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Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Rockport named a "Southern Dream Town"
A Fishing Town with a Taste for Culture
Population: 9,285

Why You Should Move Here Let’s just say the whooping cranes are onto something. Every winter a colony of these endangered beauties—five feet tall and crowned in regal scarlet, with seven-foot wingspans—flies some twenty-five hundred miles from northwest Canada to the salt marshes of Texas’s Coastal Bend. But Rockport and Fulton, its twin village on Aransas Bay, are more than defrosting grounds for snowbirds. Creative types have also colonized these breezy shores for longer than a century, and more than two hundred working artists make their home here. You’re not apt to find an art town with better fishing, or a fishing town with better art.

What’s Going On The fishing is first-rate, whether it’s casting for reds from a kayak or chasing marlin during the summertime Deep Sea Roundup in nearby Port Aransas, the Gulf Coast’s oldest fish-off. Birders make pilgrimages here from all over, for the whoopers and for almost four hundred other species. The Art Center regularly stages noteworthy exhibits and offers all manner of workshops for aspiring potters, novelists, and plein air painters. Few towns of fewer than ten thousand residents could ever hope to match the area’s cultural calendar, with seasonal festivals that spotlight art, film, wine, oysters, and ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Planting Your Roots Compared with many other coastal retreats, Rockport still offers housing with bay views, or even actual waterfront, for surprisingly reasonable prices. In Key Allegro, an upscale bayfront precinct near downtown, you might find a two-bedroom townhouse with its own boat slip for less than $200,000. An oak-shaded, bluff-top house on two waterfront acres on Copano Bay—with guest cottage, stocked fish pond, and a 250-foot lighted pier—recently listed for just under $900,000.