friend once told me his greatest pleasure was driving around East
Texas and looking for oddball places seldom found in tourism brochures.
I can understand that.
While places like the Old
Stone Fort in Nacogdoches
and the Sam
Houston home in Huntsville
are great places to visit, there are other, out-of-the-way places
that have a different appeal for some folks.
example, a roadside park beside U.S. Highway 287 northwest
of Woodville is
a wonderful place just for sitting on a park bench, listening to the
sounds of the forest, and dipping your toes in a spring-fed pool built
by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the 1930s.
Families come here for reunions, kids enjoy running around the expansive
grounds, and Scout troops often camp beneath the tall trees.
landmark spring runs from a hillside beside U.S. 175 north
of the Neches River southeast of Frankston.
In the days before people got particular about their water, traveling
families stopped at the spring, filled a jug or two, and vowed that
it was the best tasting water in East
Texas is not famous for mountains, but we have some magnificent places
with wonderful landscape views.
My personal favorite is Loveís
Lookout, north of Jacksonville
on U.S. 69. Standing atop the hill, you can see for miles, perhaps
even into Louisiana.
Across the highway from the Lookout is a little-used road built into
the hillside. Once the main route from Jacksonville
to Bullard, the
road is noted for a low rock fence, another leftover from the
old CCC days.
I keep hoping that Texas will improve
the road and set it aside as a historic route. And perhaps the same
will happen to the Loveís Lookout amphitheater, where East Texans
once watched outdoor musicals.
favorite high place is the Neches River Overlook, in the Davy
Crockett National Forest, just off Texas Highway 21 near Weches. From
here, you can look across the riverís bottomlands. During autumn,
the area is awash in gold, yellow, red and purple hues.
arenít many log homes left in East
Texas, but you can see one of the best, the old Gaines-Oliphant
home, standing in a housing subdivision west of Toledo
Bend Reservoir, just off Texas Highway 21 in Sabine County.
The two-story beauty, built as a ferrymanís home and hotel, once stood
beside the Sabine River but was relocated when Toledo
Bend Reservoir was built.
have hundreds of ghost towns
in East Texas, but few can match the history and magnificence
of old Aldridge
in the Angelina National Forest near Zavalla.
But, sadly, vandals have defaced the brick and concrete buildings
so badly that the site is now closed.
youíre smitten by the fancy to stand in three states at one time,
there is such a place. Naturally, itís called Three
States and it lies at the intersection of Texas, Louisiana and
Arkansas on Texas Highway 77 southeast of Atlanta.
October 22, 2007 Column.
Published with permission
A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers
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