TYLER — This town of 107,000-plus is known for being the largest city in northeast Texas, the childhood home of NFL Hall of Fame and University of Texas legendary running back Earl Campbell (also known as The Tyler Rose), and last but not least, the “Rose Capital of America.”
At one time, more than half of the country’s supply of rose bushes was grown in and around Tyler, which was named for John Tyler, 10th president of the United States.
To celebrate its storied history of producing and processing what is considered one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, Tyler each year hosts the Texas Rose Festival, a four-day event that features the Tyler Rose Garden, the largest such facility in the U.S. with 14 acres containing more than 38,000 rose bushes of at least 500 different varieties.
This year, this 88th annual festival is scheduled tomorrow through Sunday.
Along with tours of the spectacular rose gardens, other activities and attractions include an art show, car show, bear and toy shows, arts and crafts fair, symphony concerts in the park and the Rose Parade.
Tyler is located 95 miles east of Dallas, and 190 miles northeast of Killeen-Fort Hood.
For details about things to do and see, go to www.texasrosefestival.com.
With the weather cooling for fall, now is also a great time to explore the famed Piney Woods of East Texas, and one place to do that is Tyler State Park. The 985-acre facility opened in 1939 and features a 64-acre lake, along with restrooms with and without showers, picnic sites, camping sites, screened shelters, swimming area, a 2.5-mile hiking trail, 13-mile mountain bike trail, .75-mile nature trail, seasonal grocery store for souvenirs, fishing supplies and canoe, paddle boat, kayak and fishing boat rental.
For more information on Tyler State Park, go to tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/tyler.
For some indoors exploration, how about a visit to Tyler’s Discovery Science Place, a children’s science museum housed in a former car dealership that offers an array of exhibits including:
A small mock television news station with working cameras and mini-control board.
Assorted physics-related exhibits, including a kinetic sculpture.
Fish tank with assorted goldfish.
A large (indoor) man-made cave, with various rock/sediment exhibits built in and an earthquake simulator.
Indoor dinosaur fossil dig pit.
A scale representation of various public buildings located in and around Tyler, including the Smith County courthouse, Brookshire’s Grocery Company, and Southside Bank.
The museum is closed Mondays, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Due to COVID-19, operating hours may be affected. Check the website, www.discoveryscienceplace.org, for more information. Tickets may be purchased on-line.
As always, getting out of town not only affords a chance to see and experience new sights and sounds, but also some new and different places to eat — and Tyler is no exception.
One popular local eatery is Kiepersol, 21508 Merlot Lane, which along with its restaurant also features a bed and breakfast facility, wine tastings and spirits tastings. On Saturdays, the breakfast menu includes such treats as Kiepersol Eggs Benedict with potatoes and filet mignon; George’s Sourdough French Toast with bacon; Farmer’s Breakfast with two eggs your way, bacon and toast; pancakes with maple syrup and bacon; and oatmeal slightly sweetened with brown sugar and vanilla.
The regular lunch menu features fish and chips, shrimp pasta, pasta marinara with chicken; the Farmer’s chicken sandwich; chicken Kiepersol; gourmet Kiepersol burger and fries; filet mignon sandwich; Caesar salad; lobster bisque; and Kiepersol eggs benedict. There are also chicken strips, grilled cheese, spaghetti and corny dog for the kids.
Operating hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Dine-in service is reservation only based on availability. The bar and lounge does accept walk-ins of parties six or less based on first-come, first-served availability. Please call for a reservation for parties of seven or more. Please call ahead for to-go orders.
For more information, go to www.kiepersol.com/restaurant.