Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rockport and Fulton Plus the Best Restaurant

At Wildnerness Oaks RV Resort, Rockport, Texas...

This was our last full day here during what has been, as always, a pleasant visit to the Texas coast. We took in a little history today, but I'm almost reluctant to mention history in the post title now. 

Why, you ask? 

Well, I keep an eye on the number of hits on my posts, and I noticed that my recent post entitled In Austin - A Texas History Refresher received about 40 percent fewer hits than the other posts during that general time period. I've been scratching my head ever since, trying to figure out why. Was it a word in the title, like "History" or "Austin" or "Texas" that would turn readers off enough so they wouldn't even click on it? I don't know, and I'm still mystified.

Couple this with an abnormally high hit count on a subsequent post entitled Cool Stuff and Tasty Treats We Find Along the Way and, while I'm still scratching my head, I'm beginning to think I haven't given enough weight to the titles of my posts up to this point. If readers are turned off by the title that indicates a historical piece but have their curiosity piqued by one that promises something cool or tasty, I guess I have my answer: My readers are normal! I suppose the obvious takeaway is to avoid using a word like "history" in the title. Obviously, not everyone is a history buff, or it reminds them of being in school or something.

While I'm talking about hits on websites, I pulled up my Google+ profile and found that I had over two million hits on it! Now I don't believe that for a minute, but I wish someone could tell me how that works and where they got such a number. And since the blog page views counter shows only about 172,000, I can't figure out why there is such a disparity. Frankly, I don't have much confidence in the page view number either, because I don't know when Blogger started the count. Seems like it should be a larger number for a blog that's been around for ten years.

Okay, here's the history part, but I'm saving my revelation of the best area restaurant for last, in case some of you suddenly see the word "history" and are tempted to leave. I'll try to be brief:

We toured the Fulton Mansion today in the small coastal town of Fulton--appropriately named for the town's first family. George Fulton came to Texas from Ohio at the time of Texas' struggle for independence from Mexico. Although he arrived too late to join the fight, he was still granted 1280 acres of land for his trouble and married a 17-year-old Texas girl, Harriet, to boot. He proved to be a smart businessman and rancher, but his future was pretty well secured by his wife's inheritance of 28,000 extra acres a few years later.

George and Harriet built their house overlooking Aransas Bay in the 1870s and lived there for about 20 years until after George's death in 1893: 

Although not as large and opulent as many grand old houses we've seen, its owners were happy there and happy together, raising their six children. What was truly exceptional was the longevity of the couple. George lived to the age of 83, and Harriet into her 90s. With a normal life expectancy of 45 years in 1890, they lived long enough to have an almost unheard-of golden wedding anniversary that was the talk of Texas at the time.

The house and furnishings were decidedly Victorian, and it was interesting to see how wealthy Texans lived back then. 

The house was purchased by the State of Texas in 1976, and a multi-million dollar restoration has just been completed after a three-year undertaking. Worth the visit, if you'd like to see more. (There; that wasn't too boringly bad, was it?)

And now, for the best restaurant in the Aransas Bay area, and I've tried almost all of them in Rockport, Aransas Pass and Port Aransas (drum roll):

No, Irie's doesn't look like much, but I am serious about my picking it as the best restaurant in the area. Marty, the owner, is a trained chef, and he knows what he's doing. The place, in Port Aransas, is usually swamped with customers, and they frequently run out of food before their too-early closing time of 3:00 p.m. The best way to describe the food is that it includes the kinds of things that everyone loves--tacos, sandwiches, soups and the like--not terribly expensive, but very creative and oh, so good. I had a mahi taco with a homemade red dragon sauce that was the best fish taco I ever ate, and who wouldn't like my garlic shrimp taco with mango salsa? Sandy had a killer shrimp po' boy along with spring rolls as an appetizer. Dessert was a basket of beignets that I guarantee you were better than the Cafe du Monde's in New Orleans. Everything here is homemade, including the tortillas and even the hamburger buns. I don't have a photo of the tacos, because I ate them before I had time to think of the camera. I did get you a photo of the po' boy and the beignets, though:

This is the kind of mom and pop place that I live to find and again, it is for you, dear readers, that I make this sacrifice. I hope you have an occasion to try this place. You won't be sorry. It definitely goes on my best restaurants list.

We have enjoyed our stay in the coastal bend area, and we're headed next to Victoria and the rally. Stay tuned.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.

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