Sunday, September 25, 2022

Octobers Top 10 Festivals for Texas

     October in Texas can be a wonderful time of the year.  The temperature is starting to decrease, so those outside activities are no longer blistering.  People want to get out and explore the areas around the State.  Here are our top ten festivals you won’t want to miss out on.  We also found some of the best places to stay that are not corporate hotel chains, but rather a bed and breakfast experience.  

1.     The State Fair of Texas – September 30 – October 23


The State Fair of Texas is an almost month-long extravaganza of food, animals, rides and so much more.  All fair goers can experience the best fried foods in Texas at this event and explore new, amazing food combinations that will leave no one hungry.  Don’t forget about the Red River Shootout between The University of Texas and Oklahoma University, on October 8th, at Cotton Bowl Stadium. There is so much to do and see at the State Fair that you will want to plan for more than one day. For bed and breakfast lodging check out The Gaston.


Image from the State Fair of Texas website

2.      The Texas Renaissance Festival – October 8 – November 27 (weekends only)

The Texas Ren fest is a long-standing Texas tradition that is open every weekend starting on October 8th for food, entertainment, and so much more.  Step back in time to experience the Middle Ages with Knights, Kings, Queens and jesters.  Explore the fair grounds and eat the food of the realm, while you take in a show or just watch the people.  The Texas Ren fest is bound to have something for the whole family to enjoy.  Come as you are or dress in a period costume or fit the weekend theme. Look for accommodations at a local campground or Log Cabin B n B, Hodge Podge Lodge, or Maple Creek bed and breakfast

3.      Screams – September 30 – October 29 (weekends and nights only)


Screams is a great time to explore the ultimate Halloween experience.  If you like to live on the wild side and don’t mind having the life scared out of you, this is the place to do it.  Food and drinks are available for when you are not exploring the haunted houses or watching a show.   For your bed and breakfast stay, check out English Merchants Inn, Chaska House bed and breakfast, or Winding Ridge bed and breakfast.

Image from the Screams website


4.      Dallas Arboretum – September 17 – October 31

Autumn at the Arboretum is a beautiful sight to experience.  The Arboretum transforms into a fall paradise with pumpkin and gourd displays all based around this year’s theme “A Fall Fairy Tale.”  Bring the whole family to experience this transformation and explore some popular fairy tales as they come alive with fall colors.

Image from the Dallas Arboretum website

5.      Floydad Punkin’ Days – October 8 -9


Come experience the Pumpkin Capital of Texas in style at their annual Punkin’ Days festival.  Held the second weekend of October there is fun for the whole family.  With pie eating contests, costume contests and so much more.  Don’t forget about the pumpkins. Be sure to check out Hotel Matador, Slanton Harvey House, or the Woodrow House for local accommodation for the festival.    

Logo from the Floydada Chamber of Commerce


Hopkins County Stew festival – October 22


The annual Hopkins County Stew festival brings together over 175 cooks to Buford Park in Sulphur Springs, to see who can cook up the best pot of Hopkins County stew.  The cooks are up at 3 am starting their pots so you can enjoy some stew when they open for serving at 10 am.  This is one of the best priced food festivals in the State of Texas, $7 gets you a bowl and an unlimited amount of stew.  Eat until you can’t eat any more or until the stew pots run dry. Check out The Oak Bed and Breakfast or the Oaklea Mansion for accommodations.

Photo from the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce


7.      Cuero Turekyfest – October 7 – 9


The Cuero Turkeyfest will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, and it’s bound to be a big one.  The weekend will be full of family fun activities, turkey races, concerts and food contests.  Join in this celebration of America’s Thanksgiving Dinner bird. For your bed and breakfast accommodations check out Broadway House Bed and Breakfast

Logo from the Turekyfest Website


8.      Chappell Hill Scarecrow Festival – October 8 -9


Never underestimate the importance of a scarecrow to keep your crops safe. Chappell Hill has never taken them for granted and has even gone so far as to celebrate the Scarecrow with it’s own festival.  With food, exhibits, vendors and entertainment you can be sure that the whole family will enjoy this event.  Local accommodations can be found at Ant Street Inn,  Main Street House, and Ross Carroll Bennett House bed and breakfast. 

Photo from the Chappell Hill Scarecrow 


9.      Día de los Muertos – October 29 – 20


The day of the Dead is celebrated every year in San Antonio, Texas and has been touted at one of the best festivals by National Geographic.  This historical celebration of remembrance can experienced by everyone.  The Dia de los Muertos is filled with artisans, experiences and of course food and music.  Choose to stay at one of these local bed and breakfast locations; Arbor House, one of three Nobel Inns locations, or the Brackenridge House bed and breakfast. 

Logo from Dia de los Muertos website


10 Red Stegall Cowboy Gathering – October 28 – 30

a.      The Red Stegall Cowboy Gathering actually starts in Jacksboro, TX with a wagon train that leaves out a week before the festival in Fort Worth.  It arrives at the Stockyards and that’s when the local fun begins.  Show off your cowboy skills, or just enjoy watching those who have done it before.  There is fun for everyone in this classic Texas event.  Check out the Rosen House Inn or The Virginia May for your overnight accommodations.

