My mom called me one day to ask if I wanted to go to a little town called Jefferson, located right on the east edge of Texas. I think her old lady club (love ya, mom!) had been talking about it and she wanted me to go with her because she knew my old lady soul would enjoy it too. Spoiler alert: she was right!
We got in Thursday evening, just in time to check in at the Excelsior Hotel, which had been in business (and historically protected) since the 1850s. My mom booked us in the “Ladybird” room, which Ladybird Johnson had actually stayed in. It was so cute! Besides the antiques in the room, including a massive four poster bed and a magnificent wardrobe, the floral wallpaper was exactly my style.
Friday morning had us up early to start the day, enjoying the “Plantation Breakfast” provided by the Excelsior. The funny thing we soon learned about Jefferson, was that nothing really opened until ten in the morning. So after a rather lazy start, we made our way to the Museum of Time and Measurement.
Here we walked through the three rooms, guided by the owner himself, as he answered my mom’s questions and showed us his massive antique clock collection. He had just opened a special music room where he had a new collection of music boxes and phonographs. Everything there was so cool!
Next it was time for our first home tour! We explored the “House of Seasons,” a beautiful three story home with as much done as possible to keep it true to its past. At the top, facing every cardinal direction was a pane of stained glass, all different colors to relate to the different seasons. This stunning detail is how the home got its name. The sun would hit the panes of glass at different times, creating a really beautiful color effect down the center of the house.
After a quick pit stop for lunch at the Bayou Cafe, we hurried back to the Excelsior to catch their tour. This hotel is taken care of by the Garden Club, who give a tour not only of the rooms that are unoccupied, but of a stationary train car across the way. This train car was the personal train car of Jay Gould, who was an infamous mogul back in the day. The rumor is he stayed in the Excelsior and when the town wouldn’t go for his train route deal, he left and cursed the town. (Soon after the dam that kept the river high was destroyed and Jefferson could no longer be the major outpost it was trying to be.)
We explored the town some more by doing a carriage ride tour. It was a nice break from walking around doing a bit of local shopping. By this time we were famished and I’d heard good things about Austin Bistro. Boy, I’d heard right! You have to get their homemade bread if you go. We started with the assorted bread basket, and it was so good!
My mom and I were having such a blast, but we’d packed in a lot of activities! We were learning so much, seeing so many homes, and taking a true tour through the past. Just as the town opened at ten, it closed by five – and that was fine by us! We were ready to embrace the old lady spirit and relax as much as we needed.