Thursday, January 24, 2019

Tucson -- 'Southern Arizona's Cultural Oasis'

Rock 'CyFi' Martinez' mural 'Goddess of Agave' (
Each winter RV Snowbirds from cold locations flock to southern Arizona for warm temperatures, arid days and incredible landscapes.

Tucson, considered Southern Arizona's Cultural Oasis, offers countless fun and low-cost cultural activities that entice thousands of visitors. The City's vibrant artistic mix includes exceptional museums, inspiring galleries, mesmerizing street murals, and lively music.

Tucson's Warehouse Arts District

"As the warehouses emptied out in the 1970s and 80s, artists began to move in, adapting them to studio spaces, galleries, and residential lofts," according to a project by the National Endowment for the Arts.  "This culturally rich mingling of creative artists, tourists, and revelers benefits the entire city economically."

Here are just a few of the many events and activities Tucson has to offer:

'Juicy' by Isaac Caruso (VisitTucson) 
Street Murals of Tucson

The artwork of local, national, and international muralists depict "the region’s natural landscape, heritage, and resilience. Mountain vistas and desert flora set the stage for defining events in the city’s cultural history."

Explore these 20 outdoor public artworks free, anytime, in greater downtown Tucson. Click here for a map.

Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase

Kino Gem Mineral Show-(VisitTucson)
January-February, 2019

Tucson is a playground for "international gem and mineral trading, buying and collecting when the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase arrives in January-February every year."

The Showcase includes at least 45 different sites at hotels, special venues, and tents located across Tucson. Click here for a map.

2nd Saturdays Downtown - Monthly, Year Round

2nd Saturdays Downtown (VisitTucson)
Winter Hours: 2-9 p.m. for
Street Vendors;
5-9 p.m.  for Stage acts.
Summer Hours: 5-10 p.m.

Free admission.

Each month, this family-friendly street fair draws thousands of visitors and locals to downtown Tucson for entertainment, shopping and people watching.

There are street performers, live bands and food trucks along Congress Street from Toole Avenue to Church Avenue. This event is free to the whole family.

For information on nearby RV camping at Catalina State Park, click here -- on camping at Gilbert Ray Campground click here

--Julianne G. Crane 
--To read more about the RV Lifestyle by Julianne G. Crane and Jimmy Smith, go to

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 
For more information about the RV lifestyle, go to

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)