Corsicana

Experience the simple charms of art, antiques, and the world’s best fruitcake.
Corsicana
Victorian Sample Florist
Photograph by Allison Smith

1. Sweet Tangerine

From the outside, this off-the-beaten-path white stucco house looks like someone’s lovingly preserved Spanish Revival. But a step behind the neon-orange door reveals a seasonally chic gift store manned by Carmen Austin and her mother, Sarah Jenkins. Fans of Sid Dickens’s timeless hand-painted tiles can get their fix while also discovering new things to love, like Tokyo Milk’s yummy-smelling perfumes, soaps, and bubble baths. Green thumbs will like the small courtyard that holds a variety of glazed outdoor pottery and stone garden frogs covered in mossy fuzz. 508 N. Nineteenth, 903-872-6556

2. Victorian Sample Florist

If anyone can turn a onetime bordello into a floral design studio, it’s stylish Tom Adams. His sense of humor—open the front door and an electronic parakeet tweets to announce your arrival—is a delight, but it’s his flair for creating classic European arrangements that has caught the attention of high-profile clients like the Bush and Perry families. Even if you don’t need a towering vase of cascading flowers imported from Holland, you can find something equally eye-catching among the decorative tins, vases, bird feathers, and topiaries, all inspired by Adams’s far-flung travels. 325 N. Beaton, 903-874-3115

3. Canterbury Court

Local attorney Lowell Dunn’s appreciation of fine English antiques runs so deep he’s opened this maze of a store featuring furniture and curios that he imports from Britain. Half the shop is dedicated to large oak tables, hefty cabinets, and chairs, along with a standout collection of Staffordshire dog figurines that would send even the most astute collector into a tizzy. The other half is filled with gift-registry staples like Spode and Lenox china and a striking assortment of seasonal decorations, from wreaths to table runners. 309 N. Beaton, 903-875-1577, canterburycourtantiques.com

4. Caleb’s Diner

From the hex floor tile and timeworn lunch counter to the waitresses who know their customers by name, this is exactly how you’d picture a soda fountain of yore. Caleb’s claims to be the oldest in the state, and when you sit down on the rickety red-vinyl bar stools and order a Dr Pepper made the old-fashioned way—with a few pumps of syrup topped off with soda water—you can believe it. The mayo-slathered BLTs and chicken salad on toasted white are solid bites, but the cheeseburger “all the way,” served with salted crinkle fries, is sigh-inducing. 125 N. Beaton, 903-874-5891

5. The Children’s Shop

Baby shower gifts? Check. Birthday presents? Check. Dressy and casual kids’ clothing? Check. Just about anything you need related to kid essentials is in this shop. Surf- and skate-themed Quiksilver tees are mixed in with christening-worthy infant gowns by Feltman Bros., and simple, sweet, and inexpensive Golden Books share space with pricey and collectible Madame Alexander dolls. But a must-have for first-time moms are the almost gauzy muslin swaddling blankets with charmingly contemporary but baby-friendly prints from Aden + Anais. 112 W. Collin, 903-872-1011

6. Two Doors Down Coffee House

Refuel with fair-trade coffee and homemade cinnamon muffins, soups, and sandwiches at this comfy pit stop, which feels more like a hangout on New York’s Lower East Side than one in small-town Texas. The eclectic space—old hubcaps hang on the exposed brick walls, a waist-high R2-D2 ice chest holds canned drinks, and thumbed-through books are for sale at half price—attracts its share of eclectic customers. On the weekends, live entertainment and the occasional outdoor movie screening stir up some noise. 106 W. Sixth Ave., 903-875-0027, twodoorsdowncoffee.com

7. The Palace Theatre

What was once a Depression-era vaudeville house is now a fully restored performance theater that’s center stage for the downtown arts district. The navy, orange, and white marquee and the lobby’s red carpet and gleaming chandelier are nods to bygone days, but the award-winning plays and concerts (think popular musicals like Bye Bye Birdie and Urban Cowboy ) make it relevant today, which is something even old-timers can appreciate. 112 W. Sixth Ave., 903-874-7792, corsicanapalace.com

8. Collin Street Bakery

This is baked-goods heaven, the place that made fruitcake not only edible but downright delicious. Shelves are stocked with its famous fruit-and-nut-filled dessert, which is shipped to 196 countries worldwide, and counters hold trays with a head-spinning array of sweets. Don’t let indecision paralyze you, though. They offer samples, so dig in and discover a new favorite, such as the Cherry Ice Box cookies. Follow it up with a 10-cent coffee and that amounts to one cheap eat. 401 W. Seventh Ave., 903-874-7477, collinstreet.com

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