Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

Last week we were racing around, boarding our house, moving deck furniture, securing plants, and everything outdoors ahead of Hurricane Marco and Hurricane Laura. As you know, Marco was not a problem as far as storms go. Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

On the other hand, Hurricane Laura devastated southern Louisiana, the Lake Charles area in particular. From Hurricane Ike several years ago, we know firsthand what life is like after a hurricane destroys or damages the town you live in and your home.

Lake Charles and its surrounding area face a monumental task. The weeks and weeks of no a/c or water, spending all your time from morning to night picking up, cleaning up, repairing, rebuilding. See the post Surprises in Galveston.

Laura did not swerve to the west, as predicted could happen, so our home and community were unaffected in any way. I do not believe we even received any rain! Steve and I think our preparation days were necessary, and we will do it again under similar circumstances.

We plan to keep some of our windows boarded up for a few days longer since we now have four Atlantic disturbances capable of tropical development. Nothing new, this happens each year, but we’ll wait and see for a bit since we are now in our peak hurricane season.

Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

This was the “key” to our house after all the doors and windows were boarded up.

When we left home in our RV, we had no destination or reservations anywhere. The RV is self-contained, and can park our RV almost anywhere (Walmart, even) and spend the night, so where we were going did not concern us.

We headed west, away from the weather and planned to travel on back roads to avoid traffic snarls. That was our only plan.

Harvest Hosts saved the day!

Harvest Hosts is a membership program that offers overnight RV accommodations at over 1,500 attractions, breweries, wineries, and farms. These sites also typically require at least a 24-hour reservation and provide only a one-night stay. It is a very excellent way to overnight in your RV.

These Harvest Host member sites do not charge a fee to park your RV at their businesses. However, they do not typically provide electrical, water, or sewer connections. Your RV needs to be self-contained.

If you travel in an RV, and this sounds like a good thing to you, I encourage you to look at their website through my personalized Harvest Host link here. If you choose to subscribe through this link, you will receive a 15% discount, and I will receive a referral fee. I am pretty impressed so far.

I used my phone app to find a Harvest Host member site about an hour and a half drive from us that could provide overnight accommodation on short notice that was out of Laura’s possible path.

We were very fortunate that our two dog children, Tank, and Lilly, were welcome, and 24-hour notice was not required. We were all set!

Beneath the Oaks

Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

The very aptly named Beneath the Oaks is the excellent Harvest Host property we drove to for our first night of evacuation. The manager, Lorene Piwonka, told us their gate was unlocked so we could go right in.

Lorene met us as we arrived, showed us where to park, and invited us to her winery for a tasting later in the evening. A wine tasting? Beneath the Oaks is excellent already, right?

Beneath the Oaks is such a beautiful place. A great place to stay overnight in the RV and an outstanding wedding venue!

This property boasts a reception hall, an outdoor stage, a dance floor, and a kitchen. There is also an outdoor wedding ceremony location in the trees. It includes a little white chapel for indoor weddings, a bridal suite and salon room, a cantina and groom’s quarters, and four hotel-style rooms for family or guests, plus ample parking for hundreds of guests.

Add a winery to all of that, and this is quite a place! We did not tour the wedding amenities but we did while away some time in the wine tasting room, tasting each of the nine wines Beneath the Oaks offers, from specialty wines to white wines to my very favorites, the reds, and purchased bottles of our two favorites.

Lorene made us feel welcome and encouraged us to relax in her beautifully decorated wine-tasting room while we sampled the different wines. Lorene was getting ready for her winery’s grand opening in just two days but took the time to sit and leisurely visit with us during our tasting.

She had great stories about the winery, the history in that area, and some of her experiences with her winery. Lorene is very passionate about her vineyard and wines.

We were so comfortable and relaxed at this little spot of heaven in the trees that we wanted to stay a second night. Harvest Hosts usually provide only one night’s stay.

Lorene offered to allow us to remain a second night as Harvest Host members at no overnight charge, but we decided to move to one of her five sites with full hook-ups for a small fee and conserve fuel.

Although we could have continued using our onboard generator for a few more days without refueling, we were burning a lot of gasoline.

Shanghai Pierce

One of the stories Lorene told us was about one of the area’s local characters. Shanghai Pierce. One of her wines (my favorite incidentally) is named Shanghai Red even. Abel Head “Shanghai” Pierce was a cattle rancher in the mid-1800s as well as a Civil War soldier in the Confederate cavalry.

In 1871, he established the Rancho Grande at Deming’s Bridge on the Tres Palacios River in Matagorda County, Texas, a few miles from where the town of Blessing is. He had a very full life. You can find more information about Shanghai Pierce in this Frontier Times Magazine blog post.

Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

There are many stories about Shanghai Pierce, the colorful cowman of Texas. The most curious thing about Shanghai Pierce is the marble statue of himself that he commissioned sculptor Frank Teich to build in the early 1890s. It is a 6’5″ likeness that today marks his grave in the Hawley Cemetery near Bay City, Texas.

Hawley Cemetery

Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

This beam, inside Hawley Cemetery, is from the wooden bridge that was built over the Tres Palacios River at this site in 1857 by the landowner Edward A. Deming. Early settlers created the community of Deming on the western side at this natural bridge crossing.


St. John’s Episcopal Church and bell tower

Palacios is a small coastal town, known as “City by the Sea,” positioned midway between Houston and Corpus Christi and about 15 minutes from Beneath the Oaks.

Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

Another lifetime ago, I took flying lessons. One of my tasks was to pilot our four-place Piper Cherokee plane to Palacios, where I had to have my flight logbook signed as proof that I flew there.

It was a successful flight – I’m here to tell the story today, but I don’t believe I’ve been back to Palacios since that flight. Since we were so nearby, I was curious to see the airport I had so bravely flown myself to all those years ago. It sure looked much bigger back then!

Steve and I drove around the town of Palacios for a while to see what there was to see. We discovered the shipyard where there were many many shrimp boats docked. I don’t know for sure, but expect they were all in because of the hurricane out in the Gulf.

This fabulous 12-ton statute of Jesus is positioned right on the shore, looking out to the bay as a memorial honoring fishermen lost at sea and also as a sign of protection for those going out to sea.

Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

The storm has passed

We are fortunate Hurricane Laura bypassed our home, and that we found the amazing Beneath the Oaks Winery as our safe harbor. Steve and I managed to turn a hurricane evacuation into another terrific and enjoyable adventure in Texas.

We did not expect the trauma drama of a hurricane evacuation to turn out to be such a pleasant and relaxing travel excursion. We are hoping, as we keep our eye on the Gulf, that our next adventure is as enjoyable as this one has been. Hurricane season does not end until November 30!

I would like to know though, did you evacuate for this hurricane, or have you ever evacuated for a hurricane? What was your experience?

Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

5 thoughts on “Where did we go for our hurricane evacuation?

  1. Pingback: Marco and Laura | Always Want To Go
  2. I have been meaning to purchase a harvest host membership. I’ve been researching it for awhile. I’ll use your link.

    1. Thanks Linda. I think it’s a great concept and expect we will visit many of them.

  3. You guys certainly made the best of your evacuation situation! What a lovely spot you found.

    1. Our evacuation definitely turned out to be a great experience.

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