Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Local Guide Diggin' In at the Diners

Diggin In at the Diners


I have reached over 12,000 reader views on TripAdvisor and spent countless hours on Google adding ratings and location markers for locals shops, eateries, and attractions. I try very hard to leave reviews that reflect only what was experienced and not of a personal nature. My goal this year is to leave a review on TripAdvisor and Google for 100 businesses!

Because it's too cold to go playing around outside, diners with hot coffee are where I am starting! There are, to my knowledge, 13 restaurants listed on Tripadvisor for Emory. Dairy Queen, somehow, has been listed twice so this leaves 12  restaurants in the Emory area.

ON TripAdvisor WE FIND:

Sidekicks, El Manna, Circle H BBQ, Gorditas, Big Mouth Burger
Cinnamon Bear's Bakery, Ya'll Come Back, Texas Street Tex-Mex
Subway,  Leo's Fried Chicken, Sonic, Dairy Queen
Dickey's - done,  Pizza Hut - done,  Don's - done, A Sweet Affair -closed

Now I have been to all of these but one. I'm not telling which one, because I'm embarrassed I haven't visited yet, not because I don't like them, but because they are a little out of the way and I haven't made the extra effort to get there.


Next, I need a little help from you the audience. Send me more suggestions that I a missing from this list. I'm looking for Rains County first, then I'll branch out. The object of the game is to get everyone on social media so visitors can eat like a local too. Also, I am trying to avoid adding gym reviews, TOPS meetings, and becoming a diabetic from all the sweet tea.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

NACHO, Nacho Man! I got to get, some nachos man!

My husband and I have found one more reason to love youth sports, nachos. Our two boys have played or participated one way or another in nearly every stadium or sports field in East Texas. From T-ball, little dribblers basketball, soccer, peewee football, all the way up the ranks of high school marching band. We have visited a range, both distance and size, of sports facilities. 

One thing they all have in common are concession stands. I can proudly say I have worked with the best of the best as a concession stand mom. I've worked the Texas State Fair to the small town festival booths. The great equalizer of all are the nachos. 

Everyone has nachos but not everyone prepares them the same. Good preparation of nachos is key to a returning sale and sports fan. I can give lots of pointers to good prep of nachos but I'll stick with just the basic top three. 

Canton Nachos
#1 - That liquid gold tastes nasty cold! If you're in charge of the concession stand, meats on the grill and nacho sauce in the heat-it-up should be priority. Get there early!  

#2 - Thin it out a little. Add a tad of water to thin the sauce. This helps keep fans from waiting on clogged dispensary machines, or eyeing you as you sling the crock pot ladle across the counter to get the cheese to glop out. A thinner sauce greatly improves the coverage and the runs-down-the-chips factor. My secret to good sauce, add a little jalapeno juice for a kick of flavor without the heat. 

#3 - Don't be cheap. Fans will pay good money for good nachos. Trust me on this one. Stack fresh, not stale, chips in the tray nice and neat and be generous with the cheese. Ditch those skimpy dipping trays! Nachos are supposed to be gooey and messy to the last smothered chip on the bottom.  If there isn't a good foundation of chips and cheese your jalapenos, chili, and other toppers are just gourmet glitter.  

So, just for fun, and a little sinful nourishment, this faithful sports pair ordered nachos at every field we played during our spring baseball and fall peewee football season. We partook in the rituals of each field and lovingly shared nacho reviews in Lindale, Brownsboro, Alba-Golden, Sulphur Springs, Emory, and Canton and more on my Facebook page. Hands down our favorites were Brownsboro for their oversized servings, Quitman during baseball season, Emory during the PW football playoffs, and Canton during pw football (pictured).
What's the lady in back so nervous about?

Greenville Just for Kids

Greenville has seen a surge of growth recently. Just minutes from the booming Rockwall population and within reach of Dallas for day trips, Greenville makes a great place to visit. Many times activities for little ones can be hard to find, especially for the toddler. Here is a list of great ideas for little ones visiting Greenville who need to find things for their reluctant chaperones to enjoy.

Aunt Char’s Kid Zone  
Named one of the best playgrounds in NE Texas by CBS television in Dallas, Aunt Char’s Kid Zone is not just a castle to climb on but a jewel of Greenville Sports Park. Large pavilion and plenty of tables for picnicking. Check the City of Greenville website for more information. Corner of Kari Lane and Sayle, near Greenville High School.

