Hello, google? …
If you google “romantic retreats in East Texas” you might be surprised that most of the suggestions will point you decidedly *west* toward Fredericksburg and the Hill Country, both a far cry – and a good distance – from East Texas.
Since we’re situated on the lovely grounds of The Bird & Butterfly Inn, it’s tempting to say, “Look no further!” but in fact, there most certainly are other romantic destinations in our region. Here are a few we’d recommend exploring.
Just a little over two hours north of us you’ll find the charming town of Jefferson, Texas. Once known as “The B&B capitol of Texas,” it now boasts a stunning 20 award-winning bed and breakfasts.
Jefferson has a long history, as befits the fifth oldest city in Texas. Formerly a steamboat destination, it’s stated that its port was the westernmost point New Orleans steamboats could travel and that by 1870, it became one of the largest cities in the state. There’s still plenty of water to be found, as the town is located between Lake O’ The Pines and Caddo Lake (the only natural lake in Texas) so be sure to make time for a water excursion or maybe a day of fishing.
If ghostly excursions are more your style, Jefferson is a great destination for you, as it’s rumored to be one of the most haunted towns in Texas! The Grove, The Jefferson Hotel and Excelsior House Hotel all boast numerous apparitions, specters and ghosts. You’ve been warned!
Just 20 minutes south of Jefferson is Marshall, another beautiful and historic city that’s known locally as “the most romantic winter getaway in Texas.”
Settled in 1839, the town was named after John Marshall, the longest-serving US Supreme Court Justice. The city grew quickly in large part due to its destination as both a Confederate meeting point, and a significant producer of gunpowder. As the 1800s drew to a close, the railroads arrived and the population continued to boom.
Marshall is definitely known for its architecture and its 1901 Harrison County Courthouse is a prime example. Construction was completed in 1901 and the building is well regarded as one of the most remarkable in Texas. It was designed by James Riely Gordon, who is credited with designing 18 stunning Texas Courthouses, of which a dozen remain today (http://www.254texascourthouses.net/james-riely-gordon-architect.html). Don’t miss a tour of the courthouse, as the inside is as remarkable as the outside, with a stained glass cupola and stunning ornamental plaster and paintings throughout. In addition to the courthouse, make time to visit the Harrison County Historical Museum and the Michelson Museum of Art, both with so much to offer.
You’ll find that Marshall is a great hub for all manner of day trips, including wine tours, Caddo Lake (with the largest bald cypress grove in Texas), Longview (don’t miss Trade Days!), and Kilgore (“the world’s richest acre” thanks to a “forest of oil derricks” where 2.5 million barrels of oil have been pumped). After a day of excursions, settle down at Wisteria Garden B&B, The Weisman Mansion, or Roseville B&B, for that homestyle treatment.
As for their status as a romantic winter getaway, Marshall’s winter Christmas lights are well known across the state. From the City of Marshall website:
“In 1987, the Marshall community was experiencing its worst local economy in its history, with unemployment skyrocketing to 20%. George S. Smith, then Marshall News Messenger Editor, was crossing the square and imagined the historic courthouse strung with lights. He returned to the newsroom and wrote “Picture this: Marshall’s square, every tree, every bush…the Harrison County Courthouse Museum…a Gigantic Christmas Tree…businesses around the square…decorated in tiny white lights. It could be a spectacle that would rival any other Christmas lighting scene in this area, think about it. We could make it happen.” A few months later, a Marshall native living in France received a copy of the editorial and responded with a check enclosed for $25,000 and the simple note, “Have your wish.”
Over the years, the festival has grown to include an outdoor ice-skating rink, vintage carousel, train, and a collection of tiny houses making up Santa’s Village. Additional weekly special events are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike – though the 1901 Historic Harrison County Courthouse, adorned in millions of white lights, remains the crown jewel.”
Lake Sam Rayburn
For romantic destinations, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention The Bird & Butterfly Inn. Our East Texas bed and breakfast is 20 minutes north of Jasper proper, just a few miles from the Lake Sam Rayburn Dam.
While Jasper may not be overrun with B&Bs like our neighbors, we do have a few feathers in our cap.
- The lovely Jasper County Courthouse was built in 1889 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. For more history, visit the Jasper County Historical Museum, also on the square and just across from the Courthouse.
- If antiquing is more your thing, you may need more than a day to hit all the destinations in Japser! Junktique, The Little Red Wagon, The Tattered Suitcase, Jasper Thrift … we could go on and on! And if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for here, Lufkin is a short jaunt and well worth the drive – don’t miss Hicks Antiques and Estate Sales, Amazing Grace Antique Mall or Heritage Antiques.
- For the fisherman (or woman!), you can fish off our floating dock, or Lake Sam Rayburn is literally a five-minute drive from us, and it’s a top fishing destination in Texas.
For romantic rooms, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more inviting than our Little White House. It’s a standalone cottage with wood-paneled floors, walls and even the ceiling. This is one room where we’ve put a lot of effort, especially to highlight the wood. To that end, we’ve set the room with all light appointments – a beautiful shabby-chic queen bed, a light rug with pastel peach and plum florals, a lovely gold mirror atop a new, light-colored fireplace surround, floral fabric chairs on either side of the fireplace and a cozy reading chair and ottoman. We also added Roman shades to allow privacy while still admitting light, giving the room a cozy and intimate feeling.
The bath has also been redone – we’ve added an extra long soaking tub/shower combo with gorgeous copper fixtures, and deep green granite shelves inset in the back. We also added a stunning half-moon mirror along with a buffet vanity and Welsh hutch, both offering a sumptuous quality to the space.
In the evening, join us around the fire pit in the outdoor kitchen, with the string lights offering gentle illumination over the farm tables and down the driveway to the 1901 Cabin. And don’t just take our word for how special it is here… guests arrive and are captivated by the house and grounds, to the point that more than one has described it as “magical.”
Stay with us, and discover what an East Texas romantic getaway is all about!