That’s a wrap!

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.Rockport Texas

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.Rockport

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.Rockport Fulton Texas

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.Rockport Texas

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.

Shopping in Rockport, Texas - quaint, unique shops and interesting structures

Shopping in Rockport, Texas – quaint, unique shops and interesting structures

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.

Visiting the local Garden and Feed store had me longing for a home with a yard. That feeling was quickly passed though :-)

Visiting the local Garden – Feed store had me longing for a home with a yard. That thought quickly passed 🙂

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!BBQ

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.

Fresh roasted coffee beans

Fresh roasted coffee beans

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.photography

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!vultures

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 .photography

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96 thoughts on “That’s a wrap!

  1. Hi Ingrid,

    Great to discover your blog.

    That is an interesting point you raise about whether we should return to places we love for holidays. I’m kind of somewhere in the middle. We return to some places we love every year, not only because we love them but they are close and we have a holiday home there. If it means going abroad then I’m a little more cautious for a too quick a return. I like to dwell on the memory for a while. Return trips can be disappointing if they don’t live up to the first experience.

    • Thanks for stopping by. You are so right, some trips are so fantastic the first time around that’s it’s hard to top, but it sure is fun trying 🙂

  2. I have so enjoyed your Rockport posts, Ingrid, not just this year, but the previous ones too. I don’t think I would ever leave the spoonbills and cranes, but you’re right, that’s not an adventure for everyone. Thanks so much.

    • Thank you Jet. I’ve been back in the desert a week now, and am missing the birds and water, but soon the desert will be showing her finery. Thus, I’ll try and focus my attention on the unique cactus blooms while waiting for my Gulf Coast adventures at the end of the year 🙂

  3. I agree about missing things in movies. I find that with some books as well. I’ve been to a local reserve numerous times but I seem to always find something new with each visit. Well I like birding and photography, markets and interesting old buildings so I would have enjoyed this spot. For years I believed Texas was mainly a big flat dry desert like place. It was only when I started reading blogs that I realised how much more it had to offer and also that it does get wet! Thanks for the great tour and beautiful pictures as usual, Ingrid.

    • Yes, books are similar. Texas is one big state and does offer a diverse landscape along with diverse weather but compare to my beloved Colorado, I do find it rather flat 😉

    • As you well know, Texas is one bit state and it takes a great deal of time just to explore a small area. Last year we spent 3 months exploring between Galveston and Corpus Christi and barely touched the surface of the TX Gulf Coast 🙂

    • Thank you. Isn’t it amazing how much can be missed watching a movie the first time? I don’t usually watch movies multiply times, but good ones require a second or even third glance.

  4. Ingrid I liked your analogy of visiting a location again to reading a book for the second or third time. Although we love to go to new places it is a different delight to revisit and find things first missed or not appreciated fully.

  5. Thanks for the tour, you have really shown a nice slice of life at Rockport! I was also interested in the comments you and others have made about photography…I’m just learning bit by bit about photography, and other bloggers are my best teachers.

    • You welcome! I was going through some photos I took three years ago and it was fun to see, I think my photography has actually improved. I’ve learned a lot from other blogs. Photography is definitely a fun hobby and even more so when we get to share.

  6. We also love Rockport, and have been twice in the past few years. You did a wonderful job portraying the beauty of the area — it’s definitely a place we’ll be returning to, as well. Like you, I never tire of favorite spots — the only catch is trying to fit it all in…..

    • You are so right – it’s that time thing and needing to make priorities. So many great places to explore and discover. Al still wants to get me to Pensacola one of these days (he was stationed there before Corpus Christi). And then there’s the AL Gulf Shores, and ……..

  7. Did you get a pair of fashionable rubber boots in the end? I see the black ones with the pink soles at the end of the post, but I have a feeling these are there for illustrative purposes only. 🙂

    • Yep, bought those boots at the end from Amazon. I always add and link products at the end of my posts that I recently purchased or that I’m thinking about and it pertains to the subject at hand. The boots worked out great and I’ll be wearing them again as we wash the RV (for the second time) in an effort to free it from salt residue.

    • The friends me meet in Rockport are from Missouri and there’s a lot of Midwesterners that winter in this part of Texas. When the time comes, don’t hesitate to email me for more information, but I think with this post and all the links I included, that may be enough.

  8. Ingrid! Great storytelling stuff…. kudos! And who taught you to smear s piece of glass to throw most of a scene out of focus?!?!! Loved the beach sign… and the pier b/w shot is a darn swell keeper! Nicely done.

    Gene

    • Just think what I could do if I’d set the camera to RAW and actually use Lightroom instead of Picasa LOL. Sensei, you have taught Grasshopper well 😆

  9. It’s always nice to go back to a familiar place, especially if you had a blast during the first exploration.. It brings back nice memories. I can’t believe I love the sea horse and the flamingo glass sculptures. It’s tacky but cute at the same time :p

    • I actually bought the seahorse for my daughter and I was tempted to buy the flamingo for myself, but I had to resist, considering I don’t have room for knick-knacks. It was entertaining looking at all the unique and somewhat tacky souvenirs.

