Flower lovers drawn to the Rose Capital of the Nation will find snazzy frocks and spicy guisado de puerco amid the petals and thorns.
Photograph by O. Lovett


1. Tyler Municipal Rose Garden Center

After a peach blight decimated the county’s fruit industry in the early 1900’s, local farmers began cultivating a new cash crop: roses. The fragrant flower, a source of civic pride ever since, is celebrated each October at the Texas Rose Festival and blooms twice a year at this immaculately manicured fourteen-acre park. From dawn to dusk you can stroll among the more than 38,000 bushes and attempt to pick a favorite from the six hundred or so varieties, which are at their glorious peak this month. 420 Rose Park Dr., 903-531-1212, cityoftyler.org

2. Don Juan Mexican Restaurant and cantina

The colorful facade of this courthouse square cantina will catch your eye, but it’s your sniffer that’s going to lead you inside. You’ll scarcely have time to take in the festive ambience—the ceiling is strung with star-shaped piñatas and twinkle lights—before your attention is diverted to the plates of guisado de puerco (spicy pork in red sauce), enmoladas (chicken or steak enchiladas topped with mole and queso blanco), and shrimp fajitas (served with a tongue-awakening chorizo) emerging from the kitchen. 113 E. Erwin, 903-526-0702, donjuantyler.com

3. Ye Old City Antique Mall

Big-ticket items abound in this 12,000-square-foot antiques mall, which includes vendors offering estate sale items, a hair salon, and—coming soon—a tearoom. But even if your budget won’t allow you to haul off those ornately inlaid Victorian walnut cabinets or

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