Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rockport Birthday

April 17th was my birthday and I really wanted to take a little trip as Martin and I hadn't been anywhere together in a very long time. After considering various destinations I decided on Rockport. Neither of us had ever been there and I had heard that it offered a nice combination of beach, art, shops, and nature. We headed down there on Thursday, April 15th -- a bad day for some but our taxes were done the week before, nanner nanner. Martin didn't want to go through Houston and we wanted to see an incredible wildflower display. When I tell you that we drove to Rockport via Brenham you will understand that we took a very scenic and indirect route! (look at a map!) The wildflowers were indeed incredible! The very best area was between New Ulm and Columbus -- I think it was Hwy 109. Awesome! We tried to go to the museum in Victoria but it was closed so we had to settle for lunch instead -- some pretty good Mexican food.

We actually were staying in Fulton which is next to Rockport and they just blend together unless you notice a city limits sign. We went directly to a goup of cottages called "Living on Island Time" which were located on Broadway just two blocks from the bay. You can see our cute little yellow cottage ("Fin and Feathers") below. It was quite small but clean and fresh and had everything we needed and more. We got unpacked and drove around and scoped out the town. We had some drinks at Moondog (spicy Bloody Mary for me -- yum!) and later seafood at a restaurant just blocks from our cottage called "Charlotte Plummer's." Coincidence: a close family friend from my childhood was named Charlotte Plummer so it seemed a good place to eat -- and indeed it was!
The weather was not looking good on Friday, but at least the wind had died down a little from 50 mph. We planned an inside day. First we went to the Rockport Art Center where they just happened to be showing the annual juried show of the Texas Watercolor Society. That was great to see -- so many excellent paintings! And of course some not-so-excellent ones, but that just makes it more fun. Martin and I just love to critique! If you click on the link you can see the whole show. My favorite painting was "The Long Wait" by Susan Montague. This watercolor had everything -- a great composition, excellent technique, and content. You will not really be able to see her technique on the computer screen and you may even wonder why it's my favorite. The technique involved many layers of washes carving out the figure and creating beautiful colors on paper. Other favorites included "Green Stair" by Bill Bailey, "Fourteen" by Linda Sherman, "Peaceful in Pennsylvania" by Joyce Hicks, "All Aboard II" by Pam Stanley, and "Waiting for Her" by Duncan Simmons. It was great to see works by two of my favorite watercolorists -- Dan Burt and John Salminen, and also really cool to see one by an old Junction friend, Mary Lambeth. Kudos to the artists!
We also went to several art galleries on South Austin Street. One stood out from the others as having some excellent art not just aimed at the beach tourist -- The St. Charles Art Gallery. We did a little antiquing, had a good lunch, and then headed over to the Rockport Cemetery. It was truly a beautiful place as they don't mow and the whole place was covered with wildflowers. I'm not sure how great it looks at other times of the year, but in April it is truly spectacular! Don't tell but we drank a bottle of champagne while we there and had a lovely time!
On Saturday we were ready for some outdoor adventures, even though the weather was still not cooperating fully. The temperature was great but it was overcast and the forecast was 60% chance of rain. In spite of that we drove out to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, a 3440 acre area just north of Rockport on the bay. Apparently this area was a historic port for European immigrants but was destroyed by several devastating hurricanes in the 1880's. We missed the whooping crane season, but expected to see lots and lots of birds and were somewhat disappointed. Because we were there at midday we didn't really expect to see any of the mammals that inhabit the area -- javelinas, feral hogs, bobcats, armadillos, etc. -- but we expected the place to be teeming with water birds and it wasn't. We did see deer, several alligators, a snake (variety undetermined), ducks, egrets, herons, and some other birds. It just felt good to be outside and walking, and although it wasn't a beautiful day, we didn't get rained on. Here is a view from a pretty cool observation tower.
That night, my birthday, we ate at Hemmingways, which had a lovely ambiance and yummy food. The next day, Sunday, we packed up and drove home by a slightly more direct route. The flowers were not as spectacular, but we went through some towns that we had never been to -- Port Lavaca, Bay City, and Wharton to name a few. We went to an excellent antique store in Wharton on the square, and it looked like there were quite a few others but we were running out of time. Have to go back sometime! Again we ate Mexican food on the way home, and got back in time to spring Sparky from his accommodations at the Biscuit!

I'm calling the picture below "This is what 60 looks like" and I hope I don't regret posting it! It's no glamour shot -- no makeup! -- but you can see the progress of my going gray, and even though it was very windy and I was making kind of a funny face, I was having a great time and that's what I think of when I look at it! So happy birthday to me! ;-D


paula said...

i enjoyed reading about your birthday weekend and loved seeing the pictures of other places here in texas. lovely!
and you look great to me. i'm liking the gray now around the temples, think your gonna look stunning :)

Cynthia said...

Thanks Paula! I'll go with stunning! I also like elegant, and distinguished isn't too bad although it sounds a little manly. All better than the O word.

Susie Flatau said...

Hi cynthia....happy, happy belated birthday to you. I loved the wildflower photos...the little yellow cottage pic...and the ongoing photo-doc of the graying. I agree with Paula...you look great, as always. Now...about your studio (before and after)...I did find myself smiling...what a makeover!!! Guess that's the journey you're in right now, eh? Makeovers Rock! xo

cobaltika said...

oh i loved that trip! i always want to stay in those mermaid bungalows in fulton beach and wander around in rockport, but there is never enough time. someday ... i hope! we did manage to stay in port aransas in december a couple of years ago and that was wonderful. then we also went to the same wildlife refuge and also felt a little disappointment, although it was a fine place. i expected to see TONS of waterbirds! pink ones!

thank you for sharing your trip and happy birthday and i think your hair looks great! i'm starting to pin mine back, so the white shows. i like it!

Cynthia said...

Thanks Susie! I know you have awesome bulbs in your yard, but you must miss the bluebonnets a little! Yes, what a makeover! and not the first time I coerced/begged/paid someone else to clean up my mess! ;-D

Cynthia said...

Thanks Bobbi! I didn't see the mermaid bungalows -- but I'm a mermaid girl so that would've been cool! Yes -- I wanted to see pink birds too -- the roseate spoonbills. None! I can't say I like the gray -- mine is more silver than white -- but it's not too bad! By the way, I love your collages and I'm going to hang up "Run to the Woods" in my clean little studio in the woods!

Amuse said...

Such a quaint cottage and description! I'm so glad you were able to celebrate your life in beauty.

Cynthia said...

Me too, Amuse! Thank you!