We left the house at 6:30AM and after grabbing a quick bite at Starbucks (because all the best road trips begin with Starbucks), we were on the road. Our route took us up a short bit on US-59 before leaving the main highway to wind our way through Sam Houston National Forest. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of tall green trees, which being that we were in a forest – a national one, no less – was good to see.
At one point we passed a section where they had cut down lots of cedar and there were stacks and stacks of cedar on either side of the road. (We’re pretty sure it was cedar – the hubby said it smelled like cedar.) He rolled down the window and it was instant all-over air freshener, which we all thought was pretty swell. Until I started to cough. And cough. And cough. About 10 miles later, we both agreed that allergy sufferers probably don’t need straight ingested cedar scent.
We made our way through the town of Cold Spring – quick detour, aka “I wasn’t supposed to go right back there?” – and then on through the even smaller town of Point Blank. It was a pretty drive and then we caught the first peek of Lake Livingston. Oh so pretty! We drove over the bridge, the hubby snapping pictures out the window, and the kiddo in the back seat professing dire warnings of what would happen if said hubby dropped the camera out the window on the first day. Once over the bridge, it wasn’t too far before we were in Onalaska and turning down Old Groveton Road to start the next leg of the trip toward Davey Crockett National Forest.
What can I say about Old Groveton Road? Well, I can say that it is a road. Mostly. Suffice it to say that this would not be the first time on the trip that I would say, “Are we sure we can go this way?” to which the hubby would respond, “Of course. It’s on the GPS, isn’t it?”We eventually made our way to our second national forest in one day. The scenery remained lovely and the time flew by for us. We made it to Nacogdoches an hour ahead of our schedule. We drove to Oak Grove Cemetery and spent the next hour or so strolling through, looking at tombstones and monuments starting from about the 1830’s. There were a couple of graves for people who had been born in the 1700’s! The cemetery was really interesting with unusual monuments and several historic personages, including 4 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence…. Or, was it the Texas Constitution? Where is that brochure…
After the cemetery, we headed over to Shelley’s Bakery & Café – everyone was so friendly and oh my goodness, nom-nom-nom! The food was so delicious and we sat outside, looking over a brick street in the middle of historic old downtown. I had a grilled cheese sandwich made with Gouda, mozzarella, and provolone, with thin slices of tomato and basil. There was an AMAZING rosemary corn soup, and then we all shared a carrot cake cupcake. After lunch, we walked (waddled) around the old downtown streets, stopping in to look at a stained glass shop and a quilting shop. Then, it was back on the road to Jonesville, TX where we stopped in at TC Lindsey & Co. General Store. This store has been here for like a hundred years – the lady at the counter was celebrating 54 years of working there – and is filled with so much STUFF that Disney used footage of the store in a couple of films from the 1970’s. Needless to say, we took lots of pictures.
Next we headed up to Uncertain, TX, looking to see Caddo Lake. We found Uncertain – after a harrowing experience involving an incline, train tracks, and another “Are you sure we can go this way?” moment – and wound our way through the town, passing the Uncertain Tavern and the Church of Uncertain, which incidentally has Church of Uncertain Youth (I wish we had gotten a picture of that sign!). While the trip through Uncertain was neat, we could only catch glimpses of the lake – and it looked so cool that we really wanted to see that lake! We ended up taking an unplanned detour into Caddo Lake State Park and snapped some shots of Sawmill Pond. Wow –Caddo Lake is just awesome. It is so serene with the moss hanging off the trees and lily pads floating over the lake, and you just know it looks the same now as it did like 4 million years ago. And about the time I was thinking this is when the hubby started talking about the Alligator Snapping Turtles in the lake that are big enough that they can actually fit a human head inside their mouths. And I noticed that you can’t really see anything but the top little bit of the lake and all the lake foliage could probably hide a whole lot of turtles. Or dinosaurs.
So, we left the lake and headed to our final stop for the day, the historic town of Jefferson. Jefferson is beautiful – and historic! We drove through downtown and made our way to the McKay House B&B, which is the longest continually operating B&B in the state and so incredibly lovely. There were warm cookies on the table and a lemon meringue pie cooling. (Both the cookies and the pie were worth battling a small country… just sayin’.) We headed up to our room with a “rare 1890 tall pine bed”. After getting settled, we walked back into town for dinner at Lamache’s inside the Excelsior Hotel. We were going to do a ghost walk tour, but after dinner, we were so tired that we just headed back to the McKay House and spent some time enjoying and relaxing.