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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Clayton's Beach Bar and Other Week-end Activities

I don't get out at night a lot.  My husband is on-call 50% of every month which means he has to be within 30 minutes of the hospital...which is 28 minutes from our house...and if we do fun things on the island...well, we have a 50-50 opportunity.  We have become empty nesters and tend to stay home more and more.

This week-end was a change for me.  A childhood friend re-connected with me a few months ago and she made a trip down to the island, with her adult son, for a little summer time fun and catching up!

They arrived Friday evening and their request was "someplace fun" for dinner.  So, remembering the days of vacationing here, I automatically thought of the Louie's Backyard sunset view, huge buffet, and fireworks on the bay.  They seemed to enjoy it and it wasn't soooo loud that we couldn't talk and begin our catching up.  Fireworks were great, they enjoyed the food (especially piles of crab and shrimp) so I felt it had met the "first day criteria"!

On Saturday they wanted to shop a little and go to a beach bar for lunch, dinner someplace, and then live music and fireworks again.  I drove them around to a couple of the huge (and numerous) souvenir/resort wear shops where they got the things they wanted.  We headed to Wanna Wanna because it was fairly early and I figured it wouldn't be too crowded yet...and still pretty shady and cool.  We enjoyed eating and talking for two hours there - glorious view, nice shady table...everyone seemed content.

We next made our way down to LaQuinta, where they were staying so they could change, and I went in search of parking so we could beach it in front of Clayton's.  Holy smokes - that was a disaster.  Poor parking by space hogs (no striped parking - one hopes people will be reasonable - but no) left zero parking despite 15 minutes of my circling.  I ended up across the highway in over-flow parking.  I'd brought some bottled water with me, and couldn't enter Clayton's with that in hand - so we walked around the side and another 'holy smokes' moment!  The crowds looked so thick I couldn't see a path to the water.  We wanted to see the Sand Castle contest so we finally made our way down to the beach area in front of LaQuinta and saw Sandy Feet and Emerson at the conclusion of another fun contest morning.  I was so hot from slogging through extremely hot loose sand that I didn't even pull out my camera.  I regret that now.

We ended up finding a path to the water enough to just rinse and cool our feet and then decided the deck, under the palapa-style umbrellas was the better solution on this crowded day.  We enjoyed the glorious view of the water and sort of skimmed the top of umbrellas and the hoards.  Good plan.

My guests decided Clayton's had it all, so they didn't want to venture away for dinner and would happily eat bar food, listen to music, and watch fireworks where they didn't have to move and could walk right back up to their room at the end of the evening.  I left to go home and shower/change before the evening and we reconnected around 7:30.  Zack was playing sand volleyball and Lisa was enjoying the view and the music.  It was cool and breezy and Pelican West was doing Beatles covers when I arrived...I was one happy camper.  Fireworks promptly at 9:15 and then the final hour of Pelican West music had the dance floor hopping.

The most fun part of the evening was watching the people around us.  A group next to us was having a rip roaring good time with their parents and in-laws...the grandma on oxygen was up dancing with her portable oxygen machine...and everyone was happy to be spending the evening at "the place that had everything"...something I heard repeatedly about Clayton's Saturday night.  The group next to us were on their last night of vacation and had just found Clayton's.  They really ended their vacation with a party!  I sure hope they got home safely because those folks were partying hardy!

Pelican West is a great band - they cover a huge variety of favorites and the crowd was up and dancing...young ones, old ones, fat ones, skinny ones, break dancing, getting funky, couple was goin' on!  I so enjoy watching people having a good time.  I was a bit bummed that my husband was on-call and unable to be with me...'cause my feet wanted to boogie!  I don't think my feet or hands stopped doing a chair boogie the entire time I listened.  My son would have noted that my head was bobbing...which it always does when I listen to music.  I have plans for Mr. Flip Flop and dancing soon...he just doesn't know it yet :-)

I liked that Clayton's had some non-alcoholic choices and the grill was hopping (we had basic nachos with jalapenos and virgin pina coladas - I was driving).  I can't say I liked the daytime crowds at Clayton's but I did enjoy watching the banana boat off the beach, the sky diver's making perfect landings in front of Clayton's and the best, visiting with my friend of 54 years!

Photo by Zack Turner - at Louie's Backyard

I had intended to swing by Wanna Wanna and listen to the Bongodogs...but I was so tired I just pointed my car home.  The downside of all of this was it took me 45 minutes to make a 15 minute drive home!  The trail of tail lights across the causeway was long and slow.

Overall...Good times, good times.  Bay front or beach front...there's lots to do on South Padre Island at night in the Summer!!!

The video above is of the fireworks display - sorry for the jittery sound - I just did the point and record thing and it is what it is.  Enjoy!!!


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