The Harbor at Rockwall Offers Scenic Getaway


P.A. Geddie

Some might be amazed to learn that a place like The Harbor is located in Northeast Texas but here it is. Nestled alongside Lake Ray Hubbard in Rockwall is an upscale complex of lodging, shopping, dining, and more that rivals getaways around the world.

On escapes like these I prefer not to have to drive here or there once I arrive at my destination. Fortunately, at The Harbor you can stay at the Hilton Bella Harbor hotel and have easy walking access to shops, restaurants, spas, and even a movie theater. Prices for rooms range from $99 to $169 per night and can get higher for special events.

I checked in to the hotel on a Saturday morning and made my way to a beautiful room with a balcony backed by a stunning view of the lake. The sun was shining brightly leaving shimmering reflections along the blue water. People walked along the pier and some took photos next to a small lighthouse and a cascading water fountain around the corner.

The view from the balcony also overlooks the swimming pool which sits next to a small cabana serving snacks and drinks. The pool wraps around the circular indoor lounge called C & B Scene.

It was lunch time so I headed out to explore the complex and see what choices I had for food. I passed the Cold Stone Creamery and decided to keep that in mind for later. Restaurants include Dodies Cajun Diner, Luna De Noche, Agave Restaurant & Tequila Bar, Blue Canyon, and the one I chose, Gloria’s Restaurant.

I had never eaten at a Gloria’s before but learned there are more than a dozen or so scattered around the Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding area. This one at The Harbor has a comfortable contemporary ambience and with the added view of Lake Ray Hubbard through a whole wall of windows I could have soaked it all up for hours. Gloria’s won “Best Mexican Food in Dallas/Fort Worth” from the Dallas Observer 2010 I noted so I was eager to see if my visit this day could live up to that. A friendly waitress brought fresh, crispy chips and little bowls of savory salsa and a black bean dip. The menu is extensive, some TexMex, some Salvadorian, and it was hard to choose just one entree but I finally settled on Pollo con Champinones which is grilled chicken breast, covered with creamy sour cream sauce, grilled poblano peppers, sauteed mushrooms, and onions, served with black beans and rice  for $11.99. It was divine.

After lunch I took a stroll around the shops and along the banks of Lake Ray Hubbard. It was so peaceful yet offered a variety of things to see and do.

I went to a little spa for a massage and promised to come back for a pedicure. Then I strolled over to the Cinemark theater and selected from a list of about a dozen movies to see Country Strong. The theater is clean and neat and offers fresh popcorn and not-too-syrupy sodas with stadium seating and surround sound.

The next morning I went in search of the breakfast buffet I was told Blue Canyon served but they were closed so be sure to call first if you are just heading over to dine there. Instead I had a wonderful breakfast buffet at Mistra, the hotel restaurant. With a variety of ingredients to choose from a chef whipped up a fantastic omelet and I chose a pancake and potatoes and fruit to go along with that. Pretty good stuff to eat while gazing at that every-present shimmering Lake Ray Hubbard.

A friend joined me later that day and wanted to try Gloria’s so we went there for dinner. I had a Chimichanga with shredded chicken with chile con queso on top and lettuce, guacamole, rice and beans on the side for $11.99 and he had the Asado de Puerco Salvatex which is grilled pork tenderloin served with chile ancho, an enchilada, black beans and rice for $13.99. Both were delicious.

My stay at the The Harbor was outstanding and I am making plans already to go back in the spring to add to the experience a ride on Seawolf, a 40-foot wooden catamaran sailboat. Seawolf sails out of the The Harbor at the lighthouse on the water side of the Hilton beginning in April.

Beginning in May The Harbor features concerts by the lake every Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Other special events throughout the year include Art League Art Walk in September and Rockin’ the Docks and Halloween Extravaganza in October. Anytime is a good time to go here for a quick getaway.

The Harbor is located just off Interstate 30. Take Horizon Road exit and go south to Summer Lee Drive, turning right to get to the lakefront and hotel entrance.

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