TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Out of all the small cities in America, Tyler has been selected by MSN's budget travel editors as a top getaway. MSN only chose seven places, as a one-tank escape from a larger city. In our case, Dallas.
As the "Rose Capital of America," it's only fitting Tyler's historic Rose Garden would be among MSN's must-see attractions.
"People want to come here and see roses," said Craig Reiland, a Rose Garden supervisor. "They love the pageantry of the rose. The Rose Festival in the fall is actually a celebration of the rose itself."
The garden got it's roots from a federal grant under the Works Project Administration in 1938. It now boasts more than 32,000 bushes.
"It is a beautiful place beginning with the first bloom in late April," said Reiland. "It was just breathtaking, and I think it's one of the best years ever."
Our next stop took us down Highway 80 to Mineola. MSN picked out "Kitchens Hardware". But, they don't have just hardware there. It's the down-home flavor that keeps folks coming back.
"They mention your cobbler in here," I said to owner Jim Bittner. "Is that a pretty big hit?"
"We have pretty good cobblers and very good pies and bread pudding, you name it," replied Bittner.
You can also savor steak, hot lunches and a deli. Plus, some unique history.
"It's basically the same as it was 110 years ago," said Bittner.
For an overnight escape, Kiepersol Winery and Inn was selected. On the outskirts of Tyler, it's known as the land of beef and wine.
"All we do is give them the tools to have fun," said Pierre de Wet, owner of KE. "We've got awesome Texas wines. They can have tours of the winery. [We have] hopefully the best steak in East Texas."
"Yeah, I've heard your filet mignon isn't so bad," I said to him.
"You can get as good but you can't find better anywhere," he replied.
Winemaker Pierre de Wet says his East Texas estate offers value.
"If you want the same steak [and] the same wine in Dallas, you're going to pay 30 or 40 percent more," said De Wet. "So, we have a lot of customers who drive 150 miles on a Friday or Saturday night."
And that's the whole point. Make East Texas a great getaway from the larger cities.
Also highlighted in MSN's picks were Stanley's Famous Pit Bar-B-Q and the Gladewater Opry.