The Spy Shop Mystery series is set on Galveston Island. Have you been? If not, please put it on your list of places to explore. I love the island, not in spite of, but because of its quirks and imperfections. 

Today’s Galveston is influenced by its pirate roots – a pirate first discovered Galveston and built a huge pirate city called Campeche. And its mob roots – the mob helped build Galveston into a go-to destination for those looking for a place where rules were malleable. And its immigration roots – the port of Galveston was once known as the Ellis Island of the South. And now it is being influenced by artists and cruise ships and high-end chefs who have flocked to the island. Speaking of flocks, the birding community is strong, too, because Galveston is a great place for bird watching.

Galveston is a beach town on its fourth iteration after devastating hurricanes wiped out all or part of it. And although the city has come back stronger each time, these tragedies have also taken their toll. The population, and therefore tax base, has yet to rebound from the last major storm, Hurricane Ike, which hit in 2008. These real struggles can be seen in the patchwork of lovely next to blighted homes. 

I love all of these things about Galveston and more!