      • It must be hard when you travel in a RV regarding the souvenirs aspect. Are you often tempted to buy something ? When I was backpacking I was always tempted to buy some souvenirs but didn’t have the room to bring them home with me. The photographs are my only physical memories 🙂

        • I’m more of a T-shirt junky than knick-knack, but I didn’t find any T-shirts that were particular attractive. Thus, it wasn’t difficult keeping the wallet in the purse most of the month. Like you, I’m happy with the photographic memories 🙂

  10. Thanks for the tour! That mansion has been close every time we go..Glad it is now open. Also, I have never toured Rockport “downtown”…looks pretty neat. The Maritime Museum is well worth the trip and we did to that a few years ago. One of our fav’s was Mustang Island and Port Aransas..I could live there…Our uncle served on the Lady Lex in WWII, and THAT is a great tour also!! Enjoy the desert!!

    • My mom wanted to sell the house in IL and buy in Port A. She wanted to live there full-time, but dad was happy keeping the IL house and RVing 6 months on Mustang Island. Now he is stuck in IL full-time and the winters keep him house bound.
      There’s always new discoveries and sights to see with each repeat visit. We visited Lady Lex last year, but haven’t been to the Maritime Museum. There’s still some things in Corpus that I’d like to explore also. Our res is already in the books for next season.

  11. Great wrap up! I love the pier photo… WOW!!

    We are off the Blues & BBQ or Mardi Gras at Hotel Rialto in Aransas Pass… or Port A… not sure which, but I’m glad Ed is driving. 🙂 We bicycled over to Fats for breakfast and I had a chance to take a few snaps at the Big Tree on the way back. The birds are pretty scarce this morning…. lots of wind.

    Miss you guys! MA

    • Loved hanging out with you. While you were shooting that tree at Schonenstat, I was shooting that pier. I saved you as a favorite on that photo website so I can see any new uploads. Glad you’re out exploring and enjoying the area. Hopefully you guys decide to come back next year and be our neighbor again 🙂

  12. Im glad that we have you and Al as our emissary to the Texas Gulf Coast and giving us a tour of places that we may never go back to. And you are offering me my “bird fix” each winter 🙂
    How time flies, as you wrap up your stay at Rockport, TX we too are wrapping up our Tucson sojourn.
    Welcome back to the desert.

    • It feels good to be back in the desert, but I’m missing the water and the birds. I think I’ll need to hang out a bird and hummer feeder and try and lure in some models. Since I know you have no interest in returning to TX, I promise to supply you with a coastal bird fix next winter.

  13. I totally agree with you about revisiting familiar places. Its comforting to be in a known area and even more fun to find new things to see in them, peeling back the “must see” layers to really get to know the area is as much fun as discovering totally new places. Love the St. Bernard fountain!

    • Yes, it is comforting returning to a known area. Since I already new where all the grocery stores, post office, laundromat, etc. were located, I could spend my time “peeling back” some layers. Time to do some peeling in Phoenix now 😆

  14. Great pictures, Ingrid. I’m glad you enjoyed your stay at the coast. Mustang Island is our favourite spot, too. Fulton Mansion, btw, is still on the bucket list.
    Have a great weekend,
    Pit

    • I totally understand why Port A is a favorite. It’s one of mine as well. Do visit Fulton Mansion. It was extremely interesting and they did an amazing job with the renovation. I thought it was worth the visit, but then again, I love houses and architecture.

  15. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You have been a wealth of information on an area we are unfamiliar with & I have taken copious notes. I have been wanting to winter in TX but Don has been hesitant to do so. (He listens too much to his FL snowbird buddies). I shared your post & now he’s interested. We have made commitments to friends in FL for next season but he has promised to do TX the following year. Yippee, a visit to some place new!

      • It’s good to know how to use the manual functions on your camera, especially for the situations that require manual settings. I use the aperture preferred auto setting most of the time on my DSLRs and full auto most of the time on my carry camera (I end up using the +/- f-stop dial a lot though). After years of using large and medium format film cameras (which I still do) with no light meters, and manual focus (I always had a light meter hanging around my neck back in the day, now I always have a carry camera hanging around my neck), I really appreciate the auto exposure and auto-focus on modern cameras. I can concentrate on making the photos instead of messing with the aperture and shutter speeds.

        • Thanks for sharing your insight. I’m still figuring out what works best for me and playing with different settings. The first photo in this post, was taken on auto with my little point and shoot. Turned out better than I thought it would.

