These Activities Get Voters' Approval

The recent Best of the Upper East Side of Texas contest received nominations from over 4,500 readers of County Line Magazine this year. These nominations narrowed down to winners in such categories as best winery, best arts district, best golf course, and more. Below are winners that point the way to great activities and experiences in this region.

(For the complete list of winners across all categories, visit

Best Winery
Enoch’s Stomp Winery and Vineyard. Harleton. Founded by Altus Koegelenberg and Jon Kral in 2004, Enoch’s Stomp sits upon 90 acres of beautiful rolling hills. Their wines are winning awards in competitions all over the world. The property sports 12 acres of grape vines including six varieties that are well suited for the East Texas territory. Fine dining is available on Friday and Saturday evenings. The tasting room is open for casual dining Wednesday through Sunday during regular business hours. The tasting room menu features light fare including pizzas, tapas, salads and dessert. Live music is performed by local artists Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the tasting room. 871 Ferguson Rd.  (903) 240-1587.

Honorable Mentions: Harvest On Main, Mount Vernon; Wings Over Pegasus, Murchison; Winnsboro Art & Wine Festival; Heritage Syrup Festival, Henderson; Eagle Fest, Emory; Mardi Gras Upriver, Jefferson; Edom Art Festival

Best Cultural Destination    
Edom. Local artists began settling in Edom more than 45 years ago and created an authentic tiny arts community that entices visitors throughout the year and thousands during their annual Edom Art Festival each fall. This year the founding artists were joined by several new businesses that represent more than 40 area artists and have weekly events that keep the town hopping on a regular basis. The Palate Dining Room offers gourmet cuisine and The Shed Cafe is good for those who enjoy country cooking and a good piece of pie. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriot is about 10 minutes away on Interstate 20 and several cabins, B&Bs, and Airbnbs are nearby. Get more information on and contact individual businesses by phone before going. Some shops are open seven days a week, while others are open Thursday through Sunday.

Best Attraction
Under 50k population
Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari. Jacksonville. Cherokee Trace is a wildlife park that is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. See over two dozen exotic and endangered species that thrive in an open habitat similar to their native territory. Enjoy a self-guided drive through the hills and open savannahs of this 300-acre preserve. From the comfort of one’s own vehicle, people can observe, feed, and photograph these beautiful creatures in a natural environment with miles of roads that seem like a whole different world. 1200 County Road 4405. (903) 683-3322.

Honorable Mentions: Hopkins County Veterans Memorial, Sulphur Springs; Mineola Mini Train; Scarbrough Haven, Emory; First Monday Trade Days, Canton

Over 50 population
Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. McKinney. Founded in 1967, the Heard consists of a 289-acre wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum for the primary purpose of educating children about nature. It exists to bring nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore, and preserve the priceless environment. The emphasis of the Heard’s education programs is children; however, it also offers programs that will interest visitors of any age.  Different events are available throughout the year as well as a photo contest. 1 Nature Place. (972) 562-5566.

Best Golf Course    
Tempest Golf Club. Gladewater. This scenic and challenging renovated golf course takes advantage of dramatic Piney Woods topography, with its rise and fall of almost 200 feet, incredible core golf vistas across as many as five holes in the routing’s lower confines, and a pair of holes that play across a four-acre freshwater lake. Public and member tee times and fees are available. 568 E. Wilkins Rd., (903) 984-5335.

Best Museum
Under 50k population
Mineola Historical Museum. This museum is packed with more than 4,200  square feet of exhibits that show the history of the area. Once the town’s post office, the building continues to honor that part of history with original post office boxes and other memorabilia and a mural that shows how mail was transported at the intersection of the horse and buggy, train, and air travel. From the local theater to recording artists and politicians, museum curators pay homage to their native sons and daughters. 114 N. Pacific St. (903) 569-2631.

Over 50k population
Tyler Museum of Art. Encouraging arts education is one of the primary missions of the Tyler Museum of Art along with providing a cultural center that enriches the lives of residents and visitors alike. They do this through the collection, preservation, study, exhibition, interpretation, and celebration of the visual arts. Numerous exhibitions throughout the year introduce guests to visual artwork from the region and all over the world. 1300 S Mahon Ave. (903) 595-1001.

Best Nature Walk
East Texas Arboretum. Athens. Guests enjoy wooded beauty, trees, flowers, and wildlife along two miles of woodland trails that include winding, spring-fed streams and a 115-foot suspension bridge. On the 100-acre arboretum is the historic Wofford House Museum, a reminder of early pioneer days complete with period furnishings, memorabilia, and a seasonal garden. 1601 Patterson Rd. (903) 675-5630.

Best Sign
Dr Pepper Mural. Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant has had a long history with Dr Pepper since it once was bottled downtown. Over the past 20 years Dr Pepper has restored their mural on the side of the oldest building on the downtown square twice. The latest restoration makes the mural one of the largest in the United States. (903) 572-0613.

Best Annual Event
Under 50k population
Wonderland of Lights. Marshall. Conceived in 1987, Wonderland of Lights rivals the best Christmas lighting events in the country bringing close to 20,000 visitors each year. Millions of white lights illuminate the historic Harrison County Courthouse as downtown Marshall is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Enjoy an outdoor ice skating rink, catch a ride on the Holly Trolley, Wonderland Express, or the beautifully restored vintage 1948 Herschel carousel. Make memories in Santa’s Village, a collection of tiny homes each featuring a fun, free activity. Bundle up and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride on one of three carriages through Historic Downtown Marshall, then grab your dancing partner and listen to live music at Telegraph Park downtown performed by local musicians, area churches and school choirs. 211 N. Washington Avenue, (903) 702-7777.

Over 50k population
Tyler Rose Festival. Tyler. The first Tyler Rose Festival was organized by Tyler Garden Club members, local rose growers and the Chamber of Commerce in October, 1933 to showcase the importance of the rose industry to Tyler. Held annually in October, the Rose Festival brings thousands of visitors to Tyler. Events include a rose show, arts & crafts, the Queen’s coronation ceremonies, and most importantly, the Rose Parade, held on Saturday morning of the festival. 420 Rose Park Dr., (903) 592-1661.

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