During the Covid lockdown I longed for a trip to the Texas coast. But, we didn’t go anywhere and I felt beach deprived. I am making up for it now. Our first post lockdown trip to the coast was described in my January blog post, where I wrote about our visit to the Rockport area and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Our second trip was this past week.
It is almost 252 miles from Austin to Port Aransas and usually takes us at least 4 -5 hours, depending on stops. We took our usual route from Austin down hi-way 183. But, instead of our usual bypassing of Gonzales, we decided to check out the Gonzales memorial Museum.
It is a small museum with stories on the early and later pioneers of this area. But, the main attraction is a small cannon. This cannon was given to the settlers of Gonzales by the Mexican government for protection in case of attack by the indigenous people of the area. A few years later, in 1835, the Mexican government wanted it back. The people of Gonzales refused to give it back and voiced one of our iconic Texas slogans, “Come and take it.” In the Fall of that year, the little cannon fired the first shot of the Texas Revolution. I had never visited this museum before and was surprised how small the cannon is.
Then we headed on down the road to our usual stop in Goliad for lunch. We picked up burgers and fries at Whataburger and headed down the road to Goliad State Park. This is always a nice break to eat, stretch our legs, and do a little nature viewing. There are also several historic sites to visit. This trip we just ate and sat in the park.
Continuing on, we arrived in Aransas pass and boarded the ferry to Port Aransas.
We picked up supplies of food and drink at the local grocery and headed a few miles down the road to our vacation rental. We spent three nights there. Here are several views from our balcony.
We walked on the beach, but the water was a bit cool. We didn’t go in past our calves.
I love the sound of the Gulf surf and the cry of the laughing gulls. I love the feel of moist, salt spray on my face, the soft grit of sand between my toes, and the rush of waves over my ankles.
We took a dolphin watching cruise of the channel on The Scarlet Lady.
Along our route was the oldest working lighthouse in Texas. It is privately owned.
I highly recommend this dolphin watching cruise. We saw lots of dolphins, birds, ships, and history.
Another highlight of our trip was visiting the various nature trails and birdwatching spots in Port Aransas. A particular favorite is the boardwalk at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. On our last visit it was closed due to being destroyed during a hurricane. They have rebuilt and it is better than ever. Besides birds, one critter we look for is a large alligator. We don’t always spot it, but we were lucky this trip.
We decided to return to Austin via a slightly different route. We headed down the island to Corpus Christi. I wanted to visit the Selena Memorial at the Corpus Christi Bayfront Seawall.
Texas Historic Plaque honoring the 1966 Farmworkers March. The farmworkers were pressing for better wages and working conditions. They left Rio Grande City, Texas on July 5th and marched 380 miles to the state capitol in Austin. They passed through Corpus Christi on the way and arrived in Austin on Labor day where possibly 10,000 people rallied for the cause.
The memorial to Selena Quintanilla-Perez is not far from the farmworker plaque. There is a statue of her that is made of bronze and a plaque with words honoring her and a sculpture of a white rose, which was her favorite flower. The words “Mirador de la Flor” (Overlook of the Flower) are on the memorial.
This was our final goal and we headed north out of Corpus Christi, exited east and went through Beeville, Kenedy* and Nixon before rejoining hi-way 183 in Luling. We got back to Austin about one hour before a major thunderstorm hit. Good timing.
I am so grateful for a wonderful trip to my beloved Texas coast and for a wonderful traveling companion.
Photos taken by B. McCreary
*We stopped for lunch on the way back at a wonderful city park in Kenedy, Texas. Picnic tables, shade, playscape, clean restrooms. Saw an Eastern Bluebird there, mirroring my happiness.