The autumn landscape invites a closer look
|Trees abound in this northeast corner of Texas. Start in historic downtown Winnsboro with lunch at Brewbaker’s Restaurant and Pub, which serves a wide selection of salads and deli sandwiches, or try an Angus steak or barbecue dinner at Double C Steakhouse & Saloon (as I always say, save room for pie). Stop by the Chamber of Commerce on Broadway for maps of three driving routes likely to serve up good fall color, courtesy of the local Autumn Trails Committee. Or just drive out to Lake Winnsboro along Big Sandy Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River, and pick up a bucket of chicken at the Lake Store Marina Grill. Drop a line in the lake and enjoy fall color while you nibble and wait for largemouth bass and catfish to do the same.|
Just west of Daingerfield, Eva and Sid Greer preserved the hardwood trees on their working guest farm and added several varieties of maples and tulip poplars, members of the magnolia family. These, Sid says, turn “the brightest yellow you ever saw in your life,” and along with the maples, red oaks, white oaks, and cottonwoods, can set up quite an impressive fall show at the farm.
By request, Chef Eva, a graduate of the Art Institute of Houston’s Culinary Arts program, serves gourmet cuisine that reflects her upbringing in Belize, European parents, and the Greers’ own world travels. Sid and Eva teach “Farm to Fork” cooking classes as well. Guests can hike one of several forest trails on the farm, or just sit and soak up the fall color from the porch of one of four log cabins overlooking a stocked lake. If you want to explore the area, nearby Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards offers tours and wine tastings, and features live jazz in the dining room on weekend nights.
Daingerfield State Park, two miles east of town on Texas 49, includes an 80-acre lake lined with colorful sweetgum, southern red oak, water oak, buckeye, hickory, and red maple set against always-green northeast Texas pines. On calm days, the lake reflects the color, making for unforgettable photographs. The park offers picnicking, camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, and boating, and rents pedal boats and canoes. Rustling Leaves Nature Trail circles two-and-one-half miles around the CCC-built lake—look for squirrel, fox, armadillo, rabbit, deer, and beaver. The CCC also constructed the five-bedroom Bass Lodge, which overlooks the water and sleeps 12.
Humans first settled in this area in prehistoric times. Then, in 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto’s expedition passed through. Two hundred years later, the French established a trading post, and during the Civil War, the region became an iron industrial center, exporting guns and other items. Forests depleted by sawmills before World War II have recovered some of their grandeur, for which fall foliage enthusiasts can be grateful.