Travel back in time to the Roaring Twenties on a vintage train, discover why Palestine has become a top 40 travel destination in the United States, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of East Texas. When you’re ready to hit the road this summer, look no farther than Palestine. Set about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, this inviting town is full of stunning Victorian architecture, more than 1,800 historic sites, and some of the Lone Star State’s best ways to enjoy the season. Discover just a few of the possibilities below, then plan your next getaway to Palestine here.
Tour Texas Tip: Keep an eye out for the grand opening of TahWahKaro Distilling Company, an award-winning purveyor of fine grain-to-glass spirits that is making Palestine its home this summer.
Step Back in Time on a Vintage Train Excursion
When’s the last time you’ve ridden on a train? Standing on the platform as the locomotive rolls in, you hear a loud squeal of the brakes and the poof of steam as it stops. You climb up the stairs to your car—that first step is always the highest—and you find your seat. Both inviting and nostalgic! Welcome aboard "The Speakeasy Special."
Get ready, all you Bootleggers, Flappers, Raccoon Coats, Bathtub Gin Bathers, Flagpole Sitters, and Marathon Dancers! Time travel back 100 years to the Roaring Twenties, an era of prosperity, indulgence and carefree living on "The Speakeasy Special."
Dress to impress in your preferred 20’s attire! The adventure begins at the rail depot on June 24th (check the website for exact dates and details), as you traverse the tracks, enjoying freshly made appetizers and 1920’s era tunes. Disembark at the Rusk Depot and enjoy the Dave Washburn Jazz Band and a speakeasy-themed dinner by the lake.
For you lovers of reds and whites out there, Wines in the Pines offers an indulgence for all your senses. Departing Palestine on May 13, August 12 & September 9, pair delectable fare with selections from Miranda Lambert’s Red 55 Winery, all from the comfort of your seats in first class, the Upper Dome car, the luxe presidential cars, or the privately chartered Caboose. You’ll have a moonlight dinner next to the lake in Rusk. The return trip includes dessert and the final vintage sample and allows ample time for all wine lovers to savor a full serving of their favorite blend, comparing notes and sharing stories with friends and loved ones.. You will take home a Texas State Railroad wine glass as a memento from your trip. It doesn’t get more romantic than this; the rest is up to you.
Reserve tickets at Texasstaterailroad.net and go to June in the Booking Calendar. You may also contact our reservations desk directly at 855-632-7729 from 8 am-5 pm, M-Su. Reserve your tickets now as this event will sell out!
Immerse Yourself in the Palestine Art Scene
Did you hear? Palestine has become one of the hottest destinations for art lovers, ranked as one of the top 40 travel destinations in the United States by Texas Highways Magazine. Examine historical sites, arts and cultural events, architectural gems, festivals, outdoor fun, and live music—all with loads of East Texas charm. Observe the crown jewel of the downtown Palestine Main Street District, The Texas Theatre, which opened in 1930. It's a Spanish Colonial-style Texas Theater that was designed as a movie palace but now serves as a community theatre. Wander through 1,800 additional architectural historic sites throughout the community. Why not have a scavenger hunt?
Pick your stage performance! Whether it's the Dogwood Jamboree or the Old-Time Music & Dulcimer Festival, you won't want to keep your feet still.
Art can be fun, so immerse yourself in a very interactive fashion in Palestine. Experience art in your own way with self-guided tours. With the Visit Palestine, Texas App you can explore trails centered around public art 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get a sense of scale with Jeffie Brewer's oversized sculptures. Or take a moment to appreciate the murals. Shop downtown and in Old Town Palestine for some unique finds. Whether it's fine art, glass blowing, or art made out of automotive components, art lovers will find shelves and walls full of creativity.
Savor the Picks of the Season
Summer in Palestine is harvest season—and an ideal time to head to the farmer’s market. Get an authentic taste of East Texas as you browse all the fruits and vegetables grown in the area, from peaches and blueberries to tomatoes, watermelons, and onions. Stroll around and you’ll find much more than that here, however. Fresh meat; eggs with hues of blue, green, brown, and cream; handmade soaps; honey; fresh bread; and even cupcakes if you’re craving something sweet. You can even get in on growing your own fruits and vegetables, as some vendors even bring heirloom plants you can take home with you. No matter what you’re in the market for, you’ll find something to enjoy at the Palestine Farmers Market.
Hike, Bike & Explore Davey Dogwood Park
Beyond its majestic piney woods, Palestine is famous for its dogwood trees. Although they bloom in shades of pink and white in the spring, the dogwoods are no less magnificent in the summer. Immerse yourself in their natural splendor at Davey Dogwood Park, a 254-acre wonderland tucked away among towering pines just minutes from Downtown Palestine. Not only is this a scenic spot for a picnic, but the park is also a fantastic place for an outdoor escape. Grab your bicycle and pedal along the 5.5 miles of recently repaved roads (including a quad-burning hill at the entrance), traverse 4.5 miles of hiking and off-road biking trails, and play your way through a nine-basket, 18-tee disc golf course. Whether you’re getting a workout our just taking some time to immerse yourself in nature, find your way to Davey Dogwood Park.
Escape to the Lake
Peek through the woods in and around Palestine and you may well get a glimpse of one of three nearby lakes. Both Lower City Lake and Upper City Lake offer a peaceful setting. There are no motorized boats; just quiet, bucolic surroundings. Black walnut, American basswood, black tupelo, and dogwood trees line both lakes, and an abundance of waterfowl and wading birds are a common sight. Don’t forget your fishing poles, either! Folks have great luck here with pier and bank fishing. The same goes for Wolf Creek Lake, a city treasure just 10 minutes from the town square. Tucked away in 700 acres of the Palestine Community Forest, Wolf Creek makes for a beautiful day of fishing, swimming, hiking, and picnicking.
When you’re looking for your next summer road trip, escape to Palestine and the pine forests of East Texas. Plan your visit here.
Photo credits: Train (My Curly Adventures, Jessica Serna), Park (Pierce Ingram), Lake (Dawn Briggle)