Christmas Celebration in Rockport, Texas
Early December is a time around Texas when small towns and cities have their annual
Christmas celebrations with parades, festivities, historic home tours and lights. This year
we decided to visit Rockport. Besides the usual activities they also had a fireworks display
after the lighting of the city Christmas tree.
We arrived Thursday afternoon and set up our 'campsite' in a
light rain. But it stopped quickly so we stayed mostly dry.
On Friday we went to Port Aransas. It's been a few years since we visited. Part of what we
did was take a birding walk. There were more birds along this trail/pier than we've ever seen.
This little guy is, I think, a Merganser Duck. We also saw White Pelicans, Brown Pelicans,
Anhingas, Roseate Spoonbills, Herons, and more.
Saturday was the day of the big Rockport Christmas activities. It was the first day of the
"Rockport-Fulton Tour of Historic Homes". Fulton is another town north of and adjacent to Rockport
The first homes on the tour were Harbor Lights Cottages, built in 1959. It's in Fulton and overlooks
Aransas Bay. The owners later added another "mother-in-law" cottage. Eventually more were added and
today they are all part of a condominium association.
The interior of the cottage was decorated with a coastal theme and for the holiday's Christmas decorations
were added. As these were built in the '50s, the docents were dress in appropriate outfits, right down to
poodle skirts and saddle shoes. That TV in the corner showed pictures from the '50s and the Hi-Fi had '50s
music including a number of versions of "Harbor Lights".
Next on the tour was the Fulton Schoolhouse Museum. It was built in 1886 and taught grades one through
seven. Although it was damaged by a hurricane in 1940 the school was rebuilt. The original bell is now at
the Fulton Learning Center where it "rings out" the fifth graders when they graduate each May.
Inside the school are vintage children's desks and a teachers desk plus old books and slates. For the open
house students from the modern school made paper decorations. They made so many ornaments that everyone touring
the school was given one. Our's is now hanging on our Christmas tree.
The date of the Fulton Dance Hall isn't known, but it was used as a dance hall in the early '30s. In the '50s
it was a radio repair shop. The current owners bought the house in 2003 and did extensive restoration. The
original floor knotholes had worn away and you could see the ground.
Like all the houses on the tour, the Dance Hall was decorated for the holidays. This one included a Christmas
I especially like this miniature Christmas scene; we have a similar one on top of our piano. Those street lights
are about 3 inches tall. The "snow" is actual flakes which must be very messy when it comes time to put it all away.
The Wallace Beach House was next. It's in the Key Allegro subdivision, all built on a sand island. The developer
began in the early '60s and this house was built in 1964. The subdivision has canals throughout, and most home have
water access to Aransas Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. I think the owners in Key Allegro are lucky; there hasn't
been a major hurricane here since the subdivision was built.
"Salty Pines" was built in the late '60s. The original owner of the 10 acre property had planted about half of it
with slash pine trees. Unfortunately the pine bark beetle got to them a few years ago. The present owner has planted
300 of a different species to replace them. There are two additional cottages on the property for guests.
The Sparks-Kubelka home is built around the original concrete block core of the house. The home is decorated
throughout with colorful folk art. But much has been updated including a huge thoroughly modern kitchen.
The rear patio of the Sparks-Kubelka home is huge. Sitting out here you're surround by plants and landscaping. And
of course there's more of the owner's decor and artwork. It's a very restful place.
The last stop on the tour was the History Center for Aransas County. The house has been moved twice, first to save
it from demolition and second, in 2012, to this location to become the museum. There are many historical exhibits
including "The Newseum of Aransas County".
The History Center also had a Christmas display which included many vintage decorations and toys. I must be getting old
as I remember playing with some toys that are identical to those in the museum.
We finished the home tour just in time for an early supper and a walk around the festival grounds in
Rockport before the big parade. We stopped and listened to a mobile carillon playing Christmas carols. For
the parade we took our folding camp chairs to a good spot for viewing. It also was close to the public restrooms.
One of the first floats in the parade was the City of Rockport. In true Texas tradition it was pulled by a pickup truck.
And if you didn't have a float for the parade you could always put your boat on a trailer and decorate it
for the parade. There were three or four of these in the parade but this was the only one that had a Christmas tree.
And finally, as this is Texas, the parade wouldn't be complete without at least one horse.
We were thinking of staying an extra day on Sunday but the weather was forecast to turn rainy. So we packed up
before the rain started and headed home. Luckily the rain stayed behind us and we got back to Houston by midafternoon.
It was a very enjoyable mini-vacation.