Texas Beaches

Rockport: The Rare Beach Town That Occasionally Dresses for Dinner

Get to know the creative coastal community which once claimed to have more artists per capita than Paris.

By Michael Hardy June 14, 2017 Published in the July 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine


We really do live in paradise 😍

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An aspiring artists colony and popular retirement destination for wealthy Texans tired of city life, Rockport is a bit more status-conscious than the laid-back Port A. It’s a place where people occasionally dress up for dinner, and where “going shopping” means art galleries and antique stores rather than a beer run to the nearest gas station. Still, Rockport is a beach community at heart, surrounded on three sides by the Aransas, Copano, and Port Bays.

Where to Stay: Hoopes’ House 

Built in the 1890s, this Victorian mansion has been transformed into an elegant bed and breakfast, with four well-appointed rooms in the main house and four more in a new wing. The common areas are outfitted with working fireplaces, antique furniture and decorations (including several lovely model ships), and a generous reading library. Don’t be late for the excellent breakfast, served promptly at 9. 417 N. Broadway St., 800-924-1008, hoopeshouse.com, $130–175.

Where to Go When It Rains: Estelle Stair Gallery 

Rockport once claimed to have more artists per capita than Paris (yes, the one in France). Although we doubt there will be a Gulf Coast branch of the Louvre anytime soon, there are certainly a good number of art galleries here. The Estelle Stair (pronounced ‘Star’) Gallery is one of the best, with a wide representation of local and regional painters, sculptors, and craftsmen. Housed in the oldest commercial building in Rockport, built in 1895, the gallery manages to straddle the line between chic and kitsch. 406 South Austin St., 361-463-1059, estellestairgallery.com

Also recommended: Lori’s Book Nook (1005 Concho St., 361-729-9801); Past Glory Antiques and Collectibles (1012 E. Wharf St., 334-370-6003, facebook.com/pastgloryantiques)


The Ideal Date Night: Glow 

Rockport offers fine dining options to impress even the most jaded gourmand. Perhaps the best is Glow, whose chef Karey Johnson grew up in Houston, trained in New York and London, and opened this sustainable seafood restaurant to rave reviews in 2011. From the outside, the tiny, whitewashed shack doesn’t look like much, but inside the decor is as romantic as the menu. Each table is set with a candle and fresh wildflowers, there’s a well-selected wine list, and a menu of fresh, inventively prepared dishes. Only 20 miles away from Port A, it’s a good option for romantics staying offsite as well. 1815 Broadway St., 361-727-2644, glowrockport.com.

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