One of my favorite annual events in Galveston is the Galveston Historic Homes Tour coordinated by the Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF). It’s always scheduled on the first two weekends of May and it’s one of the rare opportunities to tour Galveston’s finest private homes.
- Buy your tickets in advance. If you buy them before the first day of the tour then you save $5 and if you are GHF member then it’s discounted by $10. You can purchase tickets online at www.galvestonhistory.org or at area Kroger stores.
- Map out your tour in advance. Galveston is very easy to navigate but you should pick out your “must see” houses first and tour them in order. Remember that much of Galveston is laid out by number and alphabet. As you drive west, the numbered blocks will increase just as you drive from north to south the lettered streets will go up.
- Wear comfortable shoes. GHF requests that you wear soft-soled shoes so you won’t harm the floors. Remember that the lines can be long so you should be prepared to stand.
- Bring a parasol or umbrella. Remember that this tour is in May so a little shade will be helpful while you wait in line.
- Pack a cooler. Galveston can be a very humid city so you should pack a small cooler and keep it in your car so you can have water on ice to drink between stops.
- Plan your bathroom stops. While you need to stay hydrated you must also keep in mind that the public is not allowed to use the bathrooms in the homes. Just imagine a few hundred people using your house for a pit stop - yuck. You might want to stop in at a local restaurant for a snack or lunch then use their facilities.
- Bring a little cash. Sunday, May 6 is Lemonade Day. Each house will have a young entrepreneur selling lemonade so support Galveston’s youth and buy a refreshing glass of lemonade.
- Dress for the heat. Remember that it can get warm so wear something cool and comfortable.
- Consider touring the homes during the second weekend. You could make this a Mother’s Day Getaway Weekend! For many years, my mother and I would make reservations for the first seating for Mother’s Day brunch at Hotel Galvez then we’d change clothes and tour five or six of our top choices. The lines are much shorter since many ticket holders toured during the first weekend.
- Take advantage of the additional discounts. During the four days of Homes Tour, you can enjoy a $5 admission to Bishop’s Palace, the Texas Seaport Museum, and a Historic Harbor Tour.
Homes are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Happy Homes Tour!