Jefferson Is a Fun Weekend Getaway
Overview of Jefferson Attractions
Jefferson is one of North Texas' favorite small-town getaways for a quite, romantic weekend, for honeymoons away from the crowds, or for a family day trip.
The city of Jefferson, with a population of just over 2,000, is in the Northeast part of Texas, about 20 minutes north of Marshall and Interstate 20. It's easily accessible from Longview, Tyler and Shreveport/Bossier City, La., and is only several hours from Dallas.
Once upon a time, Jefferson was one of the most important cities in the state, with its port facilities on Big Cypress Bayou serving as a major shipping point for the Southern U.S. and then the Confederacy.
But as shipping dried up, so, to did Jefferson's fortunes ... until the 1960s, when local residents refashioned the town into a getaway destination replete with antique and specialty shops, fun restaurants, historic hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments.
The Downtown shopping district is away from the main highways through town, meaning the steets are easy to walk without the noise of passing cars.
Some of our favorite shops include the Jefferson Bottling Works on North Polk, a wonderful mish-mash of a shop owned by one of the most devoted collectors of Dr Pepper memorabilia in the country. Collectibles of every kind, related to soft drinks and beers, can be found here.
The Old Store and Fudge Shop on Walnut Street offers up dozens of varieties of fudge, plus a cornucopia of seldom-seen products that many will remember from their youth.
Speaking of things you remember from your youth, you'll feel young again inside the Jefferson General Store (on East Austin) as the toys, games and other products bring back memories of youth. And old-fashioned soda fountain, ice cream and fudge make it a great browsers' destination. Grab a cone or a drink and roam the packed aisles in wonderment.
There are too many antiques and arts & crafts shops to single out any in particular, but the antique malls are particularly good bets.
As one of the oldest towns in Texas, and one of the first wealthy cities in the state, Jefferson has a disproportionate number of historic homes, many in the Victorian and Greek Revival styles, and many now turned into bed-and-breakfast establishments.
Among those open for tours are the Pride House, Freeman Plantation, Beard House, House of the Seasons and The Sagamore. Those are all private residences, but tour times are available throughout the year. Other private homes, many listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are open for tours during the annual Historic Pilgrimage, the first week in May, and during the first two weeks of December.
Among the other historic lodging options are the Excelsior House and Jefferson Hotel, both on West Austin street downtown. Both offer around 20-something rooms and date to the mid-1800s. Each has hosted famous guests over the years, including U.S. presidents.
Visit the Texas Travel Reservations page to check hotel room rates in Jefferson.
Jefferson is known in some places as "the most haunted small town in Texas." If you're a believer in ghosts, we have some recommendations here for allegedly haunted lodging options.
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