At the invitation of Jefferson’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, I (along with 10 other Texas travel bloggers) visited this beautiful, historic town. Jefferson is in the Northeast part of the state, and while I had heard of the annual Jefferson Candlelight Tour of Homes that takes place in December, I didn’t know much else about it.
In the two days I was there, I discovered so many treasures. There is something for everyone! Nature, history, antiques, fun shops and great food. I spent two full days in Jefferson and there are still things I want to go back and see!
Jefferson, Texas for Nature Lovers
Our first day in Jefferson was the perfect “Chamber of Commerce” day and we started it with a beautiful and relaxing Turning Basin Riverboat Tour.
We learned from our knowledgable and entertaining Captain John about the history of this waterway. Jefferson used to be a major port in Texas where steamboats traveling from New Orleans shipped cotton and a variety of other goods. John is also a wealth of information on the wildlife of the bayou. This was the perfect way to start our trip and set the stage for lots of wonderful things to come!
More for Nature Lovers
Jefferson, Texas for History Buffs
With 100+ historical homes and landmarks, history is a BIG part of Jefferson!
Housed in the 1890 former Federal Courthouse and Post Office, the museum is 4 floors of artifacts from Jefferson, Marion County and around the world.
Next door is the R. D. Moses Texas and Pacific Model Railroad.
This HO gauge model railroad was built and created over 30 years by R. D. Moses and his friend Jack Luck. A must see for kids – old and young!
This 1,700 square foot museum features the world’s largest private collection of Gone With the Wind memorabilia, including an autographed first edition of the novel, a Gone With the Wind themed Christmas tree and the original seats from Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta – the site of Gone With the Wind’s world premiere.
Bobbie Hardy, who collected everything in the museum, is a wealth of knowledge and a delight to listen to!
House of the Seasons is an historic home, built in the 1870’s. This gorgeous house is a fine example of the transition period between the Greek Revival and Victorian styles of architecture. The most unique features of the house are the cupola and the murals. In the cupola, under the picture, each wall contains a different colored stained glass that creates the illusion of the seasons of the year.
If you love architecture and beautifully restored homes, this tour is a must. House of the Seasons also offers Bed & Breakfast accommodations.
Other historic sites to include on your trip:
The Excelsior House Hotel which has been hosting guests since the 1850’s.
The Jay Gould Car – The private railway car of American Railway Developer Jason “Jay” Gould.
Jefferson, Texas for Ghost Lovers
Like ghost stories? Interested in the paranormal? Then Jefferson has something for you. Lots of the old homes and buildings boast ghost sightings and just weird occurances that can’t be explained.
The Grove, a home built in 1861 is known as the most haunted house in Texas. And when I say haunted, I don’t mean scary. Just lots of ghost sightings and other unexplained things that happen there.
Mitchell Whittington, local author and owner of the home conducts the tour. He is a fabulous story teller and expert on the history of the home and Jefferson. This tour is a must!
Also check out the Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk Tour.
Dining in Jefferson, Texas
Austin Street Bistro – Quaint restaurant open for lunch and dinner. I ate there for lunch and enjoyed their Chicken Salad on a Homemade Oatmeal Molasses Roll. Lots of fresh salads, soups and sandwiches. The Bistro Salad was outstanding.
Enoch’s Wine and Coffee House – I was in heaven – coffee shop on one side, wine bar on the other. Great coffee drinks including my favorite cappuccino on the coffee bar side. And wine from Enoch’s Stomp Winery on the other. Along with the wine, we enjoyed a beautiful charcuterie tray.
Stillwater Inn – This fine dining restaurant has been a staple in Jefferson for 25 years. The gourmet onion rings they serve as an appetizer are to die for. Also try their Pecan Encrusted Trout.
McGarity’s Saloon – Don’t let the term “saloon” throw you. This is a kid-friendly restaurant with a fun ambience that specializes in New American dining with international influences. At lunch time – the salads are the star. Try the Iceberg Wedge or Watermelon Salads. Other interesting things on the menu – Bourbon Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese and Starbucks Pork Tenderloin.
Jefferson, Texas Bed and Breakfasts
Bed & Breakfasts abound in Jefferson. I stayed at The Green Gables at Jefferson B & B and absolutely loved everything about it! This historic home was built in stages between the 1850’s and 1870’s. It has been beautifully renovated. Accommodations include the Green Gables Suite (where I stayed) or Green Gables Cottage. Both have private entrances.
Breakfast is served in the sunroom or you can have it served in your room. I opted for the sunroom that was beautifully decorated for fall. Breakfast was delicious and included pastries, a breakfast banana split, mini frittatas, bacon and cinnamon toast. This is a fabulous place to stay and I will be back!
Other recommended B & B’s:
Shopping in Jefferson, Texas
Jefferson’s brick streets are filled with all kinds of shops for unique gifts, souveniers and antiques. Here are some of my favorites:
Jefferson General Store – What’s a small town without a General Store? Chock full of every kind of candy you can imagine, gifts, souveniers, novelty items. You name it, they have it. My favorite – their Texas Pecan Pralines.
The Old Store – Antiques, gifts, tons of gourmet food items AND 20 different kinds of fudge. Don’t miss the fudge. My favorites – Chocolate and Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge.
The Willow Tree Jefferson – Upscale boutique featuring women’s clothing, jewelry and home décor.
Bohn’s Gift Shoppe – Unique gifts including Blackburn jams, jellies & syrups.
Port Jefferson Outpost – Full service diner, coffee bar and mercantile. Gifts, bulk candy, fudge, t-shirts, kitchen goods and more!
So much to see and do in Jefferson, Texas! I could never have imagined it. Enjoy a weekend or a few days. Get away from the rat race and step back to another time. Take a girl’s trip. There is something everyone will enjoy in Jefferson!