I set my alarm last night to get up and watch the solar eclipse, but it was too cloudy. Oh well, in another lifetime I guess! This morning the dogs and I took the trail from the San Augustine campground, which is operated by the City for either short-term or long-term residents. The restrooms may have been the best of any campgrounds I’ve been to so far. The trail led us through some woods, around a field, and past a historical marker. The marker indicated the route of Kings Highway, Old San Antonio Road. On our walk, we saw more cardinals and a blue jay, so on our way out I got my good camera ready for some bird shots…by then they had scattered!
Before leaving San Augustine, we stopped by its downtown to get a glimpse of the courthouse. My aunt and uncle, Jennifer and John, have toured several of the Texas courthouses and plan to make it to everyone some day. This one was very modern looking relative to many of the others I’ve seen, despite being built in the early 1900s. In front of the courthouse, time capsules are buried and marked by headstones with a future date they are to be opened. That will be interesting!
We continued north to Caddo Lake State Park to walk the trails through the piney woods. I loved the mid-seventies temperature…almost warm enough to break a sweat. The dogs on the other hand were panting, turning to the nearby creek for water, and regularly turning back toward the car. It was more like a heat wave for them! I would have walked for much longer, but they looked miserable, so we turned back toward VANilla after only a mile or so. Before we left the park, we stopped at the pond peppered with bald cypress covered in Spanish moss.
We continued on to Jefferson to see the Excelsior House, a hotel that has operated since the mid 1800s. Guests in the past have included Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B Hayes, John Jacob Astor, and Oscar Wilde. I spent a few minutes walking around the town and picked up a cache in a nearby picnic area across from the police department where three prisoners stood outside. I tried to grab one more on a statue situated in the middle of an intersection, but too many muggles were nearby.
The dogs and I returned south to Marshall. We plan to enjoy the Christmastime Wonderland of Lights tonight. The courthouse is currently lit up and kids are skating at the temporary ice rink on the square. In one hour, the lights on the courthouse will blink to music. Visitors may have their photograph taken inside a life size snow globe. In addition, many visitors take train and bus rides around the city to witness one of the nation’s largest holiday displays with over 6 million light bulbs brightening the city. I think I will enjoy the holiday spectacle at the courthouse and drive home tonight to surprise my mom with an early arrival!
NOTE: I can’t get the first picture to rotate, sorry…you’ll have to read the marker sideways. I lost my point and shoot camera on the last day of my trip, so I don’t have the pictures of San Augustine courthouse or of Pat or Gerald…bummer. I will try to post a video of the lights, but so far I’m technically challenged.
websites: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/caddo_lake, http://www.holidaytrailoflights.com/marsh.html, http://www.theexcelsiorhouse.com/, www.notablenotecards.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards