My Port A - Latest News

Stingrays - Port A's Newest Sports Bar

Stingrays is Port Aransas' newest sports bar and what an island treat! It's located in the heart of Port A's Beach Street restaurant district. The namesake has a double meaning, the obvious fish in the sea reference. But mostly the two beautiful Corvette Stingrays lofted above the bar. The place was converted from an old auto repair shop where the owners formerly worked. As the lore goes, the wives told the gents they had to sell the cars to make room for the bar. As you can see, they came up with a much more creative solution.

We visited over the Christmas holidays shortly after they opened. Here are a few highlights:

  • Nice selection of foods we tried:
    • Pizza from a wood-burning brick fireplace
    • Pulled pork sliders
    • Bacon wrapped Spicy Chicken bites
    • See their full menu here
  • Full bar with a wide selection of beers on tap
  • Plenty of TVs as you'd expect in a sports bar including an large group of four mounted together to give a theater feeling
  • A nice variety of entertainment including a couple of pool tables, video games, and darts
  • The wait staff were very friendly, and seemed happy to be working there.

Second Summer - Fall Trips to the Beach

By Brent Nations on Nov 5th 2012

Sunrise in Port Aransas
I love trips to the beach in the fall. And I'm afraid word is going to get out! Don't get me wrong, Port A in the summer with the throngs of people makes for a great atmosphere. But the fall can be even better sometimes. The outside temperatures are (usually) a bit cooler. But up until around Christmas, the water is still warm enough to swim. Add to that, the restaurants are a lot less crowded and it's WAY more enjoyable to take advantage of much of the open air dining.

Many restaurants offer great views, but some of our favorites include Fins, The Beach Lodge Restaurant, and Port Aransas Brewery. If you haven't tried any of these, make it a must for your next trip! And if you need a place to stay in the fall, try our place. The rates are much lower in the fall and we often have specials, so just ask.

Free National Park Visit April 21-29

By Brent Nations on April 18th 2012

Padre Island National Seashore
It's tax day, and that reminded me that nothing in life is free. But, at least for the week of April 21-29 you can get into many National Parks for nothing! And, if you haven't been to the Padre Island National Seashore, you absolutely should. You can hang out at the visitor center and get a deck talk from one of the park rangers, have a picnic on the multitude of tables provided. Or for the adventurous, take a drive down big shell beach and find an isolated place to collect your thoughts and really "unplug". For those of you with 4-wheel drive vehicles you can keep going down to little shell beach (and beyond).

Our family has made it a goal to see as many national parks as possible. We've been to Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Banff, and of course Padre Island National Seashore. We're planning a Grand Canyon trip for 2013, can't wait! It's a great way to spend quality time with your kids and teach them a little about nature and all it's majesty. When planning your next trip to Port A, take a day trip over to the National Seashore, it's worth it!

Dolphin Watching Tour

By Brent Nations on October 9th 2011

Dolphin Watch Tour
Our family went down to Port A over the long Columbus Day weekend in Oct. The fall is such a great time to visit with lower temperatures, less crowds, and lower rates! We tried a Dolphin Tour for the first time and have to admit, it was a lot of fun. Our boat was a double decker, so you could get up high and see all around. Here are some of the highlights of the tour:

  • Dolphin Watching, we saw lots in the main channel
  • Nice tour of Port Aransas and St Joe Island
  • A demonstration on shrimp nets and a real run!
  • Shallow pool on deck to see / touch all the things that were caught
  • Deck talk about the various sea life and their habitat
  • *Water gun fight with smarmy pirates!!!!

  • * The pirate excursion is typically only once a day and during peak season or holiday weekends.

    University of Texas Marine Science Institute Outreach

    By Brent Nations on March 29th 2011

    UT Marine Science Institute

    Found some interesting information on The University of Texas Marine Science Institute located in Port Aransas, TX. They apparently have a large outreach program. The visitor's center seems like a great rainy day activity for the kids. And the lecture series seems like a cool way to keep the brain engaged for those Winter Texans. Click on the photo to go to the site.

