One-Tank Trip: Nacogdoches, a historic place known as oldest town in Texas

 

Just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean vacations have to end. One of the best things about living in the East Texas area is all of the unique towns that are only a short drive away.

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a one-day trip, we know the perfect place to go for your next destination – the historic town of Nacogdoches.

Known as the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches is named for the Caddo family of Indians who once lived in the area. Eventually, Spain established it as a mission in 1716 and in 1779 it was named the first official “town” in Texas when Spain designated the mission as a pueblo, or town.

Walking the streets of downtown Nacogdoches, you get a sense and a glimpse of its history – from the brick-lined streets to the architecture of the surrounding buildings. The first place you’ll want to visit is the Charles Bright Visitor Center to pick up brochures and maps for your visit and check out the exhibits of local historic artifacts.

TO STAY

If you’re planning to stay longer than a day, there are several unique options for you to choose from in the area. But where can you visit that has a newly restored, historic hotel? Nacogdoches, that is. The Fredonia Hotel, a boutique hotel originally opened in 1955 to much fan fare, has gone through various owners and renovations over the years. Its most recent renovation and re-opening took place in the summer.

You’ll walk into a fully restored mid-century modern lobby, sleep in a picture-perfect room with plush bedding and retro-inspired furniture, and enjoy great views of downtown Nacogdoches. Don’t worry about what to eat during your stay because the Fredonia has you covered with its on-site dining options, 1st City Café and Republic Steakhouse. And you won’t want to miss the classy and sophisticated Nine Flags Bar.

Avoid the hustle and bustle of the city and treat yourself to a log cabin getaway at Pineywoods Hideaway Bed & Breakfast in one of its three private suites. Soak in a hot tub or relax in the uniquely decorated bedroom with a private bathroom. Indulge in a delicious homemade breakfast served in the main quarters of the house and enjoy the large window view overlooking a lake.

Other great accommodations to choose from include the Eagle Nest Hidden Lake Resort, a gated resort (by reservation only) with plenty of amenities, activities and a 14-acre lake; the Hardeman House, listed on the National Historic Register and includes a wrap-around porch, king-sized beds, private baths and cable television; and the Brick House Inn, the oldest existing, two-story brick home built in 1886.

TO EAT

Start your day at Dolli’s Diner with a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast. This retro-inspired, family friendly diner is located downtown. The diner harkens back to the 1950s with its black and white tile floor, antique malt machine and old-fashioned bar stools. For lunch, make your way to the Olde Town General Store, which is now a deli serving homemade chicken salad, pimento cheese and a variety of filling soups, plus one-pound stuffed potatoes, a local favorite.

As you stroll the streets of downtown, take a little side trip down Church Street to Blue Horse Bakery for a mid-day meal or grab a cupcake or two. There’s even a cozy corner filled with retail items perfect for gifts or just for you. You’ll find locally made and sourced specialty foods, such as honey, salsa and coffee, plus items such as hand-turned wood and silver cake cutting sets and much more by local vendors.

For dinner, the locals love to go to Clear Springs Restaurant or Auntie Pasta’s, which are owned by the same parent company and located in the same building. Clear Springs Restaurant was voted the best in Nacogdoches for its catfish, seafood and steak and voted by Texas Highways Magazine as having the best fried catfish. On the other side, Auntie Pasta’s offers a fine-dining feel and delicious Italian cuisine, with all of its sauces made from scratch every day using only the freshest ingredients.

TO DO

If you’re looking for great places to shop, you’re in luck. There are a plethora of shops, boutiques and antique stores just waiting for your discovery in downtown Nacogdoches. Venture down brick-lined Church Street and stop in to Macy May, an adorable boutique filled with everything from exclusive jewelry and gifts to items for your home and baby, plus stationery and much more. They carry such brands as Kendra Scott, Kate Spade, Brighton, Corkcicle and Lollia, to name a few.

On Main Street, you’ll want to stop in to TWIGS & TIN, which features unique gifts, home goods and apparel handcrafted in the U.S. Many of the store’s items are made in East Texas, including tools, home décor, pottery, jewelry, grooming products and toys.

If you’re on the hunt for antiques, you won’t be disappointed. Downtown Nacogdoches has quite a few places to visit, including Rachel’s Antiques and Uniques on Main Street. Browse a range of items in decorating styles from French farmhouse chic to vintage elegance. You just don’t know what you might find because on any given day, the store carries old frames, old doors, handcrafted specialty items, old mirrors, silver plates and farm tables made from old lumber.

Just a short drive from downtown, The Mustard Seed is a Christian bookstore carrying all the newest titles of Christian books, Bible studies and inspirational best sellers. You’ll also find daily devotionals, Bible journaling, Bible covers, Pandora Jewelry and Bob Siemon sterling silver cross necklaces, plus much more.

Of course, shopping isn’t the only thing to do in Nacogdoches! Try something really daring and fun – ziplining! Zip Nac offers tons of fun for the whole family but make sure to check its website for age and weight restrictions, rates and other important information.

If you don’t want to “zip” Nac, then sip Nac – at Naca Valley Vineyard. This family owned business is only a few miles from downtown and located in the heart of East Texas. Visit the tasting room, which is equal parts modern design and vintage flair, and make sure to buy a bottle or two to take back home. It also has a vineyard tour and offers a view of the wine making process.

Another fun adventure to consider is Millard’s Crossing Historic Village. Take an award-winning guided tour of the reconstructed 19th century homes. You’ll discover antiques, tools and memorabilia from East Texas’ past on one of its award-winning guided tours, which are interactive, fun and informative.

For the active and outdoorsy types, walk, hike or bike the local trails. Nacogdoches also boasts several lakes, rivers and streams, which makes it a fisherman’s dream. From Lake Nacogdoches and Lake Naconiche to Sam Rayburn Reservoir, there’s plenty of opportunity to break out your favorite fishing pole and reel in some bass, crappie, catfish and more.

For more information on where to eat, shop, play and stay in Nacogdoches go online to www.visitnacogdoches.com.


TO STAY

    Eagle Nest Hidden Lake Resort

    Fredonia Hotel

    • 200 N. Fredonia St., Nacogdoches
    • (936) 564-1234
    • Call for hours, or call or go online to book your reservation.
    • www.thefredonia.com

    Hardeman House

    Pineywoods Hideaway Bed

    The Brick House Inn

TO EAT

TO DO

    Macy May

    • 114 N. Church St., Nacogdoches
    • (936) 205-5911
    • Mon-Fri 10a-5p; Sat 10a-3p;
    • Closed Sun

    Millard’s Crossing Historic Village

    Naca Valley Vineyard

    Rachel’s Antiques and Uniques

    The Mustard Seed

    TWIGS & TIN

    Zip Nac