The Austin Chronicle

Day Trips

Old Town Port Aransas remains among the condos and high-rises

By Gerald E. McLeod, January 17, 2014, Columns

Old Town Port Aransas is officially a historic district. The City Council set the boundaries for a neighborhood that longtime residents and visitors have recognized for years.

What was once a sleepy little coastal village has become a resort town of 3,600 over the last decade or so. Growth was bound to happen. Port Aransas has a tourist trifecta of good fishing, beaches, and nature watching.

Calling the northeast end of Mustang Island – from the harbor to Avenue G – a historic district is the first step to preserving the character of the original neighborhood.

There is still plenty of old Port Aransas to be found. The pastel-colored statues of old fishermen and seahorses at the corner of Alister Street and Avenue G have been a welcoming committee for more than four decades.

The Family Center IGA (416 S. Alister) has been supplying and rescuing vacations since 1967. Oceans of Seafood (165 W. Cotter) has a funky beach-shack decor and one of the best fish markets on the island since 1978. The Rock Cottages (603 E. Avenue G) is a small motel built in the Forties within walking distance of the beach. Shorty's Place (832 Tarpon St.) is still the "oldest and friendliest" drinking hole on the island. The Tarpon Inn (200 E. Cotter) was rebuilt in 1900 and continues to welcome guests.

There remains plenty of what makes the island town special, despite the changes.

1,172nd in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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