Historic Downtown Palestine

Come spring, this charming East Texas town will draw tourists with its annual dogwood festival—and sweets lovers with its popular pecan cake.
Photograph by Darren Braun

1. Eilenberger’s Bakery

What is two pounds, shaped like a brick, and nuttier than a PayDay? That’d be a Texas Pecan Cake, the best-selling treat from this bakery, which dates to 1898. Though the majority of the signature desserts (World Famous Fruitcake, Australian Apricot Cake, Midnight Chocolate Walnut Cake) are sold by mail, they’re all made by hand right here. The rustic storefront will be open a few more weeks until closing before the summer heat arrives (mail order is available year-round), so duck in now for a delicious Russian Rock cookie. 512 N. John, 800-788-2996, eilenbergerbakery.com

2. Texas Art Depot and Granny Muffin Wines

When the white blooms of East Texas’s dogwood trees erupt this month, it will signal the start of the seventy-fourth annual Dogwood Trails Festival (beginning March 23), a three-weekend event that includes a parade and a street fair. Carve out some time during the merriment to check out this gallery/wine bar, where you can peruse Old West scenes by Clifton’s Martin Grelle or, on Friday evenings, join a swarm of locals to sample the 35 varieties of Granny Muffin table wines made on-site from California juices. 301 W. Oak, 866-729-1262, texasartdepot.com

3. Old Magnolia Mercantile

In the late 1800’s, a Lebanese immigrant named Abraham Farris opened a mercantile store on Spring Street. Now his great-grandson, Richard Farris Jr., runs one of his own just a few blocks away. At the Old Magnolia, you can stop in for coffee (Seattle’s Best), lunch (the chicken salad–stuffed avocado is a standout), or dessert (including Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream, from Plano). Or you can browse the vendors’ booths

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