Graham Park
Pet friendly acreage with fishing, grills, lighted pavilion, playground and splash pad (open Memorial Day through Labor Day). Disc golf course, horseshoes and sand volleyball court makes Graham Park great for groups. Found on the north side of town, 800 Walnut St. Check the City of Greenville website for more information.
Ja-Lu Swimming Pool replaced by Splash Kingdom Water Park summer 2016
Skate Safari
For only $6 kids and adults enjoy good music, games, great concessions and fun Friday 7-10:30pm, Saturday 1-5/7-10:30pm, Sunday 3-5pm. Price includes skate rental. Great place for group events. Skate Safari is on the I-30 frontage road between Moulton (bus. 69 and Hwy 69), 903-455-5022.
A great place to spend a little family time in the    indoor pool, basketball courts, fitness room or  racquetball court. Child care open, Monday-Friday while you get your workout. Greenville YMCA is open 8 am-9 pm weekday, until 5 pm weekends. 1915 Stanford Street, 903-455-9622. Day pass for the whole family is only $20. 
Majestic 12 Theaters
New releases in a family first environment at 1401 Joe Ramsey Blvd (Hwy 69 and   I 30). For current movie showings or online at call 903-455-5400, Majestic Theatres has matinee prices before 6 pm $4 for kids, $5 adults; evenings $6. Great Kids pack with popcorn and drink at the concessions.
Get your game on at Shenaniganz bowling, billiards, darts, laser tag and arcade or relax in Rozies Grill and Sports Bar. Lots more  information and great deals online, be sure to click on the Greenville location. Open daily 11 am to midnight. 903-455-2065. Easy to find at 1908 Joe Ramsey, the service road of Hwy 69 at the light of I H 30.
The Greenville Municipal Auditorium hosts great family entertainment year round. Great shows such as Elvis, The Nutcracker, Sinatra, Pam Tillis, Bob Wills Fiddle Contest and Mary had a Lamb with the Dallas Symphony. Call 903-457-3126 or see performance schedules online. Located downtown at 2821 Washington.
W. Walworth Harrison Library
Story Time, ABS’s for 123’s and Lego Club are popular programs at the library for quick quiet  activities. #1 Lou Finney Ln. 903-457-2992. Check the Library on the City of Greenville website for hours and events.
These activities are just a few minutes away from Greenville...
NE Texas Children’s Museum
Explore and Discover science, theater, space, robotics, art, farming, health and history exhibits Tues-Sat 9:30-4:30 in Commerce. Admission for 2 and up is $5 and is located only a few miles north of Greenville across from Texas A&M Commerce at 2501 Hwy 24. 903-886-6055. Go to to see their activity schedule.
Super Bowl Speedway
General Admission Adults $10; Kids 6 and under, free; 7-11 $5; 65+ $5; Pit Passes $25. Modified, Dwarf Cars, Mini Sprints, Factory Stocks, STEMS and more. Saturday gates open 6 pm; races begin at 8 pm. Track located at 437 FM 1903, turn near The Henry Group on Hwy 34. Track phone 903-883-2504,
Planetarium Texas A & M Commerce  
Night skies, dinosaurs, cardboard rockets, black holes and the moon all seen in a wonderful planetarium. 2201 W. Neal St. Commerce. Tickets are $5, group rates available. 903-468-8652. Shows Friday nights at 7 and 8 pm, summer matinees on Wednesdays. See show times and descriptions online at
Savannah’s Meadows
Has created a place where people can spend the day cutting lavender and herbs and finding the perfect spot for a picnic. The farm is about family and spending time together learning the value of working hard serving the community. A short drive out of town to 4473 FM 903, Celeste. 214-668-4299. Only open Friday through Sunday.
Calendar of Events
Most importantly check the weather and local calendars before you visit. The Greenville Chamber of Commerce, 88.9 KETR, Herald-Banner newspaper and the City of Greenville have great calendars online. 
Here are some good kid and pet friendly suggestions for overnight stays in Greenville...
Best Western Monica Royale Inn & Suites has indoor pool, pet friendly, and breakfast. 3001 Mustang Crossing, 903-454-3700.
Holiday Inn Express has outdoor pool, bbq grill, pet friendly and breakfast.  2901 Mustang Crossing 903-454-8680.
Comfort Suites has indoor swimming pool, and free breakfast. 2005 Center Point Lane. 903-259-6343.
Hampton Inn & Suites with outdoor pool and free breakfast. 3001 Kari. 903-457-9200.

Walking Tour of Mineola, Texas

I have been away for far too long. My adventures have landed me for a long stay in Mineola, Texas, a fascinating historic town. The city's downtown area is incredibly historic with buildings dating back to 1888.

Tornadoes have ravaged the city, a fire in the historic hotel, and many tales of ghost stories make Mineola a day-trippers dream. Shopping and hearty dining are intricately woven throughout the beauty of turn of the century architecture and mid-century modern art. Luck has brought me to be the caretaker of one of these historic buildings that I will share in a subsequent entry.

I have created a walking tour of downtown Mineola, Texas. It is an ongoing project to be constantly updated as I learn more and more about Mineola. In the meantime, I wish to share the map with you and hope that you enjoy visiting Mineola, Texas.

If you have the chance... come to the Mineola Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, I'll give you a person tour of their 1912 bank building and tell you more about a notorious gangster.

