Sunday, January 30, 2022
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Sunday, January 16, 2022
When you step outside and come for your visit to the Oaks bed and breakfast in Sulphur Springs, Texas, there are many things you can do in and around our great, little town. In case you want to explore a little more, we want you to get to know the area before you arrive. Each month we plan to feature another town close to Sulphur Springs, that you can visit and keep the Oaks as your home base for your exploration. Our first stop is Mineola, Texas.
We happened to need to be in Mineola for an evening soccer game, for one of our children and I figured this was a great time to explore before the game and get a feel for what the town has to offer for visitors. Our first stop, like yours should be when visiting anywhere new, was the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber of commerce in most any city is more than willing to give your tips and ideas about what is best to hit when you visit their town. Mineola was no different. The chamber proved to be very helpful in finding a decent place for lunch and pointed us in the right direction for our exploration.
Mineola is home to the railroad and that is what helps to keep this Historically registered town on the map today. They are home to an Amtrak depot, which makes stops on a regular basis and the town even has a festival later in the year celebrating the "Ironhorse." The depot stop also has a small train museum located inside so visitors can learn more about the industry and how it has helped the city of Mineola.
If you are a history buff or just like to learn more about the local area Mineola is host to a Historical Museum. A cool fact about this museum is that it once housed the Post Office. The only disadvantage is the days of the week they are open, Thursday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p. m. but admission is free. So plan your visit just right and you can explore this little nugget of East Texas history.
If museum's are not your thing, Mineola is home to the oldest, continuously operating theater in the State of Texas. The Lake Country Playhouse and Select Theater is home to all different kinds of shows and events.
You can see a first run movie or watch a classic all at the same location depending on what happens to be playing. This would be great spot to stop by and watch a classic or take in a play.
If nature and being outside is more of your jam, then be sure to stop by the 3,000 acre nature preserve. This beautiful spot in East Texas is sure to appease all the people in your party. The Mineola Nature Preserve has a little bit of everything for you to enjoy in the outdoors. A disc golf course, horse riding trails, a kayak or canoe spot, fishing and so much more. Step outside to explore this small piece of East Texas, it is sure to bring you joy. Grab your bike and explore! Don't forget to pack a picnic lunch for your visit.
The dining scene in Mineola is varied. There are going to be some great spots and some good spots to pull up a chair and grab a bite of food to enjoy. We chose to eat downtown and support those local businesses, this time we ate at Logan's. They have a good selection on their menu and even have a vegetarian section, which if you have spent anytime in East Texas is rare. We have also eaten at Kitchen's and we stopped in for fudge and coffee at The Fudge Shop inside Between Friends. You can look up my reviews on both locations at google reviews.
Just past the Nature Preserve is a winery, Grand Oaks, that people should be sure to check out. They only have tasting hours on Saturday, so be sure to call ahead to see if you can get in to grab a taste. We always fill like visiting these type of wineries, and feel it is important to help keep them open and making great wine. Unfortunately we happened by on a weekday, so we could not stop, but would love to hear about your experience.
Needless to say, Mineola is a great stop when exploring East Texas. It is close enough to Sulphur Springs to make The Oaks your home base and yet far enough away from home to make it like a little staycation. We encourage you to book your stay and then explore. Until then "take only memories, leave only footprints." ~ Chief Seattle.
Sunday, January 9, 2022
We are back with our herb infused drinks for the New Year. I have a plan of action to make one happen once per month, so check back here to see what new drink we are mixing up. And be sure to follow us on social media, there might be a cocktail hour during the month featuring our latest drink.
This month we are featuring the drink we made for our New Year's Eve party. A Rosemary Cranberry Vodka, we called the Cranberry Rose, that is sure to be a crowd pleaser at any time of the year. We wanted to feature an herb that is currently growing and a little bit of fizz to help ring in the New Year. Have no fear's this drink can be enjoyed at any time of the year, as rosemary is typically growing all year round.
We found this drink to be full of flavor and the more rosemary you want to taste the longer you let it sit in the vodka. For our purposes we let ours sit for about four days, in a window, to allow the flavor to meld with the alcohol. That brings us to how we made this drink. We do have to prep a few days in advance to truly get the rosemary to seep into the vodka. We cut a few stems off, and placed them in a jar and coved with some vodka. I let mine sit in the window to speed up the process, since I started a little late.
The rest is pretty easy, if you are making for a larger group you could just pour directly into a pitcher but since I had a smaller group I made each drink directly into the champagne flute we would be drinking out of.
The rosemary flavor really came through in the vodka and gave this drink and extra kick of tastiness. The cranberry combined with your sparkling drink of choice made for a simple and pleasurable experience.
If you wanted to make this drink a mocktail, I would make a simple syrup infused with the rosemary in stead of letting it seep with the vodka. I would then use club soda or a sparkling water of your choice to add the bubbles. You could then have a great version of this drink for those designated drivers or friends who choose not to drink.
1 oz Rosemary infused vodka
2 oz Cranberry juice
squeeze of some lemon
Top off with Moscato/Champagne/Prosecco
Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and lemon.
We always have a Moscato on hand for events, or special occasions for guests celebrating a Wedding or Anniversary, that I like which isn't too sweet or dry. This Moscato is the perfect blend for those who like one that is a middle of the road. Depending on your tastes you can make your drink sweeter or drier based on the alcohol you choose to use. Don't forget you can always make a mocktail. Be safe and use a designated driver!
Cheers! From the Oaks bed and breakfast.
Sunday, January 2, 2022
It's a New Year and time to hit the streets. Sulphur Springs still has a lot to offer in the "off season." The Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a First Responders banquet on Thursday, January 6th at the Civic center. Our community feels that it is important to recognize and support our local first responders and celebrate all that they do to help our community. The banquet is one way the community gives back to those who help protect and saves lives daily in our area.
The Civic center is hopping with rodeo events every weekend. If you want to see some roping action or riding skills they have you covered.
Workforce Solutions in North East Texas is hosting their annual event for students, the LEAP Expo on Friday, January 14 at the Civic Center. This event is for 8th grade students around the county to find out more information about jobs in our area and help them select the learning path they would desire to enter in High School. Companies from around the area attend and teach the students more about what they do and how they can work in our community.
As always our local shops and dining are in full swing, ready to serve your needs or help you locate that special item as a gift or just a treat for yourself.
We can't wait for you to stop by in the New Year and check out our little space in North East Texas.