Ten Fun Day Trips to take in East Texas

Ten Fun Day Trips to take in East Texas:

So I think it’s only fair to let you know, I don’t get to go out much, so when I do, it’s gotta be really fun and adventurous. So I am writing this from both experience and while others have been done by friends. So check these places out and let me know what you think! But remember, when the day is done, head over to The Forge for a nightcap and dinner with a bit of live music. It will be the perfect ending to an excellent day.

10. Go for a nature stroll, feed a mob of hungry catfish, or fish all day at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries. This is my family’s go-to place on a sunny day when we don’t have a ton of cash but want to get out of the house and play. The best thing is, you can pack a picnic lunch and really make a day of it and on certain weekends they have some really great special events planned.

9. Meet some new feline friends at Tiger Creek just North of Tyler. They have a variety of cats that have been rescued from private owners or zoos. It is also close to the Tyler state park, which makes it a great place to go for a day trip. They will give you a tour of the facilities and a chance to meet thier residents  including the two cubs that were featured on Animal Planet.

tiger creek

8. If you enjoy antiquing, or even shopping in general, Canton, Texas hosts First Monday Trades days. It got it’s name in the 1850’s as the Circuit Judge came to the County Seat on the First Monday of every month. Swapping and trading just naturally sprang up around the Courthouse Square the weekend before Court on Monday. The tradition stayed and so each weekend before the first Monday of the month, vendors from far and wide sell everything from antiques to flip flops to homemade ice cream.

7. So you think East Texas might be a little too chill? Try Ziplining in New York with New York- Texas ZipLine Adventures. They bring people on guided adventure tours with 6 ziplines. Your zipline adventure will take you soaring through towering pines, hardwoods and high above the rocky hillside of one of the highest elevations in East Texas.

6. TJC’s  Center for Earth and Space Science Education Planetarium is a great place to go on a rainy day. Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday there are a variety of shows playing on it’s 40’ Spitz NanoSeam domed theatre, including live missions. They also have an incredible state-of-the-art exhibit hall that changes throughout the year.


5. There are some great parks that are free or charge minimal fees to enter all throughout East Texas. Faulkner Park has an athletic complex, walking trails, fishing pond and a free splash park for the kids. Tyler State park has camping, Ranger-led Programs, swimming, kayaking, hiking, fishing and boat rentals. Bergfield Park is constantly having some kind of event throughout the year. Located just south of the center of town, it hosts art shows, has family movie nights in it’s ampitheater and boasts a large playground and tennis courts.  The Children’s Park is just North of Bergfield is just off of Broadway. It’s a small park, but a fun stop, none the less.

4. Splash Kingdom is East Texas’ largest water park beautifully set on ten tree shaded acres, this family-friendly environment is perfect for a day of “fun in the sun”. Come enjoy the wave pool, lazy river, huge slides and children’s castle. Indoor party facility open all year long. While this is definitely a fun trip, plan on spending some money for the entry fee and food. Oh, and don’t for get the sunscreen!

3. I absolutely love to bring my family to East Texas Gator Park in Grand Saline. As a matter of fact, we had my daughters fourth birthday party there and it was incredibly fun. They have a bunch of gators in every size, raccoons, deer and farm animals. There is so much to see and play on that the kids will be enthralled and the entry fee is really a bargain. Animal enthusiasts will love the gator feedings and the up close nature of this park.

gator lunch

2. Porch Pick’n has become almost customary in these parts, and you will find an evenings worth almost everywhere you turn around. During the nicer weather Woodhaven Cabins hosts one in their beautiful pavilion every Thursday night at 6 pm. The Shed in Edom has theirs Tuesday nights, and you can even find one going on in Ben Wheeler from time to time.

1. If it’s good food and entertainment you are looking for, look no further than the 279 Artisan Trail.  It spans from outside of Edom to Ben Wheeler and encompasses many businesses in between. The trail holds and participates in regularly scheduled events throughout the year including Second Saturday Art Jams every month, Car Cruises every Second Saturday during the warmer months, the Edom Festival of the Arts in October and the Ben Wheeler Arts & Historic District Foundation’s Fall Feral Hog Festival also in October.

