Matagorda Bay Nature Park, et al.
PHOTO CREDIT: Google Earth
July 30: After residing on the Gulf Coast of Texas for almost nine months now, we’ve kind of learned what we like and what we don’t like so much. Yes, we are always looking for something or someplace new to explore, but there are some things that we already know we enjoy. And when we get a day off from our workamping gig here are Texas Lakeside RV Resort we sometimes go with a sure thing. As we (may) have mentioned in more than one earlier post, we both really like the beach. Yes, I know, a lot of people really like the beach, that doesn’t make us unique. But, our lifestyle allows us to get to a lot of different beaches, and sometimes even factors into our destinations.
Even though Port Lavaca is considered to be on the Gulf Coast of Texas, it actually is on Lavaca Bay. Lavaca Bay is a smaller bay to the west of Matagorda Bay, which is a larger bay directly behind a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico. THAT’S the beach we want to be at. So from Port Lavaca you either drive 90 minutes to the south to Port Aransas or you drive about 90 minutes north, thru the town of Matagorda to the Matagorda Bay Nature Park. The northern option definitely has less traffic and congestion, so for day trips this has become our beach of choice. In the month of July we made two such day trips to this little gem. This 1,333-acre park and nature preserve is located at the mouth of the Colorado River on the Matagorda Bay peninsula. Here you can enjoy two miles of Gulf of Mexico beachfront, birdwatching in coastal marshes and wetland paddling. There is even a 70 site RV park located here which looks very nice and we would definitely recommend if you’re ever in the area.
Our routine for this trip has included both times a stop at Cattails, a modern-day mercantile store which also features a coffee and wine bar. For us, the opportunity for a tasty iced coffee drink is hard to resist. Cattails is part of Karankawa Village, a high-end lodge located right next door. From there it’s a short drive through the town of Matagorda, over the bridge, and along the Colorado River until it ends at the Gulf. No, not the more famous Colorado River you’re thinking of that created the Grand Canyon. Apparently there’s two of them! Who knew! (Besides Betsy’s dad!) There are a couple of beach entrances, one at the Matagorda Bay Nature Park and one a mile or two up the beach in a more residential area. There are some beachfront homes and one condominium complex, but other than that, the area is not crowded or overbuilt at all. We’ve tried both entrances and they both entail a short walk over the dunes and then deciding where to put your beach chairs.
We’ve now spent hours sitting in the beach here, reading, watching the waves and napping. (Unfortunately, there’s not much people watching like the Jersey shore because there’s not that many people here, but we aren’t certainly not complaining about that either!) The water has been bathtub warm and very clean. It looks cloudy for the first couple hundred yards from the shoreline because it’s so shallow. The waves churn up quite a bit of sand. This isn’t from personal experience, but you can walk out a long way into the water due to its’ shallow nature. Both of our visits have gone late into the afternoon as the sun dips behind us, we pack up our chairs, books and any remaining snacks before heading back, satisfied that our day was well spent.
The month of July wasn’t all about working and beaching though. We were able to sneak in a couple of other things that we enjoy, mostly because we did them together. Our little, non-seafood eater Betsy now enjoys some fish from time to time. Ok, mostly fried fish, but hey, it’s a start. So we decided to indulge in a little treat on a Friday at a local restaurant, Shellfish. So we’ve been to Shellfish a couple of times. The first time was our work Christmas Party. (Thanks Doug and Dana!) The next time was when Betsy’s parents were in town for a visit. (Thanks Tom and Marsha!) That’s when we learned that Friday is all you can eat fish and chips! Keep in mind that this doesn’t really help me any since the breading on the fish is not exactly gluten-free friendly. So we picked a Friday in July and headed out. Betsy loved the fact that she didn’t have to make a decision while looking at the menu since the all you eat fish and chips was the reason for our visit. There was definitely a couple seconds of uncomfortable silence when Betsy ordered and our server told her they were out of their fish. Time for plan B. Wait there is no plan B. We’re gonna need more time. After some thought Betsy went with the Blackened Redfish Sandwich (a big step for her, no breading!) and I had Grilled Redfish with some veggies. All in all it was still a good night out.
We had also been trying to find some time to get back to our roots . . . a farmer’s market. More specifically, the Victoria Farmer’s Market. We took one of our free Saturday mornings and made the 30 minute drive to Victoria. There was only about 12 vendors the day of our visit, but we still enjoyed walking around, examining the veggies and making a couple of purchases. These types of markets are definitely in our blood, and although we know we were a little spoiled with the variety at the Phoenixville Farmer’s Market, we will always take the time to step when we see a sign.
It may sound silly to some, but we have really enjoyed the opportunity to become members of the Calhoun County Library in Port Lavaca. We explained to them that we were not really residents of the county but would be calling Port Lavaca home for a calendar year. They gladly gave us library cards and we’ve been enjoying the privilege ever since. (We hope our next long-stay destination follows suit!) We made a visit in July and enjoyed our time browsing the aisles and reading the inside cover of several books. We both enjoy reading and normally end our day reading in bed before sleep, so we truly appreciate our library privilege. Thanks Calhoun County!
This last one is really going to sound strange to those of you who really know us. Because those people know that neither of us are really movie people. We’re not sure why, but it’s just not a way we enjoy spending our time. But this month we made TWO visits to Redbox and rented two, yes two movies! Our first selection was inspired by the commencement speaker at our niece, Lexi’s, graduation from Drexel University. Yes we chose the 2016 psychological thriller, “Split”, co-produced and directed by the one, and only, M. Night Shyamalan. The film follows a man with 23 different personalities who kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls in an isolated underground facility. One of his darker personalities manifests within his psyche and results in his eventual transformation into a merciless and cannibalistic sociopath with superhuman abilities. Not quite Betsy’s favorite genre, but we enjoyed the suspense and intrigue. Our second choice was “I Feel Pretty”, just a bit lighter and funnier. The film stars Amy Schumer and the plot involves an insecure woman who, after suffering a head injury, gains extreme self-confidence in her appearance. No finger nail biting with this one, but a couple of good laughs were provided.
Until next time, stay cool. Summer will fade and fall is right around the corner.