          • Frankly, most cameras do much better at getting the exposure correct than most people do using manual settings; especially since the photographers I know who try to use all manual settings all the time rarely use a hand held light meter to calculate exposure. The exceptions where auto exposure doesn’t do very well are difficult lighting, very bright or dim light where you want the photo to look very bright or dim the way you saw it. Auto-exposure tries to average difficult lighting, which can be ok, but if it’s the difficult lighting that has drawn your attention, then you need to know how to set the camera to get the exposure to represent the lighting situation how you saw it.

            • It’s all about the lighting, isn’t it? I like changing my white balance and when shooting birds I use shutter priority. But you are so right about the cameras today doing a great job. I tried manually focusing once and what a disaster 😆

            • I often end up using manual focus, but it’s a pain with modern lenses because they are made to deal with several focal points as directed by the camera. Finding which infinity is the infinity you are trying to focus on with a modern lens is most frustrating. It used to be pretty much everything 100 feet or more distant would be in focus with a lens set at infinity, not so with modern lenses.

  16. Sounds like you’ve had a grand time and Rockport looks like a town my girls would enjoy – don’t think they will ever become EX shop-o-holics even though I doubt there is a thing in the world they need.

    • Haha…. I think I might have to agree with the EX part – no such thing. Your gals would enjoy downtown Rockport and Port Aransas. The great grocery store and seafood markets make it a culinary delight. And I know you all would enjoy Gulf Waters RV Resort.

  17. I can completely relate to the quest for rubber boots. I’m on my third or fourth pair since starting full timing. Sometimes they’re just the only thing that will do in this adventurous life. And in some locations they are IMPOSSIBLE to find, so shopping itself becomes the adventure, which is usually not the case in the FTRV life.

    • The boot shopping quest did lead to some fun discoveries and exploring parts of town I may not have otherwise. The next time I randomly come across some rubber boots that I like and are in my size, I’m buying them. Even though space is a precious commodity, a gal can never have too many shoes… or boots 🙂

  18. Love the pier photo! Rockport is so beautiful via your lens. I really should visit there soon when birds are still there. 🙂

    • Actually, I was told by locals that March and April are the times to visit for birding (with the exception of the cranes, who will already be heading north). This year, I had better birding luck on Mustang Island, but you just never know where those rascals will decide to roost and feed. Part of the fun of photography is the hunt!

  19. You did an excellent job selling this part of Texas:) You even have me curious! I totally agree about returning and having a better visit the second or even the third time. I would really enjoy the Fulton Mansion. I like when they leave a room or at least a small area with the original look. It is so interesting to see how the construction was done. I am always finding things that one day I’ll have in my yard or house. Not sure when that will day will be but it is fun to plan:) Your final B&W is gorgeous!!! I love the perspective.

    • It was such a pleasure befriending my neighbor who is also into photography and thus we were constantly out running around in search of photo-ops. That last shot was taken during one of those times when we were on our way home and the sky rays had us taking a quick detour. That quick detour lasted over an hour!
      Marsha is the one who told me about the Fulton Mansion, but it had been closed the past two years for repairs. Very interesting structure and a superb renovation. And the last thing I was trying to do was ‘sell’ this part of TX. It certainly isn’t for everyone as ML will attest to 😉

    • From San Antonio to Corpus Christi, it’s around a three hour easy Interstate drive. Port Aransas on Mustang Island is the place to go, especially with children. My kids loved their time on the beach with their grandparents. And hiking all the boardwalks at Charlie’s Pasture would keep them entertained as well as visiting the gators at the birding center.

    • I think you and Greg would enjoy exploring this part of the country. There’s a simple rustic-ness to the area that is appealing to me. Whenever you do plan that visit, be sure and email me for tons of suggestions.

  20. We have stayed in Rockport, but through your eyes, it is a different place. The photos are fantastic. The last one is more than that. It is spectacular.

    • Thank you Marsha, and when I saw the Fulton Mansion finally open again, I thought of you. I remember you sharing some of your favorites with me during my first visit here. They did an excellent job with the restoration.

  21. Your pictures convey the beauty and quirkiness of the area. I’ve never been there, but if I have to go to Texas, I should aim south to the Gulf Coast. The pier pictures and the reflections are gorgeous!

    • Thank you Cindy. The Corpus Christi area is a popular winter hub for Midwesterner’s. We ran into so many people from IL, IA, WI, etc. who dislike the desert and thus winter in TX. I seem to enjoy both equally and am lucky to split my time between the two. My son is spending the weekend in your neck of the woods. Hope it’s not too cold for his thinned blood 😆

  22. We lived just north of Port Aransas for 20 years – this middle coast of Texas is so natural and parts are so remote. It is a true gem of an area is you don’t like condos and overcrowded beach developments.

    • Perhaps that’s why we enjoy it so much… no high rise condos blocking the vista. My folks almost ended up moving to Port A. I wish they had.

