Shopping and Dining
Shopping and dining opportunities abound in Matagorda County
Many visitors to Matagorda County make a beeline to the beach - and who can blame them? Its a fine place to be. But there's a lot more than beaches to comb in this bayside county.
Let's say your companions idea of the perfect getaway is two days on a fishing boat, but yours is curled up with a cappuccino amid your pleasingly plump shopping bags. Matagorda County has plenty for both of you.
Let's start with Bay City, whose charming downtown Courthouse Square offers plenty of distractions. This county seat is truly the metropolis of Matagorda County, and the abundance of boutiques, specialty shops and cafes shows it.
There are shops specializing in upscale home décor, where you'll find everything from Waterford crystal to Yankee candles; there are gift shops galore, and a scrapbooking store featuring workshops and a workspace as well as supplies.
You can try on Western wear and formal wear and urban wear, bling for the girls and duds for the dudes. you'll find bargains of all kinds, and you'll also find exclusive items that cost more - and are worth it. If antiques are your thing, you'll find them in several shops, including a whole mall dedicated to them.
There are three jewelry stores, featuring one-of-a-kind pieces fashioned by master artisans. Most shops have more than one purpose; specialty gift items can be found in the florist shop, the beauty shop, the scrapbooking shop and the coffee shop, to name a few.
On the 3rd Saturday of every month from March through December, shop Bay City's Market Day, around the town square. Featuring over 100 vendors, you'll find handmade crafts and jewelry, antiques, and hand-crafted edibles such as cinnamon-roasted pecans, pickles and salsas.
If all that foraging has given you an appetite, you'll find plenty to refuel you as you cool your heels. Sip a gourmet coffee with pastries, have a double-dip ice cream cone or stay on the healthy side with a café in a natural foods store. And if you're in the mood for a little self-pampering, there are several salons that offer soothing facials and massages.
Ready to move on? You have many choices, and most of them lead to the coast.
You can wind on down toward the coast on Highway 457 to Sargent. Save some of your appetite for the seafood and steaks you'll find and the outdoor dining in view of the ocean. Several local restaurants offer up tasty fare for all appetites, and local shops offer nautical-themed gifts, resale items and everything you need to set yourself up for some trophy-level fishing.
Alternatively, you can head seaward on Highway 60, ending up in Matagorda, where you can also dine seaside at Matagorda Harbor. A variety of other dining options awaits in Matagorda, from romantic fine dining with a designer chef to bar-and-grill style family restaurants with attractions for the kids.
there's plenty of shopping to be had in and around Matagorda, as well, where you can sip gourmet coffee or fine wine with a Texas twist and catch up on the local gossip while shopping for beautifully crafted accessories, home design items and works of art. There are just a handful of shops, but the discerning shopper can find anything from beachwear and kitschy souvenirs to antiques and fine art.
The third choice is to head due west on Highway 35 to Blessing, a town of 861 at last count that is as sweet as its name. Here, too, you'll find restaurants with tasty fare, including a historic hotel with a country buffet you just have to slow down to sample. But first you may want to do a little more shopping for gifts and specialty items like quilts, jewelry and imported fabrics. You can also visit the old-fashioned feed store, or for fast food, you can pick up kolaches or donuts at one of the country stores, or breakfast tacos at the Mexican restaurant.
Be sure to save some time for Palacios, with its spectacular setting along Tres Palacios Bay. Down Main Street and around town, a little scouting will yield great finds in specialty shops featuring marine-inspired artwork and local photography; antiques and resale items, and even handmade dulcimers. there's no shortage of delicious dining here, as well, and this time with ethnic options: Tex-Mex, Asian, Vietnamese and Italian fare is available along with fresh-caught seafood and burgers.
But slow down a bit to savor this "City By the Sea." Drink a latte, eat a pastry and browse the collection at a book-and-coffee store. Catch a sunset on its pavilion and reminisce about the days gone by. Spend the night in one of the grand old Bed and Breakfasts and wake up with the sea sparkling outside your window - and start all over again.
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