The last stop in our Roadtrip takes us down to South (very) Texas in a region known as the Rio Grande Valley (Harlingen, McAllen, Brownsville, Edinburg, South Padre Island and many more). I'm sure the name is obvious to most, but just in case, it's the very tip of texas where Mexico, Texas, and the Gulf of Mexico meet and a little river known as the Rio Grande provides a natural border. This area has historically thrived on it's large agribusiness (and still does) with one of the biggest crops being citrus. It wasn't until I met my husband, that I had ever had any interest in visiting this little part of Texas. See, he was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley (aka The Valley). He's actually a farmers son and grandson.
Now, I bet you are wondering what the heck is there to do in the Rio Grande Valley? Lots! Check out my list of favorite things to do when visiting!
Once a month, downtown Harlingen hosts an open-air street market with lots of handmade items, antiques, produce, yummy food and live music. If you are in the market for some antique quilts, there are several vendors that sell some! You can find out more here, Jackson Street Trade Days. While you are visiting the nostalgic downtown area, be sure to check out these little gems! Oh, and how can I forget the amazing Mexican Food! Our favorite restaurants to grab some authentic Mexican food are: Las Vegas, La Playa, and Pepe's!
Local Quilt Shop: Picket Fence Quilt & Fabric
I am always up for a trip to the zoo and even though the Gladys Porter Zoo isn't as large as most, it still has lots to boast about. My favorite parts about this zoo are the mature trees that create so much shade, the amazing and close encounter Gorilla exhibit, and the butterfly garden. It is just the right size to spend a morning with little ones!
When we visit the Rio Grande Valley, we enjoy heading over to McAllen for some shopping and eating. McAllen has almost all the big name stores and restaurants. In addition, McAllan has one of the largest bird watching facilities in Texas, Quinta Mazatlan, where you can step back in time and tour one of the last Adobe homes left standing and take a nice stroll on their trails looking at birds and the lush landscape. I have yet to visit Quinta Mazatlan, but hope to the next time we visit and the weather is a bit cooler.
Local Quilt Shop: Life's a Stitch
South Padre Island:
Aside from spending some relaxing time on the beach, South Padre has many other things to offer including deep sea fishing, parasailing, and horse back riding on the beach. At least once a year, my family stays "on the island" for a few nights and enjoy beach life. There are some yummy seafood restaurants that we enjoy eating at including, Blackbeard's and Black Jack's (our two favorites).
If you are getting tired of the beach, you can spend the day at Schlitterbahn located right on the island. Then, when you get tired of the sun and water, take some time to enjoy the nature and wildlife that South Padre has to offer, including some more bird watching at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center and my personal favorite, the Sea Turtle, Inc. facility.
Sea Turtle, Inc. is a sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation facility located on the island. Their mission is " to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, educate the public, and assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species." We truly enjoy visiting Sea Turtle, Inc, and viewing all the rehabilitating turtles, but they have definitely outgrown their facility. They are currently planning for a much larger facility and if you like to learn more or even donate to this wonderful organization, you can check that out here. Oh, and if you are lucky enough to be on the island during hatching season, you can witness this phenomenal experience! I recommend following their Facebook page, Sea Turtle, Inc., to get the most current hatchling details.
So, without further ado, I decided to make my block for the Rio Grande Valley representative of the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.
You can download the foundation paper piecing pattern here.
I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit to the Rio Grande Valley! Giveaway Closed!
Have a great week and check back soon to find out all the details on the final link up party and giveaways!
8/1/14 Update: Winner of the thread is: Texas Quilting Gal - Congrats! I've sent you an email!