So there ya go! I think you will find plenty to do in our eclectic little corner. We also have skydiving, horseback riding, mud bogging and wine tasting. Not to mention all the cool festivals that go on through out the year. If it’s not here in our little corner, it’s making it’s way here soon! So get out there and check out East Texas, it’s so much more than a bunch of small towns. It’s big dreams spread out over bigger areas.

Best Restaurant AND Best Pizza of Upper East Side of Texas

Thank You County Line Magazine for naming The Forge the “Best Restaurant of the Upper East Side of Texas for 2012” and “Best Pizza.” We are honored to be given such high acclaim by such an excellent publication read by so many. Our little bar and grill is not going to be much of a secret for much longer. But don’t think we stop just at pizzas and beer, we have a wide selection of wines too, including many Texas favorites like All my Exe’s and Rte 55 by Miranda Lambert.

Here’s what County Line had to say about us:

Best Pizza

The Forge in Ben Wheeler. Thin-crust pizzas with all the usual toppings: But that’s not all. The menu also includes half a dozen reasonably priced specialty pizzas: The Buffalo with grilled chicken and a spicy wing sauce; The Greek with garlic-infused olive oil, feta cheese, and more; The Caesar with tomatoes, fontina and mozzarella, grilled chicken, and more; The Taco with homemade salsa, spicy taco meat, and more; The Razorback with smoked bacon and jalapeno, a variety of cheeses, and more; and The Great White with white cheddar, mozzarella, and fontina. 1610 FM 279. 903.833.5970. www.benwheelertx.com. Runner up: Angelo’s in Winnsboro.

Best Restaurant

The Forge in Ben Wheeler. Small, soon-to-expand bistro in a rustic old blacksmith shop has an eclectic menu ranging from smoked salmon wraps to wild hog pork tacos and a variety of sandwiches including three little pigs, The Big Easy, the apple-smoked bacon, the rooster, spicy veggie wrap and veggie tacos, baked Portabella, and more along with frequent specials. Add an appetizer or salad. There’s also a full bar, and there’s live music every Thursday, Friday, Saturday night and on Saturday afternoons. The Forge is a 50-seat bistro that’s expanding to 70 seats with some renovations. It’s also expanding hours to seven days a week: Monday-Tuesday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday-Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight, and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 903.833.5970. 1610 FM 279. 903.833.5970. www.benwheelertx.com. Runner up: Liefie’s in Winnsboro.

Once again, thank you best of East TexasCounty Line, perhaps next year we could get one for best Music Venue… you never know!

If you want to check out more Best of’s by County Line Magazine, check out their website or grab a paper at any participating store.




Yup, we have Kirby Kelly coming to The Forge!

If you haven’t heard of him, shame on you! No really, Kirby Kelley is Ah-mazing! Check him out! And he will be here on Saturday, January 26th at The Forge! This will be bad ass! So get your butts down here before the place spills out onto the streets!

A Duo and Those Damn Quails…

damn quail1

So we had an excellent night of entertainment with the Jerry Branch Duo. They really filled the house and the music kept the room alive. I have to say, I just love the vibe of our little bar. All these great bands that fill this little bar, fill me with such awe at the talent. So at the end of the night after Moores closed down I had the opportunity to meet The Damn Quails. I served up a naughtily named beverage and giggled as I watched these bearded musicians drink their post-concert elixirs. I tried to evoke some more tunes to no avail, but I did get a chance to chat with them for a little bit. What a cool bunch of dudes from Oklahoma. Next time, I’m taking the night off to watch them cause I caught a glimpse of them on Youtube and they looked like they might be Damn fun! Plus, I love their Band Art!

damn quails 2The-Damn-Quails

February Music Lineup and Events


2/1 Jimmy Bailey

2/2 Eric Moseley Duo

2/7 Patrick James Freden

2/8 Mike Acoustic

2/9 Matt Bradshaw & Heather Little

2/14 Taylor Heard

2/15 Stan Lawhon Duo

2/16 Guitar Center King of Blues 2009, Kirby Kelley

2/21 Van

2/22 Ben Lowery & Wes Hendrix

2/23 Heather Little & Matt Bradshaw

Heather Little

Heather Little

2/28 blacktopGYPSY