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Phone Number:
General: 866-398-2038
 
Jefferson Railway
400 East Austin
Jefferson, TX 75657
 
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How to Enjoy a Visit to Jefferson Texas

Whether you enjoy shopping, outdoor adventures, a romantic stay in a B&B or learning more about the history of the area, a visit to Jefferson is perfect for you and the family.  Explore on your own, bring your sweetheart or load up the kids – there is plenty to do in Jefferson for the day, or a weekend or enjoy an entire week’s vacation.  You can plan something different for every day.

 

Jefferson is nestled deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas and seems frozen in time.  It is a charming town and an elegant reminder of a bygone era. There are over a hundred buildings in the city with historical markers. Many historic homes offer bed and breakfast accommodations.  Dozens of other historic buildings house museums, craft and antique shops and restaurants.  

 

 

SHOPPING

You’ll find that something special in one of the shops in Jefferson.  Take a stroll down the original brickstreets dating back to the mid-1800’s.  Discover rare porcelain, figurines and dishes at Texas Treasures Antiques & Gift Shop; jams, jellies, salsa, butters and everything pickled at Jefferson General Store; and fudge just like Grandma made from The Jefferson Fudge Shop & Old Store.  You can find antiques, theatrical apparel and military memorabilia at Old Mill Antiques, the largest antique mall in East Texas! For that kid in all of us, step into Roy’s Rails to see hobby stuff for the entire family.  After all that walking, stride into Footsteps to find that perfect pair of shoes or whatever you need for your feet.  And for the ultimate shopping experience, visit Jefferson each April and October to shop at the Jefferson City Wide Rummage Sale.

 

 

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

Covering 40 acres along the river in Downtown Jefferson, the Big Cypress Bayou Fish and Wildlife Restoration Project offers wonderful walking trails through an environmental park that features the history and nature of the area.  The new boat ramp at the east end of town offers access to fishing and boating; and ten official paddling trails in the region.  Bring your canoe or kayak and paddle all the way to Caddo Lake.

 

Take a ride on the Historic Jefferson Railway, a narrow gauge train that offers historical narrated Saturday tours along the Big Cypress Bayou where you can see a Confederate Powder Magazine and other remains from the 1800’s.  Enjoy a 40 minute narrated tour of Big Cypress Bayou on the Jefferson Bayou Riverboat Tours.  The Lone Star Carriage Company & Mule Drawn Wagon Tours offer historic tours of Jefferson.  For complete outfitters service for whitetail, exotic hunts and their exclusive Bow Hunting Preserve for wild hogs, spend a day or a weekend at the Busy B Ranch Lodge & Outfitter.

 

Or spend the weekend at Diamond Don RV Park, one mile from Jefferson on the Big Cypress Bayou.  The rural setting so close to town is perfect for a quiet weekend with your family.  Five miles of walking and bicycle trails, easy access to fishing, and lots of wildlife on the property.  The Historic Jefferson Railway rolls right through the park, too.

 

 

GHOSTS

Jefferson is one of the most haunted towns in Texas.  Don’t believe in ghosts?  Just spend some time in Jefferson and you will change your mind.  The Grove is the most haunted house in Texas and offers a tour that includes stories about the house and its ghosts that date back over 100 years.

 

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

Jefferson offers special events all through the year and kicks off with Mardi Gras Upriver when thousands of people participate in the Doo Dah Parade, Grand Parade and Children’s Parade.  Mardi Gras dates back to the 1870’s and has been in Jefferson for 24 years. 

 

In April, Diamond Don’s National Vintage Motocross attracts racing legends from around the world.  In its 15th year, this is the only opportunity to visit with ten AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame legends.  Come out and see Brad Lackey, Trampas Parker, Guy Cooper, Marty Tripes, Jim Gibson, and Steve Wise.  You’ll see racing on bikes from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  Camp out at Diamond Don RV Park and be in the middle of all the action.

 

Jefferson’s Civil War Weekend each May includes the Annual Pilgrimage Tour of Homes; the Diamond Bessie Murder Trial; Battle of Port Jefferson re-enactment; and The Great Locomotive Chase – The Andrews Raid, the Civil War’s most gripping railroad story.  Now in its second year, the Naval Battle of Port Jefferson is complete with an authentic replica of a ironclad gunboat, complete with five working cannons.  See the living history camps along the river and the re-enactment of soldiers from the North and South as the South recaptures the train.

 

Jefferson is a part of Union Pacific’s Train Town USA for its part in the historical connection to railroads.  Jefferson Train Days held in May offers a glimpse to Jefferson’s railroading history by including four venues in one boarding pass:  R.D. Moses Model Train Display, Model Railroad Train Show, Jay Gould’s Atalanta business car, and a ride on the antique narrow gauge train at the Historic Jefferson Railway.

 

In March, ride your bike to Jefferson for the Route 49 Biker Rally held at the Diamond Don RV Park, including poker run, bike show, games, beer garden and music.  Come back in October for the Boo Benefit, a legendary ride supporting Percy R. Johnson Burn Foundation.

 

Car enthusiasts can enjoy the Outlaw Nationals Classic & Antique Car Show each April and the Big Cypress Corvette Classic in May. 

