Danny Mogle photograhed in 2017. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

When I was a young reporter at the Tyler Morning Telegraph, many (many, many) years ago, I was assigned to write a story about the Edom Art Festival.

I wasn't even sure where Edom was.

When I got there, I thought this artist enclave was the coolest place. Everywhere I turned, I ran into potters, artists and jewelry makers.

It was unlike any town in East Texas.

I had not been in Edom for years when I returned last month for the story about the town and its new The Art of Wine & Food event in this issue.

In many ways, Edom was just like I remembered. Somehow, it had held on to its small-town charm and abundance of creative souls.

Everyone needs to spend time in Edom at least once. Put Edom on your East Texas, must-experience bucket list. 

Here are other items for this bucket list. 

-- The Gladewater Roundup Rodeo: The pageantry and competitions are thrilling and it pays homage to our ranching roots. 

-- :Each July, professional actors and stage technicians present plays at Kilgore College as good as any you'll find anywhere. 

-- Caldwell Zoo: I still can't believe Tyler has a zoo this good. Relax at the African Overlook and watch elephants, giraffes and zebras. 

-- The University of Texas at Tyler's Cowan Center or LeTourneau University's Belcher Center in Longview: These performance halls host headliners, Broadway musicals and specialty acts. It took my breath away the first time I entered their respective auditoriums. 

-- The Great Texas Balloon Race: You'll never forget the site of the sky over Longview filled with dozens of colorful hot-air balloons. And everyone should experience a balloon glow.

-- Texas State Railroad: Riding the steam-powered railroad with depots in Rusk and Palestine is like stepping back in time. 

-- Jefferson, Texas: This is another place time has forgotten. Jefferson has not one, but two, charming hotels that locals swear are haunted. Then venture further east to nearby Caddo Lake, which looks even spookier.

-- Anderson County Courthouse: Sitting majestically atop a hill in Palestine, this is one of the most striking courthouses in Texas. Go inside and look up at the stained glass in the dome and then look down at the painting on the bottom floor. Seeing the winding wooden staircase is alone worth the visit. 

-- The Wonderland of Lights: Tens of thousands come each year to Marshall during the holiday season to see the Harrison County Courthouses glowing in millions of lights. There is nothing else quite like it in Texas. 

What would you put on your East Texas must-see bucket list? Send me an email at

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