Spring Break Already?

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Spring Break on North Padre Island, Texas. Photo courtesy of http://entertainment.caller.com

Wow…we had just been talking about cold, stunned turtles and polar vortex weather roller coasters… Now Spring Break in just around the corner. The first weekend will be March 7-8 with the busiest weekend on the 14-15th. However, today, the temp. dropped again. Spring is just a teasing us…

With all of this cold crazy weather this winter, there will be plenty of hormone-filled, Spring- feverish breakers coming to our little strip of sand here in South Texas. We here in the Coastal Bend have noticed that the traffic has been steadily increasing over the years here, but get ready for more.

So, if you want a quiet time here at the beach, well, it may not be happening for the mid-part of March. However, you will probably have a quieter time over at Padre Island National Seashore or maybe even at Rockport. The Port Aransas Beaches and many of the beaches on North Padre and definitely South Padre Islands will be busy. But just like March, it roars in like a lion, and leaves like a lamb.

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Our Little Rockport is a Contender for “America’s Coolest Small Towns”

Rockport’s got it going on, but we in the Coastal Bend knew that. Even Budget Travel among other sites are saying the same thing.

The entrance at Rockport Beach Park.
The entrance at Rockport Beach Park.
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Boats along the waterfront in Rockport,
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Rockport Marina area

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com

“BudgetTravel.com has put the call out for folks to vote on “America’s Coolest Small Town” in 2014, and Everglades City is in the running. For the next [several] days (through Feb. 25), voters can go online to cast their ballot for one of the 15 small towns listed. The winner wins bragging rights. Everglades City has some stiff competition, though. There are towns that have been settings for movies; that are historical gems; that are recreation havens; that are part of national parks; that were homes to former U.S. Presidents; and that are culinary delights. Among the contenders are: Berlin, MD; Elkin, NC; Huntington Woods, MI; Pahoa, HI; Buckhannon, WV; Estes Park, CO; Kelleys Island, OH; Rockport, TX; Cazenovia, NY; Mathews, VA; Travelers Rest, S.C.; Deadwood, S.D.; Galena, IL; Nevada City, CA; and our very own Everglades City. Populations range from 313 (Kelleys Island, OH) to 9,133 (Rockport, TX). Still, Everglades City has something that none of the other towns do — access to the Ten Thousand Islands of Everglades National Park and to some of the best backwater fishing in the U.S. Combine these elements with the amazing wildlife — both in and out of the water — that thrive in the mangrove estuaries of Everglades City, and it is a shoe-in to win. So cast your vote now at: http://www.budgettravel.com/contest/vote-for-americas-coolest-small-town-2014,16/#vote-21477. The clock is ticking!”

Why Limit Your Romantic Options to Valentine’s Day?

romance
Photo courtesy of tex.org

Valentine’s Day: This is a day we try to show our loved ones that we care. This is a day we send roses, cards, and candy to the ones we adore. This is a day we seek out romantic places to go to enjoy each other’s company.

But why limit yourself to just one day?

I have to admit we did buy cards and flowers to show love to each other, but we decided that we would barbeque outside and enjoy our time together. We figured that all of the restaurants would be packed with at least an hour long waiting list.

How romantic is that?

We figured we would just go out maybe the next night or just go strolling down at the beach and enjoy each other’s company. We would actually talk and spend time together among the sounds of the roar of the ocean and the laughing of gulls. Heck, there are almost no people there this time of year anyway…

What an idea!

Hey, for what its worth, we probably saved money as well as time. Most of all, we spent quality time together in a romantic place with nice view.

Sylvan Beach Park ~OR~ Who would go to the beach to use the internet!?

I just had to add this since this is my hometown in LaPorte, Texas….

Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches

Beautiful Sylvan Beach Park Beautiful Sylvan Beach Park

Sylvan Beach Park It’s super clean!

