Day Trips

The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar may be one of the best bird-watching spots in Texas

Day Trips

The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar may be one of the best bird-watching spots in Texas. Its deck, located high above a scenic bend in the Guadalupe River as it passes through Victoria, is close enough to the coast to attract birds that fish the emerald waters. If the birds don't cooperate, then the kitchen will ease your disappointment with plenty of appetizing offerings.

The PumpHouse is an oasis of modern cuisine in the territory of barbecue and Tex-Mex food on the coastal plains between San Antonio and Houston. It's a small-town eatery with a big-city menu of grilled seafood, creative sauces, and offerings that recognize the town's beef heritage. The restaurant's building once housed the city water system's pump station on a bluff over the river.

Victoria is one of Texas' oldest and most underrated towns. The pioneer families once built ranching and oil dynasties on the plains. Founded in 1824, the county seat has grown into an industrial, educational, and artistic center. The town is now home to seven museums, including the Museum of the Coastal Bend, with its excellent history exhibits, and the Nave Museum, one of the best small-town art museums in the state.

The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar is located at 1201 West Stayton off of Business 59 (North Moody Street), a short distance from the Texas Zoo and Riverside Park. For information, call 361/572-9800 or go to

1,092nd 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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Guadalupe River, Museum of the Coastal Bend, Victoria Texas, Nave Museum

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