(The map is a My Maps by Google. You can download the app, Google My Maps, to view the map on your mobile device. )

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cool Crisp, Healing Waters

Cool Crisp, Healing Waters

When I was a little girl if I did not feel well, had a stomachache, a headache, or a booboo, my mother would hand me a cold glass of water and ask me again how I felt. For some reason, psychological or not, the water seemed to cure what ailed me.
The folk lore of magic in the waters of the sea, mineral pools, hot springs, geysers, and artesian wells drew my curiosity to County Road 2205 in Canton, Texas. Some claim pure mineral water can heal the sick and give new life to the body. The Canton well may not be a spiritually uplifting site with protective fence surround and plastic pipe utilized to direct flow, but it is a free public water source of clean natural spring water.
The fence protects the service pipe and the UV filter.

Artesian wells drilled as far back as 1126 by Carhusian Monks in Artois, France, provided healthy sources of fresh water. So too, the Canton area spring is a crisp, cool, continuous flowing artesian well. Artesian aquifers, also called artesian wells, consist of water collected in deep strata rock layers. When the saturation level of the ground is too great, the water in the rock layer wants to push upward, sometime bubbling up to the surface, hence the name flowing artesian well. 

On, an online database to find springs by region, the community discussion board posts many stories including one by Jan, granddaughter of Robert E. Faulkner. Mr. Faulkner originally drilled and set the pipe for the spring in 1955 just a quarter mile from their home. In 1979, a little over three acres of the recharge area and the well were deeded to the city of Canton when, according to records, it was subsequently contested by the next property owners.

Many walk up to drink the water straight from the well filling multiple containers, some an entire trailer load. On occasions when I visited, there has been a short wait to use the well. This provided time for conversations with patrons waiting their turn. I met individuals who have visited the spring since 1946, remembering when the spring bubbled from the ground spilling down the moss-covered rocks. Others say the water has calmed their intestinal ailments. Many are local but some travel a hundred miles or more to fill up with nature’s bounty.
Glenna and JA Morgan of Crockett, owners of Millar Berry Antiques, have been visiting the spring for 25 years.

A compliment to the quality of the water, there were rumors that Nestles, bottlers of Ozarka currently operating the Clear Spring in Hawkins County, looked into the feasibility of the Canton spring. The city of Canton is confident of the safety of the water utilizing a UV filter and performing routine testing. My family has visited the well a few more times and grown very fond of the water. It feels weird to walk away from the well leaving it running. I have this overwhelming desire to tell the kids, “Turn it off when you’re done.” 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wild Hair

Wild Hair
My good day ended bad yesterday; my wild hair is back. It’s not funny! It brought friends. I noticed them in the mirror just as I was about to take my contacts out. There must be a dozen of them all clumped together in the widows peak over my right eye. My kids took my natural hair color and in return gave me a dark lackluster black/brown instead of the sun-kissed auburn I had in my youth. Now my hair is turning on me; retaliating for some unknown deed I have yet to do.

My husband’s wild hair grows within his eyebrow over his left eye. Man it’s long and curly. I just love to sneak up on him and give it a tug to tick him off enough to give chase. He claims his wild hair is a money hair. I haven't seen a dime.

I suppose I could call my hairdresser to make an appointment to camouflage my wild hair. I imagine covering it up is not going to do any good. I must listen to the wild hair. I must follow its directions, whatever they are. Seriously, not a clue as to what my wild hair wants and why it felt it had to bring a posse along to make its point. 
So where does my wild hair feel it needs to go? Hmm...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tin Lizzie Traveler Hits the Hwy 80 Sale

Tin Lizzie Traveler Hits the Hwy 80 Sale

Every third weekend in April and October, East Texas Tourism Association puts on the historic Highway 80 Sale running from Terrell to the border of Louisiana and beyond. This is one extremely long yard sale and I am notoriously parsimonious, which is just a fancy word for the day to say I am a penny-pinching, hand-me-down wearing, borrow it for just a day, cheapskate.
First stop and I already found a great bench.
My best advice.... pace yourself or you'll run out of room in the back for the kids.

The problem is I will spend a dollar on an item that needs ten more to bring it back up to code. I get away with calling it a hobby and twice a year, Hwy 80 is swarmed with other like-minded “hobbyist’s” watching for bright yellow and black Highway 80 Sale signs, garage sale signs, cardboard arrows, balloons tied to poles, and flags flapping in the breeze, all showing us the way to treasures to take home.  
Mineola has a public area to set up for those not directly on Hwy 80.

Bless their hearts, everyone of them, for having the gumption and horse sense to participate and organize the Highway 80 Sale. My hats off to all those who clean out the garage, brave the spiders in the attic, and talk their spouses out of their belongings to line roadways with riches. Check out the list of sales as long as your arm on the HI*WAY 80 SALE and keep checking back to the Tin Lizzie Traveler blog to find out where I will be shopping. I’ll keep you up to date on the greatest finds along the historic Hwy 80 Sale!

You gotta give a big hand to this person. They found a way to shop and still get a power nap!