Halloween is my favorite time of year. The dog days of summer are done and gone but cold temperatures haven’t hit yet. Those of you who live in or are from Texas know that summer lingers into September (and sometimes into October) depending on where you are in the Lone Star State. I feel energized this time of year and I can’t wait to go out and have some fun……especially when I can squeeze in a road trip or two.
Mount Pleasant, TX
Mount Pleasant is a small yet decent sized town that my husband and I found during a search for a new fishing spot. It is far enough away from DFW that it still feels like you are on vacation but not so far that you can’t make a day trip out of it if that is your preference.
Bob Sandlin State Park is a great place to visit if you want peace, quiet, and a one-on-one relationship with nature. We have rented a hotel room before but the most memorable trip was when we rented a screened shelter…..and we absolutely loved it! It is a real bargain at $40 per night with two sets of bunk beds, an A/C, a fire pit, and access to the lake (the bathrooms and showers were close by). My hubby loved fishing for largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and rainbow trout (TPWD stocks rainbow trout here during the winter) while the kiddo and I enjoyed nature walks.
If you are like me and enjoy history, early Caddo, French, and Spanish settled in the area while the Choctaw, Cherokee, and Coushatta moved into the area later. Ranching, farming, and lumber production were common in this area which is also near the site of the old Fort Sherman. Within the state park is the Miller Cemetery which happens to be the oldest cemetery in the county and holds just a few graves within its boundaries. The exact number of graves is unknown however the graves that are there are known to be those of Confederate soldiers and early settlers.
San Antonio, TX
The Alamo City is one of my favorite places to visit. I love it for far more than the paranormal activity that lies within it. There are several hotels in town that claim to be haunted so, if that is your thing, you will have a blast. The Menger is right next door to the Alamo, The Crockett Hotel is behind it, and The Emily Morgan is on the other side of it.
I have not had the pleasure of staying at the Crockett or Emily Morgan hotels however I have stayed at the Menger many times thanks to Fantom Fest being held there in past years. The hotel was built in 1859 by William and Mary Menger as a two story building with fifty rooms and a brewery nearby. The hotel quickly became the hotspot for San Antonio elite. The Menger Bar boasts as being the meeting place in 1898 for Theordore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.
In addition to the fabulous historic hotels, San Antonio is a great place for couples, family, young, and old. There is literally something for everyone. The San Antonio Zoo Boo at the Zoo is a family friendly event that little ones can enjoy without all the scary stuff.
I am a real fan of museums and there is no shortage of them here in SATX. You have the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum, the Institute of Texan Cultures, the Instituto de Mexico, and of course the Alamo. At the Institute of Texan Cultures, you will see and learn about all of the influences that made the great state of Texas what it is today. Should you choose to visit this fabulous museum, you may come across a spirit or two that are not part of the exhibits but are rumored to be permanent residents.
If you are a person that prefers the nightlife, you have still come to the right place. The San Antonio Riverwalk has a plethora of restaurants and bars with live music, dancing, and plenty of cocktails. From British pubs to oyster bars, San Antonio has it all. I’m not a big drinker so I prefer to focus on the food. For me there is nothing more enjoyable than hanging out with family and friends having a nice dinner on the river! Go during the holidays and enjoy the beautiful lights too!
Ok so Shreveport may or may not be high on your list of travel priorities. I like Shreveport because I can drive there in a few hours (I live west of Ft. Worth). A straight shot down I-20 usually isn’t too bad however today, am I am writing this, my husband is driving through sheets of rain and massive traffic.
So I love casinos. While Shreveport isn’t as big or glitzy Las Vegas, it satisfies my craving to throw down on the tables once in a while. There is a shuttle that goes to all six casinos so you can enjoy all of them during your visit. On this visit we stayed at Diamond Jack’s Hotel and Casino and had a great time. We had a room with 2 queen beds…….very nice, roomy, and clean!
For the ghost hunters out there, the Haunted Municipal Tour is something to consider. The Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is a landmark and is known for its history in music. This past weekend we had the pleasure of spending a night in the beautiful Logan Mansion. Built in 1897 by the Logan Family, the owners have been working on restoring it while maintaining as much of the original beauty as possible. We experienced some paranormal activity in the ladies parlor downstairs, and hopefully we got something on audio and video! Be sure to check back for a future blog article in which I will write about the evidence we find.
There’s fun for the kids in Shreveport too. Want to zipline over alligators and other exotic animals? Gators and Friends is an interesting place where you can do that as well as pet exotic animals, play mini-golf, and ride go-carts at Gator Raceway. My kiddo loves the go-carts but she CANNOT be trusted to drive well. All in good fun I guess.
Salem is best known for the series of witch trials that occurred in 1692. On its face, it is incredulous to think that 20 people were executed on the words of a few teenage girls. Superstition overruled logic and it irreparably changed the community. The courthouse no longer stands but the energy of those wrongly accused during the Salem Witch Trials remains.
Grab your camera and head out on a Mahi Mahi Lighthouse and Foliage Cruise. Living in Texas, I don’t get to see the vibrant fall colors this time of year. The cruise is less than 2 hours long however you will become acquainted with 5 lighthouses in Salem Sound. Don’t worry about cold temps because they have a heated cabin and hot chocolate. :-)
Last but certainly not least is the Salem Spirits Trolley…..and no this has nothing to do with ghosts. On this tour you will learn about the Salem’s spice trade, how spirits are produced, and you will get to sample a few. The tour lasts only 2.5 hours so you will have plenty of time left to explore the city.
The first time I went to Seattle I was in high school and I couldn’t wait to see Bruce Lee’s grave. Back then I don’t think they had even a quarter of some of the cool events that they do now but it was still such a fascinating place! For instance, how would you and the kiddies like to ride the Halloween Storytelling Train? Two hours of a train ride + child friendly stories + warm apples cider = great Halloween fun.
If you don’t have the kiddies with you, I recommend doing a tour of the tunnel system or one of the many ghost tours (you knew I was going to recommend that, didn’t you?) offered by various vendors. Spooked in Seattle offers a few different tours and events: a Pioneer Square ghost tour, a haunted pub tour, and a “How to Murder History Tour” just to name a few. The last one piqued my interest so I dug a little deeper into it. It is a tour that covers some of Seattle’s more high profile murder cases. Maybe I am just a little warped but seriously……who wouldn’t love that around the holidays?