By: Lindsey Kasprzak
Have you ever come across a Facebook post where someone asks, “where is a great place to spend the weekend with family?” Or, “where is a good weekend getaway for us girls?” The typical answer is always San Antonio, Fredericksburg, or Austin because those of course are the most popular. But, I’ve made it a goal of mine to explore the many unique small towns Texas has to offer.
Just about two hours north of Montgomery County is a quaint little place called Palestine, Texas. This unique, and charming town is a place where everyone knows each other‘s names, where you’re always greeted with a smile and a man’s word is as strong as his handshake. Palestine is the type of town where you can go and unplug from the city life and see the East Texas country beauty for what it really is.
I was extremely excited when I got the opportunity to explore Palestine and what it had to offer. First, we took the Texas State Railroad to Rusk which you can read all about on our "Business of the Month" page. Once we were done with our train ride excursion we made our way downtown to The Redlands Hotel which was built in 1914!
This historic hotel is one place you MUST stay! We were instantly greeted with a friendly face at check in. Once we had the key to our room, we were escorted up to our room was, plus we were given a historic education about the building itself.
With a fine dining restaurant, boutique shop, and a well-stocked bar downstairs, the Redlands hotel is one place you may never want to leave. Our room had a huge king-size bed with a pull-out sofa bed, full kitchen, and a huge bathroom (and that’s just the normal size room). They even have an original elevator with the pull lift down in the lobby for you to peek into. Oh, and did I mention their art museum? Yes, they have a wonderful art museum full of art from local artists that are available for purchase.
So how do you get room reservations at this wonderful establishment? It’s easy, just go to: www.redlandshistoricinn.com, check out the rooms they have listed, and give them a call. You are sure to be greeted with a friendly voice more than happy to take your reservations and I’m sure they will fill you in on what other wonderful things are happening that weekend downtown. You can also follow them on Facebook for up to date events and happenings.
Speaking of downtown, the Redlands Hotel is conveniently located within walking distance to antique shops, bakeries, the theater district and much more. Of course, when we were there it was somewhat hot being the middle of summer, so we decided to drive the short distance to “Old Town” where we stumbled across Oxbow Bakery. Now, if you have a heart condition or you’re diabetic I would say maybe share a piece of pie, but this is one bakery you do not want to pass up. Having a piece of their pie is like going over to grandma’s house and having the best comfort food you can imagine. They have so much to choose from that taking another trip up to Palestine would be worth the trip just to get another piece of their homemade heaven.
Right next door to the Oxbow Bakery is a wonderful little coffee house and antique/gift shop where you’re sure to fine a souvenir or two. With a walk across the street, you’ll find “Pint and Barrel Draft House” that has a great selection of beer and food items when you’re ready to sit down and relax for a bit.
Now if you’re looking for something to do with the kids to maybe get some of their energy out, just a mile or two from Old Town is the “Museum for East Texas Culture” that was once the local high school and opened in 1916. It is three stories of Palestine and East Texas history plus they have a full log cabin built inside that visitors are welcome to walk into. With admission at only $3 for adults and $1 for students this is a place you can definitely have the kids learning and exploring.
After you’ve spent some time at the museum, right down the street is a splash pad that is fully shaded and has park benches for parents to sit and relax as the little ones burn off more energy before you spend the day exploring more antique shops.
As we packed our bags and got ready to head back home I wanted to grab a bite to eat. What was nice about the Redlands Hotel is they had information on where to go for whatever you want. They recommended a local diner called “Birds Egg Café,” which is listed as #1 in the area for breakfast. Since it was on our way out of town, we stopped in and, again, it was like going to Grandma’s house and having her cook you your favorite meal with all the fixins’.
Palestine may not have been on your list of places to visit or maybe you never knew it even existed, but it needs to be put on your list. This amazing historic little town has so much to offer and doesn’t come with the high visitors’ prices bigger cities do. Step out of your comfort zone and explore what this upcoming town has to offer before it becomes one of the big tourist destinations.