"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

November 26, 2018

Nov. 20-22 Winter Visitors

“One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” —Henry David Thoreau

We had friends from upstate New York come down to Rockport for a visit. Our weather wasn't great but it was quite an improvement over what they left behind. Having company is always fun and it gave us a chance to play tourist for a little while...rediscovering things in our own backyard.
We had decent weather the first day, George and Maryann were with us, so we took advantage of the sun by having lunch over looking Fulton Harbor and taking the ferry over to Port Aransas.

Fulton Harbor...full of shrimp and oyster boats.
One of the ferries that take people over to Port Aransas. We saw lots of dolphins on our way over to the island.
A cold windy day at the beach on Mustang Island.
From Port Aransas we drove down the island and back to Rockport through Corpus Christi (The Beach Loop). Corpus Christi Bay and the waterfront are beautiful.
Catching up on the back deck of Texas Pearl
The second day we visited Fulton Mansion. It was built in 1877, by an East Coast entrepreneur named George W. Fulton and his wife Harriet. They made their fortune shipping cattle tallow and hides between Rockport and New Orleans. The Fultons named their home Oakhurst for the majestic windswept oaks that surrounded the property. The historical significance of the house lies in its noteworthy architectural style, unique construction methods and advanced mechanical systems, which featured gas lighting, central heating and indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water. All systems that were not typically found in homes in this region at that time. It was the showplace of the town that was named for them.

Through the years the mansion passed through a succession of owners. It was a private residence, a restaurant, a backdrop for a trailer park and a recreation center. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department took ownership in 1976 and returned the mansion to its original grandeur and opened it to the public in 1982. In 2008, the mansion became the property of the Texas Historical Commission. 

This is the back of the mansion over looking Aransas Bay. The oak trees still look a little gnarly from the hurricane.
Learning about the Fultons in the visitor center.
The mansion has withstood several devastating hurricanes in it's time, the latest was Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Structurally the house was not damaged, but water blew in through the chimney flooding part of the home. We were able to tour the house, but the rooms were not decorated. These pictures show how the house looked before the storm...and hopefully how it will look again soon.
The view from Harriet's bedroom on the second floor.
Our next stop was Goose Island State Park to visit The Big Tree. Although The Big Tree at the park is no longer the largest live oak in Texas it's still one of the largest in Texas and in the nation. A 1000 years of weather has taken its toll on the tree, but it still stands tall stretching out it's huge limbs to welcome visitors and inspiring them to imagine all the history and people it has seen. The tree took a real beating from Hurricane Harvey and is slowly putting on new limbs and leaves...and one day for future generations it will look regal again.

Maryann and George at The Big Tree
Facts about The Big Tree (click to enlarge)
We spent the third day enjoying Thanksgiving with our son and his family. The girls loved seeing pictures and videos of Maryann's horses.
Maryann taught the girls different steps they teach their horses. They were having a great time.