Sylvan Beach Park Lots of Grassy Space

Last month, when my mom and dad were visiting for my nephew’s birthday, I managed to reach whole new echelons of busy.  I’m not going to go into detail here, but suffice it to say that I have four jobs, and they’re all over the very large Houston metropolitan area.  Happily, one day during my parents’ visit, I had a five hour gap between jobs C and D.  I met the family in town for lunch, and then we poked around on my brother-in-law’s cell phone to see what we would do with the rest of my little pocket of time.  Long story short, we found a beach really close to my late-afternoon job and made a bee-line for it.

Our Birthday Boy Our Birthday Boy

Sylvan Beach Park is a lovely, quiet little beach on Galveston Bay (on the mainland side)…

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Places to Go,”Sea”, and Do: Rockport, Texas

In need of a little getaway? Pack your bags or take a day trip for a little fun in the sun, a little art, a bit of culture, or  nothing at all.

Weekend in Rockport-Fulton, Texas

Gazebo in Fulton
Gazebo in Fulton

 Snowbirds from everywhere, locally known as “Winter Texans”, flock to the Coastal Bend annually.  One favorite roosting spot for both snow birds and locals  the Rockport-Fulton area, located about 45 minutes north of Corpus Christi. Rockport, bordered by bays and barrier islands, the waterfront at Rockport-Fulton is serene, with its famous windswept oaks providing a sylvan backdrop. Nearby, downtown is beaming with brightly colored shops, galleries, and cafes full of friendly conversation over a cup of coffee or iced mocha.

The serene porch at the Rockport Center for the Arts.
The serene porch at the Rockport Center for the Arts.

Rockport has a full palette of independent art galleries and the main hub is the Rockport Center for the Arts, a community offering classes and exhibitions. In July, the popular Rockport Art Festival is held at Rockport Beach.

There are a variety of art galleries to peruse in downtown Rockport.
There are a variety of art galleries to peruse in downtown Rockport.

Bird watching and wildlife photography is a big pastime with whooping crane tours and the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, which is a semi-annual home to the endangered whooping cranes. The largest flock of cranes North American make the trip south from Canada to the Coastal Bend every year. Not only snow birds flock here, but cranes and other migratory birds.

One of several observation decks at Aransas Wildlife Refuge.
One of several observation decks at Aransas Wildlife Refuge.
Take a tour to view the endangered whooping cranes.
Take a tour to view the endangered whooping cranes.

If you want a more active time while in the area, there are numerous kayak rentals offering tours through the estuaries including the lighthouse tour off Harbor Island which is not far from the area. Other activities include fishing, boating, biking, hiking, jet skiing, kite boarding, dolphin tours, sunset cruises, and whatever else I forgot to mention here.

One of several colorful bait stands between Rockport Beach and downtown.
One of several colorful bait stands between Rockport Beach and downtown.

You don’t have to worry much about cars driving on the beach. Plus, the water is calm and is shallow for a great distance. Last, it is clean!

The entrance at Rockport Beach Park.
The entrance at Rockport Beach Park.

Photo courtesy of http://www.coastaltexasproperties.com

For me, the Rockport-Fulton area is only an hour away, but for day trip or longer, it is a great place to play.

Hermit Crab: A Different Kind of Beachcomber!

Love these little creatures. We have many here in the Coastal Bend.

Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches

Whether you’ve been tidepooling, beachcombing or have simply enjoyed a leisurely stroll on the sand, you have probably come upon a hermit crab or two! Hermit crabs are abundant in tidepools and along the seashore. They can be found living in abandoned marine snail (gastropod) shells and, less commonly, in other hollow objects (e.g., coral, rock or wood).

Look closely! Do you see the legs of the hermit crabs scooting around in this LaJolla tidepool?

Cool, huh?

Animal Planet states, “Unlike true crabs, hermit crabs have soft, vulnerable abdomens. For protection from predators, many hermit crabs seek out abandoned shells, usually snail shells. When a hermit crab finds one of the proper size, it pulls itself inside, leaving several legs and its head outside the shell. (A hermit crab has five pairs of legs, but not all of them are fully developed.) A hermit crab carries the shell wherever…

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