  23. As creatures of habit I’m finding it too easy to continually go back to familiar places and places that we absolutely love at the sacrifice of exploring someplace new. Thanks for the reminder to seek out the newness in the familiar.

    • Nothing wrong with returning to the same places. There’s always new things to see and do. We’re back in Phoenix now for two months and my list is already growing. You’d think as much time as we spend around here, that we would’ve seen and done it all by now, but repeats are fun too!

  24. Sounds & looks like a wonderful area to explore Ingrid. So many beautiful shots here, your photography just keeps getting better & better my friend. I am curious, did you end up finding some rubber boots?

    • Thank you so much Lynn for your kind compliment. The books and tutorials on photography must be working 🙂 I ended up ordering boots from Amazon and they arrived the day before my scheduled boat ride…. just in time.

  25. Interesting house tour and your comment about the servants being in a non decorated part of the house made sense. Looking back on every historic house tour that I have seen the kitchens were plain.

    What I like most about this area is the warm fuzzies is seems to give you. Every post has shown how much you really do enjoy this place! 😀

    • The Rockport area really works for us, but I also realize, it’s not for everyone. I have a friend who has no intention of returning. For anyone with an interest in real estate and construction, the tour of the mansion was interesting. It showcased water storage, heating mechanics, and the overall materials and workings of this turn of the century home. I’m already looking forward to next years visit.

  26. Love the “beach” pic of course…but the camera on tripod unique too! Great to find places close to our heart and interests…excited to hit the other seaboard this year. SD on hold as drivers license expire in ’18 🙂 Off to catch beads today…happy hiking!!!

  27. Looks like a place we would enjoy! The artsy photos and bright colors of the town were fabulous!
    But I am glad to have you back again! And the warmer temps are returning right along with you!

    • Yes, I think you two would enjoy it very much. It’s a sportsman’s paradise. There are fishing piers all over and beach fishing. There are even public blinds. So all you need are a few dekes, waders, and gun. No boat necessary around here. Al has already promised we’ll be renting a couple of kayaks next year to give me my water fix 🙂

  28. I agree about subsequent viewings of the same movie and location. Of course we all notice different things — related to how we’ve grown up, or spend out adult years — as a result we can all visit a place and take away very different — even contradictory — reactions.

    We only did three, relatively brief, drive throughs of Rockport and it’s a place I’d like to return to.

    Your story about the boots has me thinking. I too bought a pair of “Wellies” while we were in Texas. Seems odd that for a state that gives the impression of being such a dry place that we both ended up needing a way to get places without getting soaked (and in our case electrocuted — as the power post for our RV site was ankle deep in water!)

    I’m wondering whether — after this summer’s planned 5 month camp hosting stay — we might try a year of stays 1 month or shorter — just to break up the 2015-2016 pattern. For the first year and a half we moved every 2 weeks. Since then we seem to get hung up in different places for longer. Then again we’ll see how the coach does — part of the reason we are here for three months in one place is to make sure parts catch up with us and we get a couple annoying repairs taken care of.

    • Texas dry? With the exception of the drought, I would never put the thoughts of Texas and dry together. My folks spent 10 years snowbirding in this area and I swear my dad lived in his fishing boots. Moving every 2 weeks is way too much for us. We really enjoy spending a month in certain locations and we’ll shorten the stays during transitions. Our six week Midwestern sojourn was fun, but after moving frequently, we were ready to park it and regroup. I look forward to hearing about your summer camphost gig. We’re still looking into options and ideas for this summer. We’d like to stay in the west somewhere.

      • I guess my associations with Texas are largely in relation to West Texas which seemed always to be dry and hot over the years — not as far as wintering/snowbirding.

    • I’m certainly never bored, but it is a low key, relaxing kind of place. At this point, I never tire photographing birds and each day is different. For some reason, the birds won’t share their schedule with me, thus the necessity to run around in search 😉

  29. Each time you post about this area I want to return there. Thanks for showing us the Fulton mansion. We wanted to tour it last year but they were still working on it. I loved shopping at H.E.B.

    • Not only was the mansion complete but so was the Copano Bay Bridge (well at least two lanes). Now they are building another two lanes so it will eventually be 4 lanes, 2 in each direction. I too love shopping at H.E.B. and I think that’s why I felt compelled to share. Great store. I especially like the one in Flour Bluff. We already have our reservation booked for next year 🙂

  30. That fountain with the dog is pretty unique, Ingrid. I know what you mean about temporarily thinking about a yard. While that would look great in a garden, I’d prefer to see a variety of unique fountains. 🙂

    • The Garden-Feed Store excursion was a fun stop. They had so many decorative and unique plants, planters, and fountains that I imagined designing a yard implementing some of these things. Then I thought of my sore back and the maintenance….. the yearning for a yard quickly passed 😆

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