We’re spending a little time in Port Aransas, Texas. After three years of Wisconsin winters, we‘ve learned that winter lingers there into March (and April, to be honest.) As much as the snow is spectacularly beautiful in Door County, we weren’t eager to see more of it nor continue to dread walking the dog in the 10 degree morning air with the possibility of slipping on ice, so we searched the internet for places we could go with great birding spots (Dave), a beach to walk on (me) and a rental with a view of the water (both of us.)
In other words, we were ready to see a little less of this:
and a little more of this.
It’s a long drive to southern Texas, but we stopped along the way to see a few attractions (Crystal Bridges in Arkansas) and cousins in Austin who were great tour guides. Both of those visits were pretty great.
We’ve been in this little beach town for nearly a week. But we live in a beach town,too, so it’s a little hard not to draw contrasts. Here’s a few of the most obvious differences:
1. Snakes. We’d never see this sign on our beach.
Yikes! If it weren’t about 50 degrees warmer here than at home, I might have been tempted to turn around and head back to Wisconsin. But the good news? We’ve been here a week, and haven’t seen one snake.
2. We have this lovely view from our condo balcony.
But guess what’s between this sand dune and the water? A beach with sand that is driveable, so there’s a beach road, with cars that drive back and forth all day long.3. And not only do these cars come to drive, they come to park. They stay for the day, and sometimes they stay for several days and nights. Here, there’s great public access to the water. But it’s taking a little getting used to for me to share my beach space with thousands of strangers.
4. I have to say, though, that the wide, wide beaches here are a plus. They go on for miles and miles. I love to walk at the water’s edge, and I can do that for a long way. I think I could walk 18 miles here if I wanted to (which I don’t.) In contrast, Door County’s beaches are lovely, but they can be rocky in spots, sandy in others, turn to bluff along the water’s edge, or are just too overgrown with vegetation to walk. So despite the fact that there are more people than I’m used to, the walking here is pretty nice. (Especially in the morning, before the crowds come in.)
5. Both places have ships. Port Aransas sits at the mouth of the canal where large freighters come and go to Corpus Christi. So we’ve been watching huge freighters, just like we do in Door County. The ships in both places are huge, and somehow it doesn’t get old for either of us to watch them up close. But on this score, Door County wins. Our canal is prettier than their canal. No oil rigs like these ruin the views in Door County..
6. Salt water. (yuck) Give me the fresh clean water of Lake Michigan any day.
7. Hurricanes. This one’s just sad. Natural disasters can happen anywhere, but I can’t imagine anything destroying Door County in the way this town was destroyed last August by Hurricane Harvey. Many stores and businesses were completely ruined, and many but certainly not all have reopened after months of heartache and hard work. We’re not particularly big spenders, but every cup of coffee and trip to the grocery store or dinner out helps each business owner just a bit, and we’re glad to do it.
In this little study of contrasts, I’ve tried to be objective, to see the good in both places. But I’m afraid Door County has spoiled me for other places, as it is just too close to perfect. Its only problem is that it’s perfect for only part of the year. For example, it snowed 7 inches this week in Baileys Harbor. Unlike Texas, it’s going to be months before I can sit out on my beloved Wisconsin beach to get some color on my legs. So for now, I’ll be happy to be near water, to walk a beach, and to wear one layer of clothing instead of three or four. For the next week while we’re here, I’ll likely continue contrasting the two beach towns. And most certainly, Door County will keep winning.
Sometimes getting away from home only makes me like home more.