  • Teacher workshops
  • Public Lecture Series
  • Elderhostel Program
  • Schweppe Public Lecture Series
  • Wetlands Education Center
  • Curriculum
  • Other Activities include Science and the SeaTM, Interactive Beach Debris Presentation, Southwest Teachers' Education and Marine Expedition for Research (STEAMER), GK-12 Program: Linking Graduate Fellows with K-12 Teachers, Climate Change in the Arctic, and a Visitors Center

    Some Port Aransas Web sites

    By Brent Nations on March 1st 2011

    Port Aransas Skate Park Image by Skaters for public SkateParks

    The City of Port Aransas has a great web site with a wealth of information, check it out ... But, it isn't obvious from the home page all the great things you can do around town. Here's some things I found interesting:

    • Port A Newspaper - Visitor's Guide - The South Jetty is Port A's local newspaper. It has some good info and you can pick one up for free at the IGA and convenience stores around town. Check the calendar of events on-line.
    • Community Park Pool - a big pool with splash areas and swim lanes. Oh, and it's heated over the winter for you spring breakers!
    • Roberts Point Park - this is the big park by the marina/ferry. You can fish from the granite block, take a nice walk and watch the dolphins play around the ferries, or on the 4th of July watch the fireworks.
    • Nature Preserve - walk the boardwalk through the Salt Island and take in some of Port Aransas' natural beauty
    • Skate Park - who knew Port Aransas has a 10,000 foot skate park?!?!? Grab your (other) board and head over. There's also a in-line skate rink that's family friendly (can do laps on the 140ft by 70ft rink). Also OK for roller hockey!
    • Port Aransas Chamber - OK, it's mostly a list of business (who have to pay to be listed). But still a decent site for finding a few things to do around town.

    My PortA google Map

    By Brent Nations on March 1st 2011

    View Sunrise Cottages Beach House - Port Aransas, Texas in a larger map
    Click the Icons on the map for details

    I started putting together a map a while back with all my favorite spots in Port A. My original intent was to have a place to keep track of restaurants, shops, etc. that we like. That way when friends called and were looking for places to have fun I could save them some time and just send them the link. Also, when we discover new favorites, I'll just add them to the map and everyone will be up to date. Well, now I've made the map public. So, here's the link ...

    Port A Sandfest 2011

    By Brent Nations on February 13th 2011

    Sandfest 2011!

    Sandfest 2011 is fast approaching. For those who haven't heard about it, it's a professional sand sculpting contest on the beach of Port A. The contest is held once a year between Sandcastle Dr. and Beach Access 1A. It's a three day event with professional sculptures and on Sat. they have an amateur contest as well. Here's some additional background info:

    • SandFest has 24 Master Sculptors competing in 2011.
    • It has become the largest Master Sand Sculpting Competition in the US!!!!
    • SandFest is spread over three days, with a solo and a duo master's contest and one day with over 200 amateur sculptors.
    • Sandfest attracts over 100,000 people.

    Progress on the Kitchen

    By Brent Nations on February 10th 2011

    Kitchen Cabinets are in!
    Shelves in living

    So, the kitchen cabinets are in and the pine walls and ceilings are up. As is the drywall upstairs. Eventually the pine walls will be white-washed and the ceiling will get a nice amber finish. The wood is really nice looking, it almost seems a shame to paint it! But, we decided we're going for the cottage look and not the cabin look, so ahead we go.

    If you look closely, you might notice some interesting architectural details. A Nick Lorette feature is all open shelves in the kitchen. This way our glasses, plates, bowls, etc. become artwork. The shelves even extend across the window to allow the sun to back light some items. This shelf feature runs throughout the house including above the windows in the living/dining as well as in some of the bedrooms upstairs. web site is born

    By Brent Nations on February 7th 2011

    Childhood photo

    I grew up in Houston, so it's natural I'd love the beach. But Galveston never really did it for me our my family. So, when we wanted a 'real' beach trip, we packed up and headed to North Padre.
    Believe it or not, we actually packed up an old pop-up trailer and camped on the beach for a week or two at a time. What great memories! Now that I'm older, I'm not sure how my mom put up with the wind and sand for so long!
    When my wife and I were in college, I tried to re-create my fond childhood memories. We rented tents and a stove ... rolled up our sleeping bags and headed down to the coast. We ended up sun burned, sand blown, and generally miserable after just one night.
    Since then, we vowed if we went to the beach we were going to have a roof over our heads, running water, air-conditioning, and a pool if at all possible.
    Well, in a few short months we'll have all of those and more.

    MLK Port A Visit

    By Brent Nations on January 17th 2011

    Site Layout

    Went down to Port A over a cold and rainy Martin Luther King 3-day weekend. We really had to go in order to pick out our finishings and approve the rooms/layouts in the new house. It started out feeling a bit like a chore. But, surprisingly, we really ended up having a lot of fun. The town was much more quiet, but still had a lot going on. There were breaks in the clouds that allowed us to walk the beach and pick up shells. And we really had some nice quiet family fun hanging out on our friends screened in porch and listening to it rain while playing games.