Logo from the Red Stegall Cowboy Website

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Travel East Texas ~ Quitman


    Just past Lake Fork going South on 154 from Sulphur Springs, is a little town called Quitman, Texas.  This little town is the county seat for Wood County and boasts a quant downtown area.  Downtown Quitman wraps around the Court house on three sides with restaurants and shops.  The fourth side houses an office building for People's Electric Coop.  

    Our favorite place to visit while downtown Quitman, is Speakeasy Coffee House at 103 N. Main Street.  They boast a standard coffee menu, and have some specialty drinks labeled after famous individuals from the 20's.  They offer some delicious looking bakery items and grab and go dining options if you are unable to stay for a while.  The shop is set up with multiple seating areas, that match the name with an adorable upstairs area, where you can host a small event.  I really love the upstairs feel at Speakeasy and imagine guests dressed to match the décor.

    Downtown Quitman also has a few places to dine, if you are looking for breakfast or lunch.  Wing Dingers and Jan's Restaurant and Grill, are two such places to drop in for a good meal.  Wing Dingers, located at 107 N. Main Street, has the perfect menu for game days. Wings, burgers, pizza and all your fried favorites.  While Jan's, located at 101 W. Lipscomb, offers a full breakfast and lunch menu for all your dining needs.  They features a typical home style cooked menu with burgers, salads and chicken fried steak. 

    We choose to eat Mexican food at Peraltas located at 607 S. Main Street.  Peraltas offers the standard Tex-Mex flavors, that Texans have come to love and expect.  The restaurant is located in an old house, that they have converted into a restaurant.  You never know who you might be dining with because you can't see all the seating spaces.  Which I suppose, could be half the fun.  The mushroom quesadilla was flavorful and filling.  While my dining partner had a full plate mixed with a variety of options, none of which stood out but all tasted as expected.  

    The city park, James Stephen Hogg, in Quitman is well outfitted for people of all ages to stop by and visit.  This 27-acre park houses a botanical garden and three historic homes, one of which is a museum that tells more about the history of Quitman and the Hogg family.  

    The downtown square boasts a few shop to check out and holds events on various weekends.  Coffee and cars seems to be a regular monthly event on the square, so drive up your classic, stay at The Oaks bed and breakfast and then show off your old time beauty.  Quitman is a quick visit from Sulphur Springs, and the coffee is worth the stop.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Let's Eat ~ Plain and Fancy


    This week we dined at Plain and Fancy, located at 120 Main Street, right on the square in Sulphur Springs.  Plain and Fancy has been a Sulphur Springs tradition for over twenty-five years.  With sit down, call in and delivery options available to customers, there is no excuse for missing breakfast or lunch from Plain and Fancy.

    Plain and Fancy is open six days a week from 7:30 a. m. - 4 p. m. Monday thru Friday and Saturday from 10 a. m. - 4 p. m.  Their menu is simple and satisfying for each visit.  With a variety of sandwiches and salads to select from.  Today I enjoyed a tuna salad sandwich, with chips and a pickle.  

    Other guests enjoyed an egg salad, salad or a salad medley plate.  I even took lunch to one of my kids and ordered from the kid menu.  We were both surprised that the turkey roll up did not have a tortilla, and that it was just turkey and cheese.  His lunch did come with, chips, drink, pickle and the infamous "Sparkle Cookie." The kids meal is a good value for the price.

    I have always loved how they will display student art throughout the year from the various schools in the district.  I feel that is a great way to give back to the community and celebrate those young artists with their art on display at a local restaurant.  

    Plain and Fancy will also be more than happy to cater your event.  Be sure to reach out if you need food for your group. Sandi will help you curate a menu that all your guests are apt to enjoy.  Check out Plain and Fancy the next you are staying at the Oaks while in Sulphur Springs.  

Monday, September 5, 2022

Herb Infused Cocktail ~ Honey Rosemary Bourbon


    Welcome to this months addition of our herb infused cocktail series.  I'm so excited about this drink, because one of our previous guests are partners in the distillery, Still Austin, that makes the Bourbon we are featuring.  I have been waiting for the weather to cool down, which it has but not nearly enough for true fall feelings, to share this drink.  Needless to say I could not wait any longer.  

    The honey rosemary syrup is so simple and delicious to make for this drink, I want to find other ways to use it in the kitchen.  I think we might be baking up something special using this syrup.  The rosemary really pops in the honey, while the honey ads just the right amount of sweetness to this drink.  

    Of course if you like your drinks a little sweeter just add a little bit more of the honey syrup.  Not to much, otherwise the sweetness will become over powering.  Our goal is to meld all the flavors into one.

    Rosemary is such a strong flavor on its own, that the honey and the bourbon help to mellow it to just the right amount.  The garnish of a rosemary spring and an orange peel bring out the look of this simple cocktail, just in time for fall weather and sipping around the camp fire.

Honey Rosemary Syrup

1/2 cup Honey

1/2 cup Water

2-3 springs rosemary

All all the ingredients into a small pot and cook until boiling.  Let set for about 10 minutes to cool.  Then add to your drink.

Honey Rosemary Bourbon

2 1/4 ounces of Bourbon 

4 tsp. of honey rosemary syrup

2-3 shakes of bitters

Pour everything into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.  Add to your tumbler that is filled with ice.  Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and orange peel.

    Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for an easy to follow and quick video on how we made this drink.  As always please enjoy your drink responsibly and use a designated driver.  Until next time, Cheers from the Oaks Bed and Breakfast.