When you plan a road trip, there is always decisions to make about driving time and what I call “seeing the sights” time. Recently we embarked on an epic 2,224 mile Texas barbecue road trip (read all about it here). During the road trip planning process, I had to decide how much time would be spent on the interstate and how often we would slow down to hit the small towns that we love so much. For a town to get us off of the efficient, straight-a-way, it needed to be somewhat on our basic route, have good barbecue (after all, it was a barbecue road trip), and have a nice downtown area.
Jefferson Texas: Worth the Stop!
Close to Texarkana
Driving from Memphis to Texas is pretty much a no brainer. Interstate 30 cuts a diagonal across Arkansas from Memphis to Texarkana. Of course we had to make a quick stop in downtown Texarkana to take a picture of the famous boundary between the two states!
Where to stop for lunch?
We knew we wanted to spend the night in Tyler, Texas. Where to stop for lunch was the next decision to make. Jefferson, Texas is about an hour southwest of Texarkana and about an hour and a half away from Tyler. The town also fit the barbecue and downtown criteria.
Now some people might find this a little morbid, but I love photographing old tombstones. I also find the inscriptions and history interesting. Oakwood Cemetery dates back to Civil War times and has a lot of Civil War (from both sides) veterans buried there. After making a few wrong turns, we found the entrance and were immediately surprised at the cemetery’s size. The weather was perfect for strolling around the big shade trees and absorbing the beauty and history.
Downtown Jefferson, Texas
Next, we drove the short distance to the Jefferson’s historic downtown. Filled with antique shops and museums, you could spend an entire day browsing. We looked through several of the antique shops then stepped into the old General Store.
We ended up spending more time than we thought we would wandering up and down the trinket filled aisles. Joe found a cool book, and I bought some funny socks. Yes, there was some candy purchases. No, we didn’t buy the creepy pig mask!
Our last stop in Jefferson, Texas was Riverport Barbecue. Rated as one of Texas Monthly’s top barbecue restaurants, we had to try it. After sampling the famous swamp fries and the ribs, we agreed with Texas Monthly’s assessment. I also loved the little hot water cornbread. It’s like a pancake, but with cornmeal instead of flour. Delicious!
Next time you are travel through east Texas, make a detour to Jefferson. It is definitely worth the stop! So what little towns have you taken a detour for? We’d love to hear from you. Please comment below. Keep up with all of our detours by following us on social media and subscribing to our weekly newsletter!