23.05.2014 - 23.05.2014
As my sister Rebecca and I drove into town, I instantly noticed the 19th century brick road, the grand architecture of the main street buildings and the "Reindeer Rest Stop" sign near the year-round Christmas store. That's Jefferson. A historic riverport town in Far East Texas (almost to Louisiana), Jefferson proudly preserves and celebrates its classic, Southern heritage. We explored the local shops including antique stores like "Granny Had It" and the Jefferson General Store, which has an old-fashioned soda fountain and sells five-cent coffee and eclectic souvenirs. My sister bought a $5 mystery grab bag of vintage jewelry down the street, and we browsed early editions of classic books at Gold Leaf Antiques and Big Cypress Antique Emporium. One of my favorite finds in Bell's Books was a hardback story called How to Live with a Calculating Cat.
For lunch, Rebecca had the turkey with coleslaw, while I ate the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries at Joseph's Riverport Barbecue. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed our meals. I particularly appreciated that there are large squirt bottles of barbecue sauce at each picnic-style table so that every person can "sauce" his or her main entree the way he or she likes it. Even though our tummies were stuffed after delicious barbecue, we still stopped at the Jefferson Fudge Store for Rocky Road fudge and a Mint Chocolate truffle...because it was all too tempting to resist.
And what did we do after getting sugared-up? We looked around at Scarlett O'Hardy's Gone With the Wind Museum. Located in a beautiful neighborhood barely outside of the main shopping area of the town, the museum is surrounded by magnificent, historic two-story houses (many of which are Bed & Breakfasts) and a pretty little park. The museum's incredible collection of items includes autographs of the cast, an exquisite miniature dollhouse, tons of themed-merchandise and much more. One of my favorite parts visiting the museum was seeing show posters and editions of the book in many foreign languages.
Though I already knew that Gone With the Wind is a classic book and movie, I did not realize until this museum visit just how much the story became a pop culture phenomenon in its time and has had a lasting legacy. Apparently, the book has never been out of print since it was first published 78 years ago, which is quite amazing. After looking at each of the museum displays, my sister and I got our photo taken by the dollhouse, and we chatted with the very nice owner who answered our questions and spoke passionately about her favorite pieces in her collection. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at the museum, and I would recommend checking it out. (Call ahead of time to inquire about the hours of operation.)
So, why is this blog post titled Part 1? Rebecca and I had a great time during our exploration of Jefferson, but we only scratched the surface during this afternoon visit. The town offers much more, including ghost tours, bayou tours, train rides and nearby Caddo Lake, and thus, we hope to return to Jefferson later this summer to experience at least a little bit more of the town's quirky, old-timey charm. Stay tuned!