The façades of Galveston homes may not appear menacing by day, but when night falls, pitch-black shadows hint at the secrets hidden inside. Tracy Richardson, a medium, paranormal investigator, and the owner of Texas Ghost Tours, unearths these lingering evils during her two-hour walking tours of the city’s haunted sites. As a member of the Haunted Society, National Paranormal Society, and Galveston Historical Foundation, Tracy’s knowledge of the local lore is nearly as daunting as the task her tours tackle: to educate visitors about the existence of paranormal activity. After sunset, she leads the way to nearby buildings imprinted with past horrors, and the dilapidated Normandy Inn. She dives even deeper into the supernatural during paranormal investigations, during which she dons a bed sheet and a Sherlock Holmes hat.
Since 1969, when Gladys Haak gave her husband Raymond two concord grapevines to celebrate their 10th anniversary, the couple's namesake vineyard has flourished into 1,800 vines sprawling across three acres. Galveston County's first and only winery transforms grapes into award-winning potions that have earned the attention of the Houston Press and the Dallas Observer. Whether sipped onsite or at various shops and restaurants, the wines grace glasses with a diverse mélange of local blends. Custom labels can be commissioned to personalize each bottle with heartfelt dedications or nutritional information written in iambic pentameter.
The vineyard welcomes thirsty visitors with tours of their verdant vines, 25,000-square-foot workshop, and deli stocked with Boar's Head meats and pungent cheese. Frequent guests reap the exclusive benefits of the winery’s club memberships, which include invitations to special events, first tastings, discounts, and complementary bottles. An event-ready banquet space also sets the scene for memorable weddings and events, with the winery’s chef, Kim Johnson, overseeing catering duties, cake cuttings, and the busboys’ a capella performance of “Take My Breath Away."
The boating experts at Carefree Boat Club empower their members to explore the region’s waterways at the helm of like-new, professionally maintained water vessels. Safety is paramount, so before club members can take the helm, they must attend a classroom training session and two on-the-water training sessions with Carefree Boat Club’s dock master. During these sessions, they learn navigation, docking, and boat safety. After receiving their safety certificates, members gain access to the fleet of deck boats, fishing boats, sailboats, pontoons, cruisers, and watersports boats. The club’s dock staff also holds the water vessels themselves to high safety standards. They inspect boats weekly using a 50-point safety checklist, and outfit boats with safety equipment such as flares, horns, flotation devices, and earplugs for blocking out siren songs.
The ghastly guides of Ghost Tours Texas lead groups of foolhardy interlopers on story-filled journeys past the spectrally inhabited landmarks of Galveston and Houston Heights. On the Galveston tour, a knowledgeable leader takes parties through the Silk Stocking District to visit the 1858 Ashton Villa mansion, whose second floor is occupied by the phantom “Miss Betty” Brown, and whose basement is occupied by a man who years ago forgot how to work a doorknob. The guide also divulges tales told from eyewitness accounts.
The Houston Heights tour winds through the area's historical and opulent homes, exploring such mysteries as the story of the Dean Correl murders and the children who are said to still haunt the alleyways of Houston Heights. Guides weave tales of ghostly possessions and evil voodoo dolls peppered with real-life testimonies from local residents.
While Star Fleet excels, with its 20 years in business, at whisking passengers along Galveston Bay aboard its fleet of five luxurious yachts, it offers more. The charter yacht company also donates exclusively to the Galveston Bay Foundation, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the local waterway. Customers can rest assured that portions of their proceeds are going toward a worthy cause whether they're celebrating a wedding aboard the multi-level Star Gazer or pub crawling alongside Mai Tai–swilling otters on the Lake Limo.
The boutique winery specializes in personalized pours. Rather than growing its own grapes, D'Vine starts with high-quality juices to create its renowned reds and crisp whites. Wine is special in that it's a beverage equal parts soothing and social. Host a sophisticated birthday party, toast to the end of a stressful week, or gather your closest for an afternoon of grapey goodness.