Blogs » My Turn » Checking out Goose Island

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Note: I wrote this blog months ago, but I think it might help anyone who's considering camping at Goose Island.

Image The Big Tree

It was a glorious Saturday, perfect for camping. The air was cool and it was slightly windy as my husband Robert and I headed out to Goose Island near Rockport to explore and photograph the area for the Advocate's Get Out edition. I figured that keeping a journal of our trip might make a good blog. The next week's Get Out would give readers alternative Spring Break destinations, Goose Island being one of them.

Image Aunt Jo's BBQ

Our first suggested stop on the way to Rockport was Aunt Jo's BBQ just outside of Victoria. Now, I'm not a big bbq fan, but fortunately Robert is. He ordered a chipped beef sandwich and had it cut in half for us to share.

I took a bite. Nice, smokey flavor and no unpleasant encounters of any extra bits of fat (a big plus in my book). I gave Robert the rest of my half of the sandwich and he happily ate it. We took pictures of the pig statue outside the joint and admired the oak trees surrounding the place and then it was back to the van.

No trip to Rockport is complete without visiting its historic shopping area. We explored a few shops, admiring artwork and photographs in a couple of the galleries. The coffee shop we stopped at was closing in about 15 minutes so I forgave the barrista for the old coffee we were served. The place was nice and the people were friendly.

Going down to the harbor we got a few photos of the giant crab statue. Pretty colors. Some people were flying kites with interesting shapes and bright colors in the park. I think they were for sale, but we weren't there to buy kites.

Our selection of campsites was limited by the time we checked in at Goose Island around 3pm. We settled on site #201 and then drove out to see "The Big Tree" .

As we stepped out of the van we could see a group of people, kids and adults alike, clambering onto the branches of some of the trees surrounding the Big Tree. No respect for those poor old oak trees with their weary branches hanging heavily to the ground. In contrast, the Big tree was protected by chain link fencing that curved around it in a wide circle. We took some photos and admired the grand old landmark for a while.

After heading back to our campsite, we unpacked our bikes, and rolled through the park taking pictures now and then. By the time we got back to camp the sun was starting to set and it was getting cooler. Robert made a campfire and set up our lawn chairs around it. I cut up apples, cheese and spring sausage and poured some crackers into a bowl. I uncorked a bottle of red wine and we sat down to our simple meal.

Soon it was dark enough to see stars appearing. I put my phone on a radio station and we talked easily about nothing for a couple of hours. I declared that I couldn't possibly go to bed until I had spotted at least one shooting star, so I slid down into my chair and fixed my eyes on the sky. Fifteen minutes later I was rewarded with a small arch of light streaking across the sky. Bedtime.

The good thing about owning a van is that you can sleep in it with none of the hassles of setting up a tent. We aired up our mattress and piled on a couple or blankets for warmth.

The next morning was cool and crisp; jacket weather. I set up the camp stove, started some water to boil and added coffee grounds to the drip pot. A bird's piercing song rang out loudly from somewhere in the tree's branches above. Not certain what kind of bird it was but I was pretty sure I had never heard its song before.

When the coffee was done we ate a quick breakfast of instant oatmeal. I usually like to fry bacon and eggs when I'm camping but we were (unfortunately) trying to eat healthy.

As we were packing to go home I got the bright idea to make a Goose Island sign out of twigs, rocks, shells--whatever we could find. Mom used to do things like that--make little messages out of objects she found on the ground. Sometimes she would use a piece of charcoal to draw the sign or message and then decorate it with whatever was around--bottle caps, twigs, pieces of glass, rocks, etc ...

Our camping trip was short, but it was a good first try at Goose Island. If we go again I will make a reservation ahead of time so we can get a good spot. I saw a lot of campsites that had a good view of the water, more scenic than the one we stayed at. I will also stay longer, if I can. There's a lot to explore at Goose Island and Rockport and it would be nice to do it at a leisurely pace.