices, but I’m not here for my health!” My husband enjoyed his chicken fried steak.  My gumbo was different from what I’m used to.  There was no okra.  😦   I will say that 30 shrimp are a LOT to put in one bowl!

A veteran fireman with his grandson,  possibly a future firefighter?!!?
A veteran fireman with his grandson,
possibly a future firefighter?!!?

Beaumont is a nice town.  We went to several museums.  My favorite is the Fire Museum of Texas.  There are descriptions with the displays but I was able to persuade the museum’s manager, Ami Kamara, to give us a tour and let me videotape some of it.  She took a little heat (pun intended) from the firefighters about being on YouTube, but she handled it well.  As we walked past a rack of pint-sized yellow firefighter jackets and boots, I wished I had a little one along to enjoy activities geared for the younger set.  Ami was a good tour guide. Watch her spiel about the origin of “tapped out” and how they received a 25′ fire hydrant from Walt Disney Studios!  The tale of superbly trained fire station horses is my favorite:

A note of encouragement to young women aspiring to excel in their chosen field – Ann Huff was a rookie firefighter in the 1980’s when she helped design and build the Beaumont Fire Department’s Fire Safety House.  As their current Fire Chief, Ms. Huff is setting a wonderful example of perseverance and following your dream!

Texas Energy Museum Executive Director, D. Ryan Smith, chats with my husband.
Texas Energy Museum Executive Director, D. Ryan Smith, chats with my husband.

The Texas Energy Museum had some nice interactive programs.  One, at the end of the exhibit, gives you a quiz on what you remembered about the historic discovery of oil at Spindletop.  My husband missed just 2 out of 20 – an “Excellent” score!

We went by Ana’s Mexican Bakery to get a couple of pastries to hold us ’til dinner. The Texas Energy Museum’s Executive Director recommended it for a quick snack with an interesting twist.

Does this sculpture speak to you?
Does this sculpture speak to you?

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas has works from local and national artists.  It may be a small museum but it is nationally accredited.  We were the only visitors and the security guard actually followed us around.  Finally, I turned to him and said, “If you’re going to be following us, you might as well tell us something about the art.”  Surprisingly, he did!  He also brought over the Curator of Education/Outreach, Andy Gardner, to speak to us:

“We had a delicious dinner at Floyd’s Restaurant.  Brittney, the manager, talked with us about the owners of the multi-store company.  They are two Floyds, plus one: Floyd Landry, Bret Floyd and Gary Pearce.  Floyd Landry is a member of the family that formed the very successful Landry’s, Inc., which is among the nation’s largest and fastest-growing restaurant corporations. Floyd probably wanted to do things his way and broke off to go on his own.  He oversees his Sugar Land restaurant and can occasionally be seen hitting golf balls in the parking lot.

We stayed the night at the Holiday Inn for $50, booked through Priceline.com. It has a 3 star rating.  They turn the gushing, tiered fountain off at 11pm nightly so visitors can get a good night’s sleep.  The beds were well-padded and everything was in order.  

Good effort to be Texas proud, but the Lone Star is off kilter.  :(
Good effort to be Texas proud, but the Lone Star is off kilter. 😦

The only real complaint I have is with the huge Texas flag hanging in the multi-story atrium. As you walk in, it grabs your attention, being six stories tall. It’s a lovely effort to honor our proud state, but it obviously wasn’t installed by a Texan. It’s backwards. Oh, well, it’s time to think about other, more pressing matters, like getting some shut eye. Nite-nite!