 

For a good old-fashioned Fourth of July, come visit Jefferson.  Home-made ice cream contest, games, music, homemade cake and pie auction and an awesome fireworks display going off over Big Cypress Bayou. This event is sponsored by Jefferson Carnegie Library as a fundraiser for children’s books. In addition, The Historic Jefferson Railway will offer a special July 4th weekend with a celebration of flags along the Big Cypress Bayou as the history of Independence Day unfolds in the narrated day tours.  Come see the Support Our Troops display that honors the United States Military. Each evening train will feature a fireworks show.

 

Also in July, Historic Jefferson Railway recognizes pioneering men and women, known as cowboys, who helped establish America’s frontiers.  The cowboy and his horse are central characters in history.  Come see the Lonely West Traveling Gun Show, complete with cowboys, gunfights and a train robbery. 

 

 

The Runaway Fright Train and Halloween Festival is a family-friendly event for ages 2 to 92, held each weekend in October.This year, the Runaway Fright Train will feature “The Haunting of the Black Water Bayou”.  As you ride through the dark woods in this 40-minute trip along the Big Cypress Bayou, you’ll feel the monsters reaching out for you. The scenes and haunters along the track will keep you at the edge of your seat and give you a laugh now and then, too.  This event is a Halloween Theater on Wheels. 

 

 

Christmas is a special time in Jefferson.  The season begins on Thanksgiving Day with the Rail of Lights Christmas Train.The unforgettable ride aboard an antique narrow-gauge train departs on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Thanksgiving through December 2.  (Closed November 30.  Passengers will enjoy lighted vignettes along the Cypress Bayou River as they hear The Christmas Story from Around the World”.

 

 

 

The Candlelight Tour of Homes features antebellum home tours during the first two weekends of December.  The homes are decorated in the Victorian style from the 1800’s.  Jefferson’s Riverport Ambassadors will be strolling the streets in period costume, welcoming visitors. A variety of free music concerts will be offered throughout the town.

 

 

Blast into the New Year aboard the Rail of Lights New Year’s Train. Passengers will enjoy lighted vignettes along the Big Cypress Bayou as they hear the tale of New Year's traditions, customs and superstitions from around the globe. Each train ride will feature beverages, noisemakers and a simulation of the New Year’s Eve Ball dropping in Times Square followed by a fantastic fireworks show.  December 25-28 and December 31.

Wrap up the year at the Jefferson Carnegie Library’s New Year’s Eve Dance.  Put your dancing shoes on and enjoy a great mix of your all-time favorite songs.

 

MUSEUMS

There is something for everyone in Jefferson.  The Jefferson Historical Museum has four floors of Jefferson and Marion County history in the old Jefferson Federal Building.  The Museum of Measurement and Time features land surveying and time keeping artifacts.  R.D. Moses Model Railroad Train Display is in its own railway depot and is a beautiful replication of the Texas and Pacific train.  And speaking of trains, don’t miss Jay Gould’s “Atalanta”.  The famous railroad tycoon’s private parlor car is on display on Austin Street. Enjoy a private collection of vintage vehicles at the Lafayette Street Vintage Vehicles Car Museum.  Steeped in Civil War history, you will want to see Mason Dixon Line Military & Civil War Museum, featuring artifacts from several American Wars.

 

 

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Jefferson is known as the B&B Capital of Texas with a variety of accommodations.  Aunt Doe’s is a step back in time and features two guest rooms, is pet friendly and just two blocks from downtown.  Spend a romantic weekend at Claiborne House, an elegant home with jetted tubs fit for two!  A stay at The House of Seasons B&B includes a gourmet breakfast and a tour of the historic home.  The Steamboat Inn is a slice of New Orleans in Texas.  White Oak Manor wraps modern comforts with southern charm.

 

 

 

Prefer a hotel?  The restored Jefferson Hotel offers an aura of timelessness with Victorian charm of the past.  While the hotel owners don’t advertise it, most people in town believe this hotel is haunted.  Come see for yourself!

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS

There’s always time to eat so visit any one of the great restaurants in Jefferson for a casual lunch or an elegant dinner.  Austin Street Bistro offers gourmet lunch and dinner with a casual flair, Auntie Skinner’s has live music during the weekend; get great Tex-Mex at Don Juan’s, pit BBQ at Joseph’s Riverport Barbeque, Lamache’s offers Italian fare, enjoy casual dining at The Franchise,or a GREAT hamburger and a piece of world-famous pie at The Hamburger Store; or enjoy a romantic dinner at Stillwater Inn that offers fine dining and the greatest steak in the State of Texas - maybe the world.. 

 

Jefferson is nestled deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas and seems frozen in time.  It is a charming town and an elegant reminder of a bygone era. There are over a hundred buildings in the city with historical markers. Many historic homes offer bed and breakfast accommodations.  Dozens of other historic buildings house museums, craft and antique shops and restaurants.  

 

 

Come stay, dine and shop!  With so much to see and do, a visit to Jefferson should be included in your travel plans.  You may never want to leave.

 

    

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Historic Jefferson Railway ♦ 400 E. Austin ♦ Jefferson, Texas 75657 ♦ 866-398-2038