There’s a major up side to returning to familiar territory. I think we can all relate; we go on vacation to some new and exciting place and have such a wonderful time that we can’t wait to return again and again and again. And although that may mean we’re not exploring other exciting destinations, that doesn’t mean new discoveries aren’t made.
To me, it’s kind of like watching a movie for the second or third time. Character lines are heard that may have missed the first go around, or there’s a better understanding of a plot. I feel, some movies are actually better the second time around.
I think the same can be said about traveling to a familiar place. This was our third January spent in the Rockport, Texas, area and our best visit yet. I’ll be the first to admit, this is a place I probably wouldn’t recommend to most folks unless one’s interests are either birding, photography, or sportsman activities (fishing/hunting). Considering Al and I enjoy that stuff, it works perfectly for us.
For those more interested in beaches, quaint shops, and plenty of dining options; Port Aransas on Mustang Island is the place to go. I even found myself visiting the island three times during the month of January exploring some of my favorite places.
Mustang Island and the Corpus Christi area hold special memories for Al and me individually. During Al’s Navy days, he was stationed in Corpus Christi and the aircraft carrier he was trained to land a plane on has now been turned into a museum. My memories center around my parents and their RVing days. It was not uncommon for the kids and me to visit my parents during their winter sojourn to Mustang Island. Fond memories, indeed.
Back to Rockport – Fulton and my new discoveries … these two quaint Texas coastal communities offer plenty of options to keep me entertained (in addition to my birding, that is). After a two-year renovation, the Fulton Mansion was once again open to the public and at the top of my list to visit. This 1870’s French inspired home has been beautifully restored. (click on any photo to enlarge into a slide show)
I found the self-guided tour of the mansion interesting as I was transported back in time. One of the rooms on the second floor was left as original as possible showcasing damaged lath and plaster walls. Parts of the ceiling and flooring were also left exposed to share some unique materials used in the construction. I never would’ve thought to use sand and seashells as insulation between floors. My Real Estate background had me reading each word displayed regarding ownership of the property and the prices each party paid. Back in the 1960’s the front yard was actually an RV park and all the historical photos were extremely entertaining.
Touring the grounds alone is also worthwhile with its wind swept Oak Trees, manicured garden, and serene ocean view.
There was more history for me to discover in downtown Rockport. Since I didn’t have anything to shop for, I strolled the main street looking for things to photograph. Architectural photography remains a challenge for me, so I’m always looking for opportunities to practice.
No shortage here of things to photograph as all the buildings are unique and one of a kind. And just because I didn’t have any knickknacks to shop for doesn’t mean this former shopaholic didn’t step into a shop or two.
Most of the shops cater to the tourist crowd, even the local Ace Hardware store gets in on the action. Aside from exploring the little shops in the downtown area, I found myself visiting stores throughout the community. Stores I normally wouldn’t visit if it hadn’t been for my quest to find a pair of rubber boots. You see, I was in dire need of a pair of rain boots if I was to go out on the boat with Dennis. His funky little boat required that I board from the water and the temps were way to cold for my Keen’s, thus the need for boots. But not just any old rubber boot would do. Come on, they had to be somewhat fashionable after all.
Finding rubber boots wasn’t an issue in this coastal community. It was the fashionably cute part that was difficult. I wound up running all over town, including the hardware store, feed store, stores an hour away in Corpus Christi, and eventually turned to Amazon. Every time I found a pair of boots I liked, they didn’t have my size!
Whew…. all that shopping had me working up an appetite and this year’s new restaurant discovery was just five minutes up the road from our RV Park. Stevie Lew’s is a locally owned, family run business with everything homemade. My chicken BBQ sandwich was delicious as were the chicken tacos that I tested on visit number two.
They even roast their own coffee beans and it smelled wonderful. I forgot to buy some coffee on my way out 😦 Next time! See, there’s always a reason to return.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful markets around here. Texas is home to a grocery store chain called H.E.B. I’m always able to find what I need at a reasonable price and the employees are usually very helpful and friendly. I’ve never had a bad experience at a H.E.B. And then there are all the local seafood market’s which need to be explored. We pulled out of Rockport, Texas, with every square inch of our RV freezer filled with fresh shrimp and fish.
Our time along the Gulf Coast flew by, and I’ll admit, we weren’t ready to leave. That said, we’ve talked about spending two months along the coast next winter, but then again, the desert has a strong pull. Ah, we’ll need to sit down and do a little scheduling and time management. There are worse things to contemplate!
Last year I did a post on the places we camped in this part of Texas. Click here if you’d like more information on camping options.
So, I think I’ve about summed up our time along the Texas Gulf Coast – shopping, museums, photography, fishing, hunting, birding, photography, eating, boating, sunsets, sunrises, did I mention photography. That’s a wrap! Next up, we’re back in the desert southwest .