Posted in Travel

Hunters Moon Over Rockport

O”Sunrises and sunsets are beautiful, fiery awe inspiring daily gifts of art from God. But a full moon rising is much more rare. Serene, almost religious, it can be just as beautiful. This is why we set our sites on Rockport, Texas to witness Octobers’ Hunters moon rise over the Gulf of Mexico.
We hopped in the T-bird, took the top down and headed for the coast. It was late in the day and the sun was low in the sky. No sunscreen needed for this drive. The air was cool and comfortable. As we got closer to Rockport a ghostly moon rose directly in front of us. Wow it was still daylight. Moonrise in front glowing sunset behind. What a wonderful evening drive.
When we arrived at the Hampton Inn Rockport-Fulton I knew we were in for an adventure when Shannon the hotel clerk described the area as “A sleepy little drinking town with a fishing problem”. Most everything here closes at 9pm. Since it was 8:15pm we didn’t have time to explore so we asked Shannon what she suggested. She offered a place called Moondog. “Try the fish tacos” she said.
The full name of this casual restaurant is Moondog Seaside Eatery. Convenient and easy to find, just a mile down the road. Set on the water with a few boats to the side and plenty of open water for a great view. They call themselves “A chill waterfront hangout with a roomy deck and patio”. Both indoor or outdoor seating were available. We chose outdoors. The view was gorgeous. The waxing moon shone with a silvery light over the water.
Lainey was our waitress. Bubbly and outgoing, she made us feel very welcome. She too suggested the fish tacos. Said they were her favorite. So of course we had to give them a try. The brisket nachos caught my husbands eye (since he thinks of himself as a smoked meat connoisseur) so, yes we ordered them as well. The brisket nachos were fine (ok yes, my husband does make some of the best brisket I’ve ever eaten. Hard to compare anyone else’s), but the fish tacos were to die for. The tortillas were thicker than I am used to, almost a pita like consistency but still tasted like a tortilla. Thick chunks of tasty fish, with mango salsa and a special sauce all together melted in your mouth in an explosion of yumminess.
The atmosphere combined with good food, great beer selection and friendly service all made this a place to definitely star on my GPS.
Our second day started with coffee and a filling free breakfast at The Hampton Inn, then we loaded up for a short trip to Port Aransas for a day of fishing.
There are quite a few party fishing boats and private charters in The Port A area but we chose Dolphin Docks. They had a four hour midday group charter for $60.00. If you book one of these be sure to check your state fishing laws. You will need a valid fishing license with a saltwater stamp. Dolphin Docks does not sell them and we had to run up the street at the last minute to a Stripes convenience store to purchase a one day license. Also very important, don’t forget sunscreen even in October. There are not many places to escape the Texas sun on a boat.
The Dolphin Docks provided the fishing tackle, bait and instruction. After that it’s everyone for themselves. If your are lucky enough to catch some fish they will also clean and pack your catch in ice for transport home. Today the rods were pretty quiet. Didn’t need that fish cleaning service. One person fishing from the stern of the boat landed about eight good sized catfish. The only thing we pulled in that day was seaweed.
However the sites were worth the price of admission. It was a beautiful day. As we left the dock, we were escorted by groups of ribbon fish shimmering translucent just below the surface. And the dolphins jumped and played just off the bow all the way to open water.
On the return trip we were amazed to see an ominous black tip fin rise up out of the water. Just below the surface you could see a silhouette of a large creature, swimming just in front of us. As it passed it surfaced. It was a huge black and white stingray! Each wing was adorned with a huge central oval, each wing the mirror image of the other. Gliding along the surface for what seemed like forever, showing off like the belle of the ball. Finally, with a proper wave befitting royalty, it submerged. It must have been seven or eight feet from wing tip to wing tip. One of the crew added, it was the largest he had ever seen. Follow this up a few minutes later with a little puffer fish trying to keep up with the boat made this a fabulous experience. Way better than any aquarium.
That evening we watched the moonrise from the pier in Rockport and it was well worth the trip. The setting sun set fire to the clouds, the vibrant colors gave the sky the appearance of burning coals, smoldering and alive. After the sun had departed, the moon started its ascent over the water, first as a tiny sliver of bright orange on the horizon. Slowly it rose casting a beautiful orange reflection across the water, as though a Broadway lighting director had coreagraphed this beautiful light show just for us. There was an incredible beauty all around, no picture could do this justice.
We walked along the water and stopped at The Boiling Pot for dinner. A seafood restaurant with quirky decor and a limited menu. We chose King crab boil with shrimp, corn and red potatoes served poured out on the butcher paper covered table. It was spicy and filling. Good but a little pricey.
Before going home we stopped at Sugar Shack, a fun little bar filled with 1960’s memorabilia, friendly people and the tallest Jenga tower I have ever seen made with pieces of 2×4. On their door they advertise a free bus that will drive you home if you’ve had too much to drink.
Our hotel was an easy one mile walk and through a quiet neighborhood. The twenty minutes it took was a great way to burn off some of our Boiling Pot calories.
Our last day we ate at Charlotte Plumbers, another glorious day so we sat outside. The food was fine but unexpectedly we discovered outside was the smoking area. This came as a bit of a suprise as there were no ashtrays on any of the tables and the patrons who were smoking chose to use the floor as an ashtray. Very unpleasant.
After lunch we went for a tour at The Fulton Mansion, the entrance fee was $6.00 and paid for a self guided tour. There were docents inside to answer any questions you might have. It’s a beautifully restored mansion built by George Fulton in the late 1800’s. The foundation of the home was built with “Shellcrete”. Made from lime, sand and oyster shells. The mansion featured gas lighting, central heating and indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water. Be sure to check out the bathroom.
Inside the nineteen room home you will find a simple elegance. Arched doorways, finely crafted woodwork and even many of the original furnishings. To help maintain a comfortable temperature inside, they also used a layer of crushed shells in the floors and ceilings for insulation. In the basement, two rooms (cisterns) were used capture hundreds of gallons of rain water. The kitchen and pantry were also in the basement. This helped keep cooking smells out of the house and also stayed cooler in the summers. Food storage was accomplished using a rudimentary refrigeration system. A table filled with ice blocks and water kept cold things cold and chilled things were kept on top.
Lost to capitalism for a short time, it had become many things but I found it interesting that from the 1950’s – mid 1970 it was a trailer park during the catering to tourists. By 1968 the home had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair. Recently renovated to its original elegance it gives you an interesting history of how people lived before many of our modern conveniences.
October is a perfect time to visit the Texas Coast, the weather is clear and comfortable, minimal crowds and of course a big beautiful hunters moon.

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Favorite color - pink Favorite place to visit - anywhere I am at the moment What I love most about life - spending time with family and friends If I could do anything I wanted - I would travel every inch of the earth and write.

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