Rockport

Rockport
Bay Window, Rockport
Photograph by Sarah Sudhoff

1. Main Street Coffee Deli Art

Chicken salad sandwiches are the pop stars of lunch menus: ubiquitous but rarely worth mentioning. Every now and then, though, you find one with that unmistakable it factor, like the mesquite-smoked, griddle-toasted version at this artsy hangout. Other standards are snazzed up too: The PBJ comes with red-plum marmalade and sliced bananas, and the grilled cheese marries Gouda, mozzarella, and Granny Smith apple. For breakfast, even the French toast gets an upgrade with sweet Hawaiian bread. 307 S. Magnolia, 361-729-5503

2. Kate Jones

A case of the gimmies may seize you upon entering this shabby-chic home-and-gift boutique. Gird yourself against frivolous purchases by . . . wait, are those silk Bella Notte pillowcases edged with lace? Hmm. You should probably stock up on a few jasmine-lime Fringe soaps for the powder room too. Speaking of entertaining, the cheery floral MacKenzie-Childs plates would spruce up your dinner party place settings. And go ahead and splurge on a leather Roqqua cocktail ring with a gumball-size stone. You are, after all, the hostess with the mostest. 1007A E. North, 361-729-3800, kjrockport.blogspot.com

3. Comforts of Home

It may be too nippy out to hunt for seashells, but you’ll find a jumble of other island-inspired adornments to embellish your landlocked home at this vibrant shop. Even if you’re not ready to commit to large statement pieces like David Marsh cabinets of many colors or a tall turquoise hutch from Indonesia, you can still go tropical with a pineapple-print shower curtain, emerald raffia throw pillows, puka-shell napkin rings, and Robin Renee Hix framed photographs of palm trees and surfboards. 103 S. Austin, 361-727-1471

4. Rowdy Maui

Pop quiz: Have you ever gone to the store just to buy tequila and hair spray? Would you mount a deer head on a pink plaque? Do you count pistols and rhinestones among your favorite things? If you’ve answered yes, then this is the lime-green souvenir shop of your dreams. Sassy mama-daughter duo Sherrel and Kacie Stanford seem to have so much fun hawking their tees with feisty slogans (“I bait my own hook”), hand-painted cowboy boots, and margarita mixes that you’ll want to get a bit rowdy yourself. 92 S. Austin, 361-790-8888, rowdymaui.com

5. Latitude 28° 02'

Maybe it’s the smooth martinis served in the red-walled bar or the decadent coastal cuisine (lobster thermidor, oysters Rockefeller) or the sophisticated art, but this popular dinner spot exudes an atmosphere of understated hedonism. After supping on fresh black drum topped with crabmeat, asparagus, and a buttery hollandaise, stroll through the adjoining gallery to admire (and buy) Bill Webb metal tree sculptures, Michael Atkinson watercolor landscapes, and works by other Texas artists. 105 N. Austin, 361-727-9009, latitude2802.com

6. Wharf Cat Birding Tours

Of all the winter Texans who roost here each year, none are welcomed as heartily as the whooping cranes that swoop down from Canada to bask in the warm coastal waters. To see these elegant migrants, book a spot on the Wharf Cat , a 75-foot catamaran that takes birding enthusiasts to nearby Aransas National Wildlife Refuge every Wednesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. Binoculars are available to rent, but the Wharf Cat can drift so close to shore you may not even need them. Tours leave from Rockport Harbor, Slip 10, Navigation Circle, 800-782-2473, texaswhoopers.com

7. Rockport Center for the Arts

It’s not just fishermen who find inspiration in this charming coastal village. Artists flock here too, and this blue Victorian house is the hub of the town’s creative energy. Its airy main galleries feature rotating exhibits by artists like Houston ceramicist Steve Maness and Louisiana-based painter Hooshang Khorasani (both shows open January 28), and you’ll find masterpieces by Jesus Moroles, Kent Ullberg, and Charles Umlauf in the 10,000-square-foot sculpture garden. 902 Navigation Circle, 361-729-5519, rockportartcenter.com

8. Bay Window

Lighting freaks will find a kindred spirit in Julia Dutton, whose adjacent stores—one has refined housewares, the other has designer duds—are strewn with eye-catching fixtures (table lamps with sea urchin–shaped bases, bell-shaped burlap pendants). All that wattage makes it easier to inspect the other goods: sumptuous Pinecone Hill bedding, driftwood candelabras, and white faux-croc ottomans in the home shop and slouchy gold Deux Lux bags, Christopher Blue oatmeal cords, and bejeweled Lindsay Phillips ballet flats in the clothing boutique. 705 Texas Highway 35 North, 361-790-7025

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