Living Car Free on Galveston Island for six years has had its up’s and down’s.
The biggest down side for me has been that I am a Down Town gal and the grocery store’s are two-three miles ether way of me. Now sometimes a bike ride down the Seawall on a summer evening and seeing the sunset is a real treat. Even walks on the beach that take me there will have me there before I know it, lost in thought (the coming home not as great.)
And other thing is that everything on the island is about double to triple the price off island. And we don’t have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Food’s option, Krogers is the best I get.
On Sundays there is a small Farmers Market in walking distance real close as well as SunFlower Bakery to get my bread and Katie’s Seafood to get my fresh fish and Macio’s spice is a good place for pre-made sauce, spices and pasta’s as well as a few choices in cheese and good picnic and lunch items. They also have chickpea’s and the best coconut milk.
And Mod Coffeeshop for any coffee, including beans or ground coffee to take home. I can’t leave out the newer Hey Mikey’s Icecream to bring home fresh island made icecream that won’t be melted by the time I bike ride or walk all the way home.
This is how I often try and do my shopping, though it hasn’t always fit my time table and budget to allow for. So factoring in many things can really change how one shops much more than just car-free.
However, being car-free and living down town has also been a part of my way of life…in shopping local. The library is also in walking distance as is the Galveston bookshop, two stage theaters and any live music venue’s.
The island is also about 7 miles between point to point of where you might actually need to go (longer in some cases of where you live) and about 1-2 miles wide depending on the part you are on.
So Down Town is where I live and many shops, clothing, and restaurants plus entertainment (even free) right there. The beach is one mile away…if standing in the middle of the street you can see it (well, for us, you can see the ride of the Seawall where the beach is.) And the other way is a nice sunset walk area also with restaurants at the Galveston Harbor.
A good early morning entertainment is to watch the cruise shops come in and turn…seriously insane. And I can see them from my loft.
Needing to bring big bulk items home is the toughest but again I will often do two big stock up’s (toilet paper, any shampoos ad bathroom supples and cleaning products, caned goods and pantry items) a year and this allows my grocery trips to be about produce, milk, eggs, cheese for the most part. Weirdly…it’s not expensive and makes a huge savings to shop like this as well.
I have spent a year living outside of Down Town and farther off and all this caused was a slight bike ride into Down Town, not a problem at all. Two miles on bike is only a few minutes.
Sometimes getting around car-free on the island is easier than with a car…during events which we have like…a million a year, and many roads get blocked off as well as so many cars that the fire department has had to shut the island causeway down for capacity limits (Bike Rally) and really we have a lot of weird stop sign area’s that is hard to see at in a car to know if it’s safe to go.
And during things like Biker Rally or Mardi Gras it’s impossible to drive anyway. And tourists never get our one-ways.
I never have to pay or worry about what the pay options are for Down Town or Seawall parking and I never “Can’t find” a parking space on the Seawall, Down Town, or on a trip to The Spot.
We do have a bus, and though it’s not the greatest…it works for some cases when on a hot or bad weather day I might need to get farther and do’t wish to bike it. And if needed nothing is very far so TaxiCabs only cost so much. Which when you aren’t paying car payments, insurance, gas, can’t be beat. Off island trips to a mall and Houston are what I crave to be able to do car-free. Hopefully one day a train will be available.