Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fulton Mansion on Aransas Bay in Texas open during Hurricane Harvey restoration

Fulton Mansion in Rockport, Texas (Julianne G. Crane)
This article was first posted in February 2017, prior to Hurricane Harvey that same summer. This is an update on the historic Fulton Mansion's amazing recovery.

Fulton Mansion, an imposing Victorian "iconic coastal mansion" in Rockport, Texas, has survived eight hurricanes--the most recent being Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017. The catastrophic storm resulted in the complete destruction of the mansion's flat metal roof and chimneys, leaving "major water damage to interior collections, carpets, and plaster walls."

Hard hat tours available. (Fulton Museum)
However, within three months, the grounds were "cleaned up, new fencing installed, oak trees trimmed, and the dead palm trees removed." With help from the Friends of Fulton Mansion, the Education and History Center reopened in November 2017. Thanks to many generous donations, and restoration efforts, the Fulton Mansion re-opened for self-guided "hard hat tours" in March 2018.

"The home is now open for regular visiting hours six days a week. Visitors can view posters with information about each room and a photo of what the room would look like with the furnishings. The posters also point out some of the hurricane damage," according to mansion officials.

This historic site is located about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. It is a perfect RV Short Stop destination for Winter Texan snowbirds or for Texas families on a weekend trip to the Gulf Coast.

View from Fulton Mansion (Julianne G. Crane)
Originally called "Oakhurst" because "majestic live oak trees surrounded the property on three sides," it sits just across the road from Aransas Bay. When it was completed in 1877, there was nothing like it on the Texas Coastal Plains.

It was built for George Ware Fulton (1810-1893) and his wife, Harriet Smith Fulton (1823-1910) who were married in 1840.  The 2.7-acre site is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The historical significance of this bayside residence lies in its noteworthy architectural style, a classic example of French Second Empire; its unique plank wall and shell aggregate concrete basement; characteristic mansard roof construction methods; and its advanced mechanical systems — which featured gas lighting, central heating and indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water.

This state historical site is part of the Texas Tropical Trail Region that provides information on "the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in the unique and vibrant southern tip of Texas."

During construction days, visitors are welcome to visit the Education and History Center where there is an exhibit with background information on the Fulton family. Allow about an hour for the self-guided tour. Also available are guided architecture tours of the exterior of the mansion. Admission is free, but donations are "greatly appreciated."

RVer Jimmy Smith in Education Center
If you go: 

Fulton Mansion
317 Fulton Beach Road
Rockport, TX 78382
Phone: 361-729-0386

Tickets: Free.
Education Center: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday: 1-4 p.m.

From State Highway 35, turn east on Henderson Street and travel approximately 7 blocks.
GPS: N28° 3' 25" W97° 2' 7.4"

-- Julianne G. Crane 
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Photos: (from the top) Fulton Mansion (Julianne G. Crane). View of damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (Fulton Mansion).  View from Fulton Mansion of Aransas Bay (Julianne G. Crane).  RVer Jimmy Smith reading about the history of the Fulton Mansion. (Julianne G. Crane)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Family RV Short Stops across the South

Alabama's Barber Motorsports Museum

1,600 motorcycles on display at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
In Birmingham, Ala., each year upwards of a quarter million people ogle at more than 900+ mint condition motorcycles (out of the world’s largest 1,600 vintage collection) at the Barber Motorsports Museum.

 The collection includes 113 Harley-Davidsons and represents 200 different manufacturers from 20 countries. The museum also features the world’s most extensive collection of Lotus cars, including 55 vintage vehicles; plus an assortment of rare and celebrated cars.

Barber Motorsports Museum 

Vintage Lotus racing car (Barber Montorsports Museum)
6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy
Birmingham, Ala.

Museum Hours:
April 1–Sept 30
Mon–Sat: 10am–6pm
Sun: Noon–6pm
Oct 1–March 31
Mon–Sat: 10am–5pm
Sun: Noon–5pm
Tickets: Adults: $15 + taxes
Children ages 4–12: $10 + taxes, Children 3 and under: FREE

Georgia's Callaway Resort & Gardens

Families love Georgia's Callaway Gardens (Callaway Gardens)

Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, sits on 14,000-acres, complete with woodlands, lakes and elaborate gardens. During spring, some 5,000 varieties of native and hybrid azaleas bloom in the 40-acre Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl – the largest of its type in the world.

'Celebrate Spring! – When Callaway Comes Alive' 
Mid-March – April
"The sweet fragrance of azaleas awakening from their Winter slumber fills the air. Hiking and bicycle trails burst with color. Birds of Prey swoop down to say hello, while cardinals and Carolina wrens sing their cheerful melodies. It’s the perfect setting for family getaways, relaxing weekends, morning walks, and evening magic."

Callaway Resort & Gardens
17800 US Hwy 27
Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Hours: open 9 am to 5 pm daily

Callaway Resort & Gardens is located 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and 30 minutes north of Columbus. 

Mississippi's B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center 

Visitors learn all about the blues B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center
The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi, "celebrates the blues – America's music – and the man who helped spread its popularity around the world. Interactive exhibits and artifacts trace the history of the blues through its Mississippi Delta roots and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s," according to museum officials.

"From the cotton fields, street corners and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta came a new kind of music – the blues. Considered by many to be the only truly indigenous American music, this form that has influenced musicians worldwide is deeply rooted in Delta soil. And so is the man who helped spread the blues as its foremost ambassador... Riley B.B. King."

The mission of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center ... is to empower, unite and heal through music, art and education and share with the world the rich cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta. 

(The B.B. King Museum)
B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center
400 Second Street
Indianola, MS 38751

April 1 – Oct. 31
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM
Sunday & Monday, 12 PM – 5 PM
Nov. 1 – March 31
Closed on Mondays
Costs: Adults: $15, Seniors: $12, Children: $10, Students: $10, Children under 6 are free

-- Julianne G. Crane
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